I was lucky enough to travel to Nicaragua in July 2014 to work on a Practicum project for school I had been working on for a few months prior at FIMRC HQ. I worked on implementing a program that would benefit the community in learning about the most prominent prevalent diseases in the area. I do not speak much Spanish (something I recommend), but I was able to get by.
I had no expectations going down to Nica, but working in the clinics was such a incredible experience. I got to oversee and educate young woman on being pregnant, I played with kids and took their vitals in the clinic, I educated students at the local school on certain diseases, like UTIs.
One have my favorite days in clinic was when the most of the volunteers got split up to go to an American Singing Competition at a local high school and three of us decided to go to Los Pipitos Development Program. I decided to go to the program because I wanted to get experience working with kids in physical therapy; it was such a humbling experience working with the kids.
Host Family & Weekend Experience:
My experience was absolutely wonderful. I stayed with a host family, something else I highly recommend rather than staying at the lodge, and my siblings were so kind and fun. I chose to live with a big family to replicate my own family back in the States---- it definitely made my experience much more fun! Although I was their first guest staying in the house, It did not take long for the family to warm up to me. I quickly became good friends with my siblings and cousins-- we played baseball several times a week when I got home from the clinic. I had two weekends in Nicaragua, and was fortunate enough to travel to Ometepe Island (I did a 3-4 hour hike to the top a waterfall near the top of a volcano) and Granada (I took an island tour and a evening/sunset volcano tour).
I found out that some of the locals who moved from the States did yoga at Jiquelite Beach almost every other day at 7AM--- I took advantage of participating and then went straight to clinic after!
Overall, my experience was unforgettable. I still talk to my family a few times a month and the food was amazing (I still crave for rice and beans!). One thing I realized I needed on this trip was patience. Without patience, volunteers may not get the experience they want---- you must let go of everything negative in your life and come with a smile on your face to clinic. Enjoy and immerse yourself in every way possible in the culture!