Business and Society in 21st Century Cuba:  Continuity and Change

Cuban woman sorting beans
Cuban men playing chess
Young Cuban girls performing a folk dance

Tentative Dates:  May 11-18, 2018

MGT 3954 or MGT 5954

3 credit hours

 Dr. Larry French is the instructor, who has been affiliated with the Management Department, has taught in a number of international student trips, and conducts research in Brazil.  Dr. Joe Scarpaci,  from the Center for Cuban Culture and Economy, will accompany the group.  He has written extensively about Cuba and has led many trips with Virginia Tech students to Cuba.

Eligibility:  Freshmen through juniors, and graduate students are eligible. The program is targeted to Pamplin students, but students from other colleges are welcome.  Qualified students will be accepted on a first come/first serve basis up to our maximum of 18 students. Minimum GPA: 2.3; no conduct or honor violations. 

MGT 3954/5954 is an experiential study abroad program in Cuba, a country undergoing dramatic economic and social changes due to the thawing of diplomatic and economic relations with the United States.  These changes are coming after 50+ years of communist rule and isolation from the United States.  Changes are already rapidly taking place in Cuban society and its economy and this program will give students a chance to experience Cuba in transition.


The course will focus on the a) pressures for and obstacles to change in the Cuban society, b) the kinds of changes that are beginning to appear in the economy, c) the broader political and cultural contexts shaping the ways economic changes are unfolding, and d) possible evolutionary paths that the Cuban society may take and models that its leaders may seek to emulate. In the course of addressing these themes, we will focus much attention on changes in the work experience of the labor force, opportunities for entrepreneurship, evolving management practices, and concerns and practices having to do with corporate social responsibility. We will also devote attention to the general standards of living, educational opportunities, and health care as well as issues pertaining to disparities of income and wealth, and questions regarding individual freedoms enjoyed by Cuban citizens.


Our itinerary will be organized by the Center for Cuban Culture and Economy, headquartered in Blacksburg and operated by Dr. Joseph Scarpaci who will accompany us on the trip. We will be based in Havana and take advantage of numerous opportunities to learn about Cuban society, its business practices, the world of work, and the quality of life in Cuba’s capital and largest city. We will also take several day trips to broaden our understandings by visiting important rural areas of this country.


Some examples of the types of activities planned include the following: walking tour of old Havana, visit to the Bamboo Center to learn about its business challenges, lecture on U.S.-Cuban relations, lecture and practice of Cuban musical genres, visits to several small private businesses, lecture on religious freedom, listen to the Matanzas choir, service learning practice, briefing at the U.S. Embassy, visits to an organic farm and a tobacco farm, visit to the Rum Museum and San José Art Market.




Undergraduates will receive 3 credits for MGT 3954 Study Abroad in Management. This course can also be substituted for the Area 3 and/or Area 7 requirement.  These credits count as elective credits and help to complete the requirements of Pamplin’s International Business minor.  Graduate credit is available for graduate students but the assignments will be modified to require some additional work. 

Program fees are $3700. These fees cover roundtrip airfare, Charlotte, NC – Havana, a Cuban visa, all transportation and lodging as well as tour guides and interpreters, and half of meals in Cuba. The program fees do not cover passports, incidental expenses, and half of the meals. For those attending VT Spring semester as a full-time student,  there are no additional charges for tuition.  We will be having class meetings throughout  the semester.

The deadline for applications to this program is December 1, 2017. A non-refundable deposit of $500, payable online, is due by December 10th. The  balance of program fees due January 10th.

Cost In-State Faculty/Staff/Partner
Program fee $3,700 $3,700
Tuition & fees Included in Spring tuition Included in Spring tuition
Books, materials & Visa  Included Included
Meals not provided 125 125
Lodging Included Included
Required Group Travel Included Included
Airfare Included Included
Passport Fees 135 135
Personal & Other Expenses 100 100
Charlotte hotel pre-trip 25 25
Total $4,085 $4,085

Virginia Tech reserves the right to make cancellations, date and cost adjustments, and other necessary changes in the program. Prices may change due to global economic conditions.

Financial Aid:  For those students who qualify for financial aid, assistance with the program fee and tuition may be feasible. Check with the Financial Aid Office and the Global Education Office.

The application deadline is extended to December 1, 2017.

Acceptance is on a first-come-first-served basis once your online application is completed.

Go to the VT Global Education site for the program to apply!

Click on the "Apply Now" button on the Global Education page and complete the application process.

Acceptance & Deposit

Once you are accepted into the program you will be billed a $500 deposit. This deposit is non-refundable, unless for some unforeseeable reason the trip is cancelled. The balance of the program fee will be due November 10th.


Freshmen through seniors, and graduate students are eligible. Non-business students are also welcome to participate, and will receive 3 credits. Qualified students will be accepted on a first-come/first-served basis.
Minimum GPA: 2.3; No conduct or honor violations

Each student must have a valid passport from their home country. You can apply for a passport at the Blacksburg Post Office or the Montgomery County Courthouse Clerk's Office in Christiansburg. You can get passport photos at most pharmacies. Our educational travel provider will secure the necessary visas for our travel to Cuba.

You should ensure that you have the proper vaccinations for this program. This can be done through the University's recommended travel clinic (Intravene), a county health department, or your family physician. Your family physician usually does not have the more specialized vaccines and should refer you to the county health department. You can see a list of recommended vaccinations and other health information at the CDC travel website.

These sites have additional information:

Details coming soon.