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In December, UT’s Haslam College of Business will take eighteen first-year business students to study abroad in Cuba. The program, led by George Drinnon and Andrew Seidler in the college’s undergraduate programs office, will take place in Havana December 11–19.

“When I pitched the idea of a program in Cuba, I had no idea how it would be received,” Seidler said. “But Haslam leadership and our Center for International Education were immediately enthusiastic and supportive about providing this sort of once-in-a-lifetime experience for our students.”

In light of recent economic reforms and the United States’ historic push toward normalized relations with Cuba, the program will explore Cuba’s emerging entrepreneurial and international business environment. Students will visit with small business owners, professors, students, and government officials, taking in a variety of perspectives on complex issues.

The curriculum will consist of tailored lectures at the Centro de Estudios Martianos on the Cuban economy, history, and culture delivered by Cuban experts; discussion of challenges and business opportunities in Cuba; and site visits exploring key businesses, such as those in the cigar industry.

“This is a historic opportunity to observe firsthand the growth of entrepreneurship with the Cuban people,” Drinnon said. “It also gives our students a chance to see the potential challenges that US firms might face in a new foreign market.”

The program, developed in collaboration with the Institute for Study Abroad at Butler University, will include a full-day excursion out of Havana to the community of Las Terrazas. Throughout the program, students will have the opportunity to experience Cuba’s rich culture, including its music, art, and dance traditions.

The students are seeking funding to support their trip to Cuba. To learn more about their campaign, visit


Katie Bahr (865-974-3589,

Tyra Haag (865-974-5460,