InsightCuba collaborates with many schools and universities to create custom programs that match unique educational interests; from week long people-to-people exchange programs to practice Spanish language skills to programs built around specific educational, professional, or artistic aspirations.
This past spring, insightCuba partnered with University of Chicago Laboratory High School to create a unique photography and art program for a group of 15 talented students. To capture the essence of Cuba, the students’ itinerary centered around two picture-perfect, yet contrasting Cuban sceneries: the bustling capital of Havana filled with statuesque buildings and vintage American cars, and the awe-inspiring Viñales Valley, with its lush vegetation and magnificent limestone formations.
According to the response of a few of the students, this was a perfect combination; “I loved visiting Viñales, and I loved walking around Havana Vieja with the two Cuban photographers”, and “Cuba was a fantastic place to travel and photograph and get to know the people”.
On their first full day in Cuba, the students visited, Fototeca, Cuba’ main photography studio for an exchange with Cuba’s top photographers. The students had a chance to hear first-hand about the prospects and challenges Cuban photographers face. By special request of insightCuba, the photographers also accompanied the students on several occasions, giving them privileged access to people and places that they may not have had, otherwise. The group met with fellow students and cultural institutions, witnessed local manufacturing, farming, and even took in a concert.
“The best part was the ability to photograph freely within the country, and having unrestricted access, unhampered. Unbelievable!” shared one of the 17- year olds students.
Understanding that students have different needs than adult travelers, insightCuba was dedicated to providing complete support, during both pre-departure and while in- country, which did not go unnoticed by Liese, the student leader on the program, and photography teacher: “I just want to let you know that our experience with you and insightCuba has been the best cultural student exchange I have ever assisted, and my associate, Craig, agrees. We felt that the programming and execution of all of our activities was of the highest caliber, with persons in Cuba to help us unconditionally all the way along. There is no doubt in my mind that I will look forward to working with you and insightCuba again.”Upon their return, the University of Chicago Laboratory High School staff and students summed up their overall experience with insightCuba in one word, “glorious!”