Nicaragua: Revolution, Transformation, and Civil Society


Students on the SIT Nicaragua program live with two different homestay families — one in Managua and another in a rural area of Nicaragua.

Homestays provide students with new friendships and a local identity, as the host families typically become their families for these periods. Homestays offer students the unique opportunity to take knowledge from lectures and readings to the dinner table, as students engage their families in discussions about the topics they are studying. Living with a family also gives students an authentic and more intimate place in which to practice and refine their Spanish language skills.

Host families range widely in size, and family members can vary in age and personality. Each semester, host families typically include nuclear families, single working moms, and multiple generational homes. The ability to meet a wide cross-section of Nicaraguan families also permits a more diverse and complex look at Nicaraguan society; as they experience two very different homestays, students’ understanding of Nicaraguan life expands tremendously.

Managua (seven weeks)
Students live with homestay families in the Colonia Máximo Jérez neighborhood in Managua for seven weeks. Máximo is a working-class neighborhood centrally located in the city. It was also the community where many supporters of the Sandinista Revolution lived during the 1980s and is the subject of several ethnographies written by US scholars. During his visit to Nicaragua in 1987, Salmon Rushdie stayed in Máximo Jérez where he wrote The Jaguar Smiles.

Rural Homestay in Matagalpa (one week)
In this extremely impoverished area, students experience a different facet of Nicaragua. They stay with campesino families, many of whom benefited from the National Literacy Campaign and the Sandinista Agrarian Reform. This time in rural Nicaragua is a window through which to see the impact of the war of the 1980s and current economic and political realities, as well as the site of many talleres de poesia (poetry workshops). In some communities in the area, families own their own parcels of land; in other cases, they are farm workers for larger agricultural producers, primarily coffee producers. Struggles due to the lack of infrastructure and social services present challenges for these families.

The opportunity to engage with youth in this setting permits students to compare and contrast the program’s core issues in two very distinct sites. Opportunities for engaging in poetry workshops and other forms of expression vary among the communities in Matagalpa.

Homestay mothers in Máximo Jérez, a neighborhood in Managua Meet the homestay mothers in Managua

"Greetings! We are 20 women who live with our families in Colonia Máximo Jérez, a neighborhood of Managua where you will have your homestay. We have a great deal of experience hosting university students from the United States in our homes."

"Hola, somos 20 mujeres que vivimos con nuestras familias en la Colonia Máximo Jérez, contamos con gran experiencia brindando atención a muchachas y muchachos de las universidades de Estados Unidos."

Costs Dates

Credits: 16

Duration: 15 weeks

Program Base: Managua

Language Study: Spanish

Prerequisites: 3 semesters Spanish

View Student Evaluations for this program:

About the Evaluations (PDF)

Fall 2013 Evaluations (PDF)
Spring 2013 Evaluations (PDF)
Fall 2012 Evaluations (PDF)

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