I have been to Cuba twice now. The first time, I studied abroad for the Spring 2009 semester in Cuba, at Casa de las Americas (español). I returned May-June 2012 as a teaching assistant for Northeastern’s short-term faculty-led program on the subject fo photography.
While there for a semester, I live with 7 other students from Northeastern as well as 9 University of Michigan students. We called our beautiful penthouse in Vedad the Real World House, and it mostly lived up to its name. We went to classes tailor-made for us at Casa de las Americas. NU is one of the few universities in the United States that can legally send students to Cuba. While there, I went to Varadero, Vinales, Pinar del Rio, Santiago de Cuba, Cienguegos, Trinidad, and Matanzas.
As a TA on my most recent trip we lived in Havana, also in Varadero, and went to school at the Centro de Estudias Martianos, which supports the preservation and discussion of Jose Marti’s work and legacy as a poet, political prisoner, dissident and freedom fighter. I live with my students, help them with translation and finding locations to shoot, and accompanied the group to Pinar del Rio and Vinales.
One of my companeros from the Real World House has since grown an amazing organization called Cuba Skate. He started it in 2010, and it aims to bring skate supplies to Cuba, as well as build a skate park there and promote cultural exchange between Americans and Cubans. I am a proud supporter of Cuba Skate, and I suggest you contact Mi les y Lauren if you want to get involved!
Posts on Cuba.
The Globe’s The Big Picture did a Havana-centric entry. I lived in a (gorgeous) apartment overlooking the Malecón, which is shown several times.
And wikipedia for good measure, and those who don’t remember high school Spanish.