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  • Locations: Havana, Cuba
  • Program Terms: Fall
  • Budget Sheets: Fall
Dates / Deadlines:
Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
Fall 2021 08/01/2021 ** Rolling Admission 12/08/2021 12/17/2021

** Application materials may be reviewed prior to the program's application deadline. (Please note: if all of your boxes are checked-off, your application is complete.) In most cases, for applicants applying to programs led by PSU faculty, interviews and final selection will take place after the program deadline.
Program Description:

Students participating in the Cuba program will connect with Cubans directly to learn first-hand about the Cuban experience. Students will begin by spending time in the vibrant capital city of Havana. Then, we will travel to other rural and urban centers, including the historic village site of the Bay of Pigs, the colonial city of Cienfuegos on the southern Caribbean coast, and Santa Clara, famous for its monuments to Ernesto "Che" Guevara. Throughout this study abroad course, students will visit community organizations, nonprofits, and government agencies for hands-on community-based learning. Cuban professors from the University of Havana and representatives from Cuban governmental and nongovernmental organizations will provide insights that foster a deep understanding of the Cuban cultural and historical context. Prominent themes covered throughout the program include Cuban history, Cuban-US relations, political economy, governance, arts and culture, education, public health, community development, and political systems.

Graduate and undergraduate students may apply. Students will stay in housing provided by the program and most meals will be included as part of program costs. Students will select a research focus of interest related to Cuba to develop before and during the study abroad trip. We adopt a co-learning community approach throughout the course. Associate Professor Kevin Kecskes from the Public Administration Department will lead the trip to Cuba. Dr. Kecskes brings over 35 years of experience working in Latin America and the Caribbean to the program, having worked in civic engagement and community development throughout the region.

Students that participate in the faculty-led academic program in Cuba are anticipated to achieve increased knowledge related to Cuba about global issues, processes, trends, and systems. Through spending time with and learning from Cubans, students will be able to demonstrate a greater understanding of their own culture comparatively in the global context. Furthermore, students will begin to understand how their careers and fields of interest manifest differently in Cuba. Students will gain internationalization skills for understanding diverse cultural perspectives and frames of reference that facilitate thinking critically in order to solve complex problems. Students with a background in Spanish will have the opportunity to practice language skills in Cuba in an immersion setting (Spanish language proficiency is not required). Having the opportunity to practice Spanish will allow students to enhance their learning in other academic areas, increase cultural understanding, and develop their language skills and cultural knowledge. During the trip, students will be challenged to interpret issues and situations from more than one cultural perspective, which will translate into increased cultural awareness when they return to Portland. 

Student research articles developed as part of the Cuba: Governance, Community and Contradiction cohorts in 2016 and 2017 were published in February 2019 in the Hatfield Graduate Journal of Public Affairs. Check them out here:

What if we are unable to travel in December 2021?

PSU Education Abroad recognizes the uncertainty regarding international travel in the coming month. Cuba currently is at a Level 4 "Do not travel" advisory from the Department of State. We will closely monitor this in the coming months. A decision regarding this program's ability to travel will be announced no later than September 1, 2021.

Travel may be canceled due to (but not limited to) the following reasons: 
  • Travelers are required to quarantine for a number of days upon arrival 
  • Major program components cannot be supported due to local restrictions
  • It is deemed unsafe to travel

If PSU Education Abroad cancels the program, participants will be refunded the $50 application fee, if paid by the date of cancellation. Participants will not be charged the program fee. 
Thursday, April 29th, 2021
Join Zoom meeting here.
Wednesday, May 5th, 2021
5:00-6:00 PM
​Join Zoom meeting here.
Monday, May 10th, 2021
5:00-6:00 PM
​Join Zoom meeting here.
Education Abroad Advisor Questions? Contact Hannah Marrs at any time!
Get Started Watch Ed Abroad 101
Faculty Leader Dr. Kevin Kecskes, Public Administration
Portland State University
Travel Dates December 8 - 17, 2021*
(Travel is over Winter Break)

*Please Note: Students should plan to arrive in Miami on December 7th. The group flight to Cuba will depart on December 8th. 
Areas of Study
  • Cultural Studies
  • International Studies
  • Education
  • Community Health
  • Spanish
  • Sociology
  • Political Science
  • Public Administration
  • Urban Studies & Planning
  • Service Learning
  • Community Development
  • International Development
Required Pre-Departure Meetings Yes
Course & Credit PA 410: Governance, Community, and Contradiction
4 undergraduate credits

PA 544: Governance, Community, and Contradiction
3 graduate credits
Language of Instruction  English
Host Country Language  Spanish
Housing Homestay
Class Standing Eligibility
  • Junior
  • Senior
  • Post-Baccalaureate
  • Graduate
Students must be degree-seeking at PSU. 
Minimum GPA Requirements Undergraduate: 2.50

Graduate: 3.00
Previous Coursework None required
Language Requirement No previous language study required
Considerations Please note, this program requires significant time outdoors, resulting in potentially significant sun exposure for participants. Many areas of Cuba are not ADA accessible.

If you have any questions or concerns about your ability to participate due to these considerations, please contact the Education Abroad Advisor responsible for this program. 
Application Requirements
  • Unofficial Transcript (from banweb)
  • 2 short essays
  • 1 Recommendation Form (submitted electronically via VikingsAbroad)
    • This is not a formal letter of recommendation, rather your recommender will need to fill out a short questionnaire about you with space for comments. 
    • This cannot be submitted by the program leader
    • These must be Professional or Academic in nature
  • Interview
  • $50 Application Fee. This is billed to your student account after the deadline when your application is reviewed.
Application Process (Non- PSU Students) Non-PSU students must complete the PSU Non-Degree Application Process, this costs $25. You can start this at any time. Once you receive your PSU ID number, please email it to 
$4,425 $1,615 $6,040
  • 3 or 4 PSU credits
  • Accommodation in hotels or homestays
  • Most meals
  • Excursions
  • Transportation
  • Cuban visitors visa
  • PSU Education Abroad Fee
  • International Health Insurance
*Please note, all students enrolling for PSU credit are charged an additional PSU Rec Center Fee. For a current listing, please refer to PSU Fees.

*Application Fee: All applications include a $50 non-refundable fee due on the application deadline. Students who do not intend to complete a program application are required to withdraw before the deadline, otherwise, the $50 application fee will be assessed to the students' account.