Thanks to donors like you, nearly 100 students have participated in our Study Abroad Program since fall of 2006.  These students have ventured to 37 different locations across the world.

This semester, a humanitarian mission trip to Nicaragua is scheduled for May 15-29, 2018.   It is a short term immersion program which includes study in the 3-credit course – STA404 Humanitarian Mission to Nicaragua.  Students will participate in service activities in Nicaragua and experience deep reflection about the nature of humanitarian work, the causes and impact of poverty, the nature of resilience, and the impact of the environment and limited infrastructure on daily lives in Nicaragua, the poorest nation in Central America with an average income of about $2 per day.   Students will travel by ferry to live on the volcanic island of Ometepe on the largest lake in Central America.

The humanitarian social justice activities our students will be involved with include:

  • Gathering donations of over-the counter health care products to give to small rural clinics and volunteering in those clinics in isolated areas in Nicaragua.
  • Working on water projects to improve access to safe and reliable water.
  • Learning about local concepts of health and access to healthcare.
  • Learning about the importance of sustainable development and the impact of small family businesses where members engage in multiple projects to support families.
  • Seeing the process of growing and producing coffee and cacao/chocolate.
  • Comparing the quality of Nicaraguan education to the USA by visiting a local school.
  • Understanding environmental preservation efforts visiting bio-reserve parks.
  • Eating Nicaraguan food, walking Nicaraguan miles to get from one place to another, and generally living among people to experience the little ways cultures are different (and the same!).

The cost for each student to participate in this particular experience is $2500.  This covers air and ground transportation, food, lodging, and the assistance of local interpreters.  Prior to the trip, students are engaged in various fundraising activities on-campus and working with outside organizations and local service groups to secure donations.  Our students are eager, committed, and hardworking, but the cost to study abroad is significant for them.  Most already work one to three jobs to pay for their tuition.  Most students, like so many of their peers, are first generation college students.  You can imagine how valued your support is!

Unlike the medical mission to Nicaragua offered in past years, which was open to only nursing students, this program is open to all students on campus and interested faculty and staff.  Because of this new emphasis and strong recruiting efforts, we have 20 students participating in this semester’s program in comparison to three last year.  Students apply through the study abroad application and have to be doing well in school overall with a GPA standard. Two advisors will be traveling with the students, Shane Boeder and Jessica Little.  Dr. Boeder is a professor of Spanish and Jessica is a professor of Biology.  Both women have been inspired by the Sisters of St. Agnes and have a strong commitment to social justice.

For more information about our Study Abroad Program, please contact Dr. Cooper Wakefield at 920.923.8977 or cswakefield00@marianuniversity.edu.