Skip to Top NavigationSkip to Utility NavigationSkip to SearchSkip to Left NavigationSkip to Content
Mobile Menu
Bookmark and Share

Students Spend Spring Break Traveling and Volunteering around the World and in The U.S.


Posted 03/30/2017
Posted by Sophia Olsen


Barney students with the mayor of Vitoria-Gasteiz in the centuries-old town council building. Course led by John Ogilvie, Daphne Berry, and Michael Patterson

Barney students with the mayor of Vitoria-Gasteiz in the centuries-old town council building. Course led by John Ogilvie, Daphne Berry, and Michael Patterson

University of Hartford students playing baseball with Cuban students in Havana, across from the Malecon (waterfront); AUC course led by Marco Cupolo. This was the first time the university traveled to Cuba.

University of Hartford students playing baseball with Cuban students in Havana, across from the Malecon (waterfront); AUC course led by Marco Cupolo. This was the first time the university traveled to Cuba.

Students around the bonfire in the Great Smoky Mountains

Students around the bonfire in the Great Smoky Mountains

Master of Architecture students in Havana

Master of Architecture students in Havana

Spring break was more than just another vacation for 100 University of Hartford students. It was a chance to travel the world and the country, earning academic credits or volunteering. From Cuba to Europe to the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee, here is a look at how these students spent their recent week off:

Cuba 
Few Americans have had the chance to experience the Cuban culture, due to a U.S. travel embargo that was lifted less than three years ago. But two groups of 13 University students got that opportunity over spring break. The “Cuba: Culture and Society” class concentrated on the history and contemporary culture of Cuba through lectures on the economy, policy, environment, and religion. These students traveled throughout the country to learn about the local industries, participate in local community projects, and visit museums. Another class focused on Cuban architecture.

“I am not sure what was better – the weather, the architecture, or the people. But when you put all that together it is a magical trip back through time,” says Maria Khan ’17, an architecture major in the College of Engineering, Technology, and Architecture. “ I experienced the huge architectural contrast from the local farming industries to the vibrant city of Havana.”

First year Master of Architecture students were able to talk with Cubans and experience local living conditions in neighborhoods surrounding the Malecon, a four-mile long esplanade along Havana’s coast, which will help them in designing an unbuilt mixed-use housing development along the site. They also received lectures from the local art school in Havana. 

Europe
Students from the University’s Barney School of Business traveled to Madrid and northern Spain as part of a course on social enterprise and environmentally conscious businesses. They visited the Mondragon Corporation in the Bilbao region, toured a Mercedes plant in Vitoria, and spent time in the port city of Bilbao, home of the famous Guggenheim Museum. The students wrote a blog during their trip. Read it here.

Other classes held in Europe included “Architectural Monuments in Barcelona, Spain,” “Exploring Creativity in London, England and Barcelona, Spain,” “Global Trends in Education: Rome, Italy and Budapest, Hungary,” “Pathways to Sustainability: Germany,” and “Acoustics in Ireland.” Read more about these courses on the study abroad website.

“The programs provided a guided experience for students to immerse themselves in another culture,” says Nicole Kurker-Stewart, director of the University’s International Center. “They were able to compare another culture to their own and gain valuable transferable skills such as independence, flexibility, cultural competency and empathy, and communication and problem-solving skills.”

Great Smoky Mountains
Volunteering for the Cherokee Native American Tribe in the Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee, 35 students learned the importance of composting, recycling, preserving indigenous plants, and conserving water. This was part of the University of Hartford’s Center for Community Service’s annual Alternative Spring Break trip. The students helped cut trees and move wood along the Appalachian Trail.

“Their biggest takeaway from the trip was that collectively they can make a huge difference for the environment and that we all need to work together,” says Torshia Anderson, associate director of Community Service and Student Activities.

Barney students with the mayor of Vitoria-Gasteiz in the centuries-old town council building. Course led by John Ogilvie, Daphne Berry, and Michael Patterson

Barney students with the mayor of Vitoria-Gasteiz in the centuries-old town council building. Course led by John Ogilvie, Daphne Berry, and Michael Patterson

University of Hartford students playing baseball with Cuban students in Havana, across from the Malecon (waterfront); AUC course led by Marco Cupolo. This was the first time the university traveled to Cuba.

University of Hartford students playing baseball with Cuban students in Havana, across from the Malecon (waterfront); AUC course led by Marco Cupolo. This was the first time the university traveled to Cuba.

Students around the bonfire in the Great Smoky Mountains

Students around the bonfire in the Great Smoky Mountains

Master of Architecture students in Havana

Master of Architecture students in Havana