University of Pittsburgh Cancels Cuba Portion Of Study Abroad Program
The University of Pittsburgh canceled a trip to Cuba that has traditionally been a part of its study abroad program known as Semester at Sea.
The cruise had stopped in Cuba since 1999, but officials decided to cancel it because of the Bush administration’s toughened restrictions on visits to Cuba, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported. Each time the trip stopped in Cuba, the students met with President Fidel Castro.
“It’s unfortunate in that Cuba offered a really interesting perspective to students,” said Julian Asenjo, an official with the Institute for Shipboard Education, which administers the University of Pittsburgh-based Semester at Sea program.
More than 600 students participate in the program, which this year runs from Aug. 30 to Dec. 8. The group stops in Canada, Japan, China, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Thailand, India, Tanzania, South Africa and Brazil.
This year, they will be adding Venezuela to take the place of the Cuba trip, which was hosted by students at the University of Havana.
Dr. Victor Johnson, associate editor for public policy with the Association of International Educators, said new federal rules on travel to Cuba go against the trend toward shorter study abroad trips in school. The Treasury Department rules require that licensed programs must exceed 10 weeks, and that all participants must be enrolled at an accredited university hosting the trip.
The students who take part in the program are from about 245 colleges and universities, and family and faculty also participate. They travel on a 590-foot cruise ship that also has a library, student center, classrooms and laboratory space.
— Associated Press
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