At a Glance
Partner: Casa de Las Américas and University of Havana
Housing: Shared rooms in program residences or homestays
Language requirement: Advanced
Calendar: Fall or Spring semesters
Accepts non-Brown students: Space-available basis
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 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.
Consortium for Advanced Studies Abroad (CASA)
The Brown/CASA Cuba program is offered by the Consortium for Advanced Studies Abroad, which is comprised of 10 leading research universities in the US and abroad. CASA member institutions are Brown University, Columbia University, Cornell University, Dartmouth College, Harvard University, Johns Hopkins University, Northwestern University, Trinity College Dublin, The University of Pennsylvania, and Vanderbilt University. Brown/CASA programs currently are offered in Argentina, Chile, Cuba, and Spain. Brown University is the administering institution for the CASA Cuba Program.
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.
Brown/CASA Cuba, the University of Havana and Casa de Las Américas have worked together to develop a program of study that will challenge students to achieve a critical understanding of the key issues facing Cuba today and enable students to interact with some of the country’s leading academic experts in the social sciences, arts and the humanities. Students will immerse themselves 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. Courses are complemented with special seminars and guest lectures by respected experts from other key research centers. In addition, interested students are 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. Students enroll in up to four courses taught in Spanish and are recommended to take a combination of courses offered through Casa de Las Américas and direct-enrollment courses (up to two) through the University of Havana.
Courses are delivered by a group of carefully selected faculty, recognized experts from Casa de las Americas and the University of Havana. Individual courses meet for 60 hours per semester.
In addition to the academic program, the Cuba study center arranges 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
Brown/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.
- United States - Cuban Relations: A Debate
- 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
- 21st Century Cuban and Latin American Literatures
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:
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
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.
CASA-appointed on-site staff assist students upon arrival and throughout their stay in Havana.
Eligibility and Requirements
The Brown/CASA Cuba program is open to undergraduate students from Brown and from other CASA member schools. 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.
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.
For more detailed information about the Brown/CASA program in Cuba, please visit the CASA website.