With the historic visit of President Barack Obama, along with numerous other celebrities who have flocked to the “Pearl of the Carribbean”, -including The Rolling Stones, Beyoncé, Jay-Z and the Kardashians, to name a few,- Cuba is a trendy place to be. Here’s why you, too, should consider not only a visit, but an internship abroad on the beautiful island.
- Take advantage of the historic moment
After over 50 years, commercial flights from the U.S. to Cuba have started again just this year, as The New York Times reports here. There’s no Starbucks on every corner (yet) and no McDonald’s either (also yet).
For some fields, such as journalism, this is a particularly exciting time to report on Cuba. By completing a journalism internship abroad in Cuba, you can get a head-start on your future career, and return home with a portfolio of published work about a country that is continually in the news.
- Boost your CV with a great adventure
An internship abroad will boost your CV and increase your chances of getting hired, as a recent IES study reports. Combine that with a great adventure, traveling to a country that has
been off limits to the general U.S. population for such a long time. Those who have visited Cuba will be able to tell you it is like traveling back in time; cowboys, horses, carriages and more still abound in colonial cities like Trinidad.
- Gain international experience and improve your Spanish
Interning abroad in Cuba is not the same an interning back in the U.S. An article in Entrepreneur.com reported that “the average internship at home doesn’t even begin to compare to living in a foreign city, learning new things and enjoying cultural differences while gaining invaluable career experience.”
International experience can give you a head-start when it comes to future job applications. In upcoming interviews, you can cite examples of the cross-cultural communication skills you acquired when collaborating with the locals, which is particularly useful in career fields such as non-profits, international agencies, and can even come in handy at bilingual law firms, which brings us to the next point.
- Improve your Spanish skills
Spanish is more and more widespread in the U.S., and in some jobs, a requirement. We particularly recommend staying at “casas particulares”, meaning family-owned homes, throughout Cuba. Here, you will have a Cuban family at your disposal at all times, allowing you to gain insight into their local culture, and helping your practice your language skills. Many of them are keen to learn English, so you could even do an “intercambio,” meaning that you speak to them in English for 30 minutes, for example, and then they speak to you in Spanish for another 30 minutes. Be curious and ask lots of questions!
- Experience the local Cuban lifestyle and landscapes
Cuban people are some of the friendliest in the world, as many tourists will tell you. Here’s just a few ideas for what else you could be doing in your free time in Cuba. Some internship programs, such as those we run at RGNN Academy, include many of these directly in the program:
- Visit UNESCO World Heritage sites such as Cienfuegos, Camagüey and Trinidad
- Trace the footsteps of Hemingway in the capital Havana
- Lay on the crystal clear beaches
- Travel through the Viñales Valley to explore sugar and tobacco plantations
- Try your hand at Cuban salsa and listen to Cuban music
- Come watch a Cuban baseball game
- Check out the classic cars in Havana and all across the island
Don’t miss this unique momento to intern abroad in Cuba! You won’t regret it!
About the author
Andoni Bengoechea Puigvert is the International Programs Coordinator at ROOSTERGNN Global News Network and ROOSTERGNN Academy, where he supervises the Travel Journalism & Photography Internship Seminars in Madrid, Spain and Cuba (http://rgnn.org/academy/).