Ever wonder what a day of service-learning in Cuba looks like? We assure you that when you help others in Cuba, your life, in turn, changes in unimaginable ways. But you don’t have to trust only our word… Read the words of Sydney, a University of Central Missouri student, describing her day in the life of a Cuba Global Volunteer!
The more I see of Cuba, the more fascinated I am by its people, and their culture and way of life. I hope this trip gives us knowledge and a bit of perspective.
My cultural insights begin in the morning working with children on their English. I work with three or four girls ranging in age from 8-10, and their English is incredibly limited. Using the supplied teaching guide and some of the many resources provided for various knowledge levels, we practice pronunciation and identifying English words. My teammates do the same with other groups of students – beginners, intermediates, and a few advanced learners. Despite having very little Spanish skills myself, we enthusiastically communicate each morning. I am inspired that these Cuban kids do so much when given just a little. I never saw myself teaching at a child’s level, but I have been overjoyed at sharing this experience with them. They are really the masterminds behind our alphabet games and taking notes on verbs and nouns. The morning goes by very quickly! I look forward to my evening classes with new students.
I received multiple notes with hearts and sentiments of “I love you” on them. One note that Zach (a volunteer teammate) translated for me even said I was “the most beautiful professor of all”. I will never forget how they made me feel. My heart is absolutely full.
Our lunch meals are prepared by our community partners. Those individuals who work each day to assist us have shown to be the real heroes. May God bless them for sharing the kindness and hospitality of the Cuban culture – and the amazing guava juice!
In the evening, I’m exposed to more culture. I meet with my regular conversation partner, Jamilet. She’s a beautiful and intelligent 30 year old electrical engineer. It’s hard to believe I am helping someone who is already so incredibly intelligent. She brings her English class work and we practice. I mentioned to some that I wished we had more conversations about politics and culture. However, last night, I learned that Jamilet was studying English so she could pass an immigration exam and move herself and her daughter Amelia to Canada to live with her sister. That is why we are here. That’s why we are doing this service-learning in Cuba – to serve, but also to learn from the community and appreciate the Cuban people. I was very moved by her devotion to studying and being with her family. I am so thankful Jamilet was placed in my life. She is an inspiration.
This program has been more than I could have hoped for! I could not be more grateful to Global Volunteers.
More reasons to join Global Volunteers: Read Why Gen Z Should Volunteer Abroad in College.
Want to learn more about student service-learning in Cuba?
Visit Global Volunteers’ Volunteer in Cuba website page for the service opportunities we offer in Havana, Ciego de Ávila, or Sancti Spíritus. Or, chat online with one of our Volunteer Coordinators. We’re ready to assist you with project descriptions, travel questions, registration guidance and other program details.
Meanwhile, you can read posts by previous student volunteers written from the field on Global Volunteers programs worldwide. Start here:
- Reflections from a Tanzania volunteer: “I absolutely fell in love with Tanzania…