Incoming Cuba Fellows (Summer 2017)

* with quotes on why they initially wanted to become Cuba Fellows *

If you come on The Cuba Fellowship this summer, here are a few of the classmates you will join!


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Alicia, Whittier College

Senior. Studies: Political Science

"I have traveled to Germany, the Czech Republic, Mexico, Italy, France, and Peru. I absolutely love to travel to new places and am always ready for adventure. This fellowship is especially interesting to me because of the relations the US has had with Cuba in the past. I took a class about Cuba and have been mesmerized by the culture ever since. I look forward to connecting with locals and making new friends within the fellowship. This would complete my college experience and would enrich my life. I truly believe travel is the best way to grow and learn in your 20s."

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Sophomore. Studies: Mechanical Engineering, Economics

"The Cuban culture in my family is very strong, with my late grandfather being from Havana and my grandmother from Ciego de Avila. Both of my grandparents fled as children during the "Pedro Pan" flights in the 1960s, and my grandmother always recalls stories where her family would help Castro's rebels, and they would enter her house with full military outfit and guns. Ciego de Avila was near the mountains where Castro's guerrilla operation was located, and the rich and vivid history behind her stories interests me greatly. I want to experience Cuba and visit my grandfather / grandmother's old houses and see what it is like to live in Cuba firsthand."


Kaila, Wayne State university

Junior. Studies: Marketing Management

"My first study abroad experience in Italy had a significant impact on my life educationally and personally. I believe The Cuba Fellowship will continue to expand my personal views and build my confidence by putting me out of my comfort zone. The Cuba Fellowship program will give me a chance to enrich my life with new knowledge. As a marketing major, I am looking to obtain opportunities that will help me develop a unique perspective on many different aspects of the world like business, entertainment, and culture.  I plan to use my education to become a part of the business field."

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AVA, University of MICHIGAN

Senior. Studies: Spanish, International Studies

"I am dying to go to Cuba. My academic interests have centered largely around Latin American studies over my past four years in college, with Cuba being at the forefront of my interests. The Cuban Revolution is a historical event that I have found fascinating to study; this attraction only deepened when I had the opportunity to take a class all about Cuba and its diaspora ... I have spoken Spanish for almost as long as I can remember, as I started learning Spanish in kindergarten. I really loved learning the language and pursued it through high school, through the International Baccalaureate Programme."

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LOUIS, University of Rochester

Junior. Studies: Business, Computer Science, Italian

"For me, Cuba is a place where the possibilities are endless. For as long as I can remember, I have been intrigued by the island’s history and political situation. I think that this program would be an excellent addition to my college experience. As a business major, I’m very interested in observing the Cuban economic situation firsthand. I look forward to meeting and interacting with everyday Cubans who are largely unaffected by American, and other foreign influence. I’m also excited to put my years of Spanish language learning to the test... That’s why the Cuba Fellowship is the perfect opportunity for me."

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JAZZMINA, University of Arizona

Senior. Studies: Agribusiness Economics & Management, Latin American Studies, Spanish, and Business Administration

"Born and raised in the border town of Tucson, Arizona I have longed for adventure and more cultural awareness. I am the first in my family to attend a four-year university not to mention I am the youngest and only girl of three. In the town I grow up in everyone thought the same, dressed the same and lacked diversity. I am interested in The Cuba Fellowship because this is an opportunity for me to get exposure to a country with opportunities to learn from the people, music, government, and culture. "


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ERIKA, Trinity College

Junior. Studies: International Studies, Human Rights, Arabic

"I have traveled extensively, to more than 65 countries, on 6 continents... I am a firm believer that international travel is one of the best ways to learn and gain experience outside of the classroom, and the Caribbean is a region of the world that I have never had the chance to explore... I am fascinated to uncover, for myself, what has been hidden away from the American people for half a century. I believe that having this opportunity to study in Cuba would also be a huge benefit to my college, as we have an incredible international studies concentration that focuses on Latin American and Caribbean studies. However, no programs are offered that allow students interested in this discipline to explore Cuba, a nation that plays a huge role in this field of study."


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Sage, George Washington University

Sophomore. Studies: Political Science, International Affairs, Conflict Resolution

"I am extremely excited about and interested in The Cuba Fellowship. I’m most interested in Cuban culture, because Cuba is known for being very diverse with culture from Spain, Africa, France and even Asian influences. Not only the culture of Cuba is important, but to me the politics of Cuba. Although Cuba is still a communist state, it is politically starting to look different than it had 10 years ago. I would love to study the change in Cuban politics, with the borders closed. Potentially, I could write my thesis about the political climate of Cuba. I would be able to have facts and statements by people that I actually talked to in Cuba."



BONNIE, Michigan State University

Senior. Studies: Economics

"Cuba is one of the only countries in the world with socialistic ideology. Compared to others in Asia, Cuba is at the starting level of socialism because of the blockade over the past fifty years, so I want to see their unique situation and how it works. Second, I took a class about Cuban music when I was a sophomore. I was impressed with the culture of this country, and the enthusiasm as well as the positive attitude to life from the local people ... I want to study public policy for my graduate degree. This program will help me to better research and understand socialist countries in the future. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, so I want to explore the country at the best and most suitable time of my life."

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ALEXA, Ithaca college

Senior. Studies: Journalism, Women & Gender Studies 

"I'm graduating in May, and next fall, I begin a service program, City Year, working in classrooms with elementary school students in low-income public schools. In the interim, I had goals of traveling, making new connections, improving my Spanish, and studying the things I never had time for during undergrad. The Cuba Fellowship gives me the opportunity to work on all of these goals -- and learn things that, right now, I haven't even imagined."

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DIVYA, University of Texas (Permian Basin)

Sophomore. Studies: Business Management

"The Cuba Fellowship would allow me the chance to better my Spanish and extend my knowledge of the Cuban culture. This Fellowship presented itself as a blessing to me ... my school life has been dull and I've been needing an adventure to help put me back in the right direction. The Cuba Fellowship will help me by showing me new and exciting things -- I'll meet adventurous people like myself and learn in a great environment. This Fellowship will not only improve my college experience, but also my life."

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LAUREN, University of washington

Sophomore. Studies: Nursing

"I have never studied abroad before and think it's something that everybody should have the opportunity to experience. I like to be engaged and learn new things that fascinate me. I also like the new people and life long relationships you form from there's experiences. I'm a nursing major, so I've always wanted to visit another country and learn more about their health care programs and different pros and cons to it, as well as the comparisons and similarities to mine and others peoples country." 


Jansen, Kansas State University

Freshman. Studies: Agricultural Economics, Spanish

"From the cultural immersion, rich history, new friends, foreign food, intriguing classes, and Cuban people, I am intrigued with what this country has to offer... The experiences I would acquire align with my professional goals. Economics and government has always been of interest to me... A once in a lifetime opportunity like this could bring incredible growth and understanding to my college experience and beyond. Being a Cuba Fellow would mean so much more to me than just the classes and friends."

madi, Texas Woman's University

Junior. Studies: Government, Computer Science, Business

"I think this would be such a great experience because it's a once in a lifetime opportunity since there's no telling if we'll still be allowed into Cuba a few years from now. This would honestly put the icing on the cake of my college experience, and not just because of the fun I know I will have and memories I will make, but also because of it's relation to my concentration area of Government in my General Studies degree."

Other famous men, those of much talk and few deeds, soon evaporate. Action is the dignity of greatness.
— Jose Marti, Cuban poet