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Summer in Cuba

The Summer in Cuba program will NOT take place in Summer 2024. Check out the Summer in Panama program instead!

Summer in Cuba

Summer in Cuba is a 4-week study abroad experience open to undergraduates in all years and majors and with any level of Spanish language proficiency. Sponsored through collaboration between Tulane’s Cuban and Caribbean Studies Institute and the University of Havana, it allows students to earn six Tulane credits while living in a country long obscured by political rhetoric and romanticized nostalgia. Participants learn about Cuba’s history, politics, society, and culture through courses taught in English by Tulane faculty members and in either English or Spanish by professors at the University of Havana. Meanwhile, they have the opportunity to explore Havana from their housing at the heart of its historic Vedado neighborhood. At a moment when the end of Castro family rule has coincided with the renegotiation of key political and economic policies, the program offers a rare opportunity to experience firsthand Cuba’s social and cultural transformations.

Primary Care in Cuba

Primary Care in Cuba is a sub-track of Summer in Cuba tailored specifically to undergraduates pursuing their degrees in Public Health. Students enrolled in this program will take one Latin American Studies course with other program participants and will enroll in a second course taught by associates of Cuba’s National School of Public Health (Escuela Nacional de Salud Pública, or ENSAP) and facilitated by a representative of Tulane’s School of Public Health. “Primary Care in Public Health in Cuba” is a three-credit class that counts toward the Public Health major. The readings and activities associated with it address how the Cuban government has prioritized the development of universal healthcare, with a special emphasis on the efforts to strengthen primary healthcare and to articulate it with more complex levels of care. Specifically, the course contextualizes and analyzes programs to prevent infant mortality and to prevent and control infectious diseases such as polio, malaria, tuberculosis, dengue, and HIV. It enables students to understand these efforts within Cuba’s unique economic and political environment through a schedule of regular visits to healthcare providers, clinics, and public welfare organizations.


Students enroll in two courses, each worth three Tulane credits. All will participate in the LAST 3130 course taught in English by the Program Director. Depending on their level of Spanish-language proficiency, they can choose their second course from offerings taught in English or Spanish. More information about course schedules will be provided at Orientation.

Courses Offered

LAST 3130 (required): Society and Culture of Cuba (English). Taught by the program Director, Prof. I. Carolina Caballero, the course will explore current trends and issues in Cuban culture and society through readings, films, and lectures. It includes a series of talks by prominent Cuban intellectuals and local field trips to important political and cultural sights throughout Havana.


HISL 3950: The History of Cuba: The Evolution of Cuban Nationalism (English). Led by instructors at the Universidad de la Habana and provides the students with an overview of contemporary Cuban history in order to trace the formation of Cuba’s national identity and its effects on the island’s complex reality and current affairs.


SPAN 3130/4130: Contemporary Cuban Literature (Spanish). Taught through the Facultad de Artes y Letras at the Universidad de la Habana, this course gives students a panoramic view of the major authors, texts, themes, and styles found in contemporary Cuban literature.


LAST 3960: Primary Care in Public Health in Cuba (Spanish). In collaboration with Cuba’s National School of Public Health, this course addresses how the Cuban government has prioritized the development of universal healthcare, with a special emphasis on the efforts to strengthen primary healthcare and to articulate it with more complex levels of care. Classes held at the Escuela Nacional de Salud Pública (ENSAP).


Participants share double-occupancy rooms in a guesthouse run by Cuba’s Associación Nacional de Agricultores Pequeños (ANAP). Centrally located in the historic Vedado neighborhood, the house is just blocks away from the Malecón. Housing includes two daily meals prepared from the fresh ingredients provided by ANAP’s members.


The program includes one weekend trip outside of Havana and several shorter excursions around the area. While individual excursions are subject to change from year to year, they together expose students to various sites of historical, cultural, and ecological importance. Students begin their trip with a walking tour of Old Havana, the picturesque heart of the colonial city. Later, they have the opportunity to see firsthand the site of the infamous American invasion at Playa Girón (Bay of Pigs) and observe the island’s natural beauty in the Ciénaga de Zapata and the Varadero Reserves. In Matanzas, they learn about the impact of Afro-Cuban culture, while on their weekend excursions to the colonial cities of Trinidad and Cienfuegos, they trace the economic evolution that has transformed the country from one generation to the next.

About La Habana, Cuba

With a population of over 2 million people, Havana is Cuba’s national capital and its leading economic, social, and cultural hub. Situated along a bay on the northern coast of the island, the city enjoys a temperate climate. The beauty of the physical landscape perhaps contributes to the vibrant culture for which the city is renowned. In addition to its famous nightlife, Havana boasts a wealth of music, art, performance, gastronomy, and athletics. While there, students can browse the collections of the National Museum of Art, attend a performance of the Cuban National Ballet, play a game of pick-up soccer or baseball, or dance the night away to salsa. Though the city suffered from neglect during the middle of the twentieth century as the Castro regime funneled funding toward the island’s underdeveloped rural provinces, it has since the 1980s witnessed a concentrated revival. In 1982, UNESCO declared Old Havana a World Heritage Site, and the city continues to be a treasure today.

