Nicaragua: Revolution, Transformation, and Civil Society

Explore Nicaragua a generation after the revolution and investigate how young people are creatively advocating for change. Gain comparative perspectives on youth issues during an excursion to Cuba.

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A generation ago, the Nicaraguan Revolution ushered in new conversations about human rights, religion, politics, and gender roles. In particular, the National Literacy Campaign, launched in 1980, empowered underprivileged Nicaraguans to become knowledgeable about their rights and to imagine — and demand — a better world for themselves. Important movements in politics, literature, and the arts accompanied these changes, and new voices emerged as protest and hopes were expressed in myriad creative genres.

For today's youth, life is more peaceful, but these complex conversations — around literacy, rights, access, information, and expression — have continued to deepen and evolve. With the advent of new forms of media, concepts of literacy have even broader implications and impacts. Therefore, the program considers multiple “literacies,” including civic literacy, digital literacy, sexual literacy, and cultural literacy. Students will delve into how young Nicaraguans access and communicate different sorts of knowledge: they will learn how youth are speaking up, speaking out, connecting with others, and participating in different dialogues about social change.

In this 16-credit program, students critically examine youth culture, advocacy, social change, and expression, across two generations in Nicaragua and to a lesser degree in Cuba.  All coursework is delivered in Spanish (see program syllabi).


Key topics of study:

  • How is Nicaragua — particularly its youth — grappling with issues of access, rights, and difference? How is youth culture considering questions of access (to education, healthcare, and digital media) and issues of difference (ethnic, sexual, class, and religious)?
  • How are today’s youth rewriting and re-imagining Nicaragua? How are youth expressions and articulations building upon the theme of literacy introduced during the revolution? What forms of new media are being employed?
  • How does the Cuban experience compare to Nicaragua? What is the legacy of these Revolutions for today’s youth in Nicaragua and Cuba?

Through the program’s advanced Spanish seminar — focused on reading and writing — students immerse themselves in the politically charged poetry and literature of these fascinating countries, dialoguing these with popular and political texts. Students are completely immersed in Spanish throughout the program.

The Research Methods and Ethics seminar provides students with qualitative skills and introduce them to arts-based research techniques; the seminar covers a range of digital media (visual and audio). Through an Independent Study Project, students explore a specific issue relating to Nicaragua’s social movements, politics, and/or youth culture and expression.

Throughout the program, students engage with a wide range of Nicaraguan and Cuban academics, historians, advocates, community members, and youth.  Review program faculty and staff.

Browse this program's Independent Study Projects/Undergraduate Research

Spotlight on SIT Nicaragua alumni

Read fall 2012 student Briana Frenchmore's blog story titled Revolutionary Learning: Reflections on My Program's Excursion in Nicaragua and Beyond.

Learn how Oberlin student Mariella Castaldi (Fall 09) began speaking out on immigration, mining, worker compensation, and other pressing issues, following her semester in Nicaragua with SIT.

Read more about Jamie Cistoldi Lee, a Bucknell University and SIT Study Abroad Nicaragua alum who continues to work with local community members in Managua.

Program alum Mindy Bridges (fall 2010) wins essay contest and $1000 prize for her ISP on a Culture of Peace in rural Nicaragua. Mindy tied for first place in CU-Boulder’s Dean Reed Peace Prize Essay Contest.

Costs Dates

Credits: 16

Duration: 15 weeks

Program Base: Managua

Language Study: Spanish

Prerequisites: 3 semesters of 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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