Area Studies and Culture

Based at the University of Havana, the Lexia program introduces students to the language, history, politics, economics and culture of Cuba, placing this fascinating country into the broader regional focus of Latin America and the Caribbean. Coursework, language training, excursions, and independent projects help students to understand the local culture and confront the issues facing this nation. The program strongly supports interaction and dialogue between Lexia participants and Cuban faculty. To this end, local faculty are involved with the program from the very beginning, giving the participants immediate and direct access to the culture. Intensive language training at the beginning is provided, thereby helping students develop the skills and confidence to live and study in Cuba. Prior knowledge of Spanish is strongly recommended, and students will have the option to take courses taught fully in Spanish. Social and academic encounters with Cubans, in addition to organized field trips, contribute to a greater understanding of Cuba during this ongoing period of economic, political and social transition in Latin America and the Caribbean. 

Program Options

Students on the Lexia Havana Latin American Studies program can choose whether to study abroad for a five-week summer term, a semester, or the academic year. When deciding how long to study abroad, students should consult their academic advisor, financial aid counselor, study abroad office and their family. Lexia staff can assist students with this decision. A list of courses and course descriptions can be found below:


Summer Program

Students on the Lexia Havana Latin American Studies summer program take two courses for a total of 8 semester credits or 12 quarter credits. 

  • Cuban Civilization Seminar
  • Spanish Language Course


Semester Program

Students on the Lexia Havana Latin American Studies semester program take four courses for a total of 16 semester credits or 24 quarter credits. 

  • Cuban Civilization Seminar
  • Spanish Language Course
  • Anthropology of Cuba
  • International Economics


Academic Year

Students on the Lexia Havana Latin American Studies academic year program take eight courses during two semesters for a total of 32 semester credits or 48 quarter credits. 

Students on academic year programs complete the regular semester program described above during the first semester and continue language training during the second semester. Academic year students choose three Elective Tutorial Courses to complete their academic program. Key to a second semester in Havana is designing a program of study that immerses the student in the local culture via language study, internship or volunteer experiences, course work, and independent study and projects. Students are also encouraged to consider spending the spring semester at a different Lexia site, conducting a comparative or complementary Field Research Project. 

Semester 1

  • Cuban Civilization Seminar
  • Spanish Language Course
  • Anthropology of Cuba
  • International Economics

Semester 2

  • Spanish Language Course
  • Elective Course 1
  • Elective Course 2
  • Elective Course 3



Cuban Civilization Seminar (Four semester/six quarter credits)

An interdisciplinary course, the Cuban Civilization Seminar introduces students to Cuba—to its history, politics, economics, and culture. Covering a broad variety of topics and issues, this examination of the host country prepares students to pursue an in-depth final paper on one of the topics presented in the class. Lectures and discussions expose students to the richness of Cuban history and culture. The aim of this course is to help students develop a comprehensive understanding of Cuban institutions and Cuban culture. Teaching is arranged in thematic blocs

The seminar is taught by faculty from the University of Havana.  Classes include required readings, a final exam, and a final paper/presentation, Classes are supplemented by field activities. Classroom time totals approximately 60 hours, including instruction time during excursions.


Spanish Language Course (Four semester/six quarter credits)

Spanish language courses are taught at the elementary, intermediate, or advanced levels at the University of Havana with other international students.


Anthropology of Cuba (Four semester/six quarter credits)

Taught by professors from the Montané Museum, the objective of this course is to analyze the origin and formation of the Cuban population from an anthropological perspective in terms of its material and spiritual culture. Topics to be covered include:

  • The origin of Native Americans. The population of the Americas, the Caribbean and Cuba.
  • 1492: Encounter between two cultures. The conquest of America.
  • Anthropological components of the Cuban nation: descendents of the aboriginal peoples, their characteristics and distribution.
  • Europeans, Africans, and Asians and their impact on Cuban society.
  • Influence of the Caribbean Islands, North, Central, and South America.
  • Popular religions in Cuba.


International Economics (Four semester/six quarter credits)

The purpose of this course is to analyze the principal aspects of the international economy and how its most important trends affect Latin America in general and Cuba in particular. Topics presented may include:

  • Principal trends of the international economy and its repercussions in underdeveloped countries, particularly in Latin America.
  • Trends in international trade. The World Trade Organization (WTO).
  • Unique aspects of the integration of underdeveloped countries in the international economy from a monetary point of view.
  • The financial situation and underdeveloped nations.
  • International economic integration and collaboration. Participation of underdeveloped countries.
  • Latin America and Cuba in today’s international economy.


Dates & Deadlines

Summer 2015
Program Dates: June 25, 2015 - August 5, 2015*
Application Deadline: April 15, 2015

Fall 2015
Program Dates: September 9, 2015 - December 16, 2015*
Application Deadline: June 15, 2015

Spring 2016
Program Dates: January 12, 2016 - May 4, 2016*
Application Deadline: November 15, 2016

Summer 2016
Program Dates: June 22, 2016 - August 4, 2016*
Application Deadline: April 15, 2016

* All dates are subject to change.  Before making travel plans based on these dates, please contact the Lexia office. 



Hotel-style: Students on the Lexia program in Cuba live in hotel-style accommodations for visiting students and professionals located near the university.  Students share modest but clean, safe and well-maintained accommodations.



Integrated into the academic program are several one or multi-day excursions outside of Havana.  Excursions are designed to help introduce students to different regions of Cuba, enabling them to extend their learning outside of the classroom. Out-of-town excursions might include:

  • Pinar del Rio province
  • Guantánamo province
  • Santiago de Cuba
  • Trinidad

As part of the Civilization Seminar, program staff may also organize short excursions in and around Havana to explore the cultural and political dynamics of the city first hand.  All of these excursions are covered by the program fee and are subject to change, dependent on weather, accommodation and local conditions.



Semester: $14,950
Tuition: $12,550
Housing: $2,400

Academic Year: $25,950
Tuition: $21,150
Housing: $4,800

Summer: $5,495
Tuition: $4,295
Housing: $1,200


Program Fees Include:

  • On-Site Orientation (2-4 days)
  • All Tuition and Fees
  • All Scheduled Program Excursions
  • Housing Costs
  • Services of Lexia Resident Director and Program Staff
  • Comprehensive Medical Insurance Policy
  • International Student Identity Card (ISIC)
  • Official Transcript from Elizabethtown College



Not included in the Program Fee are the following estimated expenses based past students' experiences during the semester-long program:

  • Airfare Ranges from $550–$900
  • Meals not Covered $1,750
  • Books & Supplies $230
  • Personal Expenses $1,380

Estimated Total Additional Expenses: $3,910 – $4,260

Students should also remember to budget for independent travel during the one-week break within the semester.  If desired, students may choose to remain in their Lexia accommodation in Havana during the break at no additional cost.

Instructors & Institutions

Hosted at the University of Havana, located in downtown Havana, the Lexia program offers students opportunities to explore this historic region while confronting the daily challenges of a changing society.

One of the recognized strengths of Lexia programs is the strong support from faculty and staff. The Lexia Resident Director provides students with necessary information about living and learning in Cuba. The faculty of the Lexia program consists primarily of Cuban professors from the University and the Resident Director.



The typical course load is four courses per semester. Students who successfully complete Lexia’s program requirements are able to earn the equivalent of one full semester or academic year of college/university level credit, pending approval from their home institution.

It is the student’s responsibility to be aware of the credit transfer policies at his/her home institution and department, including advising appointments, paperwork and pre-departure or re-entry activities. We strongly suggest that students contact their study abroad or other appropriate office early in the planning stage to ensure that they complete all requirements.


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