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Spanish Department Offering New Course In Cuba

Grab your suitcases and sunglasses, Penn Staters. The Department of Spanish, Italian and Portuguese is taking a class of students to Cuba this May. Students will get the chance to practice Spanish, tour the island, and participate in an important cultural event in Cuba while learning about national hero and writer José Martí.

The new course is called SPAN 497: Cuba and José Martí and will be worth three credits.  It will take place over a three-week period this Maymester, starting with two weeks in Cuba from May 11-24, followed by one week of online coursework, course professor Julia Cuervo Hewitt said.

This class is currently Penn State’s only study abroad course in Cuba, though the College of Communications took students to the island last year for an international reporting course.

Students who take this course will have the unique opportunity to be in Cuba for the 125th commemoration of Martí’s death. During the trip, the class will get to spend a weekend in Bayamo, a historical city in the Eastern part of Cuba and take an overnight trip to Varadero, a famous beach on the island.

Students will take classes for two weeks in Havana at the Centro de Estudios Martiano — a center which focuses on studies of José Martí. In Havana, students will also get the chance to tour the city and visit cultural and historical sites.

Hewitt said one of the reasons this trip is unique is because students will get to see many different parts of the island. Penn State students will also get to meet local students in Cuba.

The course will be taught in Spanish, so only those who have taken at least SPAN 003 should sign up. Don’t panic too much though — many of the required readings will be in English and the final assignments can be written in English or Spanish. Though the course isn’t open for registration yet, students will be able to register on eLion in about a week, Hewitt said.

The expected cost of the program, including hotel, tours, travel within Cuba, classrooms, and instructors, is expected be about $1,600 per person. In addition, students will need to pay Penn State tuition for three credits, purchase their flights, and buy lunch and dinner each day.

Interested students can contact Hewitt at [email protected].

Photo: Penn State Alumni Association

About the Author

Mindy Szkaradnik

Mindy is a senior majoring in Print Journalism, Spanish, and Global and International Studies. She is the 12th member of her family to attend Penn State, she loves Bruce Springsteen, and her friends are always making fun of her for talking too much about study abroad. She can be reached on Twitter (@mszkarad) or via email ([email protected]).


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