Before my arrival in Cuba, I began to wonder what the island would look like. Everything I have heard about Cuba has been portrayed in a biased nature according to media within the United States. Being a communist country for an extended amount of time and having limited access to resources outside of the island, I didn’t expect to see much of anything in Cuba. In a way, this statement was true. Cuban citizens are rationed food, and any purchases made outside of their ration cards are expensive. The sidewalks and roads were chipped and cracked and not in shape to be used as much as they were. The clinics and hospitals used very basic equipment and were not stocked with the machines and technology that we have everywhere within the states. The streets reeked of various smells and were filled with large amounts of homeless dogs.
The differences in everyday life between a typical American and typical Cuban were tremendously different. But, that is why I admire Cuba and its people so much. The observations previously listed are what make Cuba. Despite the weird smells, lack of technology, and apparent need for construction, Cuba is a beautiful island full of grateful people. It is simply the way of life in Cuba, and the citizens see no problem with it. I remember Cuba as a beautiful island full of vintage cars, delicious food, and headstrong people. I learned to appreciate having one on one time with others and not be on my cell phone all the time. I learned to understand and respect cultural differences when trying typical Cuban dishes and dancing with local people. And finally, I was able to expand my Spanish vocabulary and use it daily. Although Cuba was completely different than what I expected it to be, it was one of the best experiences of my life and I’m happy I had the opportunity to study abroad there.