Hampshire in Cuba

Program Details

Location: Havana, Cuba
Term: Spring (end of January to end of April); Fall term for Div III students is currently prohibited due to changes in Cuba travel regulations effective November 2017.
Partner Institution: Fundación Alejo Carpentier
Housing: Family-stay
Type of Program: Hampshire Signature
Languages of Instruction: Spanish and English
Prerequisites: Intermediate Spanish language skills (two semesters college-level Spanish) and CSI274 Cuba: Nation, Race, and Revolution or equivalent course
Fields of Study: Many options, most common: Latin American studies; race, gender, and ethnic studies; studio and performing arts; literature and creative writing; art history and archival studies; architecture and urban studies

View Spring 2019 Student Reflections

Watch Dylan Fitzwater's Study Abroad Video

About the Program

This program presents students with the unique opportunity to develop their academic potential within several disciplines. Working with the Hampshire faculty director and renowned Cuban writers, historians, visual artists, performance artists, or musicians as tutors, participants are able to pursue their own set of academic goals through an independent study project they design and implement throughout the semester. The video below offers perspectives about the Exchange from four of the program's tutors in 2018.

Listen to Cuba Tutors' Perspectives

Hampshire's Partner in Cuba

Hampshire works in partnership with the Fundación Alejo Carpentier (FAC) in Havana, Cuba. Hampshire College’s connection to this institution allows students to receive independent tutoring and project supervision from Cuba’s most prominent intellectuals and artists, while the tuition fees generated go directly to helping the Foundation restore Carpentier’s personal library, publish books, grant scholarships to Cuban researchers, and supply its offices with better equipment to facilitate its ongoing work. Past collaborators/tutors have included Nelson Rodriguez, editor; Alfredo Prieto, editor of Temas magazine; and Juan Valdes Paz, writer; Rafael Rodríguez Beltrán, vice president of the Alejo Carpentier Foundation. 

For more information about the Alejo Carpentier Foundation and other collaborating partners, please visit Our Partners in Cuba.

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

Academics and Curriculum

The Independent Study Project: Rather than take on the traditional classroom approach, students work in conjunction with their tutors to design and execute a semester-long independent study project during which they are engaged in a wide range of activities that may include  historical research, ethnographic field work, arts performance or practice, literary study or archival work (to name a few). Through participation in this program, Hampshire College's tradition of individualized work and collaboration 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. For more information, please review the Independent Study Project Proposal and Tips for Creating your Proposal.

Additional coursework: In addition to the independent study project, students are also required to participate in a Spanish class, a formal course on Cuba and Cuban culture, co-taught by Hampshire and Cuban faculty, and a seminar designed to support the students’ projects and their process. These courses help students assimilate the Cuban experience into their semester projects by providing opportunities for more in depth cultural integration.

Housing and Meals

Housing is arranged for students in “Casas Particulares," which is a mixture of a home stay and a guesthouse situation. Students can request to live independently or with other students. All housing options are centrally located in the iconic Vedado neighborhood of Havana. As part of the program students are provided breakfast and dinner. A small living stipend is given to students to cover other food and living expenses in Cuba. 

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.

  • Hampshire Fees: Students are billed for Hampshire tuition and room and board. Comprehensive fee covers tuition expenses, housing, meals, Cuba insurance, visa fees, and occasional excursions.
  • Other expenses: passport fees, international and local transportation including airfare, books and supplies, laundry, and health insurance with international coverage 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. For more information, please see the Cuba Program Expense worksheet.


  • Hampshire College students must be Division II or first-semester Division III. Five College students; other students must be in their sophomore or junior years.
  • All applicants must be in good standing at their home institutions.
  • Prerequisite course about Cuba: Hampshire College CSI274 Cuba: Nation, Race, and Revolution, or equivalent course.
  • Review detailed information on eligibility requirements and policies in the Hampshire College Handbook under Exchange, Field Study, and Short-term Field Courses.

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 Applying to a Hampshire Exchange Program: Includes deadlines, application instructions, requirements, and procedures.
  3. Review Cuba Program Supplemental Application Instructions: An instruction sheet designed to assist you in completing the supplemental information for Cuba on the online application
  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.

Margaret Cerullo
Professor of Sociology
School of Critical Social Inquiry

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

Flavio Risech
Professor of Law and Ethnic Studies
School of Critical Social Inquiry

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

Carollee Bengelsdorf
Professor Emerita of Politics
School of Critical Social Inquiry

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


Stay In Touch
With The Global Education Office (GEO)
Snail Mail
Global Education Office
Hampshire College
893 West Street
Amherst, MA 01002