Students get rare opportunity to visit Cuba
With the control of Cuba falling into the hands of Fidel Castro in 1959, Americans no longer had easy accessibility to visit the island. But in May, a group of students were able to visit Cuba to see what a Latin American socialist country looks like as well as learn about environmental sociology.
“It’s not something many Americans can experience. I really wanted the opportunity to say, ‘I studied abroad in Cuba,’” said sociology graduate student and Student Government Association President Stephanie Travis.
As the borders of Cuba weaken allowing more Americans in, the economy is also changing which gave participants in the program a chance to see firsthand how Cuba currently exists.
“There are tremendous changes occurring in Cuba right now because of the opening up of the economy,” said David Burley, professor of sociology. “Ten years from now, Cuba is likely to be much different, and for better or worse, may look much more like the U.S. or other Latin American countries.”
Due to trade and commerce regulations for cargo being imported into Cuba, many Cubans have had to learn to utilize ingenuity with limited resources and creative ways to recycle used products.
“I really like green-initiative and things that try to promote an environment that doesn’t waste resources but instead utilizes resources in every way possible by recycling,” said Travis. “You will see them washing a zip lock bag and reusing that zip lock bag. Their ingenuity and innovation to use their thought process and critical thinking to create things out of nothing were amazing.”
Through the hardships endured, Cubans have created ways to enrich their daily lives in the aftermath of problems created from generations before them. Rivers that had been polluted for decades as well as having the government grant land to people in need and grow food which allowed places such as Havana to produce organic gardens. This provides food for those who live on the outskirts of Cuba.
“Sustainable agriculture became very important during the Soviet Union and relied upon them for the purchasing of chemical fertilized, herbicides and pesticides,” said Burley. “With the fall of the Soviet Union, Cuba now has to figure out how to feed itself without a huge supply of these chemicals. Thus, sustainable, cooperatively owned and run urban and rural farms popped up all over the country.”
As students ended their time in Cuba, their former preconceptions were changed by the experience.
“One thing is certain: all the students said that all of their preconceived notions of Cuba were erased,” said Burley. “They thought it would be an extremely poor country, and it would be unsafe. They found the population to be very friendly; [Cubans] like Americans, and [the students] felt very safe. While they saw a fair amount of poverty, they did not find much difference from the U.S.”
The opportunity to visit Cuba will be offered again next May.
“Our trip next May will be just as educational and fun,” said Burley. “We will add a service day where we spend the day working on a sustainable farm and art collective that educates youth in the arts and supports itself through its sustainable agriculture. This kind of trip is what university education is all about. You get enlightening knowledge about another people, culture and the unequivocal skills that this brings.”
Get Top Stories Delivered Weekly
From Around the Web
More The Lion's Roar News Articles
Recent The Lion's Roar News Articles
Discuss This Article
MOST POPULAR THE LION'S ROAR
GET TOP STORIES DELIVERED WEEKLY
FOLLOW OUR NEWSPAPER
LATEST THE LION'S ROAR NEWS
RECENT THE LION'S ROAR CLASSIFIEDS
FROM AROUND THE WEB
- Will the Movie Studio be the Next Heavy Hitter?
- Survey Shows Americans' Views on Dental Hygiene Differ by...
- Fire Away: How to Prepare For Hunting Season
- Novel Program Brings Hope to African Nation
- What Health Care Really Costs
- Millennials Cited for Rise in ETF Popularity
- Today's Convenience Stores are Healthier and Hipper Than...
- Gadgets to Make Your Commute More Comfortable
- How to Select the Perfect Ceiling Fan
- How to Make Dating Less Difficult Than It Has to Be
COLLEGE PRESS RELEASES
- 18-25 Years Old? EARN $80 IN 90 MINUTES for Participating in Research Study
- truth® CELEBRATES SYRACUSE UNIVERSITY MOVE TO TOBACCO-FREE
- vitaminwater® Announces Project Hustle Finalists
- Supermodel Jaslene Gonzalez to Speak at Sigma Lambda Gamma National Sorority 25th Anniversary Sisterhood Retreat
- LEMELSON-MIT ANNOUNCES NATIONAL COLLEGIATE STUDENT PRIZE COMPETITION WINNERS