Cuba - International Studies on Sustainable Agriculture

LFS 302 | 3 credits

Applications closed

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  • Select “Search Experiences” and type "GSP" to explore Global Seminars programs 
  • Upload the application form for your selected Global Seminar – see Application documents below 

*Please note that you can apply for up to a maximum of 2 Global Seminars*

About the course

This course is led by UBC faculty members Sean Smukler, James Vercammen, and PhD student Marieta Marin Burzos.

Cuba has attracted global attention for its quick and widespread transition from an industrialized agriculture system to a system based on agroecological practices that emphasize local self-sufficiency and championship of smallholder farmers. In 1999, the Grupo de Agricultura Orgánica in Cuba was awarded the alternative Nobel Prize, the Right Livelihood Award, for showing that “agroecological production can be as effective as conventional methods, also ensuring other economic benefits and an improved fertility of the soil” (Right Livelihood Award Organization, n.d.).

Students will gain first-hand knowledge of Cuba’s unique national agriculture model and will receive a holistic cultural orientation encompassing the country’s rich history. The agricultural model will be explained from both a production standpoint (i.e. what agroecological techniques do farmers employ) as well as from an economic standpoint (i.e. how do farmers sell their products, how is the government involved in the markets, etc). Particular attention will be given to highlighting the forces that drove Cuba to overhaul their entire system of agriculture.

About the experience

During the 3 week immersion, you will have the chance to interact directly with Cuban farmers, university students, researchers, and government officials across four cities.

Each week you will participate in critical discussions mediated by a TA or instructor on readings and/or lectures in small groups. These groups will be randomized 3 times over the duration of the seminar in order to encourage team-building.

A typical day might include:

  • Visiting a farm or university
  • Discussions with the instructors and students
  • Group meals
  • Time for the students to do homework, readings or explore independently

Notable environmental conditions:  Expect to be outside in very hot and humid conditions either on farms or in urban areas, daily short but heavy rains are expected. 

Lots of walking and standing for much of the day

There is likely some restriction on where the students can take photographs.


You will be staying in a mixture private homes and backpacker hotels

General timeline

Program Dates: June 3 - 24, 2019.

The program will take place in Cuba from June 3-24, 2019. Prior to your time in the field, you will be required to attend pre-departure sessions in Vancouver.


To be accepted for this Global Seminar, you have to meet both program-specific requirements as well as Go Global’s general eligibility.

Program-specific requirements:

Students from all disciplines and year levels are welcome. Passionate about sustainability, Latin American history and culture, and/or agriculture.

Coursework in either agriculture or economics (e.g. ECON 101 or the equivalent) or related subjects is a prerequisite.

Program fees and costs

CAD $3,000 - 3,300 + tuition and flight.

The final fee depends on the number of students in the program. Students do not pay the Go Global fee when applying to a Global Seminar. The Go Global fee is built into the Program Fee and is payable upon acceptance to the program.

All qualifying students will receive a $1,000 Go Global Award.

Program Fee Includes
Program Fee Does Not Include
Accommodation *Tuition 

Program-related travel

Program-related excursions *Incidentals 

Meals *depending on program

Go Global Fee ($415.00)

UBC Tuition - Not included. Part of your costs

This amount will differ for domestic and international students. This amount will be assigned to you on the Student Service Centre (SSC) according to normal UBC tuition timelines. Read about tuition fees.

This amount is not determined or applied by Go Global.

All students participating in a Global Seminar will have tuition applied to their SSC account.

Flights - Not Included. Part of your costs

Travel to Havana is a separate cost. You are responsible for arranging your own travel. You should not book your flight until you are notified to book. All Global Seminars only run if there is a minimum number of students enrolled.

Incidentals - Not Included. Part of your costs

Some examples include: personal mobile communication, personal transportation that is not related to the learning outcomes of the program, additional meals that are not already identified as part of the program fee, immunizations, Visas

Global Seminars refund policy

To withdraw from your program, you must contact Go Global by email to request a withdrawal.  You will not be charged until you officially accept your spot in the program.  Refunds cannot be issued after the program fee is charged to your SSC account. 

In the case of withdrawal, Go Global Award funding must be returned in full.

If you have questions, please connect with your Go Global advisor or email Go Global at


If you are considering applying for a Go Global program and identify with having a disability or pre-existing health condition (mental or physical) which could impact your participation, or if you require academic accommodations, you can contact the following offices and meet with an Accessibility Advisor before the start of the program:

Pre-departure Policy

Safety abroad

UBC is committed to preparing students for safe and successful international experiences. In order to achieve this, any student participating in a Go Global Program must complete the following:

Failure to successfully complete these and any other requirements may result in withdrawal from the Go Global Program.

If you have questions

You can contact Go Global by email, phone, in-person or virtually through Zoom.

Booking a virtual advising appointment

If you need to book an advising appointment, please complete the online request form. Appointments will be held through Zoom or by phone, and can be scheduled between 8:30 am and 4:30 pm PT from Monday to Friday. 

If you require an appointment outside of these hours, contact Go Global and they will do their best to accommodate. Appointments outside of regular hours can only be accommodated virtually.

In-person drop-in advising hours

Starting Tuesday, Sep 7, Go Global will offer in-person drop-in advising at the UBC Life Building during the times below:

  • Tuesday: 1:00 - 3:00 pm
  • Wednesday: 1:00 - 3:00 pm

Go Global 101: Virtual group advising sessions on Fridays

Sign up to attend a Friday group advising session online and learn more about the programs, talk to an advisor, or meet other students interested in Go Global programs.