15th Anniversary of Cuba Study Abroad program

As one of the only institutions in the country with an annual study abroad program to Cuba, we are proud to offer a week of events to commemorate the 15th anniversary of this unique opportunity. For information on studying abroad in Cuba, click here. Here is a list of events to take place this week in honor of the program… Check them out!

All Events Begin at 5:30pm

Monday, November 17
Addlestone Library, Room 227
Film Screening of “A Summer in Cuba: College of Charleston, University of the World” (an original film)
Followed by a faculty & student panel discussion

Tuesday, November 18
Tate Center, Room 207 & Tate Center Lounge
Film Screening of “Bridge in the Mirror” a film by Humberto Miranda, in-country Director of the Cuba program
Reception to follow with live music by Justin Osborne

Wednesday, November 19
Addlestone Library, Room 227
Film Screening of “Fresa y Chocolate” (Strawberries & Chocolate)

Thursday, November 20
Addlestone Library, Room 227
Film Screening of “Viva Cuba” (Cuba Lives!)



After 15 Years, Cuba Study Abroad Program is as Vital as Ever

After 15 Years, Cuba Study Abroad Program is as Vital as Ever

When the College of Charleston launched its study abroad program in Havana, Cuba in summer 2000, travel and relations between the U.S. and Cuba were already difficult. Maintaining the program, which sends about 12 students to Havana each spring, has been challenging and often unpredictable, but it has always been rewarding.

cuba study abroad

Students studying abroad in Havana. Photo by Britton Holmes.

“My time in Cuba impacted me in more ways than I can count,” said Britton Holmes, a junior international studies and political science double major who studied abroad in Havana during the spring 2014 semester. “The culture is so rich, whether it’s the music, the art, the dance, etc. The people love being Cuban. They’re proud of their culture and they want to share it with everyone.”

 RELATED:Learn more about the College’s study abroad program in Cuba

The program that Holmes speaks of, though, is vastly different than the program the first 100 students to study in Havana experienced. In 2000, when International Studies Department Chair Douglas Friedman and Professor Emeritus of Hispanic Studies Jose Escobar launched the program with 20 students, participants spent four weeks and lived in what was essentially a hotel. When the embargo in Cuba was tightened in 2004, it required that those visiting with an education license must spend a minimum of 10 weeks. That was when the program went from a summer study-abroad experience to a full semester.

Photo taken in Cuba by Douglas Friedman

Photo taken in Cuba by Douglas Friedman

These restrictions caused many universities to end their own programs in Cuba, but the College’s commitment to sharing the educational and cultural opportunities in Cuba kept the program alive. “In 2004 there were more than 100 universities with programs in Cuba,” Friedman said. “In 2005 there were three.”

RELATED: Check out the department of international studies

2007 marked the first spring semester in Havana – after attempting a hurricane-filled fall semester in 2005 – and the program has remained in the spring since. Students now live in apartments on the outskirts of Havana, allowing them easy access to the city without the round-the-clock distractions of Havana in such close proximity. It also makes students clean up and cook for themselves, providing them a more immersive experience.

“We’ve progressively tried to make the experience more genuine,” Friedman said. “Now we’re able to rent apartments for short-term use, and students have full kitchens – they’re actually living there. They have to deal with the same food shortages that Cubans deal with, they have to learn the different currencies, and they have to learn to navigate Havana. It’s a much more immersive experience.”

Holmes, who lived in the apartments, is a testament to this. “There is not a better place I could think of to get a full experience of pure Latin American culture,” she said. “I feel like a gained a Cuban family as well as a College of Charleston family.”

Holmes’ account of her time in Havana reflects the many unique opportunities provided through the program – not only is the Cuba program very small, allowing for students to form a tight-knit community, but also living in an embargoed country for 11 weeks is something that few Americans can experience.

cuba study abroad

Photo taken in Cuba by Britton Holmes

This is unlike any of the other programs we have,” Associate Provost for International Education Andrew Sobiesuo said. “In terms of the experience, the facilities and the adjustment that students have to make. They really learn to appreciate the advantages they have as Americans when they see what Cubans go through on a daily basis. It makes their experience much richer.”

