Eckerd students head to Cuba and points beyond in record numbers

January 5, 2016

Nearly 80 Eckerd College students travel to Cuba in the coming days to study science, the environment, economics and photography.

Students pose at Guantanamo Bay during the Winter Term 2015 economics class trip to Cuba

Students pose at Guantanamo Bay during the Winter Term 2015 economics class trip to Cuba.

They are among 375 students in 22 Eckerd College classes who will study abroad during Winter Term this month, the largest number in Eckerd’s history.

Last year, 18 Eckerd students spent two weeks studying the Cuban economy during a particularly historic time. The students visited Guantanamo Bay the same day the United States held its first talks in Havana to normalize relations.

A marine science class spent two weeks this summer studying manatees, coral reefs and lion fish at the Isle of Youth, led by Associate Marine Science and Biology Professor William A. Szelistowski. He will lead another class there this month to continue the research begun last summer with students and faculty from the University of Havana.

Visual Arts Professor Kirk Ke Wang will lead a photography class in Havana that leaves for two weeks beginning Tuesday. Marine Science Professor Gregg Brooks leaves today to lead a class studying the natural sciences and culture of Cuba. Economics Professor Peter Hammerschmidt, who led a class to Cuba last year, returns for two weeks beginning Saturday to study the Cuban economy.

In addition, the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Eckerd will send a group of adult learners to Havana Jan. 23-29 to study the art, history and landscape of the island nation and meet with government and cultural representatives.

“These are exciting times in Cuba, and Eckerd is proud to offer our students opportunities to learn more about the country in ways they could never get in the classroom,” said Dean of Faculty Suzan Harrison. “We look forward to many years of collaborative study and research there.”