Travel Study: Introduction to Cuban History and Culture

An image of a beach in Cuba

Note: This Travel Study will take place during the 2024 Intersession.


Discover the beauty of Eastern Cuba while learning about Cuban aboriginal people and their legacy to Cuban culture. Explore the Northern part of the Eastern region of Cuba. Experience the rich culture of Holguin, a city founded in 1545 and the fourth biggest county of the island. The county is rich in natural scenarios: high mountains, fertile plains, and white sandy beaches.  


Holguin is the home of many parks and museums. The municipality of Banes has the richest collection of Indigenous artifacts in the Caribbean. It was in this region (Bariay) where Columbus disembarked in 1492 and was fascinated by the beauty of the place. It is said that the Admiral found it to be “the most beautiful land human eyes had ever seen.” Bariay Park has excellent beaches and very rich and unique fauna and flora. Chorro de Maita Museum houses an inventory of more than 80 years of archeological research. The site is considered to be the most important archaeological discovery in Cuba regarding aboriginal settlements and has been declared a National Monument (National Heritage Site). 


Course: SPAN 2213. Travel-Study: Introduction to Cuban History and Culture  

This study tour of the Northern part of the Eastern region of Cuba offers a harmonious blend of language, history, and culture. The course focuses on Cuban aboriginal history and culture. Highlights encompass visiting various cultural sites and native’s settlements in Holguin county and experiencing a unique immersion into art, architecture, cuisine, literature, history, religion, music, fashion, and current events as part of a forty-hour history course at the University of Holguín. (3 credits). This is a four week course. The first two weeks online preparation period and the last two weeks in Cuba. During the preparation period, participants will review useful Spanish phrases and will learn information on Cuban history, culture, and law (such as cannabis use) as well as expected cultural differences. 


NOTE: This course has Experiential Learning components. Check with the Office of Experiential Learning to find out if you qualify for financial assistance. Contact Clara Santacruz at 



The course is open to everyone (18 years of age or older) for credit or non-credit.  Participants do not have to be students at St. Thomas University. All members of the community can participate.  


Travel Requirements 

A valid passport. International students need to check with their Embassy/Consulate for specific information. Participants need to demonstrate proof of travel health insurance and will be required to sign a liability waiver.  


Cost $ 2,385.66 per participant  

Participants can audit the course and do all the daily activities for the same cost.


Cost Includes 

  • Registration 
  • 14 days lodging in double or triple rooms at private homes (licensed private homes) that are collaborating with the university of Holguín in taking care of Canadian students.  Clean- Air-conditioned rooms, cold/hot water, TV, fridge (in the room or for family use). Ten-fifteen minutes’ walk to the main park (downtown)   
  • Three meals a day (breakfast, lunch, and supper-14 days) 
  • Transportation. Transfer from and to the airport if the students are arriving together. For individuals coming separately, transfer will not be included, but a taxi could be arranged at a more reasonable price. Transportation to all academic activities, and to the 2 excursions included in the program. For optional ones, the price for the transportation needed could be arranged from the very beginning.  
  • Fees for all lectures, talks and organized visits.  
  • Translation from Spanish to English as needed. 

Not included:  

  • Air transportation to and from Cuba.  
  • Passport/Visa 
  • International medical/travel insurance 
  • Transfer for students arriving individually 
  • Hotels (other than the private houses coming with the package) 
  • Additional excursions. 
  • Eating in restaurants, other than the ones providing meals at a lower cost/arranged by the University of Holguín.  
  • Drinks and beverages, bottled water 
  • Spending money/souvenirs, sundry expenses 

NOTE If you are planning on arriving at a different date/time let the instructor know to arrange transportation and fees. 


 To sign up: 

Please, contact E-mail Subject: Travel Study-Intersession 2024.  


Payment: STU Financial Services (George Martin Hall) Cheques or Money Orders are written out to “St. Thomas University”. 


Security deposit $ 500.00 CAD needed by January 30, 2024.  


Full payment is needed by March 15, 2024.  


Information sessions at the Spanish Resource Center ECH 230: 

Wednesday, October 25, 2023 at 3:00 pm 

Monday, October 30, 2023 at 3:00 pm 

Thursday, November 16 at 6:00 pm