Cuba Co-Curricular Learning Certificate
The Co-Curricular Learning Certificate is a record of the student’s non-academic co-curricular and extra-curricular learning experiences. The CLC is a self-directed opportunity organized under a series of themes explained at orientation. Students spend a prescribed amount of hours engaged in activities that contribute to the completion of a reflective piece. The work is assessed by The College of Global Studies and the certificate is awarded to students meeting the criteria.
By way of the CLC, students participating in the Cuba program will be able to show their engagement in the most relevant aspects of their experience in this mesmerizing Caribbean island. Cuba is a country of vast and rich cultural heritage and of many and intense cultural manifestations. Students participating in the Arcadia University Cuba Program are encouraged to reflect on five different aspects of their experience on the island, two of which may be Arcadia-sponsored. They are as follows:
Cuban Identity – Race and Ethnicity
Possibly more so than other Caribbean areas, and also due to the political regime's emphasis on equal rights and equal status for all, the country is a seamless blend of races, beliefs, and idiosyncrasies. Cuba showcases an ethnic and religious symbiosis from the time of the Spanish colonization when Spaniards, rather than establishing self-contained communities, mixed with the natives of the island first and then black slaves brought from Western Africa. This created the Creole, a new human type which came to replace the native Cuban tribes, as the latter became extinct. This ethnic and cultural mix is strongly present in religious manifestations, food, music, sports, but exists in all sectors of Cuban society.
Cuban Music and Culture
African traditional music influenced new sorts of rhythms which distinguish themselves according to the degree to which they are faithful to their African roots. Hence, they vary from the Yambu (among the most African-based beats) to the Contradanza, imported directly from European settlers. The love for music and dance from Cubans is astounding, and this explains the richness and variety of Cuban music in such a small place. Cuba is the birthplace of popular rhythms such as the Son, Rhumba, Cha-Cha, Bolero, Guaracha, Montuno, which have transcended the island, to the more regional Sucu-Sucu, Mozambique, Pilón or Songo. Most, if not all, Cuban dances and beats are distinctly marked by the extensive use of percussion through many different instruments (conga, tumbadora, caja rumbera, etc.).
Food is another cultural manifestation which displays the true melting pot that is this Caribbean island. Cuban cuisine is influenced by a variety of cultures, combining French, African, Spanish, Arabic, Chinese and Portuguese techniques, recipes and spices. Most dishes are slow cooked and use a variety of spices such as cumin, garlic and oregano, and meats are often marinated in citrus-based sauces.
Religion in Cuba
Lastly, religious manifestations still include a very strong African component, such as Santería, a blend between Catholicism and Western African myths and practices, rooted in the Yoruba (Nigeria) traditions.
Sports, Politics and Ideology in Cuba
Cubans are passionate about sports, and because of Cuba’s historical association with the United States, baseball is the most popular (national) sport, followed by soccer, basketball, volleyball, track and field, boxing, etc. Sports are closely tied to the political and educational systems of the country, focused on the youth and amateur athletics, "Sport for All," and sports as "the right of the people," not of the wealthy (Fidel Castro).