Student and Youth Travelers
Foreign students with the International Student Identity Card (ISIC) or similar student ID receive discounts to many museums. You can obtain an ISIC at any student union, or in the United States from the Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE, 300 Fore St., Portland, ME 04101, tel. 207/553-4000, www.ciee.org), and in Canada from Travel Cuts (tel. 866/246-9762, www.travelcuts.com).
The Federación Estudiantil Universitario (Calle 23, esq. H, Vedado, Havana, tel. 07/832-4646, www.almamater.cu) is Cuba’s national student federation.
Studying in Cuba
Thousands of people every year choose to study in Cuba, be it for a month-long dance course or six years of medical training. Be prepared for basic living conditions if signing up for a long-term residential course. Restrictions for U.S. students apply.
UniversiTUR (Calle 30 #768, e/ Kohly y 41, Nuevo Vedado, tel. 07/855-5978, agencia [at] universitur [dot] get [dot] tur [dot] cu) arranges study at centers of higher learning. For study at the Universidad de la Habana, contact the Dirección de Posgrado (Calle J #556, e/ 25 y 27, Vedado, tel. 07/832-4245, www.uh.cu).
Cuba’s Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores (MINREX, Foreign Relations Ministry) provides a complete list of Cuban institutions that offer courses to foreigners at http://embacu.cubaminrex.cu/Default.aspx?tabid=1210.
Student Visas for Study in Cuba
You can no longer study in Cuba using a tourist visa, however short the duration of study, unless you travel via UniversiTUR. All others require a student visa (CUC80), which can be requested in advance from the Director of Graduate Degrees of the relevant university 20 days prior to your intended arrival date. Visas can ostensibly be picked up at the Cuban consulate in your country. Visas are good for 30 days but can be extended upon arrival in Cuba for CUC25.
You can arrive in Cuba with a tourist visa, however. You then have 48 hours to register for your university program and request a change of visa status (CUC65). You’ll need six passport photos, your passport and tourist card, plus a license certificate for the casa particular where you’ll be staying.
Studying Arts, Music, and Dance in Cuba
The Cátedra de Danza (Calzada #510, e/ D y E, Vedado, tel. 07/832-4625, fax 07/833-3117, www.balletcubacult.cu) offers monthlong ballet courses for intermediate- and advanced-level professionals and students.
The Centro Nacional de Conservación, Restauración y Museología (Calle Cuba #610, e/ Sol y Luz, Habana Vieja, tel. 07/861-2877, fax 07/866-5696, www.cencrem.co.cu) offers courses for urban planners, conservationists, and architects.
The Instituto Superior de Arte (Calle 120 #11110, e/ 9na y 13, Cubanacán, tel. 07/208-0288, www.cubarte.cult.cu) offers courses in music, dance, theater, and visual arts.
The Unión de Escritores y Artistas de Cuba (Calle 17 #351, esq. H, Vedado, tel. 07/832-4551, www.uneac.org.cu) offers courses in the arts and Cuban culture.
The Taller Experimental de Gráfica (Callejón del Chorro #6, Plaza de la Catedral, Habana Vieja, tel. 07/864-7622, tgrafica [at] cubarte [dot] cult [dot] cu) offers courses in engraving and lithography.
Paradiso: Promotora de Viajes Culturales (Calle 19 #560, esq. C, Vedado, tel. 07/832-6928, www.paradiso.cu) arranges participation in cultural courses and programs, from children’s book publishing to theater criticism.
The Universidad de la Habana (Dirección de Posgrado, Calle J #556, e/ 25 y 27, Vedado, tel. 07/832-4245, www.uh.cu) has 60-hour courses in Cuban culture beginning the first Monday of every month.
Medical Training in Cuba
Cuba offers scholarships for disadvantaged and minority students from the U.S. and developing nations to attend the Escuela Latinoamericana de Medicina (Latin American School of Medical Sciences, ELACM, Santa Fe, Havana, tel. 07/201-4370, www.elacm.sld.cu). Courses last six years and graduates are full-fledged doctors. U.S. applicants should contact the Cuban Interests Section, 2630 16th St. NW, Washington, DC 20009, tel. 202/797-8518, ext. 109, www.afrocubaweb.com/infomed/medscholarships.htm.
The Universidad de la Habana (Dirección de Posgrado, Calle J #556, e/ 25 y 27, Vedado, tel. 07/832-4245, www.uh.cu/infogral/estudiaruh/postgrado/english.html) and provincial universities throughout Cuba offer Spanish-language courses of 20–80 hours (CUC100–300), plus “Spanish and Cuban Culture” courses of 320–480 hours (CUC960–1,392). Courses begin the first Monday of the month, year-round.
The Centro de Idiomas y Computación José Martí (José Martí Language and Computer Center, Calle 90 #531, e/ 5ta B y 5ta C, Miramar, Havana, tel. 07/209-6692, fax 07/204-4846) also offers Spanish language courses of 20–80 hours (CUC130–330).
Hotels for Students
Various state agencies operate accommodations for visiting students and educators; all charge CUC15–25 s, CUC20–38 d.
In Vedado, Villa Residencial Estudiantíl (Calle 2, e/ 15 y 17, tel. 07/830-5250), run by the Ministry of Public Health (MINSAP), is in a converted mansion with simple rooms. It has a small restaurant and a broad, breeze-swept veranda with rockers.
Hotel Universitario (Calle L y 17, tel. 07/838-2373, hoteluni [at] enet [dot] cu), run by the Ministerio de Educación (MINED), is a basic, wood-paneled affair with a gloomy student union–style bar and a pleasant restaurant downstairs behind the glum lobby. Its 21 rooms offer the bare essentials.
At last visit, these were being used exclusively for Venezuelan medical staff: In Miramar, Hostal Icemar (Calle 16, e/ 1 y 3, tel. 07/203-7735 or 203-6130), a 1950s Miami-style hotel operated by MINED with 54 rooms and six minimally furnished apartments; MINED’s Hotel Universitaria Ispaje (1ra, esq. 22, tel. 07/203-5370), with eight rooms; Villa Universitaria Miramar (Calle 62 #508, e/ 5ta-A y 5ta-B Av., tel. 07/832-1034), with 25 rooms; Hostal Costa Sol (3ra y Calle 60, tel. 07/209-0828), with 11 rooms; and Hotel Mirazúl (5ta #3603, e/ 36 y 40, tel. 07/204-0088, fax 07/204-0045, hotelmi [at] enet [dot] cu), with eight spacious rooms./p>
© Christopher P. Baker from Moon Cuba, 5th Edition