Submitted to NCHC Meeting in Atlanta, November 2017
Cuba and Honors: Two Colleges Experience International Education
Edward Kardas, Southern Arkansas University
Joseph Gonzalez, Appalachian State University
Laura Nash, Southern Arkansas University
Paige Anderholm, Appalachian State University
Kenyon Jeffrey, Appalachian State University
Two professors and three students from two schools describe their experiences in traveling to Cuba. For SAU, traveling to Cuba required two week-long preparatory visits, attendance at an international conference in Havana, two 8-day tours with students, personal contact with Cuban officials, and overcoming much red tape. Speaking and writing Spanish well were important in many ways to ultimately getting permission to visit and to work with Cuban faculty and students for a week on their campus. The result was the creation of a large mural on their campus. The student from SAU traveled there during the third trip visiting several cities on the island. The short time spent there felt like several weeks, she said. She found Cuba beautiful, clear, and clean and noted that Cubans scrimped and saved for their cars, farms, and daily lives. She was struck on how much the Embargo had slowed progress. She wishes to return to continue learning about the unique experiences Cuba has to offer. ASU's visits were part of a course on Cuban culture (including music and dance). The first trip showed mixed results in that students treated it more like a vacation than a learning opportunity. Thus, changes were made during the subsequent trip (increasing academic rigor and recruiting serious participants). Those changes were successful and will be reported here. Students acted more like travelers, not tourists. They avoided the tourist sites, slept in private homes, and traveled in buses and taxis. They reported that Cuba offered friendship, spectacle, music, dance, and food, but the language barrier was a challenge. At the same time, they realized their responsibility to act as ambassadors from a country many Cubans still viewed as an implacable enemy. The trip made them view themselves in new and more mature ways.
• International Education
• Honors Pedagogy
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Description for the conference program
Professors and students from two colleges describe the challenges, opportunities, and rewards of traveling to Cuba. Getting there requires overcoming much red tape and a working knowledge of Spanish. Cuba offers unique cultural, agricultural, historical, and artistic opportunities for Americans, especially for those who come as travelers not tourists.
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9th Mar 2017, 10:27am EST
9th Mar 2017, 11:49am EST