Living in a residencia (residence house) is something I have never done before and I did not know what to expect whatsoever. I thought it would just be the 8 of us from API in a house but there are about 30 kids in the house and another 15 or so that live in houses around the corner but eat their meals in my house. It is really fun being with so many people because we get to meet people from different programs and different universities that we might not have met otherwise.
Every room houses two students and there are en suite bathrooms with hot water, which is definitely a luxury here in Cuba.
In the house API gets our own “apartment.” It is a separate part of the house that has a living room, kitchen and two bedrooms for four students to live in. It is solely for API students and it is where we sometimes eat and where we have our meetings with our resident director, Sandra. It is very modern looking and comfortable and has a balcony as well.
There is always a guard who is at the door and opens it for us when we go in and out because students are not permitted to have keys for safety reasons and we all feel extremely safe here. The first week my sister (my roommate) and I always locked our door but now we never lock it. Everyone is so trustworthy and there have been no problems at all.
Everyday breakfast is served from 7-8:30am and we get eggs and there is bread, muffins, jelly, butter, coffee and sometimes bananas. We do not get served lunch but there are numerous “cafeterias” aka small family-owned restaurants in front of their houses, that serve meals for no more than $2. My favorite place to eat cheap is called Havana Pizza where you can get a good-sized personal pizza for about 50 cents and a soda for 50 cents as well. There are also “cafeterias” with sandwiches, hamburgers, hot dogs, huge ice cream sandwiches and more for 50 cents each.
Dinner is served at 6:30pm and every weekday and 3:00pm on Saturday and Sunday. Dinner consists of white rice with beans and a different meat or fish every night. We also get dessert such as éclairs everyday and pineapple.
Overall I really enjoy living in a residencia. It is really fun and there is always someone around to talk to or do something with. The workers area all really sweet and good people to talk to to learn about Cuba and the culture.
The main entrance and porch:
The main living room/hallway:
The main dining area:
The API apartment:
My bedroom/en suite bathroom: