Study Abroad: Havana, Cuba

by Benjamin Kerns

Jun 6, 2015

Havana University in Cuba © Uli Danner | Dreamstime

Study Abroad

With the restrictions on Cuban travel relaxed, more schools are beginning to offer study abroad options for Havana, the capital of the notorious communist nation. Now is a great time to take advantage of what a semester there has to offer.


Schools like Princeton, Harvard and Tulane have offered programs in Cuba for awhile now and many others are starting to jump on board. Before choosing your school, or checking into your already chosen university’s program, here are some things to keep in mind about studying and living in Cuba.


Cuba has no real banking system. Cash is your new best friend unless you want to pay ridiculous wiring or ATM fees through a TransCard or Western Union account. However, Cuba uses two different forms of money, the peso and the Cuban peso. You’ll want some of each. Cuban pesos are typically used for transportation and in public stores, whereas the regular peso can be used at many restaurants and events.


Credit and debit cards might work, but your safest bet is to take cash.


The country also runs into food shortages more than you’d probably imagine. Be sure to plan your grocery list ahead of time and stock up on essentials like eggs and milk.


Most universities offer study aboard programs through the University of Havana. The school offers 25 majors to choose from, but your university likely tailors which courses will actually count toward your degree. Choose wisely!


Hook up with local students in your classes to get the full experience of life in Havana and enjoy a rich new world to explore.


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