Autonomous University of Social Movements
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Take advantage of an opportunity to experience lively Cuban culture through studying abroad in Havana. Learn about Cuban society and history in the classroom while immersing yourself in a city full of 1950s cars and salsa dance clubs. Study the Cuban Revolution while soaking in the sun at the Caribbean beaches. Explore the artistic and creative side of this city full of life. Prepare to expand your perspectives on a study abroad that is sure to create memories.
The Autonomous University of Social Movements (AUSM) offers you the opportunity to take a constructively critical look at Cuba’s ongoing revolution. You will study at the University of Pedagogical Sciences to confront key social justice questions in Cuba, which include:
- Decision-Making Processes and Citizenship Rights
- Social Justice vs Wealth Production
- Race, Class, Gender, and Sexual Orientation
The Semester-long program is 3 months long and offers 16 credits (12 credits in History and Culture and 4 credits in Spanish).
Course Descriptions and Syllabi
You will take formal classes along with two workshops or meetings each week which allows you to work directly with Cuban academics, political leaders and social actors, and one or two experiential learning encounters each week. This will enable you to connect theory with practice. Please see the below sections for more detailed information on the course descriptions and weekly schedules for the both the summer and semester-length programs.
Weekly Course Schedule
You cannot do an internship for credit. However, you can do a volunteer-based internship. If you do an academic year in Cuba, you can do an internship for credit the second semester. You would create your own curriculum and internship for credit. AUSM is capable of creating an individualized program and allow you to do an internship for credit. The program requires students to do their own research and it allows you to explore academically outside of the classes.
Review Course Description for more information regarding course offerings.
General Education Information for UAlbany Students
Credits earned on this program will automatically satisfy the International Perspectives requirement. Three credits of foreign language study will satisfy the Foreign Language requirement. No additional approval is required for you to earn these general elective credits.
Major/Minor Information for UAlbany Students
Courses may also satisfy major and minor requirements, upon approval by the department.
All courses taken abroad count towards UAlbany General Elective credits. Credits and grades will appear on your UAlbany transcript. You may file a request to have additional courses approved for equivalency as necessary.
You will live with families in Marianao, located on the southwest side of Havana, about 20 minutes from the city center. It is a popular barrio with a large Afro-Cuban population. Families are carefully screened by on-site staff. Homestays provide you with a unique opportunity to learn firsthand from Cuban families while also improving your Spanish.
There will be two types of internet access available in Cuba. At the Universidad de Ciencias Pedagogicas there will be sporadic access. It is VERY slow. You won’t be able to access pages with lots of graphics or videos, and you will not be able to access email clients like Yahoo or most university based accounts. You are encouraged to open a Gmail account set to download html format only.
The second type of email access can be found at WIFI spots around Havana. It costs $2 per hour and it is much faster than that available at the Universidad de Ciencias Pedagogicas. Depending on the availability of bandwidth on any particular day, you may or may not be able to do things like register for classes or access homepages with lots of bells and whistles. Telephone service is readily available to the US at a cost of about US$1.50 per minute, using phone cards that can be purchased in Cuba. Some US cell phone companies have a roaming service in Cuba, check with your provider for available services.
You will live in a host family that provides you breakfast and dinner. For lunch, you will usually eat with friends on the program from all over the United States. You will be eating so much Cuban food for the three months you are there.
Estimate of Costs
For reference, review the Academic Year 2019-20 Estimate of Costs
Click for more information on Program Costs and Financial Aid.
Remember to speak with the Office of Financial Aid at your home campus to determine how your aid package could apply towards your program abroad.
You must have a 2.5 GPA or above. You should have some experience in the Spanish language prior to you leaving for the program. You must be in good academic standing in order to apply. Applications are welcome from students in all majors. The AUSM team will interview you by phone as part of the application process. Please note: YOU MUST BE ENROLLED AS A DEGREE-SEEKING STUDENT AT UALBANY OR ANOTHER SCHOOL TO PARTICIPATE ON THIS PROGRAM!
This program will take you to a number of events while you are in Cuba. You will certainly enjoy your time there. In the past, students have gone to the following in one semester.
- Sabado de la Rumba (Saturday street dance)
- Baseball Game
- Varadero Beach
- Volunteer work on community construction
- International School of Medicine
- Santiago, Cuba
Most financial aid and academic awards will apply to semester programs.
External scholarships, listed on our website, are a good way to partially fund your study abroad experience. In addition, the Center for International Education and Global Strategy offers two scholarship programs for UAlbany students studying abroad on UAlbany or 4-year SUNY programs.
More information on applying to these scholarships is located on the Scholarships web page.
In Their Own Words
I studied abroad in Cuba Spring 2018 semester and loved every moment of it. Living in a socialist society with no 24 hour access to Wi-Fi really made me appreciate the real connections formed and truly living in the moment. I lived with a lovely host family with a roommate and learned so much from them as well. They really took us in and treated us like family. Also learning from Cuban professors provided a different perspective and outlook on the relationship between the USA and Cuba and the political climate of each country.
Maria F., Public Policy
About the City
You will encounter a reality in Cuba unlike anything you have experienced. The total absence of commercial advertisements, the existence of mass organizations structured by the State, a continually evolving socialist revolution that includes free health care and education (imagine no student loans!), lack of ready access to many consumer goods, strong communities and tight family structures – all these things and many more will quickly turn your world upside down.
A valid passport is required to participate in this program. To enter Cuba, you will need to have a VISA. This process is fairly simple. When you book your flight, you will get an e-mail from the airlines stating that you need a VISA.More information regarding the visa application process is available upon acceptance to the program.
Applications become available online one semester before the program start date, based on the following timeline:
- Spring program: July
- Fall/Year/Summer programs: December
02/03/2019 to 05/03/2019
09/01/2019 to 11/29/2019
01/26/2020 to 04/24/2020
About the Program
The University at Albany offers a unique opportunity to study the history, culture and politics of Cuba, plus intensive Spanish language classes. The program includes academic classes combined with experiential learning and cultural experiences. Learn from some of Cuba’s leading intellectuals, political figures and cultural icons. The program is based in Havana at home stays with Cuban families with frequent trips outside the capitol to visit farming and fishing cooperatives, historic sites, environmental projects, and tourist centers.
Upon acceptance to the program, you will be required to attend a mandatory pre-departure orientation. During this time, you will have the opportunity to meet other program participants, discuss in-depth the details of your program, and prepare of the overall education abroad experience. The fall semester pre-departure orientation will be conducted the Saturday before the end of Spring UAlbany classes and in late November/early December for the spring term abroad.
Upon arrival to the AUSM program, you will attend a mandatory program orientation. This is an important and informative set of sessions organized by International Office of your host university.
UAlbany’s Office of Education Abroad staff assists you during the application process, in your preparation to travel abroad, and on-site if necessary.
The AUSM staff serve as an experienced resource for resolving issues that you may encounter in while abroad.