• Nicaragua
Fall, Spring
Subject Areas
Anthropology Biology Conservation and Preservation Cultural Studies Earth Sciences Ecology Economics Education Health Sciences International Relations Latin American Studies Liberal Arts Marine Biology Medicine Natural Sciences Peace Studies Political Science Social Sciences Sociology Sustainable Development Tourism Women's Studies +12

Program Details

Program Type
Degree Level
Host Family


Starting Price
Price Details
Includes airport pick-up, classes, books, internship placement and supervision, donation to internship organization, room and partial board (breakfast and dinner), laundry service, round-trip transportation from San José to internship sites in Costa Rica or Nicaragua, field trip expenses and a weeklong group trip to Nicaragua (excluding visa related fees).

See website for scholarship opportunities!
Oct 13, 2018
May 25, 2017
5 travelers are looking at this program

About Program

Gain hands-on experience and knowledge; move beyond the theory into the practice, and put your views of development and justice to the test.

Nicaragua has a rich history of grassroots social movements. Students have the opportunity to work closely with organizations carrying out important and innovative work in human rights and gender in Nicaragua. In addition to human rights internships, ICADS' program offers over 65 placements with organizations in the areas of the environment, education, health, development, wildlife conservation, agriculture, and women’s studies, among others.

This for-credit program prepares students for their 8 week internship by first providing a 5 week block of classes to both help ground students in the context and issues facing this region while also improving their Spanish communication abilities through small intensive Spanish classes.

During the internship, students are closely supervised by an ICADS coordinator and an on-site supervisor.

Program Reviews

5.00 Rating
based on 3 reviews
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  • 4 rating 0%
  • 3 rating 0%
  • 2 rating 0%
  • 1 rating 0%
  • Academics 4.35
  • Support 4.7
  • Fun 4.7
  • Housing 4.7
  • Safety 5
Showing 1 - 3 of 3 reviews
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Margaret Reynolds

I very much enjoyed my time during ICADS this spring. I learned about the topics I had been wanting to, gaining a general understanding of the ecology, economy, history, culture, and politics of the area. I felt that there was a lot of work at times, however I did want to learn all that I learned and I am glad that the courses were so comprehensive. They gave me a better understanding of the United States and the importance of the decisions being made in Washington for the country and the world. At the very least I can say this helped with debates with conservative relatives, but I also recognize that some of my actions actually did change as a result of learned impacts and that my life direction could have been altered significantly based on what I came to understand. The day trips we took were a huge part of that. I loved visiting the farms and the businesses, conducting interviews in San Jose.... Also nearly all of the guest speakers were very useful and engaging. I never felt that I could miss a class or not take notes because I wanted to know everything that was being discussed. ICADS has a great selection of material.
My biggest issue when I was abroad was that I felt a bit lonely at times because I wasn't given as much of an opportunity to connect with the people or the place that I was in as I would have liked. The internship was very valuable for me. I loved being away and not with others that are my age or from the US. This seems a bit counter-intuitive considering what I just said, but I valued being on my own and making connections with the people that I worked with or the people in town. That is where a majority of my personal development came from. I learned the most from the friendships that I was able to make in the initial time when I had not looked at the rule manual in a while and forgot some regulations (curfew). These friendships I continue to learn from, as I am still talking via Skype or Facebook to the people I spent my time with.
That paragraph sounds like a complaint but to be clear I absolutely loved my experience here. I got to do so much with my internship- I got to help directly with the workshops that the group conducted to change the oppressive/ violent culture towards women and to give them a more powerful voice, I had a say in designing them and was trained like the facilitators on the issues at hand, I made national news three times for being at different feminist events (playing the drums and singing in one, which I NEVER do but was fun), and I was able to attend many similar (non televised) events that helped with my understanding of the situation in the region and of my place in the world. I was also trusted with the task of teaching an English class informally, which I did not expect and which ended up being great for comprehension of both Spanish and English and for experience designing lesson plans or homework to get points across. I was also given the opportunity to paint (a hobby of mine) and to conduct my own research. Honestly, my internship was fantastic and unlike anything any of my peers on other study abroad trips could have experienced. I am so very glad that I chose ICADS and that I landed in the program that I did. I would highly recommend the program to anyone interested.