About La Universidad de La Habana

Founded in 1728, the Universidad de La Habana is Cuba’s oldest and most prestigious institution of higher education. The main campus of UH is on the edge of the historic center of Havana in the Vedado neighborhood. UH is organized into three division-Natural Sciences, Humanities, and Social Sciences and Economics-and has a total of 15 departments and 14 research centers. Twenty-five majors are taught at the university and approximately 6,000 degree-seeking students are enrolled in regular classes each year.


The efficiency and success of Cuba’s healthcare system are well-known throughout the world. Through the effective application of preventative and primary care, the nation has achieved health indicators on par with those of much more economically developed nations. (If you are curious, compare the World Health Organization profiles for Cuba, Germany, and the United States.) Tracing its roots back to the 1927 founding of the Carlos J. Finlay Institute, the Escuela Nacional de Salud Pública has been a key player in the nation’s success. The organization’s mission is to train public health officials in administration, biostatistics, and epidemiology and to foment research on the organization, efficiency, and quality of public health services. It pursues these goals by offering graduate degrees and other continuing education certificates and by coordinating with health care providers across the island and across Latin America to develop healthcare strategies and evaluate their effectiveness.

Program Cost

$5,500 ($3,000 tuition; $2,500 housing and logistics fee)

$6,000 for Public Health option ($3,500 Tuition; $2,500 housing and logistics fee)

Tuition and fees include 6 Tulane credits, shared housing, 2 meals/day, transportation to/from airport, all costs associated with group excursions. Tuition and fees do NOT include airfare to/from Cuba, passport/visa expenses, vaccinations, laundry, and other incidentals.

Because U.S. Debit and Credit cards do not work in Cuba, students should bring enough cash to cover all personal expenses during the trip. It will be very difficult to access additional cash after arrival. Administrators will have access to lockboxes where students can store their money, but participants are also encouraged to bring their own portable lockboxes. Though Cuba is a safe country with very low rates of crime, it is best to take precautions.


All registration will be processed by CCSI staff. Students should NOT register for their own courses. They will initially be enrolled in one 3-credit Latin American Studies placeholder course, used for billing purposes only. After students finalize their courses in Havana, they will be enrolled in their respective culture and language courses.


Prior to departure, the CCSI will host two mandatory pre-departure information sessions. During these meetings, students will learn more about what to expect during their time abroad and have the opportunity to ask questions of program faculty and former participants. Students will also be provided with a detailed orientation packet, which they are encouraged to share with their families.

Medical Insurance

Because Cuba requires proof of international medical insurance upon entry into the country, all U.S. air carriers include coverage in the ticket price. 


Tuition and fees will be charged to student accounts in the late Spring. Students are responsible for making sure that the bill is paid in full by the end of the billing cycle on the 15th of the following month. Students can access their accounts through the Gibson Portal

Refund and Cancellation Policy

If a student withdraws from the program at any point between acceptance and departure, the student forfeits their deposit plus any additional expenses that the Stone Center cannot recover from program providers. Prior to 15 days before the program start date, a student may submit a written withdrawal request to be considered for a refund of up to 75% of the program fee (deposit excluded). Refund requests received less than 15 days before the program start date will only be eligible for a maximum of 25% refund of the program fees (deposit excluded). Students withdrawing after the program start date will not be eligible for any refund.

Accessibility and Accommodations

Tulane University is committed to making all its programs accessible to all students. Persons requiring special facilities should notify the Program Manager as soon as possible. All effort will be made to accommodate them, but students should be aware that reasonable accommodation may be required.

Application Requirements 

Applicants must be in good academic standing, have a cumulative grade point average of at least 2.5, and have completed one semester of Spanish at Tulane. Students who plan to enroll in SPAN 3130/4130: Contemporary Cuban Literature or LAST 3960: Primary Care in Public Health in Cuba must have completed SPAN 3040 or an equivalent. Non-Tulane students are also welcome to apply to this program but should confirm with their home university that their credits will transfer. All applicants must have a valid passport expiring no less than six months after the return date.
Application available through the Tulane Study Abroad Portal


  • General demographic and academic information
  • Personal statement of intent (Students interested in the Spanish or Public Health option are strongly encouraged to write in Spanish)
  • Official Transcript
  • Proof of Valid Passport
  • One letter of recommendation (students interested in in Spanish or Public Health options are strongly encouraged to provide a recommendation from a Spanish instructor)
  • $300 deposit due upon commitment to the program.





Contact CCSI by email at sclassum@tulane.edu or by phone at 504-862-8629.

Application deadline: TBA

View photos from past programs:
2012 | 2014 | 2015 | 2018