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Goodwin Embraces Opportunity to Teach in Cuba

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By Maria Canales, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Men's Hockey senior forward and Spanish major David Goodwin spent last summer in Mexico, learning about Mexican culture and improving his Spanish skills. In May, Goodwin embarked on another journey, this time to Cuba, where he taught English at a local university. 

For more than a month Goodwin lived in Santa Clara, a large city three hours from Havana. Unlike in Mexico, where he stayed with a host family, Goodwin lived on his own in Santa Clara. He learned how to navigate Cuba by himself, and appreciated the opportunity to set his own itinerary. 

"Last summer I liked having a host family around, but this time it was nice having a little bit more freedom," said Goodwin. "Being able to make my own adventures was different than my last trip, but it was what I wanted." 

During the week, Goodwin taught English to university students. He enjoyed spending time with students his own age, and quickly became friends with the students and other locals. On the weekends Goodwin traveled around the country, visiting beaches, small towns, and the capital city of Havana.

Goodwin also embraced the country's love of baseball. In addition to teaching university classes, he volunteered with a youth program after work hours, and played baseball with kids in the community. Goodwin explained that although he wasn't very good at baseball, it was fun to experience something new.

"I'll definitely stick with hockey," Goodwin joked. 

In fact, Goodwin was able to teach several of his new friends about his hockey background. He showed them photos of games at Pegula Ice Arena and described the spirited atmosphere of the Roar Zone. 

"They were definitely very interested in ice hockey," said Goodwin. "The majority of them had never seen an ice hockey game on TV, but I would explain to them how it worked and we would do comparisons between ice hockey and baseball."

Goodwin's favorite part of his time in Cuba was feeling like a member of a tight-knit community. He appreciated the hospitality and welcoming nature. Goodwin dined with new friends in their homes, met their families, and learned first-hand about Cuban culture and everyday life. 

Goodwin returned from Cuba at the end of June, and is currently back in State College preparing for his senior season with the Nittany Lions. Despite living in Cuba for only a few weeks, Goodwin is sure that the memories will remain with him for a lifetime.

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On the Malec├Án in Havana

goodwin-cuba-3.jpegDinner with a local family

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Dinner with a local family

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