Nicaragua is one of the most beautifully diverse countries in Central America yet also the poorest. Here, apply technology, engineering and design concepts to make a meaningful impact.
Experience the warmth and joy of the locals, or Nicos, during a short homestay in a rural village. Wander the cobblestone streets of Granada, surf along the white sand beaches of San Juan del Sur, and hike, horseback ride or kayak among the wild and unspoiled terrain of Ometepe Island. While deepening your appreciation for this unique country and its people, discover how science and technology can be adapted to solve important, real-world issues.
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Broadreach combines your thirst for fun and adventure with tangible skill development, real-world educational opportunities and a genuine commitment to service. While on program, you’ll earn documented community service hours and even college credits. It’s what we call “Earn & Learn,” and it’s what you’ll take home as evidence of your many accomplishments.
Nicaragua Technology & Development offers 3 international development college credits through Lesley University. Additionally, students earn 30hours of documented community service.
By the end of this course, you will understand STEM fundamentals and how engineering can be applied to address real-world issues. Participate in the work of local organizations who are aiming to effect positive change in rural and underserved Nicaraguan communities. Working in teams, employ multi-disciplinary engineering methods to produce appropriate technology solutions to address health, environmental, economic and social challenges. This course was designed to serve as a jumping off point for continued or specialized study in engineering and applied technology, offering an up close look at engineering specialties in context and practice.
1. Design and conduct experiments using key engineering concepts
2. Perform data analysis and interpretation
3. Identify, formulate, and solve basic engineering problems using scientific theories, techniques, skills, and tools
4. Explore science in a multidisciplinary environment
5. Present engineering and technology ideas in a cross-cultural setting
6. Understand the impact of engineering solutions in a global context
7. Explore present-day issues relevant to Nicaraguans
Through service, gain a more meaningful connection to the cultures and communities you explore while taking an active role to address important global issues at the local level. In Nicaragua, work with an international NGO and local community leaders to help overcome challenges in a developing nation. Projects are determined by the needs of the community at the time, but possible projects include:
Nicaragua boasts a rich history along with a distinct culture that is vibrant and fully alive and your journey begins in the heart of it. Experience it from the moment we arrive in the outskirts of the urban oasis of Managua, the country’s capital city. After adjusting to new surroundings and getting to know the other students in the group, we transfer to Laguna Apoyo, an ancient volcanic lake in a nature reserve. Join your new friends and fellow adventurers as you explore black sand beaches, spot local wildlife, kayak, swim and go stand-up paddleboarding. Then it’s off to the Masaya Volcano, Nicaragua’s first and largest national park. Spot smoking peaks, boiling calderas and craters in this fascinating visit, and end the excursion with a visit to the Calera reserve, hot springs surrounded by lush tropical forest. Before moving on, we go one more adventure’a thrilling zip line through the canopy.
For our next learning adventure, we trek to San Juan del Sur, an idyllic lazy-days surf town situated along Nicaragua’s Pacific Coast. Partner with a local organization teaching rural communities how to build and implement technologies designed to improve the health and well-being of their residents. Hone your engineering skills as you build bio-sand water filters or clean cook stoves. Learn how professional engineers conduct field analyses of available materials and adapt to the culture, customs, and environment of a local community in order to arrive at effective solutions. Understand the mechanics of filtration systems as you test your own theories on how to improve sanitation community health and sanitation. With each new device you build and integrate into daily Nicaraguan life, you immediately see the impact your work can have on community health and happiness.
We spend a couple of days recharging on a relaxing island floating in the middle of Lake Nicaragua, the largest freshwater lake in Central America. Here, we process what we have accomplished thus far and look ahead toward the next segment of the journey, where we’ll put our own theories and engineering concepts to the test. Enjoy sun-filled days kayaking among exotic wildlife. Look for wild monkeys in the trees just off the beach. Or paddle quietly so as not to scare off the rare birds flying overhead. Historically, Lake Nicaragua was traveled by real pirates of the Caribbean. In just two days here we imagine how we will add our own legacy to Nicaragua’s past, present and future.
For the next leg of the journey we head to a small village outside of León, where you take the helm and introduce a scientific innovation of your own creation. With the support of your fellow students, Broadreach instructors and local experts, you’ll have a blank canvas in which you can ideate, test, challenge, analyze and implement an original idea. Harness available resources to adapt your concept to León’s unique environment. Frame notions in the context of local culture and customs, informed by a cultural exchange with locals and community interactions. Channel all the skills you’ve acquired over the past two weeks and step fully into the role of scientific project lead. At the conclusion of this 5-day STEM challenge, you’ll have experienced how scientists and engineers focused on global health and international development, are effecting change out in the real world.
The last few days of the journey are spent in Playa Jiquillo in quaint beachside cottages where our mornings will be spent surfing and enjoying time at the beach. In the afternoons, we’ll reflect on all we’ve learned and accomplished in such a short amount of time and then begin the journey back home.
This trip was my first experience of ever leaving the United States and is something I’ll never forget. From zip lining, to hiking a volcano and to installing water filters in a small Nicaraguan community, this experience has opened up so many doors for me in the fields of service and engineering. I will forever be grateful for the experience, all the people I have met and all the fun activities I’ve done. Broadreach and Nicaragua will always have a place in my heart.
This trip to Nicaragua was one of the best trips I have ever been on. I met some amazing, interested people, got a quick but challenging introduction to engineering through the academics and just had a great time overall! I learned not only how to build a water filter, but also how to interact with people from other cultures. I have now been exposed to problems/ difficulties developing countries face and am motivated to do what I can to help.
