Ariane Tulloch studied abroad during the summer of 2013 on the Language and Culture in Nicaragua program. She studied Miskitu.
I participated in KU’s study abroad program to Nicaragua. I had an interesting time studying abroad. My former professor suggested that I apply since we share some of the same research interests, namely race in Latin America, and she works in the region. She thought that the Atlantic coast of Nicaragua would be a good place to make connections with people who could help me with possible future research. Nicaragua is beautiful, but highly impoverished. There was always a thought in the back of my mind that many people from that country could never experience the better things that I was experiencing in their own country. If I could have done something differently, I would have volunteered with the little children more often at Casa Xalteva, the school that we attended in Granada. I also would have included more pants in my wardrobe, and I would have tried harder to interact with the locals and practiced speaking Miskitu more.
I thought that I could share a list of some of the things that students might find helpful to bring should they embark on this adventure:
1. Raincoat: You’ll be in Nicaragua during the rainy season, and buying a raincoat while there is a bit of a challenge.
2. A roll of toilet paper: On this trip, you’ll be going to villages that don’t have indoor plumbing. If you need to use the bathroom, more than likely, you’ll have to go to an outhouse. There was not a single outhouse that I went to that was stocked with toilet paper.
3. Flash light: We lost power a few times. The ones with flashlights were the smartest ones in the group.
4. Games (cards, frisbee, Taboo, Jenga, etc): You will probably be spending a lot of time at the hotel with your group mates. Having a game on hand is always way to pass the time with them.
5. Long pants, trousers, jeans, tights: There are a lot of hungry mosquitoes on the coast. Wearing long pants can protect you from bites or cover up the unsightly marks they cause.
6. Floss: We ate a lot stringy mangoes down there and inevitably some of the fibers always got stuck.