Moving forward with plan for trip to Cuba, January 2017!

IMG_1505We finished our series of informational meetings about the potential INANE/Cuba Educational Collaboration Trip yesterday. We know that there are people who are interested in learning more who could not join the informational sessions, so this post covers what we shared, including a video of one of the sessions (at the end of this post), answers to many questions that came up during our meetings, and a form you can complete to let us know if you are definitely, moderately, or somewhat interested in participating in an INANE collaborative exchange trip to Cuba in January 2017!   Read on for more details, to see the video, and to fill out to the “Expression of Interest” form!

The informational meetings confirmed a broad concept–that this proposal could very well serve as a model for developing the international connections we have always aspired to for INANE, but have not achieved as fully as we would like. This model does not replace our annual conferences, which will proceed as usual. International Collaborative Exchanges would involve small INANE delegations visiting countries where we want to build strong editorial connections.

For Cuba specifically, our informational sessions confirmed that there is enough interest in the proposed Cuba trip to move forward with the next steps, which are:

  1. Determining who is seriously interested in participating in a MEDICC-sponsored trip to Cuba in January, 2017 (we need 16 to 22 participants).  If you are interested, you can complete our “Expression of Interest” form to let us know your level of interest!
  2. If we have a sufficient number of people indicating interest, we will notify MEDICC that we do want to confirm that INANE will sign up for the dates that they have reserved for this trip, and start working with them to plan our agenda.
A few questions which came up at the various meetings:
  • Would we be able to visit a school of nursing, hospital, maternal/child health center, elder center, etc?  Yes–MEDICC would work with us to plan the agenda to meet our needs. One advantage of planning this far in advance is that we have time to figure out what everyone wants to see and do and work to have that included as part of the program.
  • Would we stay at the same hotel that you and Leslie stayed at?  Probably not. MEDICC is working to reserve rooms at a hotel that is closer to downtown Havana, which would make it easier for people to get out in the evening or when we have free time.
  • What are the requirements for passport and visa? If you are a citizen of the United States, you must have a valid US passport and it must have an expiration date at least 6 months beyond the date of the trip (July 2017). MEDICC takes care of arranging for a visa for each traveler. Non-US travelers must have a valid passport from their home country.
  • Is this trip only for people from the US? No, INANE friends from other countries are welcome to sign up for the trip. Arrangements would be made for how they would arrive in Havana.
  • Would we be able to travel beyond Havana? This will be determined by what we want on the agenda and what is feasible in terms of time and distance.
  • Can my spouse come on the trip? Spouses/partners/friends are welcome but they need to participate in all the educational programming that is offered–that is part of the visa requirement.
  • I don’t speak Spanish – is that a problem? That’s fine. Leslie and I don’t speak Spanish either. An interpreter is included as part of the travel package. It is a great asset to be able to speak Spanish, but not required.
  • How was the weather? The weather was nice. It rained one day but after that was sunny and pleasant, with temps in the 70s. I suspect that next January would be very nice, especially for those of us who live in places that experience winter. 🙂
  • When do we have to pay/or sign up?  MEDICC will provide a formal application for the trip that will be available later this spring or early summer.  We will develop a “first come” list for this application, and if there are more than 22 participants who wish to apply, we will set up a wait list so that if someone has to drop out, someone else can take their place.  Once your application is approved by MEDICC, you will be asked to pay a deposit, which for us was $300.  For us, the final payment in full for the trip was due about 2 weeks before the start of the trip, which is likely to be the plan for our INANE trip.

So let us know if you are at all interested–we need your response even if you are only mildly interested. It should take you about 2 minutes to complete this form. Note that this is not binding or a final commitment–it just allows us to have an accurate number to go forward with MEDICC, in good faith saying that we have at least the minimum number of people required for a trip. Once we have sufficient responses to justify moving forward, we will notify MEDICC, and will also develop a communication system to everyone informed each step of the way!

Here is the link to the “Expression of Interest” form:
https://inane2014.wufoo.com/forms/ptrj7hz094zxfp/

If you have questions, use the contact form to send them to Leslie or Peggy and we’ll do our best to get you an answer. Thanks again! We look forward to moving ahead with this project!  And enjoy the video!