How to volunteer in Cuba? For Roberta, Cuba had long been on her bucket list, so when she learned she could travel legally to Cuba with Global Volunteers, she didn’t hesitate. It turned out to be one of her most rewarding experiences. Read on for her journey in her own words:
I’ve always wanted to visit Cuba. I thought a Global Volunteers service program would be a great way for me to combine my two passions – volunteering and photography. So I joined a team for two weeks to tutor English, see the sights, and learn about the Cuban culture. I was amazed, enlightened, fulfilled, and rewarded beyond words with my experience there. I was able to capture some wonderful, colorful and touching photographs while gaining knowledge about the Cuban culture and giving back through teaching English.
Global Volunteers is very organized, the cultural activities were excellent, the local contacts were brilliant, the students I tutored were wonderful and grateful, and the people of Cuba were warm and more than welcoming.
Staying in a Casa Particular with a lovely woman from Seattle as my roommate was a delightful way to share the experience of Cuba. Our hosts were a wonderful and friendly Cuban family who made sure that we were comfortable in our room and that we had a positive experience in their home. Staying in the casa was a brilliant way to integrate us into the culture.
A normal “work” day went something like this: Every day, our hostess Fefi would make a bountiful breakfast – enough for an army to eat. Then my roommate and I would walk ten minutes to the community center to begin our volunteer duties for the day. I would work in the kitchen for a short time until my first students would arrive for tutoring in English, and then I would tutor a few students until lunch time.
While we were tutoring, the other volunteers were working in the local community garden and working on light construction at the community center.
After “working” (which was fun and didn’t feel like work), we all gathered in the community center for lunch and then a team meeting to review our thought of the day and the previous day’s journal entry by each team member. In the afternoon, we finished our service projects – teaching, painting, gardening or whatever.
Then, more fun – each day we had a cultural experience which included visiting a cigar shop, visiting local crafts shops like a silver shop where the artists used old flatware to make lovely silver sculptures and jewelry for sale; Spanish lessons, Salsa lessons, a performance by a local award-winning dance and bongo troupe, and much more.
At around 6pm, we would gather for a dinner together and enjoy the local cuisine prepared by a small restaurant. And then from 7-9pm we would be at the community center again tutoring English to kids, teens, and adults. As the week went on, more and more students joined us for our evening classes.
A glimpse of Cuba through Roberta’s camera lens:
(Visit Roberta’s website to view more of her personal pictures from Cuba here.)
On our free, non-work days, we experienced more cultural activities, including a tour of Moron with a performance by a mime troupe, a visit with a local well-known author, a visit to an aquarium, and finally a trip to and tour of Old Havana.
You can legally travel to Cuba with Global Volunteers!
My experience in Cuba was wonderful and I will return… Thanks Global Volunteers for the opportunity to help change the world and change my life!
Visit our Cuba page for FAQs, program dates, project descriptions and more. Or, chat now with a Volunteer Coordinator to get started today. We’re ready to assist you with travel questions, registration guidance, and other program details.