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University

Would you like your students to learn about and experience one of the most unique countries, cultures, and economies in the hemisphere?

Cuba offers an uniquely safe and culturally rich atmosphere in which to learn. Participants in these trips are presented with a Communist economy which dominates or plays a role in people’s lives from home to work and everywhere in between. The restrictive environment pushes Cubans to exercise their creativity in permitted, gray market, or private activities.

Thus, the arts, music and craftsmanship of Cuba are among the most remarkable and visible highlights of a student’s journey to Cuba. Depending upon the subject of your itinerary, ECC arranges seminars with practitioners in the field of interest. All our trips include lodging, accommodation and a broad view of the rich cultural aspects of Cuba. Here are examples of trip highlights for various foci:

Economics: A country with two currencies is a rarity in the world today. But Cuba is one of them. We experience the buying power of each currency and speak with money changers and locals who earn the local currency to talk about the challenges and benefits of the dual currency system.

Another highlight of Economics itineraries is the seminars and meetings with private business owners. Students are able to discuss the business environment, challenges and opportunities with these entrepreneurs taking home a very broad perspective which includes, often overlooked, black and gray market activities.

Business: There are a number of thriving private businesses in Havana operating within the tight limitations of regulations. We spend time with some of these successful entrepreneurs learning what it takes to succeed under duress. What are the restrictions that most impair them and how do they work around those problems? How do they feel about their business’s prospects with future opening of Cuba to the United States? We find out.

Business trips also include visits to some of the most successful businesses in Cuba to discuss with their staff whatever is of interest to trip participants.

Music: It is no secret that Cuba contains a spectacular number of talented musicians. One highlight of our trips is a visit to meet with and listen to a live jazz performance in a basement jazz club in the Vedado suburb of Havana. Performers include Chucho Valdez and other Grammy winners along with unrecognized talents.

Religion: Visiting with and speaking with the leader of the Beth Shalom Synagogue in Havana is a great opportunity to learn about the small Jewish community and how they have managed to maintain their practice and community during years when their community has shrunk.

Since Fidel Castro declared that Cuba was an Atheist country, organized religions have not had government support. Most have persisted but have suffered due to dwindling participation and donations. The Greek, Russian Orthodox, and Catholic churches each have their own interesting stories to tell about community, perseverance, and their fit in society.

International Relations: The leading anti-American voice in Latin America for the past 50 years has been Fidel Castro who spoke for the Island of Cuba. But how do Cuban people feel about Americans? The truth behind the rhetoric is discovered in seminars with Cuban people and student participants. This country which seems full of people with a relative in Miami has a schizophrenic relationship with its neighbor to the north.

During IR trips to Cuba we explore a variety of subjects which can include meeting with private business owners,

History: With the office of the Historian of Havana, tour the historic buildings and architecture in Old Havana. During the tour, we learn about the changes of use/ownership of these beautiful buildings.