Nicaragua and Cuba: Arts & Social Change

Arts and Social Change

Delve into the creative arts in Nicaragua and Cuba and examine how people in both countries have used art, poetry, music, and dance to promote social change. Learn about Cuba’s significance in Latin American history and the connections with one of its southern neighbors.


July 4, 2018



Peace, Politics, & Human Rights




Outdoor Activity


Program Description

You will have a second homestay in Managua, where you will live in the neighborhood of Máximo Jerez, a community deeply involved in the Sandinista revolution, and observe the differences between rural and city life in Nicaragua. Visit local markets and participate in spoken-word poetry workshops with writers inspired by the revolution. Learn how to prepare traditional dishes incorporating exotic fruits from Nicaragua.

Your journey continues as you travel to Cuba. Learn about Cuba’s significance in Latin American history and its many connections to Nicaragua, including a comparison of the Sandinista revolution in Nicaragua and the Cuban revolution. Spend a week in the city of Havana exploring the arts in a different social and cultural context. Visit associations of young artists and African-Cuban arts centers. Participate in a community workshop transformation project, Talleres de Transformación, and talk to Cubans about their aspirations. Visit Old Havana and learn about Ernest Hemingway’s life in Cuba at his home in Cojímar before returning to Nicaragua for final reflections.

At the conclusion of this program, each participant will earn a language certificate noting the number of hours of language classes completed.



Spanish (at least two years)


July 4, 2018 - August 2, 2018 (4 weeks)

Program Fee:


(does not include airfare)
Group Airfare Cost:


Depart/Return City:



Managua, 3 days


Managua*, 10 days; El Lagartillo*, 7 days

Other Accommodations:

Hotels or guest houses

Sample Itinerary

    Days 1-3

    Orientation in Managua

    • Learn about the history, culture, and art of Nicaragua from experts
    • Get to know other members of your group during activities
    • Start practicing your Spanish language skills
    • Visit important sites throughout the city such as historical monuments and the National Palace

    During the orientation period, you and your group will stay in a centrally located hotel.

    Days 4-11

    Urban Homestay in Colonia Máximo Jerez, Managua

    • Become immersed in the daily lives of a Nicaraguan family and community
    • Do activities with your host family
    • Attend Spanish language classes
    • Visit PodCasts for Peace studios, Los Quinchos, and local NGOs

    During this period, you will stay in the home of a family.

    Days 12-15

    Thematic Focus in Solentiname Artist Community

    • Visit artists’ studios and observe them at work
    • Learn about how art, poetry, and music have been used as mediums for social change in Nicaragua
    • Explore the islands of the archipelago

    During this period, you and your group will stay in guest houses.

    Days 16-20

    Excursion to Cuba

    • Meet with Cuban youth and participate in cultural exchanges
    • Explore Havana’s Old Town and see important sites in the city, such as the Museum of the Revolution
    • Attend seminars on Cuban youth culture, the country’s national literacy campaign, Afro-Cubans’ history and current reality, and US-Cuban relations
    • Visit a community art center and the home of Ernest Hemingway
    • Spend some time on the beach

    During this period, you and your group will stay in an educational institute.

    Day 21

    Celebration of Nicaraguan Independence Day in Managua

    During this period, you and your group will stay in a centrally located hotel.

    Days 22-28

    Rural Homestay

    • Become immersed in the daily lives of a rural Nicaraguan family and community
    • Do activities with your host family
    • Attend poetry workshops
    • Assist your host family with field work and food preparation
    • Go on nature walks with your group

    During this period, you will stay in the home of a family. Sample community: San Ramon, Matagalpa

    Day 29

    Program Reflection and Wrap-up in Managua

    • Reflect with your group on your experiences during the program

    During the reflection period, you and your group will stay at a nearby hotel.

    Day 30


    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.

Itinerary is subject to change.

Past Group Leaders

  • Andrea Kraybill

    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.

  • Gerson Lanza

    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.

Pre-departure Documents

Summer 2018

Congratulations on your upcoming Experiment summer on the Nicaragua & Cuba: Arts & Social Change program. Visit our pre-departure page for information about our expectations, communications, and travel planning. In early 2018, our summer international information will be published in a secure page, found in the Parent Portal.

In early spring 2018, the following program-specific documents will be linked to this page:

  • Participant Handbook
  • Parent Handbook
  • Health Guidelines
  • Personal Funds Abroad
  • Accident and Sickness Insurance
  • Packing List

Many questions can be answered by reviewing these materials, but please do not hesitate to contact us if further information is required. To submit or update your domestic travel and emergency contact information, please login in to the Parent Portal.

Important Passport and Medical Information

If you do not yet have a passport, or if you have not applied for one, you should do so immediately.

If you have not had a physical with your doctor since June 2017, make an appointment as quickly as possible, as your health form must be filled out based on a current physical.

Please bookmark this web page for easy use in the future.