This past January a group of students and faculty embarked on a ten day journey to one of the world's most underrated destinations to unmask an old Cold War rival for what it really is: a stunningly beautiful and multi-ethnic Caribbean island, teeming with culture, history, and a robust national healthcare system. On this program, students had a chance to ride in vintage cars, visit a local tobacco farm, and participate in salsa lessons, all while delving into US-Cuba relations and the state of Cuba today. We were so excited to offer this rare opportunity for our students to explore this oft-misunderstood nation for the first time this academic year!

Program Details

Program Itinerary

Wednesday, January 10, 2024: 

Departure from Rochester and arrival in Havana
Transfer to homestays
Dinner with homestays

Thursday, January 11, 2024:

Orientation at Hotel Paseo Habana
Walking tour of Old Havana with historian
Casa de África-dance performance
Presentation on race in the tourism sector in Cuba
Group lunch
Welcome reception with Paso a Paso and dinner

Friday, January 12, 2024:

Presentation by Cuban economist & talk about immigration
Visit to Callejón Hamel
Group lunch
Visit to Museum of the Revolution
Dinner at casas

Saturday, January 13, 2024:

Presentation on gender in Cuba
Group lunch
Presentation on US-Cuba relations
Visit to Escuela San Ignacio (Moneda Cubana)
Ride in vintage convertible cars
Salsa dance lessons
Dinner at casas

Sunday, January 14, 2024:

Early morning departure for Viñales
Visit to Community Youth Center
Visit to Tobacco farm
Lunch on own
Dinner at hotel
Overnight at hotel

Monday, January 15, 2024:

Morning visit to Mural de la Prehistoria
Free time: zip lining (canopy), bike riding, walking, horsebackriding
Lunch at Finca Paraíso
Return to Havana
Free time
Dinner at casas

Tuesday, January 16, 2024:

Visit to Finca Vigía
Visit to local health clinic to learn about national healthcare system
Group lunch
Visit to Hotel Nacional
Dinner at casas
OPTIONAL: Fábrica de Arte

Wednesday, January 17, 2024:

Beach 8-12pm
Lunch on own
Visit to Universidad de La Habana
History of Universidad de La Habana
Group lunch
Atttend performance of Habana Compás Dance
Dinner at casas

Thursday, January 18, 2024:

Visit to Puerto San José for souvenir shopping
Free time
Lunch on own
Farewell dinner

Friday, January 19, 2024:

Transfer to airport
Flight back to Rochester

Program Dates

This program operated for the first time during the winter break from January 10 through January 19, 2024.


This program included a mix of homestays and hotels. All homestays had at least two students per family.

Program Costs

Program Fee: $3,600 (before funding)

Funding Sources:

For SPARK eligible students, you will receive the $1,500 SPARK Grant from the Center for Life's Work

$3,600 - $1,500 = $2,100 final cost for SPARK students

NOTE: SPARK students pay for the entirety of the program cost up front, and will be reimbursed ten days before the departure of the program.

For non-SPARK eligible studentsyou will be awarded a $600 scholarship from the Center for International Education.

$3,600 - $600 = $3,000 final cost for non-SPARK and graduate students

Program Fee Includes:

  • Round trip airfare
  • All hotels and accommodation
  • All meals part of the itinerary
  • All in-country transportation
  • All projects, activities, workshops, etc.
  • Travel Insurance
  • Cuban visa fee

Not Included:

  • Passport (must be valid at least 6 months past the return date of the program). Contact Josh Fess as soon as possible for assistance with applying for or renewing your passport.
  • Additional meals (meals not in the itinerary)
  • Miscellaneous expenses (such as souvenirs, personal care items, etc.)


Qualifying freshman, sophomore, and transfer students can use their SPARK Grant for this short-term study abroad program.


Cuban History, Culture, & Connections

Read about how Griffin Bond '25 UG used his SPARK Grant to explore Cuba. 

Views from Abroad:

    At A Glance

    Term: Winter Break 2024

    Program Level: Undergraduate & Graduate

    Program Types: Experiential Learning

    Major(s): Open to all majors, and of particular interest to the following majors:

    • Anthropology
    • Art History
    • Global Sustainability
    • International & Global Studies
    • History
    • Legal Studies
    • Museums, Archives & Public History
    • Political Science
    • Public Health
    • Psychology
    • Sociology

    Language Requirement: None

    Minimum GPA Requirement: 2.5