Multiple Locations +2
  • Nicaragua
    • Managua
  • Cuba
    • Havana
Fall, Spring
Subject Areas
Anthropology Communications Cultural Studies Latin American Studies Media Relations Political Science Social Sciences

Program Details

Program Type
Degree Level
Host Family


Starting Price
$16,401 USD
What's Included
Some Activities Airport Transfers Classes Travel Insurance
What's Not Included
Accommodation Some Activities Airfare Meals SIM cards Visa
Nov 20, 2019
Jul 27, 2017

About Program

Explore Nicaragua a generation after the revolution and investigate how young people in Nicaragua and Cuba are creatively advocating for change.

Major topics of study include:

Nicaraguan and Cuban Revolutions, literacy campaigns, and contemporary challenges
Youth culture and expression in Nicaragua and Cuba
Youth and questions of access (to education, healthcare, and digital media)
Youth and issues of difference (e.g., ethnic, sexual, class, and religious differences)
Nicaraguan literature, literary styles, genres, and registers

Video and Photos

Program Reviews

9.67 Rating
based on 6 reviews
  • 9-10 rating 100%
  • 7-8 rating 0%
  • 5-6 rating 0%
  • 3-4 rating 0%
  • 1-2 rating 0%
  • Academics 7.2
  • Support 8.8
  • Fun 8.5
  • Housing 8.5
  • Safety 8
Showing 1 - 6 of 6 reviews
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Final Project Received National Attention

Overall a great experience, ended the semester a capable Spanish speaker with an award-winning independent project. My semester had an interim Academic Director, which may or may not have affected some lax classes and lack of supplementary material that i've heard was better with the past/present ADs. My Spanish improved by leaps and bounds, and I formed friendships and relationships all over the country. The ISP video project I produced wound up getting national attention, and won funding which means I will be returning to Nica this Fall. If you put energy and effort into exploring Nicaragua and seeking out opportunities to do a great ISP, there's nothing stopping you from doing the same.

What would you improve about this program?
Only obvious weak point of my semester was the academics, which may easily be improved now because we had an interim Academic Director.
7 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Challenging and Meaningful

I highly recommend this program. I am a native Spanish speaker, and a Latin American studies major. However, this program accommodates anyone who wants to learn or improve their Spanish, as there are three different sections into which language classes are divided in order to provide helpful learning environments. The people in my group also had different majors and many of them focused their independent projects in topics associated ranging from Political Science to Art, Women's Studies, English, Music and Audio Production and Media Studies.

This experience, the classes, the field trips, the guest speakers, and the independent project, provided me with tools and resources I could not have otherwise accessed at my home institution or on my own. My favorite part of the program was probably the field trips and the people we spoke to while on them. In this program you spend time in the countryside, in the Caribbean coast, and in Cuba. All of these opportunities, along with the main course curriculum and the guest lecturers, help you prepare for a month long independent project. For this project, you find a mentor with the help of the professors and administrators, and can go anywhere in the country to conduct your research. You are given a stipend and must check in regularly in order to update administrators on your wellbeing and progress. This was the closest I have been to writing a thesis and cannot express how helpful it was to undergo the research process as vigorously as I decided to.

The mentor I had was extremely helpful and generous with their time. They gave me the contact information of people I could reach out to for my research, and the resulting conversations were incredibly informative and valuable. I was excited to be talking to people who wanted to share their views and histories with me, and often, I got the chance to do the same as well.

The readings and assignments are sometimes media oriented, which was very interesting, and we got to meet prominent leaders of feminist, environmental, revolutionary, and other key groups in the country, and the same goes for the time in Cuba. These guest speakers would come to our classes and provide lectures and discussions. This is an invaluable resource to understand current dilemmas and challenges, often rooted in colonial and neocolonial conflicts.

The homestays were lovely and although it is a very different experience from living on your own or in dormitories, it was refreshing to me to spend down time at home and with a family to share thoughts and learn from. Our language assignments encouraged us to start conversations about our host familiy's perspectives and experiences, and this helped me grow closer with them and also learn from my peers' experiences in their own host households.

Overall it is one of the best choices I have made and I can't wait to go back and catch up with the people I met there and learned so much from.

What would you improve about this program?
I sometimes struggled to break out from our core abroad group, because so much of the programming is obviously catering to our group of foreign students in the Nicaraguan context. I would encourage anyone going on this program to also make efforts to connect with other students at the local universities and involve yourself in conversations about topics of your interest, and learn about how they are addressed in the Nicaraguan context. This will help complicate your views on any given topic and learn about how it changes based in context.
4 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Would do it again in a heartbeat!!

My experience with SIT Nicaragua was holistic, eye-opening, and intense. On an academic level, my classes were immediately relevant to my homework and day- to-day life, which made it easy to learn. The program gives students incredible academic freedom to demonstrate what we learn in creative formats, which allowed me to create a lot of art and media for my classes. In the program’s excursions to rural Nicaragua, the Caribbean coast and Cuba, we were able to learn directly from community members. The vast curriculum is designed to prepare students to complete an independent research project. Even though I was nervous for that project, it served to be one of the most rewarding challenges of my undergraduate career (I researched community radio on the Caribbean coast of Nicaragua).

