Delta students travel to Cuba

by  Phoebe Fries, page editor. 

At a senior citizen center in Santa Clara, residents teach guests, including Delta student Benicia Garcia, far right, to do the Cuban national dance - the cha-cha. (Photo courtesy Crystal McMorris)

At a senior citizen center in Santa Clara, residents teach guests, including Delta student Benicia Garcia, far right, to do the Cuban national dance – the cha-cha. (Photo courtesy Crystal McMorris)

Several students and faculty members traveled to Cuba over spring break March 3 through 11 as part of Delta’s study abroad experience.

According to Felicia Peters, Delta professor and trip leader, the small group that traveled to Cuba consisted of herself, Delta professor Crystal McMorris, two Delta students and some community members.

The group toured several cities, including Havana, Trinidad, Cienfuegos and Santa Clara. According to Peters, within those cities the group visited many educational sites such as Revolutionary Square, the University of Havana, and several museums.

Peters says that learning and watching the talent that the young Cubans had was one of her favorite experiences. She states that visiting a primary school where the children studied music and art was a highlight of the trip.

“The strong and empowering art that came from the young students was inspirational. A young student, who had only played the violin for two years, played such a beautiful and moving piece. The time and effort put in by these students was unbelievable,” says Peters.

Delta College student Chad Bishop, 23, says his favorite part of the trip was dancing with the locals one night.

“Cuban residence put an enormous amount of effort into any activity they attempted, which was inspiring. They put 110 percent into everything they do and I think that was one of the best lessons I took away from the experience, ” explains Bishop.

According to Peters, the strengthening of relations between the United States and Cuba was a major reason why the trip was planned.

Bishop says, “I think it was interesting to experience another culture, especially a country that hasn’t always had the best relationship with the United States. Now looking into the situation with a widened lens, I am curious what the country is going to be like in the next couple of years.”

Peters also commented on the sustainability of Cuba.

“Along the countryside, although the people of Cuba didn’t have a lot, they were very proud of what they did have. They were able to do so much with so little resources,” says Peters.

She continues by saying, “Cuba is primarily organic. The embargo that was imposed blocked pesticides and other agricultural equipment from entering the country, so they had to look at other ways to survive.”

“When students study abroad it gives them the sense of how others live,” says Peters.

She continues by expanding on the political differences that Cuba and the United States have. Peters explains that students can learn by comparing the freedoms the United States has with other countries.

Peters says, “I think it’s important for students to be open-minded and to broaden their horizons to how others live.”

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