HAVANA, CUBA -- More than 600 students and over 40 educators from the U.S. and Puerto Rico visited Cuba for several days as part of the Semester At Sea program, one of the most significant academic exchanges between Cuba and the U.S.
During the 5-day stay which ended on Thursday, December 4th, the group had a chance to exchange ideas with students from the University of Havana, take lectures on economic reform and Cuba's political system, as well as learn more about Cuban civil society and its youth.
The students and professors also took in a show by the children’s theater group La Colmenita, visited neighborhoods in Havana and had a chance to learn more about Cuba's medical system. They visited Havana's Latin American Medicine School and went to a clinic and a family doctor's office.
On the lighter side, the group of young Americans played basketball with Havana University students and even took in some Cuban salsa dance lessons.
This is the second time that Semester at Sea has stopped in Cuba visits were resumed in December of 2013 following a halt in 2004 under the administration of George W. Bush. Semester At Sea, sponsored by the University of Virginia, had started Cuba visits in 1999. During 7 of the 12 visits since then, students met with Cuban Revolution leader Fidel Castro.
--Orlando Matos and Roberto Leon, NBC News