Cuba is located in the Northern Caribbean where the Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico, and Atlantic ocean meets, in North America.
It is the most populated country in the Caribbean. Officially the Republic of Cuba is a country comprising the island of Cuba, as well as Isla de la Juventud and several minor archipelagos.
Historians believe the name Cuba comes from the Taíno language, however “its exact derivation [is] unknown”.
The exact meaning of the name is unclear but it may be translated either as ‘where fertile land is abundant’ (Cubao), or ‘great place’ (cabana)(en.m.Wikipedia.org).
With their major language as Spanish, teaching English in Cuba has become one of the most promising teaching jobs one could have there especially after they had re-established their connections with the United States and had opened themselves to tourism and more English teachers in their educational system.
In the former days, the United States and Cuba had a rough relationship for more than 60 years, rooted in the overthrow of a US-backed government Fulgencio Batista by Fidel Castor who established a socialist state allied with the Soviet Union.
During the half-century that followed, successive U.S. administrations followed policies directed at isolating the island country economically and diplomatically. The United States sanctioned Cuba longer than it has any other country.
After the Cuban Revolution, the United States recognized Fidel Castro’s government but began imposing economic penalties as the new regime increased its trade with the Soviet Union, nationalized American-owned properties, and hiked taxes on U.S. imports.
After slashing Cuban sugar imports, Washington put a ban on nearly all U.S. exports to Cuba, which President John F. Kennedy expanded into a full economic embargo that included stringent travel restrictions.
President Obama had taken some steps to thaw the US relationship with Cuba, meeting their leader Raul Castor and resorting to full diplomatic ties. President Trump however hit Cuba with new sanctions again, prohibiting commerce with businesses controlled by or operating on behalf of the Cuban military, intelligence agencies, and security services.
It also banned Americans from traveling to Cuba individually for educational and cultural exchanges.
Months later, the administration said it would pull most of its embassy staff from Havana, after American and Canadian diplomatic workers suffered unexplained injuries, including hearing loss and cognitive impairments but presently President Joe Biden has aimed at thawing the relationship again, pledging to reverse Trump’s policies on Cuba, which he says did not advance human rights and democracy, though one cannot say to what extent or how quick it’d be.
What are the requirements to find a job of teaching English in Cuba?
Cuban educational system follows a strict highly regulated standard ensuring their students receive the best education. Anyone looking into teaching English in Cuba must be a bachelor’s degree holder especially if it is teaching English in a private international school.
Due to the high literacy rate and quality education, it is advised that people looking into teaching English in Cuba have additional ESL teaching qualifications, i.e TEFL online certificate which gives them access to, necessary skills and knowledge one would need to gain a job teaching English in Cuba.
As the main language of communication has become the English language internationally, for most Cubans, especially international businessmen and traders, learning the English language has become necessary.
This has resulted in even the adults paying for teachers who have come with the aim of teaching English in Cuba.
Some of them trade teaching Spanish to learn from those who have come to reside with them who are advanced in the English language and have come with the aim of teaching the English language in Cuba.
Probability of securing a job of teaching English in Cuba?
Though to the high demand for English teachers, Cuba has managed to secure many teachers who aim at teaching English in Cuba thus there is not much high a demand for English teachers as it had been when they had newly re-established their connections with the United States.
One would ask “does this mean there is no demand for English teachers in Cuba?” The answer is no, there is still a demand for English teachers who aim at teaching English in Cuba but it isn’t in high demand anymore, and securing a job might not be as easy as it was previously.
What’s the nature of the job of teaching English in Cuba?
Teachers who aim at teaching English in Cuba are mostly sorted for in Havana with a yearly salary of up to $2000 USD monthly, 35-40 working hours per week. Some schools may provide relocation allowance, teachers are allowed on Summer vacations and national holidays.
Some school provides health insurance and some offer to help secure a visa that could last more than 3months. A contract of 1-2 years is often agreed on.
The United States Embassy provides products and services for English Teachers and learners in Cuba as promoting the English language is one of the primary objectives of their Public Affairs Office.
These resources are available online and in America centers in form of tools to help learn English and understand the United States better from its history to its cultures, customs and values and also ease the learning of the global language as it has become necessary to compete in the global market today. There are a total of 10,593 schools in Cuba.
What Kind of Visa is allowed to gain a job of teaching English in Cuba?
Getting a visa to teach in Cuba for US citizens seems very difficult, while some schools help in securing a visa that’d last more than three months, a tourist visa can’t be used to secure employment.
Living in Cuba
Cuba is a country with so many cultures, history and of course great food. It is known as the top Caribbean vacation destination and has to limit to the time spent at the beach or on water.
Havana its the capital city is known for its colorful, unique architecture, entertainment, and world-class cuisine. Plaza Vieja is Havana’s historical city square and there the traditional Cuban food is sampled including the Plaza’s own microbrewery.
Calle Mercaderes or the Marchant street is a car-free block resorted to its former 18th-century charm, full of museums and unique shops that are authentically the Cubans.
Varadero located at the East of Havana is full of astonishing white sand beaches which are seen as the vacationer’s paradise. Cuba is a vibrant country where vintage American cars which are iconically Cuban are seen and of course classical buildings.
