SUNY Geneseo: El Sauce - Service Learning in Nicaragua

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SUNY Geneseo

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This is a unique service-learning experience that combines cultural immersion and volunteerism to enhance SUNY Geneseo students' education and benefit a small community in Nicaragua. Intersession Program This unique program provides students ... read more

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OVERALL RATING 4.9
Based on 11 Reviews
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Overall Experience
I gained a greater understanding of the world outside of the US. It was very worthwhile; while I did not take any classes specifically, I feel like I learned more in those two and a half weeks than I did any semester I have spent in the program. - SUNY - College at Geneseo View Entire Review
I gained an open perspective and an appreciation for my comfortable lifestyle - SUNY - College at Geneseo View Entire Review
It was absolutely worthwhile, and it has shown me how a NGO typically functions, as well as provided me with valuable service experience and international experience. - SUNY - College at Geneseo View Entire Review
YES. - SUNY - College at Geneseo View Entire Review
I realized how much of the world's population actually lives and that material items do not indicate happiness. - SUNY - College at Geneseo View Entire Review
1,000,000% worthwhile. I think about it every day. I think back to the first few days where I struggled- and now I think "I did it." We didn't just visit Nicaragua, we LIVED in Nicaragua. The people were amazing, and I can't begin to explain all they've taught me. It makes me appreciate everything I have at home more, while also... - SUNY - College at Geneseo View Entire Review
This journey was by far challenging, as I was both vulnerable and adventurous. Living with a host family allowed an inclusive way in to Nicaraguan culture, immersing me into the societal values and norms without inhibition. I appreciate the opportunity to have lived in Nicaragua and wish to return when I am financially able. Na... - SUNY - College at Geneseo View Entire Review
How to conduct myself in my travels in the future. Yes. - SUNY - College at Geneseo View Entire Review
I learned all about a people and country that is more or less ignored by the United States and I learned a lot about myself in the process. It was absolutely worthwhile - SUNY - College at Geneseo View Entire Review
This trip provided real-life examples of what I learning in the textbooks of my International Relations - Developing World concentration major. It was great to see concepts and other things I learned about while traveling in Nicaragua. For instance, I was even able to have a good discussion about politics and the economy with... - SUNY - College at Geneseo View Entire Review
Without a doubt. I learned a lot about another culture as well as about myself. It has sparked a lot of thought about Peace Corps or other service programs for my future. - SUNY - College at Geneseo View Entire Review

About

This is a unique service-learning experience that combines cultural immersion and volunteerism to enhance SUNY Geneseo students' education and benefit a small community in Nicaragua.

Intersession Program
This unique program provides students the opportunity to apply their spirit of volunteerism and their education in an economically disadvantaged community in Nicaragua. Program participants are guided and supervised by Geneseo's on-site program director as they live and work alongside residents of El Sauce.
Several service learning opportunities are available during the intersession, including: computer education, economic development, ecotourism development, English classes for beginners or advanced adults, English classes for children, health services, marketing, small business development, youth education, and youth recreation.
The program includes one weekend field trip to another part of Nicaragua. The trip is designed to enrich participants' experience by highlighting different aspects of Nicaragua, including its natural biodiversity, colonial past, pre-Columbian heritage, religious tradition, and political history. Students will witness the beautiful landscapes that range from the Pacific Ocean beaches to the chains of volcanoes and mountains that run through the country. Past excursions have included volcano boarding, zip-line tours, trips to the Colonial cities of León and Granada, visits to coffee plantations, and swimming in rivers and lagoons.

Summer Program
This course will provide an introduction to Nicaragua and examine the historical, political, and socioeconomic forces at work in this region. Weekly sessions in the spring semester will focus on various aspects of Nicaragua's history, culture, and environment, as well as other topics including the effects of socioeconomic status on development. Any students wisheng to travel to El Sauce, Nicaragua in the summer are required to complete these sessions in the spring semester.
During the summer the course will culminate the service learning component in El Sauce, Nicaragua. There are a number of different service sites available for placement including: schools, health care clinics, teaching English and computer classes, economic and ecotourism development, and marketing and small business development. The service work will educate Geneseo students using 'real world' experience to foster civic responsibility and complement their education. In addition, this service work is meant to be reciprocal in nature by providing basic needs to El Sauce residents to hopefully make a real difference in their lives.

The Setting
The town of El Sauce is the capital of a municipality of the same name located in the department of León. A four-hour drive northwest of Managua, Nicaragua's capital, El Sauce is a small town of 10,000 residents. It has a nigh illiteracy rate, high unemployment, is primarily agricultural, and has growing opportunities for economic development. El Sauce is characterized by its rural, small town atmosphere and friendly people. Amoung the brick-lined streets are shops, restaurants, and internet cafés. Geneseo has established and operates its own office year-round in the center of El Sauce.

Housing
Students will reside with Sauceno families who are carefully selected to match the housing needs of program participants. Living with host families facilitates full immersion in Nicaraguan culture. All housing is within walking distance of each other and Geneseo's office.

Eligibility
Open to SUNY Geneseo students, one must be in good academic standing with no prior or current disciplinary record. Proficiency in Spanish is not required to participate in the program, but is strongly encouraged and recommended. The program is open to students in all majors but is especially relevant to students studying psychology, biology, Spanish, business, geography, international relations, history, urban studies, and Latin American studies.

Program Type(s):
Study Abroad
Volunteer
Program Length(s):
  • Summer
  • January Term
  • Short Term
Instruction Language(s):
  • English
Relevant Study Subject(s):
  • Latin American and Caribbean Studies
  • Latin American Studies
  • Area Studies
  • Area, Ethnic and Group Studies
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