Becoming immersed in the Cuban lifestyle can be jarring for some students. Holmes described ideal participants as “adventurous people who like to experience new cultures.” She went on to say that people interested in political science and/or Latin American history, culture and society as well as those interested in vintage cars, architecture, dancing and nightlife would also enjoy the program.

The next round of students considering studying abroad in Havana have a few months to apply – the deadline is December 1, 2014 – and in the meantime Friedman and Sobiesuo are working to get the program director in Cuba, Humberto Miranda, to Charleston in November for a 15th anniversary celebration and to teach his usual express II courses, Social Movements in Comparative Perspective and Cuban Politics and Society.

During his annual visits to Charleston, Miranda helps recruit students for the program both by providing information on the fascinating classes taught by his fellow University of Havana and Instituto de Filosofia faculty members and telling students about the unique and storied culture that awaits them in Cuba.

For Holmes, the description of daily life and friendly locals in Cuba was the selling point. “Their culture is super inclusive… I feel really lucky to have been able to experience it.”

Archaeology Student to Attend Fulbright Summer Institute

Aerial image of Binchester Roman FortCollege of Charleston sophomore Sarah Legendre is participating in a Fulbright Summer Institute, one of the most prestigious and selective summer scholarship programs operating worldwide. Legendre, an Honors College student and double major in geology and archaeology, will spend four weeks at Durham University in the UK.  (read more)



Fulbright – Experience and Opportunities With FLTA Juliana Passos, TONIGHT

April 3, Thursday, 5:30p.m.

ETCR #118

TODAY, April 3rd, Juliana Passos, Brazilian Fulbright grantee working at  the Department of Hispanic Studies  will be sharing her experience in the Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant Program, as well as presenting the basic steps to those interested in getting a Fulbright TA Scholarship in Brazil and other countries. Please invite your students.

Study Abroad this Summer with CofC

The following 2014 summer study abroad programs can still accommodate a few students. March 15, 2014 is the final deadline to apply.

Summer 2014 CofC Programs

Program: Courses: Dates: App Deadline:
Barbados AAST 300; AAST 300 June March 15th
Brazil LTPO 250/LTPO 150 & LACS 105 May 14-31 March 15th
China INTB 360, MKTG 360 June 1-20 March 15th
Costa Rica INTB 390, TRAN 360 July March 15th
England/France ARTH 340; ARTH 340 June 15-July 2 March 15th
Paris, France ENGL 364 May 24-31 March 15th
Paris, France FREN 390, FREN 361 May 11-June2 March 15th
Greece GEOL 240 June-July March 15th
Rome, Italy CLAS 203 & ARTH 290 June 2-24 March 15th
Sorrento, Italy LTIT 270 & LTIT 370 June14-July12 March 15th
Spoleto, Italy ENGL 339 & ENGL 350 May 14-June11 March 15th
Kenya & Tanzania EDFS 560 & INTB 390 May-June March 15th
Morocco LTAR 250, LTFR 250, POLI 359, FREN 361, FREN 490 May14-June6 March 15th
Panama TRAN 360, MKTG 360, REAL 360 Summer 2 March 15th
Trujillo, Spain SPAN 275; SPAN 328; SPAN 333; SPAN 390 May 14-June 19 March 15th



The Marrakech Express (Morocco)

The Marrakech Express

Salaam wa Lakum! I’m Kristen Young, a graduating student from the College of Charleston Master of Public Administration (MPA) program, as well as the co-founder of a non-profit in Morocco. I am happy to share with you some information about travel, research, and working in Africa. Having spent the summer working there, I’ve got some advice for those of you who want to pursue study abroad research and work possibilities.

My summer trip and research all sprang from the idea to start a non-profit in Ouoauizerth (wah-wee-zart), a very rural community in the Atlas Mountains of Morocco. Why Morocco? As an undergraduate in 2009, I focused in African Studies. I went to Africa twice in 2009: once, to South Africa, and then on a short volunteer trip to North Africa to work with Peace Corps Volunteers and the ACLS (Association de Lutte Contre le SIDA, an organization dedicated to HIV/AIDS awareness). Fast forward to August 2012; with a half-year of MPA training underway, a friend and I filed for incorporation of our own legal 501 (c) 3 non-profit. We came up with the plan after witnessing a successful Peace Corps project for peer education, and decided to mimic the pilot in another area. We had recognized that the Ouaouizerth community was in need of basic services such as health education, job training, and women’s empowerment. Ultimately, the mission of the organization is simple:

To improve the lives of Moroccan youth and the development of the Ouaouizerth community by facilitating peer-to-peer educational pathways in basic health, job training, and women’s empowerment.

