This capstone course introduces students to the tropical Central American country of Nicaragua. Two weeks are spent immersed in the culture and physical beauty of the land. Students visit and learn about a wide variety of organizations working to address social problems by assisting Nicaraguans to improve their lives. Organizations studied in the trip include: center for children with disabilities, orphanage/nutritional center for children birth to five years old, school for deaf and hearing students, center for women and children who have been sexually exploited, community health clinic, workers organic cooperatives, U.S. AID, organization for pregnant women and teens, and a vocational training program. Students stay in three cities, namely, Managua, Granada and Chinandega. Outdoor adventures include the opportunity to kayak, zip line in a tropical forest, boat on one of the world’s largest fresh water lakes, visit a volcano and walk through a cloud forest.
Through this course, students experience a culture which varies significantly from the U.S. A deepened and expanded worldview helps to prepares students to become active global citizens.
Nicaragua is a country possessing immense physical beauty. The country is graced by lakes, tropical forests and volcanoes. The country has the right elements to grow some of the world’s best coffee. Nicaraguans are proud of their cultural richness in literature and song. However, the country has widespread poverty surrounding small pockets of great wealth. It is the second poorest country in Latin America, second only to Haiti. Pressing social problems are the result of extreme poverty and political turmoil.
Managua is the capital city of Nicaragua located on the southwestern shore of Lago de Managua. A former fishing village, Managua became the capital of Nicaragua in 1824, after the Central American nation became independent from Spain. Managua's location between the rival cities of Leòn and Granada made it an ideal compromise site. The city has witnessed the rise and fall of political powers throughout Nicaragua's history and has suffered two devastating earthquakes during the 20th century. Managua is an economic, political, cultural, commercial and industrial center.
Carol A Cook, Instructor
Department: Social Work
In this course, a social science model is applied to individuals, families and organizations to better understand how Nicaraguan society and communities function. Change efforts to improve the social conditions are examined and explored. Speech pathology skills are applied to conduct language assessment on disabled children, most of whom are orphaned or abandoned. Nicaraguan professionals and caregivers are given studied guidance on how best to work with and assist the development of these children.
The course is designed for students to travel to Nicaragua, through UNI’s Study Abroad program, in order to develop a broader knowledge base of cross cultural issues, grassroots efforts and professional services, or the lack thereof. Further, the course allows students to experience Nicaraguan culture and deepen their own worldview as well as pre-professional skills and perspectives. Through the course students learn more about the provision of human services in a developing country and gain knowledge about a country whose political and economic realities are closely related to the United States. Engaging in experiential learning, students have first-hand contact with human services agencies, non-governmental and government organizations, orphanages, professional training, and centers for children with disabilities.
Studying social conditions in another country is understood to include the historical, economic, cultural, educational, political, and social concerns of numerous groups.
The total estimated cost for this program is $3,500-$4,000.
- Round-trip airfare
- UNI Tuition and Fees for 3-credits
- Housing while abroad
- Transportation while abroad
- Group meals
- Cultural activities
- Personal Expenses
Students pay UNI tuition and fees (in-state or out-of-state), the $65 application fee, and the study abroad administration fee to participate.
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