Following a successful bid from the Faculty of Humanities Internationalisation Fund, the School of European Culture and Languages (SECL) and the School of Music and Fine Art (SMFA), Dr Montserrat Roser i Puig and Dr William Rowlandson (SECL) and (SMFA) were able to take a group of 19 students from Hispanic Studies and SMFA 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. In this way the trip satisfied aims, learning outcomes and transferable skills indicated in the Programme Specs, and has provided direct practical experience of material studied in a number of Hispanic Studies and SMFA modules.
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 a rumba performance with ceremonial dances of the orishas to the drum rhythms, a live drum performance at Callejón Hamel, a tour of the Habana Club rum factory, a day’s outing with poet Ernesto Canteli across Havana Bay to the Spanish fort of La Cabaña, and a noisy bus ride to the town of Guanabacoa. Of particular interest was a full day guided tour by bus to the spectacular region of Viñales, including a tour of a rum factory, some limestone caves with a subterranean river crossing and some vast modern rock paintings.
All who participated in the trip would like to thank the Faculty and the Schools for the generous financial assistant. The trip was a great 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 – from hotel staff to the musicians Toto and Arianna to poet Ernesto Canteli – commented on the good nature, kindliness and manners of the group. We hope to be able to organise another similar trip at some stage in the next few years.
To view pictures from the trip, browse the sections on the top bar of this site.