Duration: 2 weeks
LEARN SPANISH & VOLUNTEER
A two week ‘cultural immersion’ program to help you enjoy and
understand what’s happening in Cuba right now!
Our volunteer placements will help you connect with Cuban people, understand their culture and history, and turbo charge your Spanish language tuition.
As with all our programs, this program includes accommodation, breakfast & lunch throughout, plus Spanish language tuition, meaningful volunteer placements and other activities. Start and end date is usually a Sunday, though clients are welcome to arrive early or extend – we are open 365 days a year!
This is a two week program (14 nights) though can be combined with other programs to make longer duration and more varied experience.
Upon arrival Havana International Airport you are picked up for a transfer to your Casa Particulares* or hostel. This is your home in Havana. Casa Jakera was opened at the end of 2015 and features shared air conditioned bedrooms, separate shower and toilet facilities, dining rooms and lots of comfortable indoor and outdoor space (including spacious roof terrace). Here can hang out with new friends or chill on your own to enjoy the cool breezes and great views of the streets below. As with most of Havana you will enjoy taking in the atmosphere in this central location which is truly unique.
* Casas Particulares are government licenced ‘private homestay’ accommodation whereby Cubans are permitted to rent out one or two bedrooms in their home to paying guests. However, the licensing regime has recently been extended to include larger hostal style accommodation. Casa Jakera falls under this latter category and whether you stay at Casa Jakera or another Casa Particular breakfast & lunch and Spanish lessons are taken at Casa Jakera.
Monday to Friday’s intensive Spanish lessons take place shortly after breakfast. Your teacher is licensed and on day one you receive a short test to establish your level and objectives. Lessons take the format of 3 x 45 minute lessons each morning, with 15 minutes breaks to refresh, making approximately 3 hours of Spanish lessons each day – 15 hours per week. Lessons are held from 09:00 sharp, Monday to Friday at Casa Jakera.
Hop onto a Wah-Wah (fume belching local bendy bus) or Colectivo (classic car/ communal taxi) and take to the streets to discover the real Habana. Understand how Habaneros live; the practical day to day issues Cubans face living in this complicated country at this exciting time and help us take away some answers to our own ‘first world’ problems!
We take you on an adventure to help you understand and enjoy the history of Cuba and Habana. Understand the source of her amazing wealth, the rich cultural mix, marvel at the faded patina of Habana’s famous gorgeous neo classical architecture, the rumble of classic American cars, curious soviet era high rise buildings, ubiquitous live music on every street, dance, exotic religions etc etc the list is endless.
You will quickly feel at home, gain the knowledge and confidence to enjoy the city during your own time, with new found traveller and Cuban friends. You have been immersed into the Cuban culture - enjoy!
Volunteer Placement - Havana
Our volunteering begins with a group ‘orientation’ walk around Habana Vieja & Centro, during which we visit our projects; to discuss the issues and bring everyone comfortably up to speed and feeling welcome. Work begins the next day and depending where our need is greatest will include a combination of the following projects.
Proyecto Comunitario Suspiro and Havana Vieja Community Center's
We work with two children’s community centers supporting activities for local kids aged 5-15 years. The kids include those from broken and troubled families and our focus – in addition to creating a fun filled environment – is to give its members better preparation for adulthood and parenthood. A variety of classes are given but focus always remains on social skills and confidence building. Activities include acting, dancing and singing classes and we often make presentations with our volunteers.
Our work as volunteers includes assisting with needed renovation and maintenance work to the facilities, assisting teachers in preparation and planning of activities, assisting teachers carry-out activities and classes with the kids, hosting and planning our own activities for the kids and donating needed resources.
The sports complejo has been the main sports facility for all the schools in Habana Vieja for generations. It is a very established service but lacks basic facilities. Sports run at this location include; baseball, volleyball, athletics, wrestling, basketball and judo in the near future.
We support sports in Cuba whenever possible, the benefits sports bring to society are well understood by Cubans and we follow their lead. Our work as volunteers includes renovation and maintenance of facilities, donating equipment, assisting in sports training and hosting sports events and matches.
Escuela y Instituto de Musica Cubana Popular
This is the only official institute for music and dance in Habana Vieja. Established pre- revolution the institute gifts theory classes to local Cubans on the all-important history and evolution of Cuban music and dance. Practical dance and music classes are also given. Folkloric Afro-Cuban music and dance is its main focus but mainly dance owing to a shortage of instruments and other equipment.
Our volunteers are helping to restore the facilities and theater. This is also a wonderful place to bring donativos and spend time learning this magical and vibrant form of music and dance.
‘El Gimnasio’ Boxing Gym
Following the work accomplished at the legendary ‘Rafael Trejo Gimnasio’ – including rewiring, painting and a huge amount of donativo – we are now working with another, younger, boxing gym that needs our help.
The facilities are quite poor and in a desperate situation; equipment is almost nonexistent. The coaches are passionate and therefore have a large following of kids, with ages ranging from 5-21 years old. Our work as volunteers includes renovation and maintenance of facilities, donating equipment, assisting in sports training and hosting events.
Paseo Del Prado
Weekends are generally free but we also include activities to help you interact and enjoy your surroundings. On Saturdays, weather permitting, we take a trip to the beaches that lie 30 mins by ‘collectivo’ taxi or bus, immediately east of the city, known as Playas del Este.
Sunday afternoon from 12-3pm we take a short walk to the famous Paseo del Prado, where a collective of local artists gives free ‘arts and crafts’ classes to local kids. We bring supplies to donate as well as helping out, depending what’s going on. It’s all very casual and a great way to enjoy and learn about the diversity of local art, as well as mingling with the locals and helping out the kids.
During your two weeks in Havana each morning Monday to Friday from 09:00-11:45 you receive intensive Spanish language tuition comprising 3 x 45 minute lessons spaced with 15 minutes breaks. Tuition is delivered by an accredited and licensed Cuban teacher. On the first morning there will be a short test to establish your level and requirements.
Three ‘Discover Cuba’ cultural excursions.
Volunteer placements and support per timetable and descriptions above.
A guided trip to the beach.
Accommodation in Casa Particulares throughout. Shared rooms (single sex).
Meals – breakfast & lunch included.
Book this program now
Connect with us here to see if your preferred arrival date is available