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All blog posts are by University of Michigan students who have participated in a CGIS program. The following blogs are students studying abroad in Cuba.

Spring/Summer 2019

Oluwatosin highlights best aspects of Roots course

I never thought whilst being immersed in a new culture I’d feel so in my element. In Cuba, I was thriving - dancing every morning, feeling affirmed in my Yoruba identity while learning about Afro-Cuban art, dance, and music, meeting hip hop and social activist duo grupo Obsesión, reflecting, and becoming friends with other students and local Cubans.

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Spring/Summer 2018

Taiye reflects on her spring term in Cuba

I honestly can’t even really believe that I am here. I am in Cuba and it’s beautiful. When I was on the plane to Cuba from Fort Lauderdale I actually burst into silent tears. They were silent enough for the woman who sat next to me not to notice them. I wasn’t crying because of some super deep meaningful reason. I cried because of all the stress I had experienced in this single day. I woke up later than I intended so I got to the airport in a bit of a rush. As I pulled my suitcase through the airport doors I realized that I’d chosen one of worst suitcases from our heap in the basement; the wheels were leaning inward so it made the suitcase harder o pull. I ended up getting through the security checkpoint just as my flight was boarding. Not to mention I coincidentally left my iPhone charger in the midst of rushing to the airport. I didn’t have any moisturizer, didn’t have any razors. Some of those silent tears were for visions of me with fuzzy legs in Cuba. None of those “setbacks” stopped me from getting to Cuba.

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Ella reflects on her spring term in Cuba

Oh hello blog! Today was the day I landed in Cuba for the very first time and let me say, it is lovely! I was the first to arrive in DTW at 4 am, because Cuba flights require three extra hours of prep time and attention, naturally. I was bored and contemplated doing laps around the airport for exercise and stimulation, but of course I reached a McDonald’s and decided that would be a far enough of a walk for this gal! After devouring my bacon, egg, and cheese bagel, I met the first person in my cohort, Lydia! Soon after, I met Destane (my Cuba roommate) and many others. Almost the entire cohort took the flight from DTW to Ft. Lauderdale, in fact, all of us except for one. It was really nice to meet most of my cohort prior to departure, but it was clear we were all quite sleepy. Our flight to Ft. Lauderdale was very nice and smooth, our Ol’ Cap’ did a stellar landing. It was strange descending into Ft. Lauderdale, though, for we passed what looked like a bunch of tiny LEGO mansions, all accompanied with their own pools, tennis courts, and fancy cars. It seemed as though Ft. Lauderdale was the final resting place for crusty, old, leathery folks. It was rather disgusting to see such unbridled wealth in such a concentrated space. Initially, I looked out of the airplane window hoping to find alligators, but instead saw the blinding consequences of capitalism.

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Eleanor reflects on her spring term in Cuba

After two full days in Havana, I’ve compiled a list of observations about Cuban culture and the city. The very first thing I noticed about the city was the presence of color. From the lush green plants, a dramatic contrast to the drab landscape of Michigan in April, to the colorful 1950s cars; from the zany paint colors found on any and all buildings, to the vibrant wardrobes of every Cuban. It isn’t just the landscape dipped in this refreshing burst of color. The soundscape also is a vibrant mix of musical styles, from reggaeton to music from the United States, and of course, a more traditional, uniquely Cuban musical style. And one cannot discuss music in Cuba without a mention of dance. Where there is music in this country, there is dance.

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