Nicaragua & Cuba: Arts & Social Change

This program has been paused and is currently not being offered. View more programs from The Experiment in International Living.

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Live with a campesino host family in a mountainous rural community. You will have Spanish classes, visit an artisan pottery studio, and do a service project. Travel to San Juan del Oriente to explore the lush vegetation and hike a volcano. Discover how Nicaraguans use arts to express their aspirations and visit local artists’ studios as you learn about art, poetry, music, and dance.

You will have a second homestay in Managua, where you will live in the neighborhood of Máximo Jerez, a community involved in the Sandinista revolution. Participate in spoken-word poetry workshops with writers inspired by the revolution. Prepare traditional dishes incorporating exotic fruits from Nicaragua.

Travel to Cuba. Learn about Cuba’s significance in history and its many connections to Nicaragua. Spend a week in Havana exploring the arts in a different contexts. Participate in a community service project and talk to Cubans about their aspirations. Visit Old Havana before returning to Nicaragua.

  • Arts
  • Social Change
  • Language
  • Peace, Politics, and Human Rights
  • Homestay

Questions & Answers


9.5 Rating
based on 6 reviews
  • 9-10 rating 100%
  • 7-8 rating 0%
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  • Growth 9.7
  • Support 9.5
  • Fun 9.5
  • Housing 9
  • Safety 9
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Yes, I recommend this program

A Unique Opportunity

The Nicaragua and Cuba:Arts and Social Change trip has been an extraordinary experience for me! Although not completely fluent in Spanish, I was able to lean into discomfort in my homes stays and converse with people. This program has given me a lot of space to grow individually and to develop my character! I am very grateful for the chance to go to both Nicaragua and Cuba. Learning about the distinct cultures and revolutions in each country has been very enlightening. I also cherished the moments in which we were able to have exploration time in each place. Having classes, homesteads, very supportive mentors and a very harmonious group, I was able to have a unique and beautiful experience this July as I became familiar with two very beautiful countries!

What would you improve about this program?
I would have liked to spend more time in Cuba and be able to see more than Havana and Las Terrazas so that we could have a more well-rounded experience of what Cuba is actually like besides its biggest city.
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Yes, I recommend this program

Nicaragua and Cuba

My name is Ashley Rivera and I was lucky enough to partake in the program of arts and social change that took place in Nicaragua and Cuba. Over the course of roughly 4 weeks, I was given the opportunity to stay with an environmentally conscious rural community within the Nicaraguan mountains whose desire for change was evident in their day to day lives. Also throughout this program, I stayed in Cuba for a week and visited multiple art museums/installations and was given a chance to explore Cuban society within a safe and responsible context. I appreciate being able to experience the lives of those who are so different from a mine, because it gave me a new perspective or more so a changed perspective on the definition of happiness. In lagartillo (Nicaraguan community) there are latrines instead of bathrooms, and when I asked why this community did that, their response was that gallons of water are used when you flush the toilet, so if they could conserve that instead of what they thought was needlessly using it, then they are doing a little part of what needs to be a big change. Watching such a small community attempt to do their part in what needs to be a bigger concern for the world and being happy to do so made me appreciate and rethink my luxuries and gain a humbling perspective on the world today. My experiment leaders and in country mentors were very helpful and supportive as well.

What would you improve about this program?
It's a very good program.
Yes, I recommend this program

A New Home

Before Nicaragua and Cuba, I knew I was never really immersed in culture. Although I live in New York, which is considered a well-known "melting pot", I knew I was missing something. During the summer of 2015, I discovered the missing ingredients when I was abroad in Cuba and Nicaragua. Although the program had the intended lesson of 'Art and Social Change', it was so much more than that; I was living in culture, history, art, and in a new environment with new friends and family, that is my host families. I was speaking the language and learning the history that made the people who they are today. Truly, the program opened my eyes because although it is acknowledged that there is a whole world beyond where the individual lives, thinking about it is drastically different than living in it. With this program, I was given a new set of lenses, as I came back, not only with lasting memories but with a new look at things from different cultural perspectives.

What would you improve about this program?
Its perfect the way it is.
Yes, I recommend this program

A Perspective Changing Trip

This program was a deeply moving and formative experience for me. When I chose to participate in this particular trip, I had only a vague idea of what I might be in for. My only real grasp of the nature of the trip came from the key words in its title: Nicaragua and Cuba: Arts and Social Change. From the day that I arrived, I realized that I was in for an experience that would completely change and form parts of my identity. Though my understanding of art and its role in social change grew substantially, I was most moved by my exposure to the Spanish language and Latin American culture. Time spent bonding with host families, meeting and talking to local people in Spanish, and visiting culturally significant sites made me develop a much more deep understanding of both Nicaraguan and Cuban identity. I left Nicaragua and Cuba with an understanding of the power of art as a catalyst for change and a deep hunger to travel in Latin America in the future.

What would you improve about this program?
I think that this program could be improved if there was less on the itinerary. Learning a new language, trying to understand a new culture, and spending time with a group can be exhausting.
Yes, I recommend this program

My Trip Made Me Who I Am Today

Traveling to Nicaragua and Cuba was such an eye opening experience for me. I learned so many things about Latin American culture, the people I interacted with every day and myself. I knew before going on this trip that I would have to be forced out of my comfort zone. Here I was about to enter two countries I haven't visited before, speaking/learning a language I was not fluent in, and living with 3 different families. I had no choice but to embrace the unknown and step into a new world on my own. I began to learn more and more every day on this trip that discomfort brings growth. Our comfort zone is such a beautiful place to be, but nothing ever grows from there. As I began to accept that my discomfort was a good thing, I was no longer afraid to try the new adventurous activities we had on our schedule. I enjoyed confronting challenges and reflecting on them with my peers. Nicaragua and Cuba has molded me into an individual that is more open minded and more aware. I wouldn't trade my month experience in these two countries for the world.

What would you improve about this program?
More resting time for experimenters. This experience is so mentally, emotionally and physically draining.
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Yes, I recommend this program

A wonderful trip with rich culture and unforgettable people

The Cuba and Nicaragua: Arts and Social Change program was hands down one of the best months of my life. Through this program, I got to embrace many cultures very different than my own, improve my Spanish skill drastically, and learn a lot about myself as a person and as a global citizen. It was incredible to meet new people, hear new stories, and gain different perspectives. It was eye opening to see how others lived, and everyone was so kind and welcoming. I would recommend this program to anyone looking to explore, meet new people, and to go outside their comfort zone in order to learn more than they ever could have imagined.

What would you improve about this program?
I think this program could be improved if we spent more time in Cuba. Cuba is such a cool place to be, and I think that having an additional homestay in Cuba would have truly added to the experience. I also think it would have been amazing to leave Havana and to see some of the other parts of Cuba.