“It’s is safe to say that we all had preconceived notions of Cuba, based entirely on general public sentiment of Americans and what the previous students have all been saying about the trip. But truth be told, I actually knew next to nothing about Cuban history, especially in relation to the Revolution . And yes, I did learn actual historical facts and American involvement in these matters, but what was the most valuable was physically seeing the intricacies of the way their government works. At the food market, I could actually physically see the prices of the food and how people would face choices to get what they most needed. Going inside of the ration store, away from the open vegetable stalls, was actually the most revealing of the current state of the economy despite the seeming cheeriness we would always get from the Cubans on the street.”
“My experience in Cuba was heavily influenced by my ability to speak Spanish. It is a big part of my identity, and I was happy to put it on display during our trip. Not only did it facilitate my conversations, but it also allowed me to serve as a bridge between two cultures, and at some points even three. I really also found it fascinating how educated the Cuban people are compared to those from some other Latin American countries, including Mexico. For all the wrong things Castro did, he did educate his people. The biggest takeaway by far from this trip was to just show once again how misinformed Americans are and to highlight how influential the US is, even with the embargo in place. We see our mark in their architecture, art and politics. Thank you for a great week and I would love to try and convince people to come on the trip next year.”
“Without a doubt Cuba is a remarkably beautiful country--the landscape, architecture, and vibrant colors. But more striking are the many symbols of Cuban heritage and national pride which detail the city of Havana. On the sides of buildings, and in the centers of parks are portraits and statues which commemorate national heroes such as Che Guevara and Jose Marti. More symbolic than these physical representations of Cuban pride are the fervor and enthusiasm with which the people describe their country. I was taken aback by how easily and happily even the average Cuban could detail “The Triumph of the Revolution,” and retell the minute aspects of Cuban history. When I asked about the conditions of daily life in a Communist state, one of the first things mentioned were the opportunities provided such as free education and universal health care. While the infrastructure of their country at times is lacking and the food supply is not perfect, the Cuban people do not see themselves as anywhere close to oppressed or helpless.”
“I was fascinated by the nationalism and pride most Cubans have for their country. They call the Revolution of the 1950s the ‘Triumph of the Revolution’. There are billboards and street art that proclaim patriotism. The country’s motto is “Patria o Muerte, Venceremos” which means “Homeland or Death, we shall overcome”. Castro and Che are regarded as heroes, whereas growing up in the United States, I had always been told they weren’t completely bad, but not good either. When I would ask who the guy in the iconic picture of Che, I would get a complicated response. Now I understand what he did, and what he stood for. I now realize that although these revolutionaries weren’t necessarily the best of people, the United States was really the bad guy in their situation.”
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Located on Upper West Side of New York City, Trinity School is a college preparatory, coeducational independent school for grades K-12. Since 1709, Trinity has provided a world-class education to its students with rigorous academics and outstanding programs in athletics, the arts, peer leadership, and global travel.