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The capital and largest city of the island nation of Cuba, Havana has a long and storied past. The city was chartered by King Phillip II of Spain in 1592, and was recognized by royal decree in 1634 as the “Key to the New World.” Due to its historic role as a trading port, Havana often fell prey to attacks by pirates and buccaneers, leading to the construction of a series of forts that can still be visited today – the most famous of these being “El Morro Fortress.”

The city expanded greatly during the 17th century, growing to be the third largest city in the Americas by the middle of the 18th century; indeed, it was larger than Boston and New York at the time! The 19th century saw the construction of the railroad (the fifth in the world) and of various cultural arenas (theaters, lyceum, etc.) that hosted influential exhibits and performances throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. Today the city continues to promote the arts with numerous international arts and music festivals each year, including the Havana International Jazz Festival, the International Havana Ballet Festival, the Havana International Film Festival, and more! Although Havana is a metropolitan hub on the island, it is easy to access Cuba's abundant natural beauty from the capital (including a UNESCO Biosphere within 45 minutes, and swimming, hiking, and beautiful beaches within 20 minutes). The abundance of American cars from the 1940s and 1950s on the streets, a mixture of colonial, baroque, eclectic, art deco and modern architecture, the warmth of its people, and the breeze of the sea everywhere make Havana an enchanting city.

Students who want to study abroad in Havana with API have a number of options, including programs during the semester, January term, and summer at the Universidad de La Habana.

Students in Havana will have the opportunity to study Spanish language, Cuban culture, and humanities at the prestigious Universidad de La Habana. Founded in 1728, the Universidad de La Habana is the oldest university in Cuba and one of the first to be founded in the Americas. Originally a religious institution, today it hosts over 15 colleges/faculties spanning the disciplines in the natural sciences, social sciences and humanities, and business.

Come explore one of our closest neighbors, and experience the vibrancy of Cuba through study abroad in Havana!

“I am definitely getting out of Cuba with a new perspective about the world and about myself. Cuba was a necessary step for me to find the world, life, and passion that I needed."

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Dulce L API in Havana, Cuba

U.S. Staff

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Lauren Daniels

Lauren Daniels will be your Program Manager for this location and will prepare you to go abroad with us!


On-Site Staff

Amberly Ellis Rodríguez

Amberly Ellis-Rodriguez

Amberly Ellis-Rodriguez will be your Resident Director in Havana and a resource for you on-site.