With respect to my personal and social life in the program, my experience centered around my wonderful host family. The program houses all of its students in one neighborhood in Managua, where every evening the streets are alive with the sounds of family life. My own home was full of life—with siblings who wanted to talk with me about their dreams and take me out with their friends, and with a mother who wanted to take me with her 'a pasear' and feed me—a lot. They made me feel truly loved and supported throughout my experience.

I would recommend SIT: Nicaragua to any student ready to immerse themselves somewhere wonderful and complicated.

What would you improve about this program?
The program is working on revising its packing list and preparation materials, which I think were quite outdated when I was going, and made me start off a little unprepared. However, they are aware of this issue!
4 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

An amazing adventure

I absolutely loved this program. We spent two and a half months getting to know Managua and going on excursions to other parts of the country (plus Cuba!) and then another month on our own doing independent studies. I grew so much from this experience and would do it again in a heartbeat.

4 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

What an amazing experience!

This program was such a life altering experience -- in such a great way!

First and foremost, the faculty, staff and home stay families are so wonderful. They truly care about their students and making the experience a positive one.

We got to travel all throughout the country and even to El Salvador -- excursions vary from semester to semester but there are some many different potential options ranging from the El Salvador, Costa Rica, and Cuba!

My favorite excursion was to the Caribbean coast. It's such a hidden gem and so different from any other location in Nicaragua. The tropical, island feel is wonderful! Great music, great food, and a really great time! I loved every minute of that excursion; there's nothing like living right on the ocean :)

Another wonderful opportunity this program offers is the month long independent project that closes out the semester. You can choose any topic to research and the wonderfully connected staff find you great advisors to help you with your projects that are unbelievably knowledgable. I studied at the main dance academy in Nicaragua studying the past and present of the modern dance movement within the country. My research brought about really great insight into Nicaraguan history overall as well as some valuable knowledge about eh Nicaraguan people. It even lead to me being awarded a Fulbright research grant to come back and continue that research post-college.

This program is definitely atypical for study abroad. It's not a easy semester away from college to party and go out on the town. While there are opportunities to have an active social life and night life, it is not the focus of the program. The academic experience is vigorous and is the center of the program. I learned more than I ever expected and worked really hard all semester long but loved every second of it.

I can't wait to get back to Nicaragua.. this experience most certainly made me fall in love with the country~

What would you improve about this program?
If I could change one thing it would be that the program was a bit longer. It's only 3.5 months and its packed to capacity with activities and excursions. There really isn't any downtime. I found that sometimes I missed out on lounging and hanging out with my home stay family. But other than that I really don't have any complaints!
4 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

A Life-Changing Program for Committed Students

SIT Nicaragua, as with all SIT programs, is oriented around the idea of experiential learning with an emphasis on social justice. This program consists of 2.5 months of classes (conducted only among students in the program) in Managua while living with a family and one month of an Independent Study Project (ISP).

During the first component, we took daily intensive Spanish courses in the morning in a classroom at the University of Central America (divided into three skill levels during my semester), ate at one of the various cafeterias in the vicinity, and then walked to the Center for Health Studies and Research for either the Revolution, Transformation, and Civil Society Seminar—taught by Nicaraguan leaders in various fields and of all political persuasions—or the Field Studies Seminar—taught by Academic Director Aynn Setright as a course in research skills in preparation for the ISP. I would usually then return to the study center in our neighborhood to do work before heading home for dinner.

All students live in a safe, tightly-knit, working-class neighborhood in Managua during the semester. The families are all great, and their imperfections make the semester even more valuable as an experience in international/intercultural living. There are plenty of opportunities to spend time with your family and friends—both from the program and from the neighborhood—, finish coursework, get to know Managua (including its nightlife), take day- or weekend-trips, and unwind or reflect after busy days.

While taking classes, there are three group excursions: about a week in the countryside with host families, another week on the Caribbean Coast, and ten or so days in El Salvador as a comparative study. The trips are extremely well planned and coordinated and contribute a great deal to the overall experience.

In consultation with Aynn and other program staff, we developed ISP topics and proposals toward the end of the class period. ISPs are typically 25-30 page long projects that make use of qualitative research methods to study something within the theme of the program. We received stipends for the month and were set up with advisors at our research sites to help coordinate our work. For example, I traveled back to the Southern Atlantic Autonomous Region to conduct about 25 interviews in a few locations during the month as an advisee of a longtime leader of local civil society organizations.

The program staff in Nicaragua are absolutely fantastic and will inevitably show themselves to be heros at some point during the semester. Aynn and her husband Guillermo are both incredibly knowledgeable, friendly, and helpful; and the staff in the study center simultaneously serve as guides to the city and country, cultural translators, advisors on safety, and wonderful friends and conversationalists.

If you are interested in immersing yourself in another culture, becoming fluent or nearly fluent in Spanish, opening yourself to new and different ways of living and thinking, and engaging yourself in a hands-on experience in social justice, this is definitely your program.

4 people found this review helpful.

Questions & Answers