First Year Experience

The Haslam College of Business First-Year Experience Programs to Cuba and Costa Rica is the first opportunity for students to study abroad and learn international business concepts. These highly experiential study abroad programs aim to expose students to a variety of businesses and leaders throughout Cuba and Costa Rica, where they can learn how culture and government influence business practices. During these programs, students will:

  • Develop stronger cross-cultural communication skills.
  • Challenge their ability to cope with unfamiliar situations and ambiguity.
  • Acquire an understanding of cultures and perspectives different from their own.
  • Gain new insights into how business is conducted in other parts of the world.

Information Sessions

Dates and times will be posted in Summer 2024

Admissions and Application Process

To be eligible for the FYE Programs to Cuba and Costa Rica, applicants must be first-time, first-year Haslam College of Business Students and must be at least 18 years old prior to program start date. Students can apply to both programs, but must rank their first and second choice program. Upon review of the applications, selected students will be invited to interview.


Students who successfully complete the program will receive credit for:

  • BUAD 299: Special Topics (1 credit)
  • International Business 489: Study Abroad (0 credit)
  • Chancellor’s Honors Program’s Ready for the World requirement (if applicable)

Program Activities and Excursions

Havana, Cuba

Havana, Cuba’s capitol, serves as the largest city ad major port on the island. From walks down the Malecón to strolling through Old Havana, students will be able to see first-hand, despite Spanish colonialization and decades-long embargos, how the city is a vibrant cultural hub of Cuba.

Throughout the program, students will visit with locals, business owners, and professors, taking in a variety of perspectives on complex issues. We will:

  • have tailored lectures on the Cuban economy, history, and culture delivered by Cuban experts
  • learn about challenges and opportunities of doing business in and with Cuba
  • explore key Cuban industries, such as the cigar industry
  • engage in a variety of cultural enrichment activities before returning to the U.S.
  • Full-day excursion out of Havana to the communities of Vinales and Varadero.

San José, Costa Rica

San José is set in the lush Central Valley of the Costa Rican highlands and is where the majority of Costa Ricans work, live, and study. Students studying in San José, Costa Rica will be able to experience a Latin American metropolis while also having the rest of Costa Rica’s pristine natural wonders at their fingertips. Downtown San José features a pedestrian-friendly walkway, where students enjoy strolling, stopping at a café and sipping on a coffee and shopping at the Mercado Central. The city is filled with cultural offerings, including numerous unique museums.

  • Tour of San Jose including: Old District, Jade Museum, and the National Theatre lobby.
  • Visit to a local coffee plantation and other local businesses
  • Salsa lessons