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International Telecommunications: Cuba
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Yixuan Li

Major: Public Relations & Political Science
Minor: Digital Entrepreneurship
Hometown: Beijing

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I was in Cuba for COMM498A: International Telecommunications with Professor Matt Jackson in the College of Communications. I heard about the opportunity through emails from the College. In the class we learned about how information and communication technologies (ICTs) such as computers, telephone networks, mass media, and the Internet have influenced the socio-economic and political development of Cuba. We also looked at the historical development of telecommunications within Cuba and examined how that nation's geographic, cultural and political environment currently shape its response to technological change.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

I immersed myself in the local culture by interacting with the people and activities. Spending a week without Internet really expanded my horizons in seeing the authentic beauty of human nature on the island. It was also very interesting to see how people warmly welcome other cultures despite the experience they've been having in the past few decades. It really shows me the beauty and resilience deeply rooted in the culture.

Spending a week without Internet really expanded my horizons in seeing the authentic beauty of human nature on the island.

How did this experience impact you academically?

It helped me immerse in another culture and expand my vision as a global citizen. It stretched my ability to empathize with people and my ability to conduct research independently. With the in-field ethnography assignments, I really got to practice my ability to observe and reflect.

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

I'm always interested in learning about the diversity of cultures. My career goal is to help people gain enriched experiences and bridge the gap between cultural differences. International development is also a big passion of mine. This experience has really shown me the common approach of international development might not be sustainable for a culture in the long run unless it fits into the context. It really exposed me to a different way of living and gave me a vision to do things in the future to restore it.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

Yes. Cuba is a very unique location to travel to compared to the rest of the world. You won't regret it.

For more information on global experiences for Liberal Arts students, visit our website.
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