An excellent blend of work and fun. My instructors were excellent and I never felt in bad hands. Exploring Nicaragua from South to North and in between was a great learning experience.
Nicaragua Technology and Development was a great experience for me. We got to work with developing communities on a water filter project that meant a lot to them. I would definitely recommend a strong interest in engineering as well as decent Spanish skills to anyone interested. I had lots of fun and would definitely recommend this experience to a friend.
Tuition is all inclusive for instruction, food, accommodations, and activities from the time you arrive in country. However, you are responsible for your airfare, spending money (we suggest about $150-200 depending on the program), any required textbooks, and student expenses such as medical fees. Some trips require scuba gear which can be rented, purchased or in some cases borrowed from Broadreach. Finally, for our high school trips that offer college credit, you can elect to receive an official Lesley University credit transcript for approximately $180 per credit hour. For more information about expenses that might apply to your program, click here.
Airfare is not included in the program tuition cost, mostly because students join our programs from all over the U.S. and other countries around the world. Some programs also have internal flights which are not included in the program tuition, and we’ll provide details on exactly how to book those once you are enrolled.
For most programs, we have a few recommended flights and an arrival time range, and we usually give you the option to book flights on your own or through our travel agency partner. A few programs have required group flights, which we set up in advance. Students travel independently, but often meet up along the way, and we collect student itinerary details. Broadreach instructors will be waiting in the arrivals hall of the destination airport to greet each student, and they’ll be wearing special shirts and holding a Broadreach sign. We also mail students Broadreach shirts to wear while traveling which makes it easy for them to identify each other. Typically, making travel arrangements and the actual travel days go very smoothly.
Safety is our top priority, and it is something we evaluate from every angle throughout the year. We’re very proud of our safety record over the past 26 years of running international programs for students. There are so many ways to address how we handle safety, including the extensive experience and training of our instructors, the specific locations we choose to visit, the relationships we have established with our local partners, and the 24/7 support we provide our groups. We have extensive program-specific risk management plans and safety standards that we adhere to. We’d be happy to talk about safety in more detail for the program you’re considering if you’d like to call our office.
Most participants come alone, so there is no need to be concerned if you don’t know anyone else on your program. It’s normal to be a little nervous about not knowing other students in advance, but within a day of starting your program you’ll be laughing and sharing exciting adventures with new friends.
Students will call home within a few hours of landing in the destination airport to let parents know they have arrived safely and have met up with the group. For most programs, students will have the option to call home once a week, typically on Sundays. Timing for calling home depends on the schedule of the trip and location. Usually, students call home with the in-country instructor cell phones or via Skype if good internet service is available. If you’d like to learn more about our full communication policy, please call our office.
We require that students have at least $100,000 of emergency evacuation coverage and some kind of international medical coverage, as well as coverage for scuba diving for programs that include diving. We offer two different policy options, or if you already have a policy that meets this criteria, we would just collect those policy details after enrollment.
Our Tuition Protection policy covers cancellations for medical reasons up to 100% and for any other reason up to 75% (except for residents of NY state). It’s also a great comprehensive travel insurance policy, including medical coverage, emergency evacuation, travel delay, baggage (loss or delay), etc. The cost of the policy ranges from $319-379 based on the program duration. For more specific coverage details, please call our office.
Broadreach instructors are highly experienced, passionate, energetic and supportive. The average age of our instructors is 28 years old, and depending on the program, they meet specific qualifications (a Master’s degree in the subject area, PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor certification, foreign language fluency, Wilderness First Responder certification, etc).
We do our best to accommodate allergies and food preferences but we consider the situation, country and the program to determine whether it will be a good fit for the specific dietary restriction. It’s important that you let Broadreach know well in advance of any food preferences or allergies so we can determine whether your restrictions will work on your program.
Absolutely! Just call our office and we can put you in touch with past participants who have joined the programs that interest you. Our alumni families are happy to share their first-person experiences.
We require a non-refundable deposit of $1000 to lock in your spot, and then the final balance can be spread out and paid in a few different ways. The final payment is requested by about 3 months before departure. Our optional tuition protection plan covers cancellations for medical reasons up to 100% and cancellations for any other reason up to 75% (except for residents of NY state).
We provide an extensive packing list for each program that we revise every year based on student and instructor feedback, and most of the items you probably have already. If you’d like to look at a packing list for a certain program, just let us know and we can email the most current version to you.
Academics will vary by program but usually include journals, discussions, lectures, research projects, and a midterm and final exam. We expect all of our students to participate fully in the academic course work on our programs, regardless of whether they have chosen to take it for official college credit.
Our levels are loose guidelines to help families determine which programs might be the best fit. Discovery level programs do not require any prior experience and are great first-Broadreach options. Explorer level programs build on existing skills and knowledge, and often delve deeper into the program focus. Expedition level programs are usually in more remote or challenging locations, require prior experience, and often include more student ownership of the experience.
We partner with Lesley University in Cambridge, MA to offer college credit for our academic high school and college programs. Those credits are widely accepted at colleges and universities all over North America, and we can often let you know if an alumni student has transferred those credits to a specific school in the past. For more details, click here.
In the fall, we have a few different early enrollment discounts– please call our office for more information. We also offer a 5% discount on the second enrollment from the same immediate family in a summer. This offer is available to an individual student or siblings. The 5% discount will be applied to the program of lesser cost, and cannot be combined with any other discounts.
We do offer some scholarships through the Broadreach Foundation. Please visit www.broadreachfoundation.org for more information and to apply online for scholarships.