¡La Habana!

Following a successful bid to funds from Faculty Internationalisation, and SECL, Montserrat, William and Rebecca (SECL) were able to take a group of 18 students from Hispanic Studies on a subsidised trip to Havana, Cuba.

The trip to Havana allowed the students to explore first-hand the rich and lively culture of Havana, to immerse themselves in its language, history, architecture, music, dance, cars, noise, food, (and rum!). The students’ open attitude and willingness to practice their Spanish was rewarded by many informative and fun experiences, and direct practical experience of material studied in a number of Hispanic Studies modules including ‘Havana and Barcelona: Icon, Myth and History’ and ‘Writing the Cuban Revolution’.

The schedule was full, whilst allowing plenty of time for individual activities such as wandering through the streets of Old Havana, Centro and El Vedado, strolling along El Malecón (the sea wall), visiting museums, galleries, churches and colonial palaces, attending musical functions, and eating in some of Havana’s new restaurants.

Highlights of the group activities included

-Seeing Buena Vista Social Club play, and taking part inmuch salsa dancing besides

– Visiting iconic sites like the Hotel Nacional, Capitoleo and Hotel Inglaterra
– Walking along the Malecon (famous sea wall) and ‘maleconeando‘ – taking a bottle of rum down the Malecon to chat and listen to music
– Visits to the vast Bellas Artes museum and the Revolution museum
– A beach day
– Eating lobster, pescado grille (grilled fresh fish), and plantains in paladares – restaurants run by Cuba’s growing class of entrepreneurs
– Taking part in the yearly Worker’s Day parade on 1 May, amongst thousands of Cuban workers, and hearing the new president Miguel Díaz-Canel give a speech
– A visit to Havana’s very cool art space Fabrica del arte cubano
– Seeing an Organopónico: an urban community farm (detailed in following blog post)

All who participated in the trip would like to thank the Faculty and the Schools for the generous financial assistance.

The trip was an enormous success, and has indisputably been of great benefit to all those who went. Many contacts in Havana have been established or consolidated, and those whom we met in Cuba commented on the good nature, kindliness and manners of the group.