In Santa Clara, we had the opportunity to visit a local high school. This was an extremely rewarding experience. Not only did we get to see what a high school in Cuba looks like, but we also were able to interact on a personal level with our student counterparts. Specifically, we engaged in a discussion on the topic of US-Cuba relations (with an emphasis on the embargo). The discussion was respectful and thoughtful. We listened to their opinions and expressed our own— for the most part, we found that many of our stances intersected nicely with those of the Cuban students. Ultimately, however, as a group we approached a tentative conclusion: that perhaps most important of all is for us to establish and maintain cultural connections between our nations. Thus, in that vein, the topic of our discussion switched to the logistics of school life in Cuba versus in the US, Cuban music and American music (in fact, several of the students sang songs for us including Bruno Mars’ “The Lazy Song”), among other topics. All in all, it was a thought-provoking exchange that I believe left each and every one of us with a more nuanced understanding of Cuba (politics, culture and beyond).
Elena Úbeda, Class VIII