Program Overview

Each spring, a select group of Princeton students with advanced Spanish-language skills (SPA 207, or equivalent) spend a full semester studying in Havana. Designed and led by our faculty, the program combines serious academics with deep immersion, fostering a new understanding of this fast-changing country. Participants enjoy Princeton-designed coursework, opportunities to study alongside Cuban University students, and travel experiences that venture beyond the urban center. 

About the Program


The program experience involves the completion of four credit-granting courses, all of which are taught in Spanish. Two are led by Princeton faculty. Two are taught at the University of Havana or other local institutions. The result is a challenging, yet enlightening semester that reveals the complexity and dynamism of contemporary Cuban culture.

Led by Princeton Professor Adrián López Denis

Princeton Professor Adrián López Denis, lecturer at PLAS and Resident Director for the Princeton in Cuba program, was born in Havana. He has a Ph.D. in Latin American History from UCLA and a masters in Economics from Carleton University. He also completed a masters in Latin American Studies and two bachelors, one in library sciences and the other in biology, at the University of Havana. His recent Princeton in Cuba courses have included:

  • "Race Relations in Twentieth Century Cuba"
  • "Medicine and Society in Contemporary Cuba"

Cultural Engagement

Students reside in local guest houses, where daily life in Havana is experienced firsthand. Relationships are also developed with Cuban classmates. Throughout their stay, students are encouraged to explore the city's numerous museums, galleries, and cultural institutions, gaining appreciation for the city's deep artistic, intellectual, and historic traditions.


A weeklong journey during the semester reveals the Cuban world outside of the city. Previous trips have included visits to cities such as Santiago de Cuba, Camagüey, and Trinidad.

Study in Havana

Havana is the cultural, educational, and industrial center of the island. Contemporary Havana can be described as three cities in one: Old Havana, Vedado, and the newer suburban districts. Old Havana, with its narrow streets and overhanging balconies, is the traditional center of commerce, industry, and entertainment, as well as being a residential area. Vedado, where Princeton students live, is a newer section that has become a rival to Old Havana for commercial activity and nightlife. A third Havana is that of the more affluent residential and industrial districts that spread out mostly to the west of the city.

The University of Havana

Founded in 1728, the University of Havana (UH) is the leading academic institution in Cuba. The main campus of UH is on the edge of the historic center of Havana in the Vedado neighborhood. The University is organized into three divisions—Natural Sciences, Humanities, and Social Sciences and Economics—and has a total of 15 faculties and 14 research centers. Twenty-five majors are taught and approximately 6,000 degree students are enrolled in regular classes each year. Courses are taught on a semester basis, with each period lasting 16 weeks.

Program and Class Schedule

Check back soon for 2018 program details.