Studying in Havana

A unique opportunity

Studying in Cuba

The Sarah Lawrence program began in the Fall of 2001 with eight students led by Isabel de Sena, a Sarah Lawrence College professor of Spanish and literature. From the beginning, the program’s mission has been to expose American students to a culturally and politically unique society about which much has been written, but of which far less is widely known.

What you’ll find

The program offers a wide range of courses in the humanities, social sciences, and the arts, all of which are taught by recognized experts in their fields. All the classes are taught in Spanish, and you should expect most of your classmates to be Cuban.

The program is built on the Sarah Lawrence College philosophy of small classes and opportunities for individual research. You will be able to research contemporary Cuban society with a faculty mentor; blend theory and practice in music and visual art; and participate in an enormous range of seminars, conferences, fieldwork and site visits designed to afford you the fullest of Cuban experiences.

Your first week

SLC in CubaShortly after your arrival in Cuba, and after you have settled into your housing, you will be immersed in the language to prepare you to handle academic written Spanish and classroom discussions of text. Throughout the week, you also will participate in several orientation sessions and register for classes with the help of the resident program director, who will remain with you for the entire semester.

The wealth of an education can be calculated by measuring the diversity of its parts. So the value of the Sarah Lawrence program can be found in the wide, creative range of the classes, seminars, fieldwork and site visits offered to its students. Enrollment is kept small intentionally so that faculty can devote individual attention to each American student.

Program segments

HavanaStudents take four courses—mandatory Spanish, two electives and a core seminar course. The latter is conducted through Centro de Estudios Demográficos (CEDEM), a unique research center at the University of Havana. Designed exclusively for Sarah Lawrence in Cuba students, the course examines gender, health, education and sustainable development throughout Cuban society. You will study theoretical as well as practical perspectives on life in Cuba.

Sarah Lawrence College students follow the same curriculum as Cuban students do, subject to the same standards and requirements. Course work in the humanities, literature and social sciences may be taken at the University of Havana. Film history is taken at the University of Havana or at the Fundación del Nuevo Cine Lantinoamericano, and the performing and visual arts at the Instituto Superior de Arte (ISA).

On Cuba

“I returned from Cuba feeling much more confident about my Spanish. I also returned knowing more about my own country and understanding the other side. It’s hard to get a complete picture from only one point of view.”
—Cuba program participant