Hampshire in Cuba | www.hampshire.edu

Hampshire in Cuba

Program Availability: Spring Semester (see Eligibility and Prerequisites below)

Hampshire College offers students an exceptional opportunity to study in Havana, Cuba.

In coordination with the global education office, Hampshire faculty, and academic partners in Cuba, students design their own course of study to include the Spanish language; a seminar in contemporary issues in Cuban arts and society; and an individualized project with tutors that will count toward the Division II or III requirement.

Photo by Nicola Chavez-Courtright 08F
Photo by Nicola Chavez-Courtright 08F, Spring 2012 Program Participant

Academic Content

This program presents students with the unique opportunity to develop fully their academic potential within several disciplines. With renowned Cuban writers, historians, visual artists, performance artists, or musicians as tutors, the program caters to each individual student's set of academic goals.

Rather than take on the traditional classroom approach, students work in conjunction with their tutors in directed semester-long projects. Students may intern at their tutors' institutions in order to conduct research, which can enhance projects or theses. Through participation in this program, Hampshire College's tradition of individual, close work with advisors is sustained. Via a series of meetings, students exchange their ideas, discoveries, and developments with their tutors' feedback, thus enriching their studies with the invaluable point of view of experienced scholars.

Student's tutors are members of La Unión Nacional de Escritores y Artistas de Cuba (The National Union of Cuban Writers and Artists) also known as La UNEAC. It serves as an institutional home for many leading Cuban intellectuals and was founded to preserve social justice and national independence within the arts. La UNEAC members are well-known writers and artists in a broad range of fields who work in many important institutions. Tuition fees generated by this program directly support la UNEAC's efforts. Collaborators have included Nelson Rodriguez, editor; Alfredo Prieto, editor of Temas magazine; and Juan Valdes Paz, writer.

In addition to the independent projects, students are also required to participate in an advanced Spanish class, as well as a formal course on Cuba and Cuban culture, co-taught by Hampshire and Cuban faculty. These courses help students assimilate the Cuban experience into their semester projects by providing opportunities for more in depth cultural integration.

Photo of a painting and plants


Housing is arranged for students in a family-stay situation. Students can request to live independently or with other students. All housing options are centrally located in the Vedado neighborhood of Havana.

Photo of a street in Havana
Havana Street Scene

Program Costs

Hampshire Exchange Fees and Financial Aid provides detailed information on the fee policy, withdrawal policy and how financial aid may apply.

  • Tuition Fees: Paid to Hampshire. Students are required to have health insurance with international coverage, either through Hampshire's Koster insurance or otherwise. Additional insurance in Cuba is covered by the program.
  • Housing and Meals Fees: Covered by Hampshire
  • Other expenses: Students are responsible for the cost of passport and visa fees; international and local transportation including airfare; books and supplies; travel insurance; and personal expenses. GEO provides each Cuba program participant with a stipend for living expenses. A travel stipend may also be awarded by GEO to offset the cost of airfare.


UPDATE: This program is now open to eligible Five College students (Smith College, Mount Holyoke College, Amherst College, and the University of Massachusetts Amherst).  

Spring Term: Open to Div II students and first semester Div III students at Hampshire.
Fall Term: Open only to Div III students at Hampshire with previous participation in the Cuba program or equivalent experience.

All applicants must be in good academic and behavioral standing. Detailed information on Hampshire eligibility requirements and policies is available under the Eligibility Requirements in the Exchange, Field Study, and Short-term Field Course section of the Hampshire College Handbook.


  • Intermediate Spanish language skills are required to participate.
  • Students should also have a clear idea of the project they wish to pursue, as arrangements for tutors need to be made prior to arrival in Cuba.
  • Students for this program are required to take a prerequisite course about Cuba (CSI274 Cuba: Revolution and Its Discontents) usually taught in the fall semester (the semester prior to leaving), or a similar course that is approved by the faculty in residence.
  • Please contact the faculty for more details.

How to Apply

  1. Meet with the GEO: Students are required to meet with the GEO program manager for this exchange program before submitting an application.  Call 413.559.5542 to make an appointment.
  2. Review Independent Study Project Description (pdf) and Tips for Creating Your Project Proposal (pdf).
  3. Review Applying to a Hampshire Exchange Program: Includes deadlines, application instructions, requirements, and procedures.
  4. Apply now: Students apply online through HampGOES (Hampshire's Global Experience System).


Contact the GEO program manager:

Katie Irwin

Faculty Contacts

If you would like to hear more about the academic content and options for the Cuba program, please contact one of these faculty members.

Carollee Bengelsdorf
Professor of Politics
School of Critical Social Inquiry

Roosbelinda Cárdenas
Professor of Latin American Studies
School of Critical Social Inquiry

Margaret Cerullo
Professor of Sociology
School of Critical Social Inquiry

Michele Hardesty
Professor of U.S. Literatures
School of Humanities, Arts, and Cultural Studies

Jacqueline Hayden
Professor of Film and Photography
School of Humanities, Arts, and Cultural Studies

Flavio Risech
Associate Professor of Law
School of Critical Social Inquiry

Stay In Touch
With The Global Education Office (GEO)
Snail Mail
Global Education Office
Hampshire College
893 West Street
Amherst, MA 01002
Phone + Email
Fax: 413.559.6173