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How Cubans and Americans Are Connecting Through Service

Bethany in Cuba

By Bethany, Cuba Global Volunteer.

Question asked during English Conversations

Q: “What is different between teenagers in Cuba & The US?”

A: “There is no difference; we all want the same things – friends, time, family – we want what any teenager wants.”

It seems to me that people are key, for both the volunteers and the Cubans. No matter how much Spanish or English is spoken, it is the interaction, the exchange, that is most important. Every Cuban I have spoken with at length has stressed the importance of cultural understanding as the only way our two countries will get along. And I think all of us would agree.

The conversation practice, in particular, gives both Americans and Cubans a safe space to explore each others cultures in a much faster time frame than could be achieved in a two week visit. For this reason, I relish the English Conversation time (much more than I thought I would) because I can bring questions about what I have observed during the day and exchange these ideas for the many curiosities of American culture. In reality, we really are not very different; both seeking to understand or at least experience another culture.

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