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N EWS + NOTES

I NTERNAT IONA L S T U D IE S

mi semana en

CUBA BY HEATHER LAMBIE When asked why she wanted to take Canterbury’s International Studies trip to Cuba this Spring, junior Tori Lindenmeyer was brutally honest. “I wanted to go to Cuba because I wanted to check it out before it got commercialized and there’s a McDonalds on every corner with a Starbucks next to it,” she admits. “I wanted to see what it looks like right now. I thought I’d get to miss a couple days of school, travel, take some photos with my friends and post them on Instagram. I’m ashamed saying that, but it’s what I thought.” She did not, however, get what she expected. She got much more.

perspective as well. Donovan asked Upper School Assistant Principal Molly Smith to join the trip as a chaperone because she could act as an administrator to ease the minds of students and parents attending, and also because she is fluent in Spanish.

When Director of International Studies Gina Donovan decided to set up a student trip to Cuba, her motivations were multifaceted. Like Lindenmeyer, Donovan says, “The doors recently opened, and I wanted Canterbury to experience Cuba at a time when it’s still in its pure form, unchanged by any other influences. And we really got that.” Personally, Donovan’s descendants are Cuban, so she was very curious to see it from that

“In some ways it was what I expected,” says Smith, “but in other ways very different. It’s amazing to me that a country that is so close to Florida--to the U.S.--could be so different. There is such a shared history between the U.S. and Cuba.”

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Six students ranging from grades 5-11 went on the trip along with Donovan, Smith, and three parent chaperones. All had equally enlightening experiences.

The group was taken around Cuba by two guides, Oscar and Mimi, who were “adventure planners,” not official gov-

ernment tour guides, which meant they could speak freely about things, including how they ended up being “adventure planners.” They are not allowed to be called tour guides, because official tour guides can only speak of the city, the people, and the government in the most positive light. Oscar, it turns out, is a biochemist by trade. “He took a job as an adventure planner because he needed additional dollars for his family,” Lindenmeyer says. “Can you imagine this? He was researching cancer and only made $20 per month!” To make additional money (as a taxi driver he makes close to $70 per month) Oscar got a job as an official government tour guide. Soon, however, he had to quit because his friend wrote music that spoke out against the government. “They told Oscar that he couldn’t be friends with that person or they would fire him,” Lindenmeyer says.

Profile for Canterbury School of Florida

CSFeatures Spring 2017  

CSFeatures is a publication of Canterbury School of Florida, a PK3 - Grade 12 independent school in St. Petersburg, FL. CSFeatures covers th...

CSFeatures Spring 2017  

CSFeatures is a publication of Canterbury School of Florida, a PK3 - Grade 12 independent school in St. Petersburg, FL. CSFeatures covers th...