Volunteer Nicaragua
Internships - Spanish - Experiential Learning Programs in Nicaraguahttp://www.nicaraguainternships.com
Why Nicaragua?





» Why Nicaragua?

 A beautiful country, wonderful people, and a dynamic culture - Support Nicaragua's efforts to achieve social justice, alleviate poverty, and promote sustainable development 

Nicaragua is the poorest Central American country, with 43.8% of the population living below the poverty line. Government resources are not enough to improve the country’s crumbling infrastructure and improve people’s access to formal employment, potable water, education, and adequate health care.   The country has some of the highest rates of infant and maternal mortality, infectious diseases, and illiteracy in all of Latin America. The conditions of poverty feed social problems such as teenage pregnancy, sexual and physical violence, emigration, and alcohol and drug abuse. With limited resources, the government recognizes and depends upon the efforts of non-governmental and international aid organizations to confront the multi-faceted problems of poverty and underdevelopment.

Many of Viva Nicaragua’! interns work  in the city of Granada.  Granada is a colonial town on the edge of Lake Nicaragua and  has been restored, preserved, and promoted as one of Nicaragua’s primary tourist destinations.  It is a beautiful city, with hotels and restaurants that cater to the desires of the many tourists that visit Granada every year.  While the tourist facade serves to keep many visitors oblivious to the extreme poverty that exists in the city, it does not erase the stark reality of the poor socio-economic conditions in which many of Granada’s residents live. 

In many ways tourism has only exacerbated Granada’s social and economic problems.   Property values have more than tripled, forcing people to live in overcrowded conditions with several families in one house.  Marginalized communities and squatter settlements are abundant in the areas surrounding Granada’s tourist center.  The work generated by tourism is only available to those with higher education and skills such as English and computation, and low wages of $70 per month do not even cover rent, which in Granada now averages $150 per month. While the tourist center almost always has running water, surrounding communities go days without water, posing a severe threat to public health.  Children, instead of studying, work informally selling crafts to or begging from tourists in order to help provide for their families.  Sex-tourism, often involving minors, has unfortunately become one of the reasons why some tourists visit Granada. 

While working on a project targeted at adolescent girls in Granada, I visited a poor neighborhood known as La Gran China, located about 3 blocks from the tourist center. The small dirt-floored adobe houses were crumbling and overcrowded with as many as three families per dwelling.  Soapy water filled the makeshift gutters and garbage sat in piles ready to be burned.  When I entered the community, the neighborhood children  ran to greet me.  “Money, Money chela”.  When they realized that I could speak Spanish, they all started asking me questions.  “Where are you from, do you have a boyfriend? Do you have kids?”.  And then one boy, with the body of a  nine year old but the mannerisms of a nineteen year old asked me, “do you have a refrigerator?” Not, “do you have a car or do you have a stereo?” But, “do you have refrigerator? “ This one question put the entire situation, the real living conditions of this community, into perspective.   

We collaborate with efforts throughout Granada – from the semi-urban tourist center, to the marginalized barrios, to the more rural municipalities of Naindaime, Diria, and Diriomo. 

We also work with organizations in urban and rural areas in the departments of Rivas and Masaya.

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While Nicaragua has had a turbulent history, the country today is very pacific and is one of the safest Central American countries. Of course, when traveling abroad, visitors should take certain precautions. Viva Nicaragua ! staff provides complete safety and security information and assistance in the event of any problem.  


Questions? Contact us!


“The support was great! Whenever I had a question or a problem I felt very comfortable asking for help or advice from Carrie and Marion.” – Jessica, Public Health/Nursing, 2011

“This program allows you to see the context of the people you are serving and really see social justice issues as multifaceted and interrelated while making tangible contributions to the community.” – Cristina, 2011

“Viva Nicaragua is a great opportunity to view the reality of the world. ...At the end of the day, you learn so much more on your own and you feel like you YOURSELF, have made a difference. “ – Mary , 2011

“It (my homestay) was amazing! Martha (my homestay mom) made the effort to sit down and talk with me…and the entire family made the effort to make me feel comfortable”. – Jessica McFadden, 2011

Nicaragua Internships
The opportunities are endless and you are really given the freedom to bring all of your skills, abilities, life experiences, etc. and creatively contribute them to your project  A beautiful and unique opportunity.
Morea Steinhauer
- July 2009

Voluneering NicaraguaIt (the program) is such a life changing experience.  You learn a lot about what you are capable of achieving, your ability to adapt to different cultures and environments and potential career opportunities.  Living, even for just a short time, in a developing country places a whole new perspective on the world and the conditions that many people live in everyday.  It really is an amazing learning opportunity and overall a fantastic experience.
Kathlyn Parr
- Summer 2009

Volunteer NicaraguaIt is great because you receive a cultural experience with a built in network of peers going through the same things and your work is tailored to meet your interests.
Graham Robertson
-Summer 2009

Volunteering in nicaragua!
"I received more than enough support from Carrie.  Whenever I needed any assistance or help, she was always there with resources and helpful ideas.  It is actually amazing how much she devotes to the program.  Her time, life, mental and physical health, are at the disposal of Viva! Nicaragua interns.
Trista Budzynski,
- July 2008

Nicaragua Internships
“Most mornings we work on micro loans for youth; in the afternoons we plan workshops, visit neighborhoods, or do random errands.  At night, we teach English classes in the outskirts of the city.  Our classrooms are dirt roads between houses.  Students drag out plastic chairs and we teach as dogs run by…After class we often gather in a circle and they tell us myths and legends, or we play games in the road.  Since many kids can’t read or write in Spanish, our teaching style has become increasingly more creative.”
Viva Nicaragua!  Interns,
- July 2008

Viva Nicaragua!
Working with a Nicaraguan NGO, I accomplished more than I ever would have been able to back home. My college leveled skills were greatly
appreciated and I was quickly given responsibilities and respect. I proudly watched my individual work have a direct affect on the people of the local communities. I even had someone stop me on the street to thank me for volunteering in Nicaragua.
Greg Contente,
- August, 2007

Volunteer Nicaragua
“Yesterday  we piled in a jeep and drove down the packed sand beach of Lake Nicaragua, past coconut trees and wooden boats to spend  the day in a remote village providing health care, armed with only a  stethoscope, bathroom scale, and duffel bag full of cough medicine and antibiotics.” 
Viva Nicaragua! 
- Intern, June 2007

Carrie also has cooperative relationships with many Nicaraguans running charitable efforts in the area of Granada and often works closely with them in providing opportunities for students.  Many of these are women running cooperatives, orphanages, clinics, and food programs and are remarkable people.  We very much admire Carrie's approach, in that she works hand-in-hand with the Nicaraguans' efforts to help themselves and each other, and doesn't "overrun" their efforts with her own.


Carrie is approachable, careful, thoughtful and professional in all her dealings with students and those in the community; she is well-respected there.


It’s a wonderful program for anyone who is looking to be creative, independent, and integrate into a community and society.



Nicaragua Volunteer