Cuba: Culture, History and Politics

Next Offered: May 15-June 5, 2015

STA 330 Cuba: Culture, History, and Politics is a unique interdisciplinary course offered by Dominican University in collaboration with FLACSO-CUBA and the University of Havana. Course participants will travel across the island learning about the country’s pre- and post-colonial and revolutionary history, contemporary political and economic system, cultural landscape including music, art, and religion, and social institutions including schools, medical systems, and urban farming.

Academic Program

This six-credit study abroad course is offered during Summer Session I. The three week in-country trip is preceded by mandatory pre-trip classroom sessions and orientation meetings, all on the campus of Dominican University. In Cuba, seven days will be spent in Havana, the capital of Cuba. The remaining days will be spent in other cities, such as Pinar del Rio, Baracoa and Santiago de Cuba.

  • Fulfills the multi-cultural requirement for Dominican students. 
  • Fulfills requirements for the Political Science, Sociology, and Study of Women and Gender majors.
  • Currently enrolled students may not opt for the satisfactory/unsatisfactory option for this course.
  • Please see advisor for details.

Program Details

  • The course will begin in Havana, the capital city of the country. Course participants will attend morning lectures given by FLACSO at the University of Havana and then participate in site visits in the afternoon. Themes will include: economics, democracy, social development, health, gender, Afro-Cuban religious expression, agriculture, and Cuban-US relations.
  • Havana highlights: 
On site lectures led by national experts: Havana Vieja, Castillo de los Tres Reyes Magos del Morro, National Museum of Art, Hemingway’s Cuban home Finca Vigía,
  • Visits to social institutions: local political offices, health centers, maternity home, urban farms Day trip to Soroa, Pinar del Rio – Located in the Sierra del Rosario mountain range in an internationally protected Biosphere Reserve participants can swim in a waterfall, view the orchids, and hike on park trails.
  • Participants will then fly to the eastern city of Baracoa. Geographically isolated in the Northeastern corner of the island, Baracoa is steeped in aboriginal and colonial history and culture. Christopher Columbus landed here during his first voyage on November 27, 1492. The first Spanish settlement in Cuba was built here in 1510 under the leadership of Diego Velasquez. The Spanish met fierce resistance in this area from indigenous communities including the legendary leader Hatuey. When the famous Dominican Friar Bartolomé de las Casas complained to Spain about the treatment of the indigenous it was to Baracoa that he referred. The archeological museum, based in a cave system, highlights the culture and resistance of the original inhabitants of Baracoa. Other sites include colonial Spanish forts and churches
  • Baracoa highlights: 
On site lectures led by local experts: Archeological Museum, Fuerte Matachín, Catedral Nuestra Señora de la Asunción
  • Day outing on the Rio Toa: typical meal at a waterside farm, boat ride, and swimming
  • Santiago de Cuba will be the final leg of the journey. Santiago de Cuba was founded by the Spanish in 1514. Santiago has a unique history: was the Spanish capital from 1522-1589, was ransacked by the English and the French, is the site of the Battle of San Juan Hill, the resting place of José Martí, and played a central role in the Cuban Revolution. Santiago de Cuba’s cultural heritage is a mixture of Spain, Africa, and France and is an important center of Afro-Cuban culture and religion.
  • Santiago de Cuba Highlights: 
Onsite lectures led by local experts: Historical sites in Santiago de Cuba, Cementerio de Santa Ifigenia, Granjita de Siboney and the National Shrine Basilica of Our Lady of Charity

Deadline: October 31, 2014

For more information, please contact Sue Ponremy, director international studies, at or call (708) 524-6965.

Cost and Financial Aid

Estimated Costs

  • Currently enrolled Dominican students: $5335 (to include housing, group excursions, all meals, in-country transportation and international airfare). Tuition for six credits is included.
  • Personal expenses: $400 (estimated)

Due to fluctuation of exchange rates, the cost of the program is subject to change. 

Scholarships and Financial Aid

  • State, federal and Dominican aid is applicable
  • Students: By studying abroad, you may have additional options for funding assistance. Please see a Dominican University Financial Aid Officer as soon as possible

Requirements and Eligibility

  • Freshman, sophomore, junior or senior standing, qualified adults.
  • 2.7 DU GPA.
  • No prior knowledge of Spanish required.
  • Students must attend at least one information session.
  • Completed application packet: application form, recommendation forms, essay
  • Medical form due at time of deposit

Excursions, Housing and Transportation


Although there will be two free Sundays, participants will not be permitted to travel independently outside of Havana.


In Cuba, students will live in guesthouses and small hotels, with two to three sharing a room with a private bath. Breakfast and most meals are included.


Group flight arranged by program director who will accompany the group.