Is Cuba, South Africa in your future?

NEW ORLEANS (February 14, 2020) – Picture yourself in South Africa or Cuba for the summer, soaking up the sun, eating good food, mixing with the locals and enjoying life to the fullest – all while working toward your college degree.

This could be you through Dillard’s Ray Charles Program for Material Culture, which is offering the Cuba trip and curriculum, or through The Council on International Educational Exchange, or CIEE, which has scheduled the South Africa trip.

You have to move quickly to apply to the CIEE adventure, however; Friday is the deadline to apply for one or more of four sessions starting May 18. If an applicant is approved, a fellowship will provide $1,500 in grant money, airfare and housing.

The Ray Charles Program’s trip to Havana and Matanzas, Cuba, is set for June 3-17 and allows students to receive three credit hours for $3,625. A minimum of 10 students is needed.

CIEE will split the summer semester in Cape Town, South Africa, into three sessions, with each one lasting four weeks. The earliest session will begin on May 18 and the final one will begin July 13. The total price depends on how many sessions a student applies for. One session costs $4,150. Two sessions cost $7.470. All three sessions cost $10,790.

Applicants are only allowed to take three to four credit hours per session.

For either opportunity, qualified students need to apply for financial aid per usual with Dillard, and the amount they are awarded will be applied.

Dr. Roland Bullard, vice president for Student Success, said Dillard has a standing partnership with CIEE:  “The partnership essentially consists of the fact that when students come get signed up with us; they are able to then leverage their financial aid [and] use their financial aid [for] travel,” said.

While Dillard no longer has a study abroad office, Dr. Courtney Williams, director of Student Engagement and Leadership, said, “We’ve doubled down on our efforts to make students aware” of opportunities to travel abroad.

“You can work with CIEE,” Williams said. “They really prepare you for getting on the plane,” and “they really do customize the experience for you.”

Williams is also a helpful source for students interested in traveling abroad.

He said, “I didn’t study abroad in college, and that’s why it is so important to me. It’s one of those things I wanted to do and could never get my schedule to align with it. That’s why I always tell students to start thinking about it early.”

The South Africa program offers courses like “Doing Business in Emerging Markets” and “South African Literature and Film.” The Cuba program offers a three-credit-hour “Seminar on Cuban History and Culture.”

Students intereted in applying to the Frederick Douglass Global Fellowship to study abroad this summer can visit or email The fellowship is geared toward freshmen and sophomores attending a minority-serving institution with a minimum 3.0 GPA and eligibility for a federal Pell Grant.

Students interested in traveling to Cuba should contact Zella Palmer, executive director of the Ray Charles Program, at (504) 816-4091 or