Located in one of the most ecologically diverse regions in the world, Nicaragua serves study abroad students with a plate full of natural variety. Lush forests, world-famous lakes, and volcanic landscapes all make studying in Nicaragua a naturally wonderful experience. Sandwiched between the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, the plentiful beaches here make it a prime location for getting your feet wet in pristine tropical waters. If you’re looking to become fluent in Spanish or learn more about politics and economics in a developing country, you’ll want to study abroad in Nicaragua.
Where to Study in Nicaragua
Known as the “Land of Lakes and Volcanoes,” Nicaragua gives students the opportunity to study abroad amidst ridiculously splendid sceneries. Here are our picks for the best places to study abroad in Nicaragua.
Granada. You’ll find this economic and political hub of Nicaragua in the western area. Here you can explore the cathedrals, parks, and plazas. In areas nearby, make a splash at the beaches at the Peninsula de Ases and walk along trails at Vocán Mombacho. With restaurants that have raving reviews, you could taste some local cuisines as you stroll along the roads and snap pictures of colonial architecture.
León. Located in western Nicaragua, León’s stunning Spanish colonial churches rival that of its sister cities from the Church of la Recolección to the El Calvario church. The Momotombo volcano, Cerro Negro volcano, San Jacinto Swarms, and Poneloya beach will keep your eyes busy with delight when you see these geological features. You’ll never tire of its art collections, exciting nightlife, and fine eateries while you’re studying here either.
Managua. The capital city of Nicaragua is situated on the southwestern shore of Lake Managua in the western region. Being the largest city as well, you’ll find the majority of study abroad programs here. Tour the Museum of Acahualinca that holds ancient footprints engraved in volcanic ash, celebrate with the locals at its Carnaval festival, and satisfy your sweet tooth with cajeta de leche (sweet condensed milk with nuts and sugared coconut).
Popular Subjects to Study in Nicaragua
Nicaragua study abroad programs normally include both academic and language courses to broaden the cultural experience of students. From liberal arts to environmental studies, Nicaragua offers a wide range that will complement your major. Here are the most popular subjects to study in Nicaragua.
Spanish. Students can easily study the Spanish language while in Nicaragua and become completely immersed into its use at local markets, during traditional festivals, or by simply interacting with Nicaraguan classmates. With intensive language classes, small class sizes, and available one-on-one tutoring, your studies will be put to good use.
Political Science. Programs frequently revolve around Nicaragua’s history, encompassing topics like social issues, development, politics, and conflict studies. You could learn more about foreign policy, gender, economic and social justice issues. You’ll visit several indigenous villages and major cities to learn more about unique histories of the peoples and locations.
Sustainable Development. Due to the environmental beauty of the country, courses in environmental studies and conservation are also common. Some of the excursions could include visiting the northern highlands of Las Segovias, the Caribbean Coast, and Volcan Masaya and other nature preserves. You’ll get hands-on experience with researching with instructors in the field as well.
Costs of Studying in Nicaragua
Nicaragua can be quite affordable for Westerners in terms of cost of living and in comparison to prices in most of North America and Europe — deacachimba (awesome)! Meals definitely won’t break the bank here, as they’re usually between $3 to $5.
Most study abroad Nicaragua programs will cover the cost of tuition, housing, meals, support, in-country transportation, and excursions as well. You’ll likely need to spend a good chunk of change for airfare. Several organizations are longing to award students scholarships.
Student Housing in Nicaragua
What types of housing are available for students in Nicaragua? No matter where you rest at night, you’ll want to keep exploring Nicaragua during the day. Housing availability depends on your program and placement, and can range from group living, apartments/flats, and dorms on campus. In most cases, you’ll have several options.
Additionally, many programs offer homestay accommodation for program participants, exemplifying their experience of Nicaraguan culture. Your new home away from home (casa away from casa?) will offer you the comfort of living with a host family while immersing yourself in the local cuisines and Spanish language.
Student Visas for Nicaragua
For students visiting less than 90 days, you won’t need a visa to enter the country if you have a valid passport for at least six months from date of arrival in hand. You’ll need to purchase a tourist card when you arrive for $10 though. If you’re staying for longer, you can apply for a temporary resident visa, which lasts up to a year. The requirements can change, so be sure to check with your program coordinator and GoAbroad’s Embassy Directory.
GoAbroad Insider Tips
Nicaraguans are known for their big smiles and warm hospitality. Whether you’re in a local café or trekking through the wetlands, you’ll meet strangers who are happy to share their culture with you.
While you’ll enjoy the activities and sights, Nicaragua has faced environmental challenges, such as landslides and droughts. The growing tourism and development is also underway, so be a buena persona and take care to treat the country with respect while you’re here.
From bouncing along through hidden areas on a 4WD vehicle to diving in underwater caves, you’ll love getting off-the-beaten track while studying in Nicaragua.