Cuba in Transition: Video Transcript

Katie Mark [Zoology major, Class of 2014]: All throughout my life, being born and raised in Miami, Florida, I was exposed to the U.S.-Cuba political tension a lot. So I thought it would be a great idea to go there and see what it was like.

Melanie Ziegler, PhD [Senior Lecturer of International Studies and Chief Departmental Advisor]: One of the major reasons we were anxious to take students to Cuba was the idea that this Cuba is in transition, and that it's going to disappear at some point, and it could possibly change very rapidly, and then there would never be a possibility for people of this generation to see what Cuba was like for decades and decades.

Juan Carlos Albarrán [Lecturer of Latin American, Latino/a, and Caribbean Studies]: Going to Cuba is very personal to me. I want to show to my students and my colleagues the opportunity to get as deep as we can immersed in other countries' cultures.

Christy Winters [International Studies and Spanish majors, Class of 2016]: I was very interested to see the political changes going on in Cuba and to experience the language.

Domenic Fish [International Studies major, Class of 2015]: Now that I'm studying Cuba and looking at some of the problems that have existed between Cuba and the U.S., I understand a lot more.

Katie Mark: There were multiple experiences that were pretty eye-opening. I would say one of the coolest ones was swimming in the Bay of Pigs.

Christy Winters: Going to the Museum of the Revolution, about the Cuban Revolution …

Erin O'Neal [International Studies and Latin American Studies majors, Class of 2015]: It's all in Spanish, but there's all these different phrases about American imperialism, and American aggression.

Domenic Fish: I had expected them to kind of showcase the defeat of the U.S. in this battle, and it really wasn't like that.

Erin O'Neal: It's interesting to see it from the other side, to see it from the Cuban side, rather than our view that we've had all our lives.

Domenic Fish: It was more of a place where they remembered their Cubans that they lost and I thought that spoke a lot about Cuban culture.

Christy Winters: It was also interesting to see how the embargo affected people, because that's a really big thing that we study in international studies.

Juan Carlos Albarrán: We were very interested in showcasing not only the touristic aspects of Cuba, but also the complexities now after 50 years of being led by a one-party system, by one person.

Melanie Ziegler: Our hope is that they will return, and that in the years to come they will have a very interesting perspective that many people would no longer have.

Erin O'Neal: Even though our governments are clashing and have been for so long, the Cuban people were very open to having Americans there, and we were always treated very well. I would go back in a heartbeat, I really would.

[February 2014]