The next application deadline is Sep 15, 2024
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CASA in 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.

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.

Program Overview

One of the longest-running socialist experiments in history, Cuba is at a critical crossroads. 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. Your courses will be complemented throughout the semester with special seminars and guest lectures by respected experts from other key research centers, including the Centro de Estudios Demográficos (CEDEM), Cuba’s premier research organization focusing on demographic studies and social research, the Centro de Estudios de la Economía Cubana and the Centro de Investigación de la Cultura Cubana Juan Marinello. 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 Consortium for Advanced Studies Abroad (CASA) is a non-profit academic consortium of twelve leading comprehensive research universities formed for the purpose of organizing and delivering rigorous education abroad programs in collaboration with leading world universities. CASA member institutions are Brown University, Columbia University, Cornell University, Dartmouth College, Georgetown University, Harvard University, Johns Hopkins University, Northwestern University, Trinity College Dublin, the University of Melbourne, the University of Pennsylvania, and Vanderbilt University.

Eligibility and Application


  • Must be a currently enrolled undergraduate student in good academic and disciplinary standing.
  • If you are a Barnard College student, please reach out to Barnard Global to learn how to apply directly to the CASA-Cuba program.
  • Minimum 3.0 average language GPA
  • Minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA
  • In order to participate, you need to complete a minimum of one Spanish content course above SPAN UN3300, or the equivalent, prior to departure.

How to Apply

Want to apply? Click the “Start Your Application" button at the top of this page. If the button doesn't appear above, the program is not yet accepting applications. You will be asked to set up a short profile, which will allow us to send you relevant information about your application. Once you’ve created a profile, you will see a checklist of items that you will need to submit. These generally include:

  • Application questionnaire(s)
  • Personal statement
  • Letter of recommendation from someone who has taught you at the university level who can attest to your academic skills
  • Official transcript(s)

There will be additional program-specific application/nomination materials to submit that the UGE Adviser will contact you about after acceptance.


Students will have an opportunity to enroll in up to four (4) full-time courses, choosing between courses offered at CASA and up to two (2) courses on the main campus of the University of Havana.

A combination of CASA courses and select courses offered at the University of Havana is possible and recommended. We encourage students to take at least one course at the University of Havana to enhance the cultural and social immersion into Cuban society.

Courses Offered through CASA

The CASA courses are delivered to a combined audience of CASA students and some Cuban university students at the CASA program center in Havana. CASA-delivered courses will be taught by a group of carefully selected faculty, recognized experts from Casa de Las Américas and faculty from the University of Havana. They will each meet for a total of 60 hours, the equivalent of four (4) semester credits:

  • Health and society in time of Covid 19 in Cuba
  • Elements of Spanish grammar and writing and style
  • Cuban Image
  • Identity, culture and nation in Cuba. History and challenges
  • Gender, race and intersectionality: Research experiences in Cuba
  • U.S.-Cuban Relations: A Debate

University of Havana Courses

Students may enroll in courses in two divisions of the University of Havana: in the Social Sciences Division (Facultad de Filosofia y Historia-FFH) and the Division of Humanities (Facultad de Artes y Letras-FAyL). These divisions of the University of Havana offer a variety of courses in history, philosophy, political and economic theory, sociology, anthropology, gender studies, art history, musicology, sociolinguistics, and literature, with concentrations in Latin America, the Caribbean and Cuba.

Opportunities to take courses at the University of Havana outside of these two divisions are extremely limited.

The University of Havana courses usually vary in length from 32 to 64 contact hours. Students will need at least 48 contact hours for a three (3) point credit and 64 hours for four (4) point credit.

Academic Calendar

Please find the academic calendar on the CASA-Cuba, Academic Calendar page. Specific dates may vary and will be confirmed upon admission to the program.


For the Fall 2023 Semester, CASA-Cuba will return to homestays. All homestays will be within walking distance of the CASA Center in Havana. More details to come soon.

Health and Safety

Please review CASA-Cuba's Health and Safety guide. More information can be found on their website.

Health Insurance in Cuba and vaccinations

Students will not be permitted to participate in the program without valid U.S. health insurance. All Columbia University affiliates traveling internationally on Columbia Travel have health insurance for emergent illness and injury while abroad. This insurance is provided at no cost to the traveler via Zurich.

Students should make sure they are up-to-date on routine vaccines before every trip.

Mental Health Services

Mental health facilities in Cuba for international visitors are very limited and mostly available in Spanish. Should a student need access to mental health facilities, they should contact their home campus resources as one possibility, or International SOS. CASA can also help students identify local mental health resources.


Havana, and Cuba in general, is a relatively safe destination for travelers and international visitors, although roaming through the urban centers of the country does require some common sense, vigilence, and minor precautions, especially at night. Energy and infrastruture in Cuba are comparatively limited, and side streets and roadways are often not illuminated.

Experience has shown that the single most important factor in assuring a safe study abroad experience is the sensible and cautious behavior of the participants themselves. When traveling abroad, students should exercise additional caution until they become familiar with their new surroundings. Students should always remain alert to what is going on around them, especially in crowded tourist areas and on public transportation.

Never accept rides from strangers and, when travelling, always use taxis colectivos (also known as máquinas, almendrones, boteros or colectivos), and buses operated by official providers. As in other large cities in the United States or other countries, jewelry and electronics are coveted in Cuba. If you do find yourself in trouble, the best way to avoid a situation is to avoid resistence.

Preventative care

Students are required to complete a Physician’s Medical Report form in order to participate in the program; students should be sure it indicates any allergies they have, in particular to medications, as well as dietary restrictions. This information is confidential and has no bearing on student participation in the program. If a student has a chronic illness that needs medical attention, they should have their doctor write a clinical report that can be given to a specialist in Cuba if necessary. In addition, we strongly urge students to have a complete physical and dental checkup before departing.

Students should inform the resident staff of any existing health problems, including mental health, or any potential problems one may anticipate arising throughout the course of the program. This includes allergies to any medications or foods. CASA staff will use this information to ensure that appropriate accommodations are made. Students should inform the resident staff if they become ill during the program.

Financial Considerations


Columbia students pay regular Columbia tuition during the regularly scheduled Columbia billing calendar on SSOL. Financial aid may be applied. Please find more information on our Financial Considerations page.

If you are a GS student, you will be billed for 16 points unless you reach out to your study abroad program manager within the first week of the term abroad to verify that you are taking more or less than 16 points while abroad.

Program Fees

Students will pay an estimated $4,800 program fee to the Center for Undergraduate Global Engagement, which includes housing costs while in Cuba. This fee also covers partial breakfast and dinner accommodations.

There is no longer a group charter flight from Miami to Havana: Students will be responsible for their flights to/from the U.S. directly to Havana. CASA in Cuba estimates that airfare (round-trip flight to Havana; varies depending on departure location) will be $1,200.

Estimated Additional Costs

ExpenseExpense TypeFallSpring
Airfare (round-trip flight to Havana; varies depending on departure location)Direct Student Cost$1200$1200
Partial Board (lunches)Direct Student Cost$600$600
Baggage FeesDirect Student Costvariesvaries
Personal (estimate varies according to individual spending habits)Direct Student Cost$1000 $1000
Local TransportDirect Student Cost$300$300
Books/PrintingDirect Student Cost$100$100
Immunizations and Medications (if applicable and not covered by insurance)Direct Student Costn/an/a
Internet/CommunicationDirect Student Cost$220$220

For more information, please visit the CASA-Cuba, Life & The Cost of Living in Havana page.