Thursday, December 15, 2011

Lynn University Student Trip

Lynn University sending first students to Cuba
By Scott Travis, Sun Sentinel

7:59 p.m. EST, December 15, 2011

Most people only read about Hemingway's Cuba. Some Lynn University students will get to live it as part of a travel opportunity not available to most students.

Twelve students and three university employees plan to leave Jan. 6 for a five-night journey to the island as part of a course called "Hemingway's Cuba." The trip is to explore the fishing villages, houses and other places Ernest Hemingway wrote about in "The Old Man and the Sea" and other novels.

"You have Europeans and people outside the United States visit there all the time, but it hasn't been open to us, which makes it even more interesting," said Andrew Lippi, 21, of Key West.  But students won't do much sightseeing, because of requirements that the trip maintain a focused academic mission and not be for tourism.

"We're sticking to Hemingway. That's the way it has to be," said Jeff Morgan, an English professor who is organizing the trip.

Lynn is able to travel to Cuba for the first time, after the Obama administration expanded travel opportunities for students earlier this year.

But students at public universities and community colleges probably won't get the same chance anytime soon. Florida passed a law in 2006 banning publicly funded institutions from traveling to countries designated as "state sponsors of terrorism," and Cuba is on that list.

While travelers to Cuba have faced restrictions for a half-century, it became almost impossible for students to visit after 2004, when President George W. Bush tightened restrictions. Students could travel only for semester-long visits. As a result, just 250 U.S. students traveled to Cuba in 2007-08, down from 2,100 four years before, the Association of International Educators reported.

In January, President Barack Obama relaxed the policy so students at accredited institutions could travel to Cuba so long as it was for a for-credit class, regardless of the length of stay.

Gainesville-based Holbrook Travel has organized trips for a number of schools, including the University of Richmond in Virginia, Eastern Illinois University, Whittier College in California and the University of South Carolina. or 561-243-6637 or 954-425-1421

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