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CWU students to visit Cuba for first time; help education engagement between countries

KIMA

ELLENSBURG, Wash.--A group of Central Washington University students is about to head to Cuba to study the country's history and heritage.

It's part of an on-going effort to help strengthen relations between higher education leaders in both countries.

It's a trip no other student from Central Washington University has ever taken before.

But Tai Jackson will be one of the first to head to Cuba.

"I personally am interested in the fashion in Cuba and how that's changed since the embargo was lifted," she said.

She's a part of Scholars Without Borders, a group of 14 students heading to the country that not many Americans have visited over the last few decades because of travel restriction.

Now, they'll be able to learn it's history and culture first-hand.

Along with faculty members, the delegation will spend Spring Break touring schools, taking part in seminars and enjoying the local community.

CWU professor Bobby Cummings says it'll be more than just a vacation.

"We really want to see what is Cuban society like given what we've been told. We want to examine our perspectives and what we think we know about Cuba and Cubans and the revolution," said

This trip made possible by a partnership between CWU and the Institute of International Education.

Who look to rebuild higher education relations between the U.S. and Cuba, thanks to better relations between both country's governments.

Students like Jackson are thankful for this opportunity that wouldn't have happened just a few years ago.

"I want to have a different outlook. I think that being able to travel to Cuba will make me appreciate what I have, maybe learn new things and see things from a different perspective," she said.

Values their teachers hope students will take with them outside the classroom.

"Values that say to them 'We have a global world and what is our place in it and what is our responsibility as global citizens?'" Cummings said.

The group from CWU leaves for Cuba on Sunday and returns home on March 28.

Students will be presenting what they learned from their trip at an open forum in May.

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