Darden Worldwide Course, Global Business Experience, global network

Darden Students Explore Cuba’s Economy in Transition

By Kate Beach-
Darden students wait in a courtyard prior to a reception with Cuban students and faculty.

By Lauren Wallace (text) and Lisa Stewart (photos)

Thirty Darden students are on Day 5 of a week-long immersion course in Cuba. Since their first day in Havana on 9 January, the group has attended sessions on U.S.-Cuba economic relations and foreign investment law; networked with students and faculty at the University of Havana; toured the sites of Havana in vintage cars; visited the Museum of Revolucion; and attended a tourist artist workshop. The theme of this Darden.Worldwide Course in Cuba is Economy in Transition—designed to give students a deeper understanding of foreign business in the context of Cuban history, politics, economics, and culture, as well as to explore deeper insights into the transition of Cuba’s economy from isolated to emerging.

As a part of this Darden.Worldwide Course, students were tasked with conducting small group research projects with local cuentapropistas, self-employed businesspeople, to gain a practical understanding of the challenges facing business owners in the current Cuban economic landscape. Before the group returns to the U.S. on 15 January, the students will experience one of the Caribbean’s largest resort towns, Varadero, where they will learn about and participate in Cuba’s tourism development sector.

Darden students visit a hospital to learn about the Cuban Healthcare system.
A Darden student team visits an organic farm co-op outside of Havana.
Darden students meet with a University of Havana faculty member over lunch to discuss their project.