01/03/13 - Sioux Falls Argus Leader - College students to study in Cuba
That will come with visits to Cuban tobacco fields, with excursions to key
sites during the Castro revolution, and through conversations with Cuban
student counterparts. Of course, there are things she and her fellow
students have been advised they should not do once they are in the
"Normal things," Schoenbeck said. "Don't wear military T-shirts and gear.
Don't act like an idiot, basically."
Federal lawmakers unhappy with thawing relations with the communist
country have bristled at images of U.S. students carousing at Cuban
nightclubs in the past. Many don't want to see American tourism dollars
becoming an economic lifeline of sorts that props up Castro's totalitarian
But others argue that the United States should encourage Cuba's recent
forays into capitalism, which include allowing Cubans to open small
businesses and to own cellphones, cars and houses.
"There are people who think that, 'Well, if this helps people be better
off, then maybe they will push for more political freedoms and they will
be more well off,' " Minister said. "It's a complicated issue."
While glad for the invitation to visit the country, he said he hopes the
Augustana group doesn't add to that complexity.
"I certainly hope there aren't too many pictures from our students smoking
cigars at nightclubs," Minister said.
Logistics and arrangements for the trip are being handled by Seminars
International in Chicago, said Cathy Lindamood, associate director of
international programs at Augustana. While that makes it easier for her
school, there still are challenges that haven't emerged necessarily with,
say, international studies this January in places such as Austria, New
Zealand, India, Ecuador, Thailand, the Czech Republic and Australia,
"It's more challenging in that there are more hoops to jump through with
Cuba," she said. "In arranging the trip, the visas, the paperwork, it felt
a little bit like trying to hit a moving target. You complete one set of
requirements, and then you hear back and you need to fill out this piece
of paperwork. It is a challenge."
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