Columbus State starts study abroad program in Cuba

Tourists ride in a vintage car in Havana, Cuba, in this undated photo at the Council on Foreign Relations website. Alexandre Meneghini Reuters.

For the first time, Columbus State University is offering a study abroad in Cuba, the communist country only 90 miles from the United States but a world away in lifestyle.

CSU’s trip during spring break is scheduled for March 16-24, 2018.

“This is an extremely rich destination in terms of its historical value,” Ilaria Scaglia, assistant professor of history and director of CSU’s program in Cuba, said in the university’s news release. “From colonial buildings and plantations to museums and memorials built by the communist regime to Afro-Cuban culture, Cuba offers a unique window into centuries of conflicts and encounters.”

Several weeks after President Barack Obama took office in 2009, his administration eased restrictions on Cuba, allowing U.S. citizens to travel there for educational or religious purposes, according to the Council on Foreign Relations. In 2014, Obama announced the U.S. would restore full diplomatic ties with Cuba. President Donald Trump’s administration partially has rolled back some business guidelines, according to the CFR’s report, but hasn’t changed most of the normalization policy.

CSU joins at least two dozen other institutions offering study abroad programs in Cuba, according the list at

The itinerary for CSU’s trip to Cuba includes guided tours of Havana, Santa Clara, Trinidad, Sancti Spiritus and Cienfuegos, as well a visit to the Bay of Pigs. Students will explore forts, churches, colonial cities, coffee plantations and iconic sites of the Cuban Revolution, such as the Ché Guevara’s Mausoleum.

Scaglia and associate professor Doug Thompson, chairman of CSU’s Department of History & Geography, will accompany the students on this inaugural trip. Students from all majors are eligible to apply and can earn core credits in world history or elective credits in Cuban culture and colonial crops, the news release says.

The cost of the trip for each students is $2,680, excluding tuition. Grants and scholarships are available for eligible students.

CSU in Cuba is the latest addition to the university’s award-winning study abroad programs, which offers more than 50 programs across the globe. More information about CSU’s study abroad programs is at the Center for International Education’s website,

Mark Rice, Ledger-Enquirer

September 14, 2017



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