I’ve been in Havana for a day and a half now and it feels surreal. Everyone here has been incredibly kind and friendly. After living in a city for almost three years, I expected Havana to be a bit overwhelming but luckily that has not been the case thus far. I am staying in Vedado, a smaller neighborhood in the city not too far away from central Havana. The past two days have been pretty relaxed for the most part, which I appreciate since this is my first trip outside of The States. Havana is also an extremely aesthetically pleasing city. Every street that I walk down is scenic and marvelous.
I have limited internet access, which is a major adjustment that I am experiencing as a Millennial/Gen Z-person. As frustrating as it can be, it is also nice to start being less connected to my phone and social media, mostly using it as a means for communication with friends and family. It makes me reminiscent of my middle school days when we could only text people on our phones and social media was still limited. The director of the program says that our phone habits will change when we get back to The States and I am interested to see if that will be true.
Tomorrow I have a Spanish placement class at the University of Havana, where I will have Spanish class for the next two weeks. I am nervous because I do not know if I will be placed into the Spanish class that I want to be placed into. I have not been speaking Spanish as frequently as I would like to, but I have been thinking more in Spanish, which is good. Next week I will start my class on US-Cuban relations, which I am interested to learn more about since my knowledge is minimal. To prepare for this, I watched The Cuba Libre Story on Netflix, which is an 8-part documentary series about the political history of Cuba starting in the late 1800s until the present day. Knowing that Cuban education is very rigorous, I hope that the teaching styles are not too different from teaching in the US. But I am also curious to learn in a new educational environment.
Later this week, we will start to see more of Havana and what the city has to offer and I am very excited for that, as well as engaging more with the Cuban people and their culture.