The cost of living in Cuba is 22.11% lower than that of the United States, rent in Cuba is on average, 63.50% lower than that of the United States
Cuba is a country of undeniable enchantment with its butter-soft balmy beaches, lush green countryside, and colorful colonial cities, which crawl with 1950s Cadillacs and overflow with the scent of rum and cigar smoke (Www.Hotels.com).
Cuba is considered one of the most beautiful places on Earth. It boasts lush, tranquil forests and incredible breath-taking beaches, as well as a rich and colorful culture. Even UNESCO has recognized the island for its outstanding natural beauty.
As dance is majorly important in Cuba, the people of Cuba have nationally known dances, the Salsa known as the Casino in Cuba, the Cha cha cha, the Rumba, Regueton, etc. While Danzon is Havana’s Ballroom dance for couples. Most teacher who teaches English trade teach English in Cuba to learn Salsa and Spanish.
The most popular sport played in Cuba Is baseball. Cuba’s highest exports are sugar, tobacco, and Nickle.
Sugar-milling has long been the largest industry, and Cuba is also known for its tobacco products. There is an oil-refining industry as well. Some consumer goods are manufactured, as well as construction materials, steel, agricultural machinery, and pharmaceuticals (www.washingtonpost.com)
Recipes in Cuba are passed down through generations as stories and not like the usual notes everyone is used to.
In Cuban schools, the color of uniforms shows the grade a student is in.
Greeting in Cuba is an air kiss to one cheek with a nifty pucker sound to highlight the affection.
Teaching English in Cuba is one of the most sorts after Jobs amongst foreigners who want to reside in Cuba but there are communication barriers as most of the Cubans speak Spanish and have little or no knowledge of English and there are not many schools in Cuba.
Most Cubans have a high interest in learning English and tend to get along with their foreign neighbors who are interested in teaching English.
Teaching English in Cuba comes in handy with those who have low-income expectations and want to experience rich cultures.
Most people in Cuba trade learning for teaching other things and do not offer real money. Even education in its schools happens to be free for its citizens to promote the zeal to learn as education is of high priority. Individuals can attend even higher education and even gain degrees as graduates.
School is compulsory only to grade 9, however; the average education level of all Cubans is 10th/11th grade. The education budget in Cuba is approximately 13 percent of their Gross Domestic Product (GDP). This is high when compared to other developing countries.
Primary education lasts for six years. It consists of grades 1 through 6. Secondary education is divided into basic secondary education and pre-university secondary education.
According to a 2014 report by The World Bank, Cuba has the best education system in Latin American and the Caribbean and is the only country on the continent to have a high-level teaching faculty.
According to culturetrip.com, there are 11 things to avoid during one stay in Cuba
1. Don’t talk about politics.
2. Don’t stay in the orange casa particulares.
3. Don’t work on a tourist visa.
4. Don’t take photos of police or soldiers.
5. Don’t be shy
6. Don’t get confused by the two currencies.
7. Don’t expect to find creature comforts.
8. Don’t forget to tip
9. Don’t blow your nose in public or spit in the street.
10. Don’t fall for the touts
11. Don’t turn down the drink from a shared glass.
Human rights in Cuba are under the scrutiny of human rights organizations, which accuse the Cuban government of committing systematic human rights abuses against the Cuban people, including arbitrary imprisonment and unfair trials.
International human rights organizations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have drawn attention to the actions of the human rights movement and designated members of it as prisoners of conscience, such as Óscar Elías Biscet.
In addition, the International Committee for Democracy in Cuba led by former heads of state Václav Havel of the Czech Republic, José María Aznar of Spain, and Patricio Aylwin of Chile was created to support the civic movement.
Cuban law limits freedom of expression, association, assembly, movement, and the press. Concerns have also been expressed about the operation of due process.
According to Human Rights Watch, even though Cuba, officially atheist until 1992, now “permits greater opportunities for religious expression than it did in past years, and has allowed several religious-run humanitarian groups to operate, the government still maintains tight control on religious institutions, affiliated groups, and individual believers”.
Censorship in Cuba has also been at the center of complaints. According to the report of Human Rights Watch from 2017, the government continues to rely on arbitrary detention to harass and intimidate critics, independent activists, political opponents, and others.
This report added that the Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation, an independent human rights group that lacks official authorization and is therefore considered illegal by the government, received more than 7,900 reports of arbitrary detentions from January through August 2016.
This represents the highest monthly average of detentions in the past six years.
Amnesty International’s 2017–2018 Annual Report also noted more arbitrary detentions, discriminatory layoffs by state agencies, and harassment in self-employment with the aim of making them silent in criticism.
Regarding any progress in education, Amnesty International reported that advances in education were undermined by ongoing online and offline censorship. Cuba remained mostly closed to independent human rights monitors.
Relating to arbitrary arrests and detentions the report added that human rights and political activists continued to be harassed, intimidated, and arbitrarily detained in high numbers.
The Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation, a Cuban NGO not officially recognized by the state, recorded 5,155 arbitrary detentions in 2017, compared to 9,940 in 2016(en.m.Wikipedia.org).