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Princeton in Cuba
Havana, Cuba (Outgoing Program)
Program Terms: Spring Semester
Program Dates & Deadlines: Click here to view
Restrictions: Princeton applicants only
Fact Sheet:
Dept Offering Program: Study Abroad OIP Program Type: Study Abroad (semester)
Language of Instruction: Spanish Language Prerequisite: Yes
Program Features: Academic Study Degree Level: 3 - Sophomore, 4 - Junior, 5 - Senior
Time Away: Spring Semester Housing options: Guesthouse
Program Group: Study Abroad OIP Program Adviser: Nyieta Charlot
Program Description:


Photo by Logan Coleman '15

Princeton in Cuba

Princeton students with advanced Spanish (SPA 207) and a keen interest in contemporary culture, political economy, history, and anthropology of Latin America have the opportunity to apply to Princeton in Cuba for the spring semester.

Two Princeton courses will be taught by Princeton Professor Adrián López Denis, lecturer at PLAS and Resident Director for the Princeton in Cuba program. He has a PhD in Latin American History from UCLA and a Masters in Economics from Carleton University. He also completed a Masters in Latin American Studies and two Bachelors, one in Library Sciences and the other one in Biology, at the University of Havana. Since 2008, he has been a Resident Director of several study abroad programs in Cuba, first for Brown, and later for Northwestern University. His research interests include the history of health and healing in the Atlantic World, the inner workings of the Cuban informal economy and the impact of the United States on the development of the Greater Caribbean.

The Setting

Havana, the capital of Cuba, is the country's largest city and the center of the island's cultural, economic and political life. Princeton students will reside in the Vedado neighborhood of Havana, which stretches along the ocean wall, halfway between historic Old Havana to the east and modern Miramar to the west. Although mostly residential, Vedado is known for its popular restaurants, theaters and galleries. Several of the top Cuban research centers and educational institutions have their headquarters in the neighborhood as well.



Program participants will take four courses in Havana. Princeton professor and resident director Adrián López Denis will teach two courses for Princeton credit. In spring 2016, Professor López Denis taught "Race Relations in Twentieth Century Cuba" and "Medicine and Society in Contemporary Cuba." His two courses for spring 2017 are being finalized.

In addition, students will take a one course on Contemporary Cuban Culture taught by a local Cuban professor, and then will choose one additional course selected from the course offerings a local Cuba institution. In spring 2016, courses were available in subjects related to literature, translation, art, and philosophy. Local course options for spring 2017 will likely not be available until upon arrival, and so the program is best suited for students who have academic flexibility. 

The four courses in Cuba constitute a full course load for the semester (four Princeton courses). All courses are taught in Spanish.

The program is open to students from all departments. The program’s course load includes the four listed courses plus any spring-term independent work (if applicable to a student’s concentration).


Applicants must have completed SPA 207 or equivalent prior to departure, and must have a B average for the fall and spring semesters of the academic year preceding the semester abroad.

Grading & Credits:

For information regarding credits, grading, and other academic policies, read the Academic Policies on the Study Abroad website.     


Students in spring 2016 resided in shared apartments in the residential guest house Casa Lilly, located in the central neighborhood of Vedado. Housing information for spring 2017 is being finalized.   

Student Life

There is a week-long trip to allow students on the program to see Cuba outside of Havana. Princeton students also interact with Cuban students in the courses they take at the local university.

Money Matters

Students who receive financial aid at Princeton continue to receive Princeton financial aid for the approved costs of study abroad programs during the academic year. For detailed information about financial aid, program fees, and billing for study abroad, please visit the Money Matters section of the Study Abroad website.     
For estimated program costs, please click on the Budget Sheet at the top of this brochure.

Passport and Visa

Students must have a passport valid for at least six months after the end of their study abroad program.  For information on obtaining or renewing a US passport, please consult the US State Department Passport Website.    

Note: Your passport should be valid for a minimum of six months beyond your stay in Cuba. Please check the expiration date to make sure that it satisfies this requirement. Also, be sure that the passport, especially the photo, is in good physical condition—that is, that it does not look in any way as if it has been tampered with. Please have at least four photocopies of your passport (the inside page with personal information) with you.

Princeton will process your visa application. Do not apply for a visa on your own. Upon entry the resident director will collect your passports for additional visa processing and the temporary residence permit (“carnet”) required of foreign students residing in Cuba for a semester. Having a carnet often means being able to pay lower student prices at museums and theaters. Please note that there is a $25 CUC (approx. US $27) exit fee when you leave Cuba, which the program will pay.

Application Process

First, interested students should click "apply now" on this GPS program brochure to access the program application items and instructions.

Applicants will then be prompted to submit the following application materials to Princeton’s Office of International Programs by the deadline listed in GPS:

  • Cuba Essay

  • Study Abroad Essay Questions

  • One language recommendation - The language recommendation should come from a Spanish language instructor who can comment on the student's Spanish language ability.

  • One faculty recommendation letter - The faculty recommendation should come from a professor in an area other than Spanish language who can comment on the student's overall academic skill and intellectual merit.

  • Official Princeton transcript

  • Copy of passport - Must be valid for at least 6 months past the program end date. Students must have a valid passport no later than the program application deadline.

After the application deadline, candidates may be interviewed by the Cuba Resident Director in order to be considered for final acceptance.

Students must also complete the Princeton Study Abroad Course Approval Form. This form is reviewed by the Committee on Examinations and Standing, which grants final approval to participate in the program. Students who meet the university eligibility requirements to study abroad and who have the support of their department are normally approved by the Committee.


Start planning your study abroad experience!


"This was the best decision I ever made. I pushed myself to my academic, social and emotional limits while learning about a fascinating and beautiful culture. My love for the Cuban people is something I will carry with me for the rest of my life. Traveling to Cuba helped clarify a great many things for me--it helped me to realize both what I wanted for myself and what I did not want." -Sophia Aguilar '16

Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
Spring Semester 2018 10/13/2017 11/03/2017 02/01/2018 06/01/2018
NOTE: Please note, these are DEFAULT program start and end dates. Exact dates are still TBD.