Located just north of Panama in the heart of the Americas, Nicaragua is Central America’s largest nation; home to thousands of different species of plants and animals, it is also one of the most ecologically diverse countries in the world. Nicaragua was the site of intense political turmoil throughout the 20th century and provides a highly educative environment for high school students interested in the region. A developing nation with rising prospects, high school programs in Nicaragua will prove to be life changing.
Nicaragua has a population of over 6 million people and is Central America’s largest country by land area. The landscape is a beautiful spectrum of mountainous regions, lowlands, and sprawling coastlines. Most Nicaraguan cities are of moderate size, while large swathes of unsettled parts of the country are covered by rainforest.
Managua, Nicaragua’s capital, is easily the largest city in the country. With a metropolitan population of nearly 2.5 million people, it is also the second largest urban area in all of Central America. While Managua has been settled on for as far back as 6,000 years, the modern city itself was not founded until the early 20th century. Today Managua is a major economic hub for the continent and also serves as Nicaragua’s cultural capital with a bevy of great restaurants, theaters, museums, and exciting festivals.
After Managua, no other Nicaraguan city tops 200,000 people in population. If you want this sort of smaller scale study abroad experience than you might try checking out high school programs in Leon, Masaya, or Matagalpa. These small Nicaraguan cities can offer a less overwhelming environment for many students than does Managua. Many high school programs can place you living in rural areas as well, for an immersion into Nicaraguan village life.
High School Programs in Nicaragua
Most high school programs in Nicaragua run over the summertime in between school years and last for anywhere from just one week up to a couple of months. Some high school programs in Nicaragua will stay rooted in one location, while others will travel with students to several destinations throughout the country or even throughout Central America. The latter are generally in the form of Cultural Exploration or Adventure Travel programs, which will engage students with a variety of fun and educational activities across Nicaragua.
Language Immersion programs for high school students are a very popular form of studying abroad in Nicaragua. For high school students studying Spanish at whatever level of the acquisition process, there are few things which will benefit your comprehension more than travelling to a Spanish speaking country. In Nicaragua you will have the opportunity to take classes every day while also engaging in extracurricular cultural activities on the side.
Volunteerism is another popular form of high school program in Nicaragua. One of the poorest countries in all of the Americas, Nicaragua deals with many social issues stemming from poverty which high school students can step in and help work to solve. As a region of immense biodiversity, environmental and wildlife preservation programs are also popular forms of volunteering abroad in Nicaragua.
Scholarships & Costs
While international education programs can be costly, high school programs in Nicaragua are very inexpensive, which can significantly decrease on-the-ground expenditures. High school programs in Nicaragua vary on their baseline affordability, covering fees such as tuition, transportation, and housing costs upfront. If the costs of the trip are a concern, then be sure to check out all the scholarship and fundraising opportunities that are available for students going abroad to Nicaragua.
Accommodation & Visas
Homestays are the most popular form of housing for students who are travelling to Nicaragua and staying in one location for their program. Students who travel throughout several regions of the country as part of their program will stay in a variety of different accommodations. If you are travelling from a developed country, then keep in mind that housing in Nicaragua will likely not be as luxurious as you are accustomed to – air conditioning, hot water, and Wi-Fi, for example, are not always available.
You will usually not need a visa for shorter high school programs in Nicaragua, but this policy may change depending on your home country. You can check out our Embassy Directory for more details about your specific situation.
Benefits & Challenges
Language Opportunity. Spanish is one of the most widely spoken languages in the world, and especially if you are from the Americas it should be a priority to learn. Studying abroad in Nicaragua is the perfect opportunity to up your game.
The Other Side. Students who live in developed countries will do well to embark on a high school program in Nicaragua, one of the poorest countries in the Americas. It adds incredible perspective to how most of the world lives.
Culture and Beyond. Visiting Nicaragua is the opportunity to both immerse yourself in a vibrant Central American culture and explore the incredibly diverse landscape of the country. From the bustling cities to the tranquil rainforests, it will not be an experience you soon forget.