5 Reasons to Intern Abroad in Cuba

Capitolio building Havana, Cuba with vintage old american cars

Capitolio building in Havana, Cuba with vintage American cars

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.

  1. 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.

  1. Boost your CV with a great adventure

    TRINIDAD CUBA - SEPTEMBER 12 2015: Cienfuegos is a charming waterfront city situated on the bay of the same name.

    On the way to Trinidad, Cuba, a UNESCO World Heritage city

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.

  1. 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.

  1. Improve your Spanish skills
    Portrait of cuban woman in Havana, Cuba

    Portrait of a Cuban woman in Havana, Cuba

    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!

  1. Experience the local Cuban lifestyle and landscapes
Camaguey Cuba old town listed on UNESCO World Heritage

Camagüey, Cuba, another UNESCO World Heritage Site

Beautiful white cabriolet vintage car before the beach in Varadero Cuba

Beautiful white cabriolet vintage car at the beach in Cuba

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/). Connect with him on RGNN’s social media profiles: Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and Instagram, or sign up for the RGNN Newsletter.

Abroad101 Student of the Week # 9 – Marina Foster

Abroad101.com Student of the WeekOur Abroad101 Student of the Week honor goes to rising high school junior Marina Foster from Texas. At the end of July, Marina will be traveling to Costa Rica to volunteer at Proyecto Asis, an animal rescue center, in the county of San Carlos. For two weeks, Marina will live with a host family and volunteer eight hours a day at the rescue center cleaning and building cages, feeding animals, and taking part in animal surgery, all the while strengthening her Spanish speaking skills. Marina plans to attend college and pursue a career in design and lead an adventerous life of travel. You can learn more about Marina’s Mission here.

The Abroad101 Student of the Week initiative awards a student who created a Mission for a study abroad program on GoEnnounce with a  to their fundraiser. Learn more about this partnership from Abroad101 CEO Mark Shay and GoEnnounce co-founder Melissa Davis here.

We’re making weekly donations to #studyabroad fundraisers! We hope you can help us assist these students in reaching their goals to make their travel dreams a reality. Visit here to help with this mission.

Stay tuned for our next Abroad101 Student of the Week!

– See more at: http://blog.goennounce.com/abroad101-student-of-the-week-0009-marina-foster/#sthash.mQxwxqqF.dpuf

Spanish, Siestas and Sangria: Life in Madrid

The gorgeous view from Palacio de Cibeles

Submitted by Kristen Schlotman, Global Ambassador in Madrid, Spain

 

I have been studying in Madrid for just over a week so far, and it has been absolutely amazing. Our first day was orientation. The program advisors showed us how to get to the Universidad Rey Juan Carlos campus, the ins and outs of Madrid as well as the USAC program. Then we took Spanish language placement exams. I was surprised when I tested into Intermediate Spanish I. I was nervous at first since I hadn’t taken Spanish since my junior year of high school, but it’s not so bad. A lot of the vocabulary and grammar came back very quickly and I definitely feel that I am in the right class level.

One of the best parts about the classes is the size. There are only five of us in my

Spanish keyboard

Intermediate Spanish class, and just two in my Spanish Conversation class. This is really helpful for learning the language. It almost feels as if we have private tutors. My class schedule is really nice as well. I take the metro to campus for class at 9 AM and am done by 12:30 PM every day, just in time to get lunch. The last few days I have been adventuring on the metro to random parts of the city. I will just pick a spot on the map and go. I usually walk around for a bit and then find some café or cerveceria for lunch. It’s fun to sip on sangria on the patio and watch people walk by.

Following lunch, people in the program have been getting together to see the different cultural highlights of the program. Yesterday, we went to Retiro Park and then to the Prado Museum, one of the three major art museums in Madrid. Today we went to another, lesser-known art museum called the Caixaforum. After that we went to a building named the Palacio de Cibeles (pictured above). The building itself isn’t that special, but the top floor has a great view of the city.

View from my homestay at dusk

Depending on what time my roommate and I get back to the homestay, I try to take a late siesta before dinner at 9:30 PM. Dinners with our host parents have allowed me to experience some of the best food of my life. Tortilla Espanola and gazpacho soup are now two of my new favorite dishes.

Madrid is known as a city that never sleeps and I completely agree with that statement. Bars and discotecas don’t become busy until 1 or 2 AM and the night normally ends at 4 AM or later. Last week, most of our program went to Kapital, the famous seven-story nightclub. It was a crazy night and we didn’t get back home until 5 AM. Tonight, I am meeting friends at a wine bar that used to be one of Ernest Hemmingway’s favorite haunts. In the near future, we are leaving to go on a day trip to Segovia, so hopefully I won’t be out too late, but you never know in a city like Madrid!

 

Want to read insider reviews from fellow study abroad students? Click here to find your perfect study abroad program!