From the moment they arrive on campus, Penn students dream of spending part of their college years in Paris, London or Madrid. Not many plan to spend time in a nearby country whose relationship with the United States has been marked by conflict for the past several decades.
But recently, certain students have opted to step out of their — and their country’s — comfort zone. As hostility between the United States and Cuba has declined and travel has become easier over the past few years, students and faculty from all areas of Penn have taken advantage of the opportunity to visit and learn from the country.
American art professor Gwendolyn Shaw spearheaded the Penn in Havana summer program for undergraduate students after visiting Cuba with a group of Penn alumni. Her trip inspired her to take students, the first group of whom traveled to Havana as part of an official Penn summer abroad program last May. The program is currently accepting applications for this summer.