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Design and Culture in Cuba : Reviews (Havana)

The following program review responses have been selected for publication by Study Abroad & Global Engagement
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Alan Michael Borkon, Winter Break 2016 Participant
The program was well organized and reflected the dedicated commitment of the instructor, Tim Hossler to the class and specifically, making the Cuban experience the best and it was just that. Pairing up South Beach in Miami and Cuba was brilliant. Every step was planned out with detail. Having all meals and accommodations planned took a lot of worry out of the picture. Our guides were excellent and all of the sites and museums that we visited were well done. This trip offered us total immersion into the Cuban experience. It is an opportunity that could be consider a "once in a life-time."

 

Andrew Borkon, Winter Break 2016 Participant
The organizational aspect of the trip was exceptional. There was no wasted time on the trip.

 

Winter Break 2016 Participant
I really enjoyed exploring the various cities we visited, especially when it was on foot. It was more interesting and exciting to interact with Cuban culture up-close and personal rather than from a tour bus.

 

Joseph Jancsics, Winter Break 2016 Participant
Being able to experience Cuba with a knowledgeable professor and a diverse group of students was rewarding. My favorite part is hard to narrow down, but on the whole it's great to have this experience as part of my graduate coursework at KU. Being a graduate of the Interaction Design MA, and then using this study abroad trip for MBA electives was a great fit for me, personally and academically.

 

Winter Break 2016 Participant
We were able to meet with one of Fidel Castro's photographers and he had many interesting stories he was able to share with us.

 

Emanuela G Kelly, Winter Break 2017 Participant
Getting out of Havana and visiting the organic farm was by far my favorite part of the trip. I wish it hadn't rained so that would have gone on a hike around the farm but eating their food and exploring the grounds was a real treat.

 

Winter Break 2017 Participant
My favorite part of the program was being able to experience the culture in Cuba.

 

Megan Martin, Winter Break 2017 Participant
The balance of scheduled programs and free time in Old Havana was what made the program great for me. There were times where we had activities as a group, but could then explore the area a little before moving on, which made it feel less like an organized trip and more like an international experience.

 

Anthony B Moon, Winter Break 2017 Participant
My favorite part of the program is I went to Cuba without knowing anybody on the trip and afterwards I believe that the people on the trip will become my best friends.

 

Winter Break 2017 Participant
I loved visiting the Havana School of Photography.

 

Winter Break 2017 Participant
The time we spent at the farm in Vinales was the most enjoyable. Learning about agriculture in Cuba is an important and unique opportunity for a study abroad program.

 

Regina Biswas Thomas, Winter Break 2017 Participant
The favorite part of the program was meeting the host institute members and interacting with the locals. Cuba is safe, friendly and helpful environment and the day tours allowed as to see it's diversity.

 

Winter Break 2017 Participant
My favorite part of this program was the raw experience we were able to have with Cuban culture.

 

Winter Break 2019 Participant
My favorite part was being able to be fully immersed in the culture. Also, the food. The food in Cuba was glorious. Not sure what it was about Cuban food but even like the simplest foods, like tomatoes, had so much more flavor to them.

 

Alan Michael Borkon, Winter Break 2016 Participant
Being able to visit a country that up until recently had been forbidden and for many years considered the evil empire was priceless. The instructor, Tim Hossler, was superb. He was organized, detail oriented and up on every aspect of Cuban culture and architecture. Most importantly, at all times he had the students best interest and safety at the top of the agenda. He was able to add facts and details that enhance our understanding of the experience.

 

Winter Break 2016 Participant
Meeting and communicating with locals and hearing their stories was extremely informative and rewarding.

 

Joseph Jancsics, Winter Break 2016 Participant
Taking away a significant new life experience, beyond what a typical classroom course can deliver. We saw so much more of Cuba than I was expecting, and Miami provided an unexpected level of comparison and contrast.

 

Winter Break 2016 Participant
Going to Cuba pushed me out of my comfort zone and helped me grow as a person through first hand experiences.

 

Gabrielle Marie Javier, Winter Break 2017 Participant
Learning about the different religions in Cuba and how they intertwine coherently with their culture.

 

Emanuela G Kelly, Winter Break 2017 Participant
Talking to the locals on our own. One night we were in search of Wi-Fi and the guy in charge had quiet the story. Exchanging our stories was a lot of fun and very enlightening.

 

Megan Martin, Winter Break 2017 Participant
Staying in the casas particulares, which were like bed and breakfasts, provided a very unique opportunity to really interact with and form relationships with locals. Our hostess had a grandson living with her, and I got to play with him over the language barrier through technology, which was unique and a lot of fun.

 

Anthony B Moon, Winter Break 2017 Participant
The elements of the program that were most rewarding involved personal testimonies from locals and experiencing the real aspects of Cuban culture.

 

Winter Break 2017 Participant
The program was short but we spent most of the time immersed in the culture.

 

Winter Break 2017 Participant
The most rewarding parts of the experience were getting to communicate with the locals in Spanish.

 

Regina Biswas Thomas, Winter Break 2017 Participant
Living with a host family, a rigorous day tour and a free day were the most rewarding elements. Equally rewarding was guidance from our professors and host institutes, about how to travel in Cuba.

 

Winter Break 2019 Participant
The elements of the program I found most rewarding was being able to walk the streets in Cuba. Being on the ground standing in front of significant places, it was a world of difference to reading about it in an article of textbook.

 

Alan Michael Borkon, Winter Break 2016 Participant
This study abroad opportunity is of great value and should be at the top of everyone's to do list. It's educational importance goes well beyond the class room. There are cultural aspect that can't be defined but need to be experienced.

 

Andrew Borkon, Winter Break 2016 Participant
Probably not a bad idea to learn some common Spanish terminology. It's not necessary but all the years of Spanish classes definitely helped.

 

Colin Royal Comeau, Winter Break 2016 Participant
Bring more money then you may think you will need since once you leave the country you can't retrieve money in Cuba and do not be afraid of the country. Everyone is very friendly and welcoming also try everything from street food to odd restaurants its worth it.

 

Winter Break 2016 Participant
Like any experience that removes you from your comfort zone, go into it with an open mind and an eagerness to learn.

 

Gabrielle Marie Javier, Winter Break 2017 Participant
It always helps to speak the native language!

 

Emanuela G Kelly, Winter Break 2017 Participant
Compassion and Listening. You're not there for you but for them, to witness their culture, and observe their lives. Those qualities are not easily learned and this trip really harnessed that.

 

Winter Break 2017 Participant
It's important to do research before so once you're in the country you are as prepared as you can be.

 

Megan Martin, Winter Break 2017 Participant
Talk to the locals and your guides! Everyone is really friendly, and extremely happy to help you out in finding something in particular or even just having a conversation. I had a lot of really interesting experiences just because I struck up banter with a street vendor or asked a question about something.

 

Winter Break 2017 Participant
Pack a variety of clothes, you never know what it's going to be like.

 

Winter Break 2017 Participant
Cuban people are incredibly resilient and resourceful. There's so much to be learned from gaining an understanding of the way that they live..

 

Winter Break 2017 Participant
My advice to future study abroad students would be to be patient and be flexible.

 

Winter Break 2019 Participant
I learned that traveling alone, and traveling in general to a new country isn't near as stressful as it first appears. I had so much anxiety about going to a country I'd never been with people I'd only met once before. But it was great and I don't regret going one bit.