Get ready to travel to Cuba: In the coming months, students and tourists alike will be able to visit the oppressed country.
Carnival Cruise line just announced it is planning “social impact” cruises as soon as the Cuban government approves. Similarly, California State University, Fullerton, has been working with the University of Havana’s College of Journalism for a joint program in which students will study abroad and live in Cuba for the semester.
All of these visits must comply with the newly agreed upon sanctions, U.S. Treasury, and Department of Commerce guidelines that permit cultural and humanitarian exchanges with Cuba.
Because “tourism” is still outlawed in Cuba, vacationers will be required to participate in short-term projects, such as teaching English and building water filtration systems, in between their cruising activities.
In order to meet these guidelines, Carnival Cruise line has created an entirely new entity within the company called Fathom. Starting in April of next year, Fathom will “cater to an underserved market of consumers who want to have a positive impact on people’s lives,” Carnival Corp. CEO Arnold Donald told USA Today in June.
On the other hand, Professor Dean Kazoleas, director of the Maxwell Center of International Communications at Cal State, Fullerton, believes Cuban students will benefit more from coming to America.
“When the Cuban faculty members and dean came to visit us, they were really surprised to see that our students were not told what to write about by their teachers,” he said. “In this way, we are trying to develop new ways to develop a voice for the Cuban students.”
It is unclear what American students will learn during their stay in Cuba – perhaps a shocking wake-up to the realities of dictatorship.
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