VCI designs trips for academic institutions looking to offer travel opportunities to its students, faculty, and alumni. We can develop specialized programs around a variety of topics, including environmental planning and conservation, agroecology and food sustainability, marine ecology, socio-economic systems, and arts and culture.
Most trips are 1-2 weeks in length. VCI works closely with staff and faculty to ensure your institution’s academic requirements are met while providing an experiential travel opportunity with Cuban educational institutions, research institutes, and professionals working in the field. We also welcome the opportunity to develop bilateral research initiatives, alternative service breaks, international professional development trips for students and faculty, and any other specialized exchange programs for educational institutions.
Upcoming Academic Courses
January 2018 Saint Michael’s College Marine Ecology Travel Course to Cuba
For the third year in a row, VCI in collaboration with University of Havana's Center for Marine Studies and Saint Michael's College, is organizing a Marine Ecology course during which students will spend 10 days studying some of the most pristine and healthy coral reef ecosystems in the world. As fragile ecosystems, coral reefs are vulnerable to many different environmental factors, but one of the most devastating to them is local run-off from agricultural fields and coastal development. Students will visit various coastal communities, spending a significant amount of time diving and snorkeling to explore and collect data on the health of reef ecosystems in both isolated regions and highly developed areas of the island. Students will examine the connection between the local coastal environment in terms of development, agriculture, and pollution. Throughout their research, students will be working closely with Cuban marine scientists from the University of Havana to establish a plan to protect the coral reefs in areas where an influx in tourism may potentially have a negative impact.
March 2018 University of Vermont Gund Institute for Ecological Economics From Ridge to Reef: An Experiential Learning Trip to Cuba This 3 credit travel-study course is an introduction to agroecology, coastal zone management, and sustainable development in Cuba. The graduate level course is divided into two sections: 1. An introduction to Cuba’s agriculture, ecology, and economy with an eye toward challenges and opportunities as relations between the US and Cuba are normalized. 2. Develop a small independent study project on a topic of choice related to agriculture or coastal ecology in Cuba. Working with Cuban graduate students, we will present preliminary findings and draft a final report at the end of class. Much more than a travel course, the overarching goal of the class is to begin generating research to study and improve agriculture, coastal zone management, fisheries, and marine protected area networks in Cuba. Education is a two-way street: we hope to examine innovative approaches to agroecology and coastal restoration in Cuba to bring back to the United States. This course is coordinated in collaboration with the Center for Marine Studies at the University of Havana and Indio Hatuey Agricultural Research Station in Matanzas, Cuba.
To inquire about planning an educational travel exchange trip, please contact our Program and Operations Manager, Maria Echevarria.