A Travellerspoint blog

School Trip to Cuba!

View Cuba 2024 on amikulski's travel map.


For the upcoming spring break, our family will split into 2 groups. That’s because DD1’s school is doing a trip to Cuba, and she and I are going!

Cuba has pretty much always been on my bucket list, and yet choosing to go on this trip wasn’t simple. My mom is from Cuba and lived there until age 16, and some cousins still live there. I had always wanted my first trip to Cuba to be on my own terms with my husband and both of my kids, either traveling with a family exception to the embargo, or without the embargo. The trouble is that different administrations define what relationships count as close enough family to get the exception: as I understand it (it's not simple), I’m currently able to go, but my kids haven’t been for their entire lives. And that embargo doesn’t seem to be going anywhere, so it seemed foolish to keep waiting when an option for my oldest presented itself. I’m sad that my full family can’t go, especially my youngest. But right now the best I can hope for within the current set of rules is that this trip goes so wonderfully that the school does another one once DD2 is in high school. In the meantime, DD2 and DH will go to Punta Cana for their spring break.

I also mentioned wanting to go on my own terms. Whereas people who travel on the family exception are able to use their time however they wish, those who travel under an educational/cultural exception have a carefully planned itinerary. This school trip falls in the latter category. We have only one free afternoon. Part of me doesn’t mind, because our itinerary has some interesting and fun activities. But I won’t be able to everything I want to do, like hire a taxi to drive past all the places where my mom lived and went to school, visit relatives, and see the family tomb at Colón Cemetery: maybe DD1 and I will get to do just one. Plus, I have a bit of skepticism about some of these activities: how much of the “party line” will we be hearing? I hope that the school will help students think critically about what they see and hear—and what remains unseen and unsaid. I’ve already started some conversations with DD1.

I know that travel to Cuba can be controversial, especially for Cuban Americans. Yes, the Cuban government will get a little boost from this trip, but individual Cubans—like the ones who work for the tour company and the ones hosting us in their casas particulares—get a more meaningful boost. For me, this trip isn’t about the politics: it’s about seeing where my mom’s side of the family lived, and where some still live today. In fact, I’m tired of having politics create a situation that has delayed my first trip to Cuba for decades, so I am thankful for this opportunity.

Internet access will be limited on the trip, so I don’t expect to be able to post anything in real time. I do hope to take lots of notes and plenty of pics to share once we return!

Posted by amikulski 20:33 Archived in Cuba Tagged cuba school teens

Email this entryFacebookStumbleUpon

Table of contents

Be the first to comment on this entry.

This blog requires you to be a logged in member of Travellerspoint to place comments.