Postcards from Cuba

We travel, initially, to lose ourselves, and we travel, next to find ourselves. - Pico Iyer

For centuries, travelers have been documenting their journeys to parts unknown. The travel narrative is the “oldest in the world” says travel writer, Paul Theroux. This course examines the history of travel literature and photography, while also challenging each student to document his/her first hand experience of travel to Cuba. 


Program Overview

We will reference a wide range of forms: the essay, the report, the journal, the novel, film, the photograph, and photo essay. We will also explore different points of entry: ethnographer, mapmaker, geographical explorer, photographer, adventurer, social activist, and tourist. In doing so, we will hone in on principles of travel writing and photography, along with basic guidelines governing the interaction between word and image. Memory and history as essential components will inform our conversation.

The course will include site visits to 2 locations, exposing the student to everyday life in a rich and complex culture, in addition to brief weekly “walkabouts” to nearby neighborhoods. Students will be asked to document their travel experience in word and image into form worthy of a reader.

Dancer holding fans in Cuba

Photo by Nora Harless


Students will be enrolled in the following 4-unit course.

Please Note: Students studying abroad on a Tisch track are not eligible to pursue an internship (except for Television Writing in London and Theatre in Ghana). Tisch programs do not provide work visas.

Postcards from Cuba

IFMTV-UT 2049 | 4 units | Instructor: Alexis Gambis

At the completion of the course, each student will be able to:

1. chart the basic stages/events in the history of travel writing, travel photography and deltiology (history of postcards)

2. recognize the various forms of travel writing, as well as the different points of view or entry.

3. demonstrate a capacity to represent travel experience in work that combines writing with image(s) in a personal approach.

4. articulate the process of deriving a concept and strategy for the final creative project incorporating writing with image.

Equipment Required: Students must bring a point-and-shoot camera of some kind, whether it's an iPhone or more sophisticated DSLR. They must also bring a thumb drive. 


Program Dates

Summer 2023

Student Arrival: Sunday, May 21, 2023
Student Departure: Saturday, June 10, 2023

Arrival and departure dates subject to change.

Equipment Requirements: Students must bring a point-and-shoot camera of some kind, whether it's an iPhone or more sophisticated DSLR. They must also bring a thumb drive.


Summer 2023

The summer 2023 application is closed.

Please note: Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months past the end of the program at the time of your application. There are no exceptions.

Please read the following admissions information before starting your application.

Note: Students should wait to receive their admissions notification prior to purchasing airline tickets. Students accepted to the program should purchase refundable airline tickets and/or travel insurance in the event the program is canceled or program dates are changed.

Havana man leaning out of a vintage car

Photo by Leo Rothschild


Summer 2023

  • Undergraduate Tuition and Registration and Services Fee: $7,266

Additional Fees Include:

  • Program Fee (includes housing): $1,155
  • Geo Blue Health Insurance: $123.08
  • Airfare: Approximately $750 (Required group flight to/from Havana from New York) 
    Tickets from group flight are non-refundable and non-transferable.

Students are responsible for any COVID-19 testing required to travel to the program location and to return home. For the length of the program, students will be enrolled in GeoBlue Health Insurance. Students traveling beyond the dates of the program are encouraged to enroll themselves in GeoBlue Health Insurance.

Please review the Tisch Special Programs cancellation policy.

Visit the NYU Office of the Bursar for additional information on tuition and fees.


You will be housed in the Vedado district of Havana in home-stays (casas particulares). Students are provided with breakfast and dinner at their casas.

  • Double bedroom
  • Breakfast and dinner included in program costs
  • Limited laundry facilities on-site
  • No internet available in residence, but will be available nearby at additional cost
  • Rooms furnished with linens and towels
  • No overnight guests allowed
Kids in Cuba