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Office of International Programs

Brown in Cuba/CASA Program

At a Glance
City: Havana
Partner: Casa de Las Américas and University of Havana
Housing: Student Guest Residence
Language requirement: Advanced
Calendar: Fall or Spring semesters, or Academic Year
Accepts non-Brown students: Space-available basis

Overview

Beginning with the Spring 2015 academic term, the Brown in Cuba program transitioned to the Consortium for Advanced Studies Abroad Program (CASA-Cuba) in Havana. The Consortium for Advanced Studies Abroad (CASA) is a collaborative initiative involving several U.S. universities: Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Johns Hopkins, Northwestern, the University of Pennsylvania, and Vanderbilt.  Each CASA member institution reserves the right to participate in a given CASA Divisional Program. 

CASA-Cuba provides students with a unique opportunity to have direct access to Cuba’s leading institution of higher learning, the University of Havana, and to Casa de Las Américas, the Cuban government’s premier research institution  – since its founding in 1959 – on Caribbean and Latin American studies, Cuban culture and the arts.

One of the longest running socialist experiments in history, Cuba is at a critical crossroad. Cuba’s political and economic spheres have long been subjects of interest and debate providing fertile ground for exciting academic inquiry. Havana, the capital city, was founded nearly 500 years ago, and due to its location, became a center of ship-building in the Caribbean and a strategic stopping point in the Spanish colonial empire. Today it is a sprawling metropolis, home to 2 million residents, and a mix of European, Latin, and American influences. Historic Old Havana, with its diverse architectural styles, has been named a UNESCO World Heritage site. 

CASA-Cuba, the University of Havana and Casa de Las Américas have worked together to develop a program of study that will challenge you to achieve a critical understanding of the key issues facing Cuba today and enable you to interact with some of the country’s leading academic experts in the social sciences, arts and the humanities.  You will immerse yourself in Cuba, taking in credit-bearing lectures from recognized experts in Spanish on key issues facing the country and interacting with peers who share your intellectual curiosity about Cuba’s past, present and future.   Your courses will be complemented throughout the semester with special seminars and guest lectures by respected experts from other key research centers. In addition, interested students will be encouraged to carry out focused research projects that will engage them with recognized Cuban experts in given disciplines and connect them with local archives, museums, and key cultural organizations.  

The Galería Haydee Santamaría

The Galería Haydee SantamaríaThe Galería Haydee Santamaría

CASA’s academic center in Havana is located in the historic Galería Haydee Santamaría, a spacious art gallery in the Vedado district of Havana.  Built in the late 19th century in the Spanish colonial style, and restored in 2015 for use by CASA, the Galería provides classroom space, two interior patios and administrative office space for the program.  It is outfitted with Wi-fi access. 

Orientation

The program begins with a one-week on-site orientation that introduces students to the city of Havana, as seen through pre- and post-revolution lenses. This orientation helps students understand basic social, political, and cross-cultural elements that inform everyday life in the city. Visits to different parts of Havana orient students to the city's geography. Additional excursions beyond the city are integrated into the academic calendar.

Academics

Students will enroll in up to four courses taught in Spanish. Students are recommended to take a combination of courses (two and two) offered through Casa de Las Américas and direct-enrollment courses through the University of Havana.

Courses will be delivered by a group of carefully selected faculty, recognized experts from Casa de las Americas and the University of Havana. Individual courses will meet for 60 hours per semester.

In addition to the academic program, the Cuba study center will arrange special topics-based lectures, exhibitions, recitals, and local field visits to expose students to the tremendous cultural mosaic of the country.

Courses Offered through CASA

CASA-Cuba courses are taught by a group of carefully selected faculty, including CASA’s Academic Director in Cuba, recognized experts from Casa de Las Américas, and faculty from the University of Havana.  Each course meets for a total of 60 hours, the equivalent of one Brown unit or four U.S. semester credit hours. 

See the CASA-Cuba course offerings and descriptions.

  • Cuban Public Health: Past and Present
  • Cultural History of Cuba
  • Gender, Race, and Inequalities in Cuba: Visions from Cuban Scholars
  • The Imagined Island: Cuban Cinema
  • Slavery: Manifestations of Its Legacy in Contemporary Cuban Society
  • The Culture of the Transition

University of Havana Courses

Students can choose from courses in literature, the arts, Afro-Caribbean studies and music at the University of Havana’s Faculty of Arts and Letters, or courses in Cuban history, philosophy and religion, political sociology, and Latin American thought through the Faculty of Philosophy and History.  See  departmental course offerings and descriptions:

Program Calendar

Approximate dates are provided based on past programs; students should expect them to vary by year.

Fall Semester - Late August to mid-December

Spring Semester  -  Late January to mid-May

Housing

Students share living accommodations in various residences. All residences are safe, clean, and secure, located in the Vedado district, within walking distance to Casa de Las Americas and the University of Havana. Students share ample rooms that are air-conditioned, with modern toilets and showers, and are provided with breakfast and dinner each day.  Washing machines are available, and safe drinking water is provided.  

On-Site Support

CASA-appointed on-site staff assist students upon arrival and throughout their stay in Havana.

Eligibility and Requirements

The CASA Cuba program is open to undergraduate students from Brown. Applications from visiting students from non-CASA member institutions may be considered on a space available basis.

Students must be in good academic standing and have completed Advanced Spanish II/HISP 0600 (sixth-semester college-level Spanish language), or the equivalent, before beginning studies in Cuba. Visiting students must have completed at least one upper-level content course in Spanish (typically a third-year course in literature, history, culture) beyond the elementary and intermediate language sequences. 

Application Instructions

Apply by the deadline using Brown's online application system via the "apply now" and "return to application" buttons on the left side of this page.  Applications typically require faculty recommendations so it is important to begin the process early.

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