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Queen's University

    Study in Cuba

    DEVS 305 Cuban Society and Culture

    Cuban Culture and Society is a full 6.0 undergraduate course. It is part of an exchange agreement between Queen’s and the University of Havana, and has been offered since 2008. The aim is to introduce students to some of the main events and highlights of Cuban society, history, politics, and culture, with a focus on the period from the Cuban revolution (1959) to the present.

    The course is held in the Winter term  session. We will meet in a seminar grouping and follow a structured reading list. The Cuba portion of the course will take place at the University of Havana in Cuba.

    This course will be taught by an interdisciplinary team: Karen Dubinsky (Global Development Studies/History) and Susan Lord (Film and Media Studies). In Havana, the course translator is Zaira Zarza (PhD student, Cultural Studies)

    For more information please see the Cuba handbook

    Session Dates 2014:

    Queen's on campus session dates:  Regular Winter Term starting Thursday January 9, 2014  (Three hours weekly)

    Havana session dates:  Saturday May 3, 2014 to Sunday May 18, 2014

    Sample topics of the campus-based seminars include:
    • the Cuban Revolution, its roots, critics, and legacies
    • Cuba around the world (including a section on 
      Cuban/Canadian relations)
    • the “Special Period” and the future of the country
    • art, film, music and the representation of identities
    In Havana we work with colleagues at the University of Havana to present students with an active daily programme of study, which will include lectures by Cuban scholars, films as well as visits to art galleries, museums, and other sites of historical and cultural interest. The following are some sample topics/visits from previous years:
    • Cuba's Foreign Policy with Professor and former Diplomat Carlos Alzugaray
    • National Art Gallery and talk with curator Danys Montes de Oca
    • Museum of Literacy Campaign and panel discussion with former Literacy teachers.
    • International School of Medicine and discussion of Cuban health care system.

    DEVS 305 Cuban Society and Culture Costs Course

    Costs are subject to change from year to year. The following figures are intended as an indication only. 

    Program Fee: $2,300 (Subject to change). The program fee includes accommodation, some meals/snacks, airfare, travel agent fees, excursions and a contingency fee to cover differences in exchange rates or fluctuations in air fare, etc.  

    Other Costs: The fee listed above does not include: 

    • Transportation to and from Pearson Airport in Toronto
    • Course readings 
    • Tuition 
    • Passport application and/or renewal fees For additional information Email:

    Financial Aid

    Some financial support is available in the form of bursaries which may make the course more accessible. Queen’s students seeking financial assistance should contact the Students Awards Office :

    Eligibility and Application

    This course is designed for third year DEVS students. Students from other departments with a sufficient background in development related courses are also welcome to apply. Click here to download the  2014 APPLICATION FORM

    Along with the application, students are required to submit a two to three paragraph, double spaced essay, on ONE separate piece of paper describing your objectives for the course. What are your reasons for taking this course? How does this course fit into your plan of study? What do you hope to gain from this course? Describe any previous international/Latin American experience, etc. This essay will be considered one of the criteria for selection in the course. 

    Enrolment in DEVS 305 is limited to approximately 25 students. 

    Applications will be evaluated according to: 

    a) Academic performance (B/B+ average minimum - please include a copy of your transcript from SOLUS)

    b) Academic relevance to student's program. 

    c) Motivation and preparation

    d) Clarity of objectives and expectations

    e) One page essay (described above)  

    Tuition and course fees are to be paid to Queen's PRIOR to commencement of the course. Payment of these fees is subject to the same methods, deadlines and penalties as if the student were on campus during the equivalent academic term(s). 

    For additional information Email:



    Safety and Orientation

    The Queen's University International Centre (QUIC) supports Queen's students in their preparations for study/work/travel abroad by facilitating the Emergency Support Programme (ESP) for Study/Work/Travel Abroad. All students participating in DEVS 305 are required to sign up and attend a Pre-departure Orientation session with the Queen's International Centre, JDUC, and complete all the documentation required by Queen's University prior to departure. You can register in person at the International Centre or by phone 613-533-2604 or by emailing the Education Abroad Program staff at

    For additional information Email:



    Past Experiences

    Following are some testimonials from students enrolled in DEVS 309* in past years:

    Nilani Loganathan:

    "The best way to learn about a country is by actually going there! For this reason, studying about Cuba at the University of Havana with lectures by Cuban professors provided students with an unforgettable understanding of Cuban life."

    Jason Dudek:

    "So I left Havana with more questions than I arrived with. Better questions. I left armed with the awareness that I will always be making assumptions in a conscious inquiry, and that perhaps the best way to address these assumptions is to experience rather than inquire. It was not the inquiry , nor the judgements I attempted, that yielded me my current understanding of Cuba. Instead, it was the conversations, the simple unassuming experiences and the relationships with the people that had profound effect on my understanding of what Cuba offers questions of development: a source of experience and alternative approach that can rejuvenate and clarify philosophical issues in Global Development

    Dates to Remember

    Thursday September 19, 2013 - Information session for potential students. Dunning Hall, Room 12 - 5:30pm - 6:30pm.

    Friday September 27, 2013 - Deadline for DEVS 305 application form.

    Friday October 4, 2013 - Successful applicants will be notified.
    Friday October 11, 2013 - Program fee deposit of $200.00 (subject to change) is due (non - refundable). Visa/MC, money orders and cheques are acceptable. If paying by cheque please make cheque payable to Queen's University.
    November/December  - Sign up and participate in a Pre-Departure Orientation Session through Global Development Studies at the Queen's International Centre (MANDATORY).
    Friday November 29, 2013 - Deadline for balance of travel costs (non - refundable) . Visa/MC, money orders and cheques are acceptable. If paying by cheque please make cheque payable to Queen's University.
      Thursday January 9, 2014 - Queen's portion of the classes begin.
    Thursday April 3, 2014 - Queen's portion of the classes end.
    Saturday May 3, 2104 - Flight from Toronto to Havana
    Sunday May 18, 2014 - Havana protion of classes end.  Return to Toronto





    Kingston, Ontario, Canada. K7L 3N6. 613.533.2000