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As of 2007, 26,889 international students were studying in Cuba – putting the country firmly on the study-abroad map.
In all, Cuba has more than 60 universities to choose from, all of them public.
Five of these feature in the 2012 QS University Rankings: Latin America:
As in most countries, Cuban higher education is split into three stages – roughly corresponding to the bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral system. The first stage usually lasts at least four years, but five or six for subjects like medicine.
A number of US universities and colleges offer opportunities for students to spend part of their degree studying in Cuba, including the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Burlington College and American University.
Cuba may be relatively small in terms of geographical area, but it’s got a larger-than-life kind of national identity. The Caribbean region in general is known for its tropical climate, beautiful beaches, and laid-back lifestyle – and you’ll find all of these in Cuba.
The largest of the islands in the Caribbean Sea, Cuba is located about 90 miles to the south of the coast of Florida. Its neighboring island nations include The Bahamas, Jamaica, Haiti and the Dominican Republic.
Capital city Havana (Habana in Spanish) is the Caribbean’s largest city, and one of the most charming in the Latin American region. Iconic images of the city include vintage US cars, revolutionary slogans and colourful murals, ration-shop queues and imposing colonial architecture, and of course Cuban cigars, Havana Club rum and Latino dancing.
Beyond Havana, you may consider studying in Santa Clara, home of the Universidad Central Marta Abreu de Las Villas; Santiago de Cuba, which has the Universidad de Oriente; or Cienfuegos, where you’ll find Universidad de Cienfuegos Carlos Rafael Rodríguez.
Many of those choosing to study in Cuba come from other Latin American and Caribbean countries, some of which have government agreements in place to facilitate student mobility.
Other countries have also recognized Cuba’s attractiveness as a higher education exchange partner. For example, South Africa’s Higher Education and Training Department recently signed an agreement to promote academic and student exchanges.
Strained political relations with the US have meant that travel between the two countries hasn’t always been easy, but students and academics are among those exempt from restrictions.
However, funding cuts meant that university enrolments dropped dramatically in the 2011/12 academic year – so if you do fancy studying in Cuba, you’ll probably have to work hard for a place.
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