Delve into the creative arts in Nicaragua and Cuba and examine how people in both countries have used the arts to promote social transformations. In Nicaragua, where this immersive high school summer abroad 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 incorporating exotic fruits from Nicaragua.
Your journey continues as you travel with your group to Cuba. Learn about Cuba’s significance in Latin American history and the multiple connections between Cuba and Nicaragua. Spend a comparative week in the city of Havana exploring the arts in a different social and cultural context. Visit associations of young artists and African-Cuban community-based arts centers. Participate in a community workshop transformation project (Talleres de Transformación), and dialog with Cubans about their aspirations. Learn about Ernest Hemingway’s life in Cuba at his home in Cojímar and visit other historical sites in Old Havana.
Orientation: Managua, 3 days
Homestay: Managua,* 10 days; San Ramon, Matagalpa,* 7 days
Other Accommodations: Hotels
* Homestay locations can vary.
Orientation in Managua
During the orientation period, you and your group will stay in a centrally located hotel.
Urban Homestay in Colonia Máximo Jerez, Managua
During this period, you will stay in the home of a family.
Thematic Focus in Solentiname Artist Community
During this period, you and your group will stay in guest houses.
Excursion to Cuba
During this period, you and your group will stay in an educational institute.
Celebration of Nicaraguan Independence Day in Managua
During this period, you and your group will stay in a centrally located hotel.
During this period, you will stay in the home of a family. Sample community: San Ramon, Matagalpa
Program Reflection and Wrap-up in Managua
During the reflection period, you and your group will stay at a nearby hotel.
Please note: This itinerary is only a sample and is subject to change. Because of factors such as group size and availability of in-country offerings such as festivals, your experience — including sites visited and the number of days spent in each location — may differ somewhat from the one presented above.
These are leader bios from summer 2014.
Andrea Kraybill graduated from Goshen College in 2011 with a BA in art. From 2011 to 2013 she was a full-time volunteer at a community cultural center in Managua, Nicaragua, where she taught English as a Second Language (ESL) and served as a painting facilitator for children and youth in a violence-prevention program. Before leading the Experiment’s inaugural Nicaragua and Cuba program, she returned to her hometown to teach art and ESL in the local elementary schools.
Born in Virginia, Andrea spent six years of her childhood in London, England, later moving to Elkhart, Indiana. After high school, she volunteered for eight months in a rural community in southern Argentina. During college, Andrea spent summers volunteering in the US and London, and studied for a semester in Egypt. Andrea is an artist and a salsa dancer, and flourishes in places where there's an abundant supply of tropical fruits. She is currently pursuing a graduate degree in theology and art, in the multicultural hub of Los Angeles, California.
Born and raised in La Ceiba, Honduras, Gerson currently teaches tap dance in New York City. He graduated in 2013 with a BA in history and Spanish from Wake Forest University, where he served as a mentor for underprivileged high school students, ultimately inspiring these students to attend competitive universities across the United States. Gerson was awarded a research grant in Brazil to study the influences Brazilian art forms have on tap dance, and he has performed off Broadway at the Thalia Spanish Theater in New York City. In sharing his passion for the craft of tap dance, Gerson founded “Setting the Groove” Tap Dance Club at Wake Forest University.
Gerson returned to The Experiment in summer 2014 after leading the 2013 Spain community service program — the same program he went on as an Experimenter in 2009. In addition to his multiple stays in Spain, he has also visited Portugal, the UK, and France. Besides his passion for dancing, mentoring, and traveling, he enjoys hiking, cooking, and sharing his sense of humor.