Written by Novak, High School/Pre-College Student Correspondent for CET Cuba: Advances in Healthcare, Summer 2019
Sunday was a mix of the exciting and the stressful: we started with a Cuban dance class and then spent the afternoon polishing our final projects to be presented the next day. The Cuban dance class was very cool. We were in a sort of outdoor pavilion with shade, and we covered everything from the basic 8 count forward, sideways, and back, to switching partners in a circle formation. It was a sweaty but very enjoyable experience. After that, we had lunch at a beautiful restaurant with a garden upstairs, and then settled into the house for some hard work.
Monday was the first of a series of big days in our last week here: our final presentations. Finally the first of two opportunities we would have this week to present the culmination of our knowledge and our labor here in Cuba. Our topics ranged from lung cancer in Cuba to biotechnologies to teen pregnancies, but we’ve all spent the last week dedicating our free time to the creation of these projects. And in turn, these projects will serve as the outline for our final papers, due the upcoming Friday. Nerves were abundant, and indeed the two-hour long presentation process was tiring for the seven of us. But we all survived, and no matter how long the process, our final paper will be better off because of it. Everyone did really well.
It’s crazy to reflect on how just 25 days ago, we were landing in a country we knew virtually nothing about, and now we can barely contain our knowledge within the 10 page limit for our final papers. Entering the last week of our stay has brought up nostalgic feelings for all of us for various reasons, but for me, it’s really exciting to see just how much we learned over the past month. Although I can’t wait to be back with family and friends, I know I’m not ever going to forget at least some of what I learned here. And what we’ve done here has given me inspiration to take some of this learning home, to implement it into my life.
Things like making recycled paper out of old paper products or growing herbs around the house are markers of the Cuban penchance for sustainability that we could do well to learn from back at home. But while we’re still here, the next couple of days will be dedicated to our final papers, the culmination of our time here and our last project before getting to come home.