The University of Southern Mississippi is now offering a study abroad program option that will send students to study in Cuba this summer. The description for the program on the university's website calls Cuba "one of the most fascinating countries in the world" and asserts that it offers a perspective on economic, social and political life that is different from America.
The study abroad program will run from May 9 to May 24, and students will earn three credit hours that they can choose from a group of education and social work options. The cost to participate in the program is close to $5,000.
The timing of this program coincides with President Obama's recent call for Congress to lift of an over-50-year embargo on the island nation. In many ways, Cuba is a mystery to the American public, which is interesting considering how close it is to the coast of Florida (just 90 miles away). This group of students will have a unique study abroad experience because so few other young people (or older people, for that matter) have ever even ventured to the island.
I am excited that this study abroad program is originating from the University of Southern Mississippi, because it is such a progressive idea. I also like that among the course options are ones for education. What better way to expand your worldview than to study somewhere like Cuba? The educators who graduate and have studied in this program will be better connected to their students and classroom experiences and will have a unique perspective on students with Cuban roots.