What would you improve about this program?
see above, less work more freedom
part I cut out:
I didn't love the curfew I had in Nicaragua just because it limited my ability to do this (part on forming connections with people). I was a bit uncomfortable having to tell adult friends that I had to be in the house by a certain hour when we were out at dinner or at someone’s house; they would cut their plans short or plan their trips around places I would be able to go to and still be home in time. I felt that if the family would be awake and I had a safe way to get home it should be acceptable to return later, or that if the family was not going to be awake and I had a definite place to stay for the night that I should be able to do so. I understand the reason for this curfew and for these rules, as it could be dangerous for us or for the program if anything were to happen outside of our plans; for this I felt bad about my indignance. However, I must say that this lack of freedom obstructed my efforts to form the connections that help with whatever disconnect I was feeling from myself and my situation.
25 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

An Amazing and Valuable Experience

ICADS is a wonderful program that takes learning outside of the classroom. The program is divided into 3 major blocks. The first block is month long classes where you study Spanish in the morning in small classes based on your skill level. (I was in a class of 2.) In the afternoon there is a more structured class on sustainable development and social justice. During this period we went on many field trips and a study tour to Nicaragua. It was during this tour that I fell in love with Nicaragua and decided to do my study tour there instead of in Costa Rica (where the classes were held).

Once I decided to do my internship in Nicaragua, the program coordinators worked with me to find an internship that would fit what I was looking for in a program. I was interested in a public health setting although there were options for many other fields such as nursing, homeopathic medicine, teaching, environmental studies, etc. If they didn't already have an established relationship with an organization that interested you, the program coordinators worked hard to find you a new placement.

In Nicaragua, all the intern in my cohort lived in Matagalpa, this darling little town/city in NW Nicaragua. I lived in a modern house with modern conveniences. My host mom was a wonderful cook (too wonderful! I gained 5lbs!) and I was never hungry. I would spend time watching telenovelas with my family, or playing cards with my host siblings.

My internship was with the Nicaraguan Communal Movement (Movimiento Comunal Nicaraguese) (MCN). I worked with a wonderfully patient supervisor on a program that brought basic nutrition information to surrounding communities. I made different visual props and prepared a "charla" or mini, informal speech that I gave in tandem with my supervisor. It was really rewarding work.

In my time at MCN I also supported local protests against public transportation fare increases, domestic violence, and an international minery. I also made murals for a vaccination campaign that would be hung in local clinics around the area. I was really integrated into the organization even though my time there was short.

In the afternoons I went to a dance studio to work out. They had a very reasonable priced Zumba-styled class where I met both locals and foreigners like myself. The studio staff were friendly and I got a good workout.

I felt very safe in Nicaragua and had no trouble walking around by myself, although I didn't quite feel comfortable running there. On the weekends, my cohort would go dancing at Artesanos, a local bar.

I love Matagalpa and can't wait to go back. My internship helped prepare me for my public health career and was a key component to getting two jobs back in the states. I think that my time in Nicaragua was invaluable as it really shaped who I am as a professional and a person.

What would you improve about this program?
I wish there had been more planned events to get us involved in the community. On the weekends the city was basically asleep. I didn't have much to do on the weekends. In Nicaragua, people relax and visit with family on the weekend. Being an American from the NE I had a hard time relaxing and as a foreigner I didn't have any family to visit.
17 people found this review helpful.
Read my full story
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

wonderful program!

I had a fantastic experience with this program. The program supervisors in Nicaragua and Costa Rica worked diligently to find an internship that matched my interests and helped me make the most out of my time with the organization. I had a wonderful host family with whom I've kept in contact since returning to the United States. It was my first experience abroad, and I'm so glad I chose this program. It was also a valuable Spanish immersion experience.

17 people found this review helpful.

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