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Nicaragua & Cuba: Arts & Social Change
The Experiment in International Living participants with a local The Experiment in International Living participants with a local

Nicaragua & Cuba: Arts & Social Change

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Program Opportunities

    9

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Health & Safety

    9

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Personal Development

    10

Nicaragua and Cuba was an extraordinary opportunity

The Nicaragua and Cuba:Arts and Social Change trip has been an extraordinary experience for me! Although not completely fluent in Spanish, I was able to lean into discomfort in my homes stays and converse with people. This program has given me a lot of space to grow individually and to develop my character! I am very grateful for the chance to go to both Nicaragua and Cuba. Learning about the distinct cultures and revolutions in each country has been very enlightening. I also cherished the moments in which we were able to have exploration time in each place. Having classes, homesteads, very supportive mentors and a very harmonious group, I was able to have a unique and beautiful experience this July as I became familiar with two very beautiful countries!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Program Opportunities

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Personal Development

    10

My trip made me who I am today

Traveling to Nicaragua and Cuba was such an eye opening experience for me. I learned so many things about Latin American culture, the people I interacted with every day and myself. I knew before going on this trip that I would have to be forced out of my comfort zone. Here I was about to enter two countries I haven't visited before, speaking/learning a language I was not fluent in, and living with 3 different families. I had no choice but to embrace the unknown and step into a new world on my own. I began to learn more and more every day on this trip that discomfort brings growth. Our comfort zone is such a beautiful place to be, but nothing ever grows from there. As I began to accept that my discomfort was a good thing, I was no longer afraid to try the new adventurous activities we had on our schedule. I enjoyed confronting challenges and reflecting on them with my peers. Nicaragua and Cuba has molded me into an individual that is more open minded and more aware. I wouldn't trade my month experience in these two countries for the world.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Program Opportunities

    6

  • Living Situation

    6

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Health & Safety

    7

  • Program Administration

    4

  • Personal Development

    10

Incredible!

It was one of the most amazing experiences that I have ever had. I met lifelong friends, and I learned a lot about Nicaraguan culture. It was a very fun experience, and I hope to have more experiences like the one I had with The Experiment in International Living.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Program Opportunities

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Health & Safety

    9

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Personal Development

    8

A moving and formative adventure

This program was a deeply moving and formative experience for me. When I chose to participate in this particular trip, I had only a vague idea of what I might be in for. My only real grasp of the nature of the trip came from the key words in its title: Nicaragua, Cuba, art, and social change. From the day that I arrived, I realized that I was in for an experience that would completely change and form parts of my identity. Though my understanding of art and its role in social change grew substantially, I was most moved by my exposure to the Spanish language and Latin American culture. Time spent bonding with host families, meeting and talking to local people in Spanish, and visiting culturally significant sites made me develop a much more deep understanding of both Nicaraguan and Cuban identity. I left Nicaragua and Cuba with an understanding of the power of art as a catalyst for change and a deep hunger to travel in Latin America in the future.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Program Opportunities

    8

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Health & Safety

    9

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Personal Development

    8

Cuba's got it figured out

On my trip to Nicaragua and Cuba this summer I was able to observe many different, critical issues that are affecting many people there. Many of these problems are faced in other places in the world as well, lack of resources, lack of food and water, et cetera. These are all critical global issues that are well known, however, in Cuba I came across one substantial, social issue that we are facing everyday in the United States, the fight for equal rights for all.
In many ways the United States of America are ahead of a lot of the world, economically, religiously and with work ethic. On my trip, however, my ideas of America being ahead in all ways were slightly shattered. While in Cuba and Nicaragua I discovered that in the realm of equal rights, the USA is lacking. We are still fighting everyday for gender equality, racial equality and sexual orientation equality; women are still fighting for equal pay, and we just recently gained the right to legal same-sex marriage in the USA.
While I was in Cuba, my group and I had the amazing opportunity to talk with a woman named Norma Guillard Limonta. Norma is an elderly woman living in Havana, she has worked her whole life as an activist for women’s rights and LGBTQ+ rights. She has written countless papers and articles on these rights as well as participating in Cuba’s first Gay Pride Day Parade and taking part in the LGBTQ+ equality documentary called Censex 2009. While listening to her stories I was astonished to learn how much more Cuba has accomplished with these social issues than we have achieved in the USA.
I realized the impressiveness of this small country when Norma began telling us more of the history of these rights in Cuba. She told us that not only is health care free in Cuba but that since the early 1940’s abortion has been included in that free health care, a procedure that is not only expensive in the USA but also illegal in many places. And that hospitals have been performing trans-gender surgeries for people that need it to be physically, mentally and emotionally healthy for free since 1986. In Cuba the women and men are paid equally at their jobs and that everyone has equal opportunities.
After hearing these facts and comparing them to the USA I was impressed and saddened and inspired. I realized that we should not still be fighting the battle on whether women should be allowed to receive the health care they need or arguing about equal pay. I realized that it is not new ideas and multi-generational misunderstandings that make us incapable of making these changes to our laws and our society, but it is because we as a nation are not as accepting as we should be and as some countries are. These realizations lead me to thinking about things that I could do to help make a change, I can educate others, I can put more effort into my branch of the UN organization GirlUp club, and do my part to make the world a better place.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Program Opportunities

    8

  • Living Situation

    7

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Health & Safety

    7

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Personal Development

    8

Cuba and Nicaragua: an unbelievable month with unforgettable people

The Cuba and Nicaragua: Arts and Social Change program was hands down one of the best months of my life. Through this program, I got to embrace many cultures very different than my own, improve my Spanish skill drastically, and learn a lot about myself as a person and as a global citizen. It was incredible to meet new people, hear new stories, and get different perspectives. It was eye opening to see how others lived, and everyone was so kind and welcoming. I would recommend this program to anyone looking to explore, meet new people, and to go outside their comfort zone in order to learn more than they ever could have imagined.