Nicaragua is a beautiful Central American country known as the Land of Lakes and Volcanoes. The country has plenty to explore including the beaches of San Juan del Sur, hiking the numerous volcanoes, or strolling down the old colonial streets of Granada. Spanish is the official language of Nicaragua and the country provides a great environment in which to practice language skills.
The Spanish settled Nicaragua, which is named from the chief of the area’s leading Indian tribe at the time of the Spanish Conquest, in 1522. Then in 1821 Nicaragua won independence and became a republic. For the majority of the 1800s, large landowners and an increasing US interest in transportation and fruit production characterized Nicaragua. The US has long had business interests in Nicaragua even placing the military personnel in the country to protect American interests in the 1920s. With the election of President Somoza in 1936, the US removed its military presence. Somoza set up a corrupt military dictatorship that would last over 40 years. Throughout the country’s history there has been much political turmoil over the battle for power. However, as of late, Nicaragua has been a relatively peaceful nation to visit.
Nicaragua is the largest but most sparsely populated country in Central America and borders Honduras to the north and Costa Rica to the south. Nicaragua is mountainous in the west, with fertile valleys due to the volcanoes. The country has 29 volcanoes, seven of which are active while the remaining 22 are dormant or extinct. There is a volcanic chain consisting of 25 volcanoes named the “Belt of Fire.” The other coast, the swampy Caribbean coast, is called the “Mosquito Coast.” The Caribbean region is also home to the Natural Biosphere Reserve of Bosawás, one of the largest rainforests in the America Continent. Students interested in ecology or environmental sciences would find studying in Nicaragua to be a great opportunity
There are numerous topics to interest those studying economics such as Nicaragua’s political and economic history including US involvement in Central America and the Caribbean and the economic issues of free trade versus fair trade. Social or political scientists can focus on the social movements and civil society including grassroots movements, community development, the country’s peaceful democratic transition and human rights.
The Spanish roots are clearly evident in the country’s population today as most Nicaraguans are of both European and indigenous ancestry. The culture of the country also reflects the mixed heritage of its people. Studying in Nicaragua provides the opportunity to experience the culture and traditions of a diverse nation as it embraces its past and works toward a prosperous future.