CCDM has now grown to a 7-member board comprising both Moroccans and Americans. We approach learning as a partnership and recognize the importance of fostering global alliances. We have hosted three American graduate students as interns in development, and recently acquired a grant from the Kingdom of Morocco (in partnership with another local organization called Amzawro Association for Development) for seven teachers’ salaries. We also recently purchased ten computers, hundreds of books, and a projector for our classrooms. And through the computer learning, job training, and women’s literacy classes offered we have been able to reach over 200 local residents to date. For my graduate research, I appropriately decided to focus on strategic recommendations for Moroccan non-profits to identify the best methods for implementing projects with CCDM. I spent the summer doing research there courtesy of grants from the College and other sources, and subsequently won the Robert L. Kline award for most outstanding student paper in the Southeast region for Public Administration.

You can do stuff like this, too!

There is no limit to the things you can accomplish through the College of Charleston. If you have a great idea for research or travel, or if you just know you want to have a meaningful experience, the College has a range of research opportunities available through the International Studies department and the African Studies department, as well as travel and volunteer opportunities through the Center for International Education. I started out by creating a poster outlining my research goals for the competitive College of Charleston Graduate Student Poster Session, which awards small grants for students to pursue their research. I didn’t win, but it was great practice—in talking about my organization and ideas for research, getting ideas from other people, and shaping the future of my study. More importantly, it was an introduction to all the hard work I would be doing to make my dream a reality. I cannot stress enough the importance of hard work and dedication to a venture like this. Going the “extra mile” by being involved in things like conferences and poster sessions could make or break an application for funding, or to graduate school, or for an international experience. Be involved, knowledgeable, and strong. Know yourself and your goals, because you will be advertising both!

The College of Charleston has a wealth of resources for students who want to do research, volunteer, or work internationally. Ask for help from everywhere, and listen to people when they give you advice! Go to your faculty adviser, or seek help from other people who have traveled abroad. Make new friends. Seek out all opportunities and then apply for them. Don’t get discouraged when you don’t get funding, or get less than you wanted. Odds are, if you work really hard and believe in yourself and your goals, other people will too!  For more information about how you can get involved in learning adventures like this, contact the International Studies (http://internationalstudies.cofc.edu) or African Studies (www.cofc.edu/~africanstudies) departments. For information on international funding, contact your program office, or the Center for International Education (https://international.cofc.edu); for larger long-term study grants, check out the Office of Nationally Competitive Awards (http://nationalawards.cofc.edu). The possibilities are limitless! You can learn more about my organization CCDM at: www.ccdmorocco.com or contact me at youngkn@g.cofc.edu. Shukran bisef (thank you)!

Information Session on Critical Language Scholarships: Oct. 4 (Friday) @ 4:30pm

Information Session on Critical Language Scholarships

Friday, October 4

Honors Center classroom (second floor conference room of 10 Green Way)



The Critical Language Scholarship Program is an intensive overseas language program for seven to ten weeks each summer. The program sponsors study in critical needs languages, which include Arabic, Hindi, Urdu, Russian, Chinese, Turkish, Punjabi, and many more. Many programs require no previous language experience in the target language. Participants live and study at over twenty sites abroad, covering the equivalent of a full year of college-level language study in thirteen critical languages.  All CLS Program costs are covered for participants, including: round-trip domestic and international travel; mandatory pre-departure orientation in Washington, DC; applicable visa fees; room and board; seven to ten weeks of group-based intensive language instruction; course materials; all costs associated with the CLS cultural program; and a small living stipend. Information about the application process is available at: http://clscholarship.org/.  Application deadline is November 20th. Contact Dr. Vander Zee in the Office for Nationally Competitive Awards (nationalawards@cofc.edu) for help with your application.


Dr. Anton Vander Zee
Honors College Faculty Fellow
Asst. Professor of English
Director of Nationally Competitive Awards
College of Charleston
22B Glebe St. Room 202