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Published:

May 15, 2015
 
Tagged: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Communications, Center for International Education

Leaving on a Jet Plane—to Cuba

Newsletter


 

Cuba. We are going.


The-Front-Page-Newsletter-Spring-2015-final-draft3-9Students who opted to sign up for a unique and adventurous 2016 winter session are currently studying abroad in a country that for decades has been out of bounds for most American visitors. The three-credit communications course will have students serve as reporters and videographers as they explore what is the largest island in the Caribbean—and the most controversial in its relations to the United States.

The course runs from January 5–16, 2016, and credits earned go towards the spring semester. The Cost: $4,200, that includes tuition for course credits, airfare, and all accommodations.

The recent decision by the Obama administration to re-establish diplomatic relations with Cuba, some 90 miles off the coast of the United States, has given Adelphi the opportunity to expand its growing study abroad program. Professors John Drew and Mark Grabowski will be leading the trip. Students will have the opportunity to learn about travel writing and foreign correspondence through hands-on experience as print and video reporters. Students in Cuba will interview, report and produce stories about Cuban life—meet media professionals, explore Cuban society, culture and history.

Grabowski says the course raises global awareness and fosters a greater understanding of our diverse cultural life. “This course will be eye-opening and help them develop their intercultural communication skills, which are so important in journalism.”

Sidebar: John Drew—On Cuba

The-Front-Page-Newsletter-Spring-2015-final-draft3-10John Drew, a first-year professor in the Communications Department, has brought an international perspective to the program. Here he discusses the significance of the recent decision by the Obama administration to open diplomatic doors with Cuba, and what this new opportunity means to Adelphi students.

The recent decision by the Obama administration to re-establish diplomatic relations with Cuba is nothing short of historic. More than half a century has elapsed since the U.S. imposed the critically debilitating U.S. economic embargo on Cuba in response to the Cuban revolution and U.S. fears of global communism. As a result of these complex international factors, and many others, two countries separated by a mere 90 miles of distance have experienced radically different social, economic, political and cultural trajectories. Indeed, there are few other countries in the world in such close proximity of one another with such disparate political ecologies, and yet, with the advent of the first U.S. commercial flights to Cuba already being marketed by travel sites like cheapair.com, the two nations are poised to become genuine and interactive neighbors, the implications of which cannot be understated.

Cuba, the largest island in the Caribbean, is an emerging market that U.S. companies have their eyes on for decades. Meanwhile, Cubans are starved for basic goods and could stand to benefit dramatically from more fluid economic relations, but major questions remain. For example, Cuba has managed to prevent guns and gun violence from penetrating their borders as a result of strategic and laudable national public policy initiatives but some argue that more open economic relations with U.S. companies and U.S. citizens could change this remarkable set of social circumstances.

In sum, putting Adelphi students on the ground in Havana and surrounding regions with the opportunity to hear from some of the most prominent voices within the Cuban government, the international media and non-profit sector will provide unprecedented access to this historical moment in U.S.- Cuban relations, and as a consequence, provide students with an incredibly nuanced and rich learning ground in which to consider global relations and socio-political ideologies more broadly. It is one thing to study socialism vs capitalism in a history class, for example, but it is an entirely another thing to witness the divergences first hand. Long Island and Havana couldn’t be more different in fact, and yet, the Cuban people are so incredibly open to sharing their unique national history with visitors to their land that it is difficult not to leave Havana with a heavy heart. Put bluntly, to fail to take advantage of this contemporary historical period between two radically different countries would represent a failure to leverage one of the most unique international learning opportunities U.S. universities have ever had.


This article appeared in the Spring 2015 edition of The Front Page, the Department of Communications newsletter, and was updated early January 2016 to reflect that the participating students are currently traveling abroad.

 

For further information, please contact:

Department of Communications
p – 516.877.4905

Tagged: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Communications, Center for International Education
 
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