The Cuba-Russia Connection
Studies in Cultural Diplomacy

This Program is Available in:


Neither modern Cuba nor Russia can be appreciated without understanding the wars, revolutions, and political forces they have experienced over the past century. The Cuba-Russia Connection invites students, through selected topics in cultural diplomacy, to become better informed about these two fascinating countries. Cuba and Russia have played important strategic and often interrelated roles in US foreign policy. Moreover, their cultural production in the areas of music, literature, and art has extended beyond the two countries' boundaries to make lasting contributions to the international canons of these forms of human expression. A deeper familiarity with both countries is essential to understanding U.S. interests in today’s complex geopolitical landscape.

Participants in the Cuba-Russia Connection will spend one-and-one-half weeks experiencing Cuba in tradition and transition, and then move to three weeks of course work and excursions in St. Petersburg, Russia. Language study of Spanish and Russian in the respective countries is included in the program, because of its central role in manifesting the ways in which people formulate meaning and conceptualize their world.

The course will include the following topics and themes: the role of cultural diplomacy in understanding politics, war, and revolution; the Russian Orthodox Church as soft power; the arts (music, literature, dance) as cultural diplomacy; the power of environmental issues in fostering cultural diplomacy; and cultural diplomacy through verbal (literature) and visual (filmic) art.

Jump to: Dates and Costs; Photos; Application; Details.

- Dates and Costs -

Summer: $5,695*
May 25– June 28, 2019  (Apply by March 15, 2019)


Program Add-on (special rate):

Russian language study extension in St. Petersburg:
$495 per week - 20 academic hours of Russian per week

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- Scholarships and Funding -

Students may apply for a $500 ACCESS GRANT for this program. Grant participants will be expected to contribute weekly (a total of 3) write-ups of specific program experiences and one program summary video with footage taken while abroad. Write-ups will be about one page long and can include synopsis of lectures or excursions. The summary video review will cover generally what the scholarship participant experienced and learned on this program and how they plan to use this knowledge and experience in the future. The grant is awarded after all conditions are met. 

To apply, send in a 30-second video of yourself saying why you want to study with this program. Submit this plus two writing samples (e.g. papers written for college-level classes, preferably on any topic on any country within Eurasia or on Cuba) when applying for this program (under the materials section of the application).


- Housing and Hosting -

This program is led by by Profs. Valeria Nollan and Anthony Qualin of Texas Tech University. The program is hosted in Cuba by Estudio Sampere and in St. Petersburg, Russia at St. Petersburg State University of Economics. Accommodation in Cuba will be with host families. In St. Petersburg, students will stay in the university dorms.


- Optional Moscow Trip -

Optional Moscow Trip: Estimated Cost: $350
This three-day tour of the Russian capital includes walking tours of the city and other culture-oriented events. Roundtrip rail tickets and hostel stay are included. The trip usually takes place after the main program has ended, meaning that you will have additional time in Russia.


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*Costs: Program costs include tuition for study as outlined, Russian student visa, Cuban visa, pre-departure materials, local orientation, accommodations in home stay or dorm, meals in Cuba (full board), health and accident insurance, round-trip airport transfers, and in-country support. Flights are not included in the program cost. Participants will be expected to arrange flights so as to meet the group at the gateway city selected for the flight to Havana - typically Miami - and to fly together from Havana to St. Petersburg. 

*Academic Credit: A transcript for this course will be issued by St. Petersburg State University of Economics for the course "the Cuba-Russia Connection: Studies in Cultural Diplomacy." Course hours will transfer back to most institutions as three (3) US semester credits. Be sure to check with your home institution for pre-approval and/or verification of credit transfer procedures.

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