Cuba is the largest island in the Caribbean and one of four self-declared communist states in the world today. Cuba has had an interesting history first with pre-colonial civilizations to becoming a Spanish colony, later a US protectorate and finally an independent state to a communist state.

It was in 1958-59 that the communist party gained control of the country. A direct consequence of Cuba’s communist revolution was the deterioration  in its relationship with the United States. Shortly after 1959 the US imposed sanctions on Cuba effectively isolating the country. As a result Cuba became a self-sufficient country and excelled in many areas, including literacy, and public health. 

3 places to visit in Cuba 




Did you know?

Cuba has a 99.8% literacy rate, which is one of the highest in the world

It is mandatory for government vehicles to pick up hitchhikers

Cuba is the natural habitat of the bee hummingbird, the smallest bird in the world

Christmas did not become an official holiday in Cuba until 1997

South Korean soap operas are popular in Cuba

Fidel Castro erected a statue of John Lennon from The Beatles in 2000

A Different Model

The Public Healthcare System in Cuba

A 14-Day Faculty-led Program in Havana, Cuba


“In virtually every critical area of public health and medicine facing poor countries Cuba has achieved undeniable success.” While this sentiment is not universally agreed on it is undeniable that Cuba has made significant advances in its healthcare system, both in the method of treatment, and scientific research and medical advancements. Cuba is such a well respected member of the medical community internationally that it has become a popular destination for medical-tourism with people traveling from around the world to be treated in Cuba. The government assumes all responsibility for the healthcare system and there are no private hospitals in the country.


Besides being an entirely public system, Cuba addresses public health with a non-traditional approach. Focusing on prevention and societal behaviors that contribute to health risk factors such as smoking, alcohol consumption and others. This is due in large part to the high number of doctors in the country. Cuba has one of the lowest doctor to patient ratios in the world and a community-driven system of consultations and treatment.

During this program students will have the chance to get an inside peek at the Cuban healthcare system with hospital visits, resident panels, medical lectures and visits to international organizations. Students will be able to evaluate and examine this unique system in comparison with others they may be familiar with.


DAY 9: Tour of the National Medical Library

The National Medical Library is a key resource in the country for those studying or working in the field of medicine. Here students will have a chance to see the hub of the information network in Cuba. The National Medical Library in Havana serves as the focal point for the other networks in the rest of the country. Students with have the chance to speak with the librarian staff about the history of the library and its collection as well as its advances as technology continues to advance within the country.

DAY 7:  Visit to WHO in Cuba

Due to is pioneering research, its innovative and unique treatment techniques it is no wonder that the WHO studies Cuba closely and evaluates its progress. During this visit students will have to chance to speak with a senior representative of the WHO in Havana and discuss Cuba’s health system in the international context and its measures with the international community.

DAY 3: Visit to ELAM - Latin American School of Medicine

Established in 1999 this medical school is the primary institution in Cuba. It is also believed to be the largest medical school in the world by enrollment. The population is comprised of students from all over the world. Even US students who achieve permission to study there can then return to the US to complete their residency. During this visit students will have a chance to see a different style of medical school and meet with current students pursuing their degrees.


A 7-Day Faculty-Led Program in Havana

Cuban music and dance are a reflection of the cultural influences present in the country. The most prominent are the pre-colonial religions and their ceremonies, the European colonialists, to the populations from West Africa. Cuba has a tuition free system for teaching of the arts including music, visual arts, and performing arts. This program is to encourage the training of future professionals. 


The various elements have been combined to create a musical style that is entirely unique. Government support shows how central music and  dance are in Cuban society. During this program students will visit Havanas community-arts groups including the Children's Choir of Fábrica del Arte and La Castellana Rehabilitation Center. Students will also attend lectures and performances where they will compare and contrast the distinctive styles and influences and how they blend. There will even be a chance to put your skills to the test with a few dance lessons!

Fusion of Cultures

Cuban Music and Dance

A 10-Day Faculty-Led Program in Cuba

Much of the modern world has lost the old “if it breaks, fix it” mentality and instead replaced it with “if it break, buy a new one.” Cuba has not followed this trend, in fact, they have gone very far in the opposite direction. The strict embargoes the United States placed on the island were exacerbated by the fall of the Soviet Union and the loss of around 80 percent of its imports.


Cubans quickly became inventors and mechanics. Their repurposing ran from using food trays as TV antennae to a pulley system to jump start a car. The sheer ingenuity of the Cuban people is a testament to their resiliency and creativity. In this program engineering students will learn a little about the extent of the barriers Cuba has faced, however, the focus of the course will be on the repurposing of common items for new use as well as the repairs in all sectors from automotive to industrial. 

They will then travel around the city and to parts of the countryside to see these innovations in action. The conclusion of the program will be a workshop where students will help to make such inventions for Cuban households practicing Cuban techniques. 

Repurposing & Inventing

A Way of Life in Havana




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