WKU students to visit Cuba during winter term 2014

Cuba, winter 2013/2014, Ernest Hemingway home, Havana

Participants in a WKU Winter Term 2013 course in Cuba visited Finca Vigia, Ernest Hemingway’s home until 1961 outside of Havana. A second Faculty-Led Study Abroad program to Cuba is planned for Winter Term 2014.

WKU students and faculty leaders are headed back to Cuba during Winter Term 2014 through the WKU Faculty-Led Study Abroad (FLSA) program.

Participants in a WKU Winter Term 2013 course in Cuba visited Finca Vigia, Ernest Hemingway’s home until 1961 outside of Havana. A second Faculty-Led Study Abroad program to Cuba is planned for Winter Term 2014.

WKU English Professor Walker Rutledge and Study Abroad Advisor Katherine Hale will lead a group of 14 to 20 students in the two-week “Cuban Literature & Culture” course this January.

This is the second Cuban program offered by FLSA. The first program was offered during Winter Term 2013 and focused on agriculture, art and literature, as well as restrictions on personal freedoms of its citizens. According to the program leaders, this course will focus more on individual contact with Cubans with the goal of building a better understanding between the United States and Cuba and the role literature plays in expressing Cuban culture.

“Cuba has a rich cultural heritage that is little know to the rest of the world, especially Americans, due to the country’s isolation resulting from communist rule and U.S. sanctions,” Hale said. “Visiting Cuba is like stepping back in time, and it’s interesting for students to explore such a different cultural, historical and political landscape.”

Rutledge said that the works of Ernest Hemingway remain a centerpiece of the program, but the addition of contemporary Cuban authors will offer a more current view of literature in Cuba. The group will also meet Cuban artists, dancers, and architectural experts to provide context to the daily lives of Cubans. Rutledge added that he believes such a program is important since Cuba is our nearest Caribbean neighbor, yet most Americans know little about it.

“To lead an on-site study-tour of Cuba with truly engaged students is to experience the shared joys of intellectual discovery,” Rutledge said.

While travel to Cuba by Americans continues to be limited, universities are able to conduct short-term college-level courses in Cuba. This enables WKU to offer courses in challenging locations such as Cuba.

WKU Study Away administers Faculty-Led Study Abroad programs in partnership with faculty and staff program leaders, their academic units, Study Abroad & Global Learning and the Office of International Programs. Study Away is a unit of Extended Learning & Outreach.

Learn more about faculty-led study abroad at www.wku.edu/flsa or contact Jerry Barnaby at facultyled.abroad@wku.edu or 270-745-2231.

Contact: Susan Esters, (270) 745-8922.

(Source: WKU News, Sep 3, 2013)

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