- Havana, Cuba; Managua, Nicaragua
- Program Type:
- Study Abroad
- Degree Level:
- High School
- Program Description:
Delve into the creative arts in Nicaragua and Cuba and examine how people in both countries have used art, poetry, music, and dance to promote social change. Learn about Cuba’s significance in Latin American history and the connections with one of its southern neighbors.
From your base in Nicaragua, experience daily life and culture from different perspectives. Live with a campesino host family in El Lagartillo, a rural community in León, located within the northern mountains of Nicaragua’s central region. There you will receive 20 hours of formal Spanish language training and visit an artisan pottery studio; participate in daily activities of the cooperative community, including commercial activities such as producing honey, sesame oil, and fruit jelly, and you’ll also do a service project. Then, travel to San Juan del Oriente to visit a coffee cooperative to explore the lush vegetation of this cloud-covered area and hike a volcano. You will also discover how Nicaraguans use the arts for economic sustainability and to express their aspirations for the future. Participate in workshops and visit local artists’ studios and communities as you learn about art, poetry, music, and dance as mediums for social change.
You will have a second homestay in Managua, where you will live in the neighborhood of Máximo Jerez, a community deeply involved in the Sandinista revolution, and observe the
differences between rural and city life in Nicaragua. Visit local markets and participate in spoken-word poetry workshops with writers inspired by the revolution. Learn how to prepare traditional dishes incorporating exotic fruits from Nicaragua.
Your journey continues as you travel to Cuba. Learn about Cuba’s significance in Latin American history and its many connections to Nicaragua, including a comparison of the Sandinista revolution in Nicaragua and the Cuban revolution. Spend a week in the city of Havana exploring the arts in a different social and cultural context. Visit associations of young artists and African-Cuban arts centers. Participate in a community workshop transformation project, Talleres de Transformación, and talk to Cubans about their aspirations. Visit Old Havana and learn about Ernest Hemingway’s life in Cuba at his home in Cojímar before returning to Nicaragua for final reflections.
To learn more about this program, visit experiment.org/NUA.
- Setting Description:
- In Nicaragua, where the program is based, experience daily life and culture from several different perspectives. Live with a host family in the working-class Máximo Jérez neighborhood of Managua, where supporters of the Sandinista Revolution lived during the 1980s. Witness how Nicaraguans today are using the arts for economic sustainability and to express their aspirations for the future. Participate in workshops and visit artists’ studios and communities as you learn about art, poetry, and music as mediums for social change. Stay in the coffee-producing rural community of San Ramón, in the mountains outside of Matagalpa. While there, experience a second homestay, with a campesino family, and witness the campo-city differences in Nicaragua. Visit a coffee cooperative, and hike through the lush vegetation of this cloud-covered area. Create “socio-dramas” with members of a community organization, make jewelry with seeds, take a poetry workshop, and learn how to prepare multiple dishes i
Additional Program Information
- Scholarships Description:
- The Experiment in International Living is committed to helping students from a diversity of backgrounds participate through a variety of need-based scholarships. In 2016, The Experiment awarded a total of $2.4 Million in financial aid and scholarships.
Based on 8 Reviews
- Cuba and Nicaragua- An amazing opportunity09/02/17
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!read moreBottom Line:Yes, I would recommend this to a friend
- Only Wish It Had Been Longer09/01/17
I had an amazing time on my trip to Nicaragua and Cuba. My homestay family was incredibly kind and the community embraced us with open arms. Making cinnamon rolls for them from scratch was more fun than I've ever had in a kitchen. I'll never forget spending
the day at the waterfall with some of our host siblings and feeling the cool water rush past us. Leon was such an interesting fast-paced city, almost like a little maze of people all willing to share their stories with us. The pottery I made while staying with the artisanal family in San Juan de Oriente proudly decorates my living room as a constant reminder of the friends I made abroad. Cuba was an unreal experience. I've been to other Caribbean countries, but none are like Cuba. I felt so at home instantly and the diversity of Havana reminded me of home in New York. I've never danced so much in one week! The locals were so cool to talk to and having genuine conversations about international relations was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. The lake in Cuba was also an awesome experience because it's something few tourists experience. The volcano remains the best place I've ever taken a selfie. Although knowing it's still active was just a little scary. All in all this trip was amazing and I feel blessed to have partaken in all of these activities and have all these stories to share. I'm still in contact with my host family through my host mom and have plans to return to Nicaragua with my family so they can meet! Only wish I'd had more time with everyone I met!read moreBottom Line:Yes, I would recommend this to a friend
- Experiment in international living review08/29/17
My name is Ashley Rivera and I was lucky enough to partake in the program of arts and social change that took place in Nicaragua and Cuba. Over the course of roughly 4 weeks, I was given the opportunity to stay with an environmentally conscious rural
community within the Nicaraguan mountains whose desire for change was evident in their day to day lives. Also throughout this program, I stayed in Cuba for a week and visited multiple art museums/installations and was given a chance to explore Cuban society within a safe and responsible context. I appreciate being able to experience the lives of those who are so different from a mine, because it gave me a new perspective or more so a changed perspective on the definition of happiness. In lagartillo (Nicaraguan community) there are latrines instead of bathrooms, and when I asked why this community did that, their response was that gallons of water are used when you flush the toilet, so if they could conserve that instead of what they thought was needlessly using it, then they are doing a little part of what needs to be a big change. Watching such a small community attempt to do their part in what needs to be a bigger concern for the world and being happy to do so made me appreciate and rethink my luxuries and gain a humbling perspective on the world today. My program was incredibly helpful and supportive, to the in country mentors and our very own leaders.read moreBottom Line:Yes, I would recommend this to a friend
- A New Home12/22/16
Before Nicaragua and Cuba, I knew I was never really immersed in culture. Although I live in New York, which is considered a well-known "melting pot", I knew I was missing something. During the summer of 2015, I discovered the missing ingredients when
I was abroad in Cuba and Nicaragua. Although the program had the intended lesson of 'Art and Social Change', it was so much more than that; I was living in culture, history, art, and in a new environment with new friends and family, that is my host families. I was speaking the language and learning the history that made the people who they are today. Truly, the program opened my eyes because although it is acknowledged that there is a whole world beyond where the individual lives, thinking about it is drastically different than living in it. With this program, I was given a new set of lenses, as I came back, not only with lasting memories but with a new look at things from different cultural perspectives.read moreBottom Line:Yes, I would recommend this to a friend
- A Moving and Formative Adventure12/14/16
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.read moreBottom Line:Yes, I would recommend this to a friend
- My Trip Made Me Who I Am Today12/12/16
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.read moreBottom Line:Yes, I would recommend this to a friend
- Cuba's Got it All Figured Out11/10/16
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.read moreBottom Line:Yes, I would recommend this to a friend
- Cuba and Nicaragua: a wonderful month with unforgettable people09/02/16
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.read moreBottom Line:Yes, I would recommend this to a friend