Arcadia in Cuba Semester Program

  • The University of Havana, founded in 1728, is Cuba's premier institution of higher education with 7,000 undergraduate and graduate students and 15 major departments in the humanities, social sciences and sciences.

  • As the largest and most renowned university in Cuba, the University of Havana offers some of the best learning opportunities to U.S. students together with Cuban students.

  • A summer program is also available.


The Arcadia study abroad program in Cuba is a full-immersion program where all courses are taught in Spanish alongside Cuban students. The core course, Cuban-American Relations: Past and Present, is taught by faculty of the Centro de Estudios Hemisféricos y sobre Estados Unidos (CEHSEU - Center for Hemispheric and U.S. Studies) at UH, focusing on U.S.-Cuban relations and history. The four-credit course will give you an introduction into the historic and socio-cultural background of your host country and help you understand current developments in the relationship between the U.S. and Cuba. Depending on your level of Spanish, you will also be placed in a Spanish language course. In addition to the core course and the language course, you will choose two elective courses from the vast array offered by the University of Havana, in any department of the university.


Students will be housed in double- and triple-room dormitory-style arrangements at the Arcadia student residence, located in the Vedado area of Havana. The student residence is a 30-minute walk to the main campus of the University of Havana, and approximately a 20-minute walk to the Center for Hemispheric Studies, where semester program students take their core course.

Students reside in the facility with the Arcadia Resident Director in Cuba, with 24-hour access to them for support.  Home stays are not a possibility for students wishing to take classes at University of Havana.

The student residence is staffed with a security and reception desk at all times. Students are provided small refrigerators, en suite bathrooms, basic linens, pillows, beds and very basic room furniture.


Students will have the opportunity to take part in two excursions: Santiago de Cuba and Santa Clara, Sancti Spiritus - Trinidad Cienfuegos

Santiago de Cuba

Santiago is the second largest city in Cuba, and located 897 kms east of Havana. It was Cuba's first capital from 1515 to 1556, and had been attacked on numerous occasions by pirates, corsairs and filibusters.

It is a city of great importance for the Cuban Revolution as, on July 26, 1953, Fidel Castro and other revolutionaries attacked the Cuartel de Moncada (Moncada Headquarters), and although he was not successful in this first attempt, this planted the seed of the popular support for the revolution. On November 30, 1956, some pro-revolutionary citizens wore a bracelet with the 'Movement July 26' inscription to support Fidel Castro, and this has been traditionally considered as the starting of the popular support. On December 31, 1958, Fidel announced the victory of his revolucionarios from the balcony of the City Hall.

Santa Clara, Sancti Spiritus - Trinidad Cienfuegos

Students will have the opportunity to visit the Che mausoleum, built in the 1980s as a memorial, where his remains rest after they were found in 1997 in Bolivia and taken to the island, the derailed train, and the bulldozer used to raise the tracks can be visited, as well as some of the Che's personal belongings.

Santa Clara has also two beautiful parks that must be visited, the Parque Vidal, a popular meeting point, and the Bulevar 1898. Since Santa Clara is not as popular with tourists as Havana, it is easier for students to get a sense of the Cuban spirit.


Students will earn the following hours of credit:

  • Fall Semester: 16 credits
  • Spring Semester: 16 credits


Admission Requirements

  • GPA Requirements: 3.0 or better on a 4.0 scale.
  • Four semesters of college-level Spanish or the equivalent.
  • You must be in good academic standing and not on disciplinary probation. In order to have your application considered, you need to submit a complete application, including all requested items on Arcadia Passport and the following:
      • Official transcript
      • Letter of recommendation from a Spanish faculty member
      • A personal statement written in Spanish, which should highlight your interests for studying abroad in Cuba. The statement should be approximately 750 words and will be reviewed to determine both your level of Spanish proficiency and interest in the program.
  • The University of Havana will only accept students up to an age of 25 years.

Application Deadlines

  • Fall semester: March 21
  • Spring semester: October 1