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First Impressions – Molly Duncan

When I first arrived in Cuba I was pleased to be met by sun shine and warm weather. I was nervous because I do not have as much practice speaking Spanish as all the other students on the trip. However, my classmates have been very helpful and have been teaching me a lot. I have also noticed that the Cubans I have met are very willing to talk to us and are patient when I am trying to find the right words to say. I was surprised to see what kind of foods the Cubans eat, before I came here I thought they only things they ate were chicken and rice and pork. Well, I was very wrong; we have actually eaten quite a bit of pizza and ice cream. We have only been here for three days but it already feels like we have done a week’s worth of activities. We have explored different places in Havana everyday and have spent time in various places. We visited La Universidad de Havana which is very beautiful. It reminded me of an ancient city because the buildings were very old; the columns gave it a Greco Roman feel with a Caribbean twist. I also got a chance to visit where I will be studying, it is an art institution called ISA. The school is so beautiful and green, back in the 1950s it was a very famous golf course where the mafia and other famous people used to gather. Once Castro took over he put an end to the golf course and turned it into a school. My favorite place in Havana so far is Havana Vieja, which means old Havana. There were many shops and vendors and people of all kinds it gave me a good sense of how Havana grew into such a large city. There were books and magazines being sold from the 1950s and even before. I hope to spend a lot of time down there taking pictures. Our hotel seems to be a little far from where all the action is but it is not bad at all because it is only and ten to twenty minute ride in a taxi or in la guagua (a bus). I am so lucky to have been able to come on this trip because it is such a beautiful country and I am very excited to be able to document it with my camera.