Wingate University sending students to Cuba for first time

Wingate students will be among the first to take advantage of the new American Airlines direct flight from Charlotte to Havana.

On Jan. 5, Dr. Steven Hyland will lead 19 juniors on the first W’International study-abroad program to Cuba. His seminar “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised, But It Will Be Mediated: Politics of Public Memory and Popular Culture in Cuba” will take students on an eye-opening experience through Havana, Santa Clara, Varadero and Trinidad over 10 days during winter break. The group will also learn firsthand about local culture by staying with Cuban families during the program.

“The timing of our visit to Cuba could not be more opportune,” says Hyland, associate professor of history and political science. “Students will be able to add texture to the materials they have read, watched and listened to over the semester. While we will visit museums and historic sites to investigate how public memory is shaped, the opportunity to interact with Cubans, especially millennials, will allow our students to better understand the aspirations and struggles of the population.”

Jennifer Armentrout, director of international programs, first visited Cuba in June 2012 with Hyland and Dr. Martha Asti, then senior vice president for academic affairs, to start the planning for the program. “A lot of time and hard work went into organizing this program over the past four years,” she says, “and we couldn’t be more excited to see it come together at such an interesting time for our students.”

Students will also learn from Cuban experts such as Rafael Hernandez, chief editor of Temas magazine and a former professor at the University of Havana; Dr. Carlos Alzugaray Treto, a former Cuban diplomat and a Cuba scholar; Dr. Marta Nunez Sarmiento, professor of sociology at the University of Havana; and Jose “Pepe” and Cecilia Viera, former Cuban diplomats, who will host the Wingate group in their home. “The Vieras visited Wingate University four years ago, and we are thrilled that they are available to host our group in Havana,” Armentrout said.

Additionally, Dr. Ebonie Stringer, assistant professor of sociology, will attend an International Faculty Development Seminar in Havana during the same time in January to learn about social inequalities and social policy in Cuba.

Learn more about Wingate’s international programs.

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