Known as the land of lakes and volcanoes, Nicaragua has an abundance of untouched tropical landscapes that range from pristine beaches to lush rainforests. Nicaragua also offers a fascinating history, from the settling of the Aztecs to the Spanish conquest to nearly hosting what became the Panama Canal. Recognized as one of the safest countries in Central America, Nicaragua is quickly becoming a hot spot for tourism, real estate and business investments.



Languages Spoken:

Spanish

Education System

HIGHER EDUCATION

Higher education is one of the four stages of the Nicaraguan educational system, all of which are coordinated by the National Council for Education. The responsibilities of the higher education system consist of training professionals and advanced-level technicians (técnicos) in the fields of agricultural sciences, medical sciences, national sciences, mathematics, humanities and technological sciences. Higher education has financial, organic and administrative autonomy according to Nicaraguan law. Also, freedom of subjects is recognized. The majority of higher education institutions are located in Managua, with a limited number of institutions in other cities and towns. In addition to large, public universities there are dozens of private universities in the capital.

Degrees, or títulos are awarded upon completion of a plan de estudios, or plan of study that may last from three to six years. Students begin coursework directly related to their carrera or major in their first year of university study, and follow their prescribed semester course load in their plan de estudios. Students rarely take elective courses outside of their carrera, and must complete all courses within their plan de estudios to graduate. In some academic fields, students are also required to complete a project of social service or take standardized national exam.

Coursework and Grades

Classes will likely be smaller in size, and may be lecture or lab based (especially for science disciplines). Attendance is an important component of the grading system. At Universidad Americana you are required to attend at least 80% of all classes to have the right to sit for your final exam.

Grades are given on a 0-100 point scale with 100 being the highest possible grade. A grade of 70 is considered passing at the undergraduate level (80 for post-graduate). Courses are normally one semester in length and assigned credit depends on the material and course hours. Grades may be based on a variety of factors including attendance and participation, homework assignments, exams or papers. Some classes may consist only of a midterm and final exam.

Visa and Residency

STUDENT VISA/RESIDENCE PERMIT

Students should have a passport that is valid for the duration of their stay. Upon arriving at the airport in Nicaragua you will have to pay an entry fee of USD $10. Be sure to bring exact change and use bills that are unmarked or damaged. It is important that you retain any documents you receive on arrival.

Most nationalities are not required to obtain visas prior to arrival. However, as limited information is available online, all students going to Nicaragua should consult with their local Nicaraguan Embassy or Consulate to determine if any immigration documents or visas are required of them before their departure.

Most students will receive a 90 day permit from the immigration authorities upon arrival. This permit must be extended every 90 days at a cost of approximately USD $35. Students are responsible for this cost, and will receive additional information regarding immigration formalities at orientation.

Culture

CULTURAL ADJUSTMENT

Nicaragua is a developing country and some students are initially shocked by the poverty they encounter there. One way to handle this shock and the feelings associated with it is to find a way to volunteer with a community in need. Your ISEP coordinator can help you find a community service project.

As a foreigner in a developing country with a high percentage of population living in poverty, you may be associated with wealth and may be approached by beggars and street vendors. This may make you stand out as a target for thieves and pickpockets, so be aware and use good safety precautions by not wearing clothing that will attract attention to you and don’t carry large amounts of money or valuables.

Family

In Nicaragua, the family plays a very important role. It is a center around which many activities revolve. Nica (meaning Nicaraguan) families are extremely close and it is not unusual for children to live with their parents until they get married. The extended family is a large, tightly-knit circle of relatives and friends tied to the family through ceremony and tradition.

Greetings

Typically, Nicaraguan friends, greet each other and say goodbye with a kiss on the cheek. A handshake is appropriate for professional introductions.

Space and distance

Nicas are less conscientious of personal space than others. Nicas stand close and touch frequently during conversation. Public transportation (which is not recommended) gets very crowded and people cram together closely to allow everyone to fit.

Time

Nicaraguan culture doesn't stress an importance on punctuality in the same way as other cultures may. You may be frustrated and feel like nothing starts on time. However, you should be punctual for class and professional situations.

Daily Life

CULTURAL ADJUSTMENT

Nicaragua is a developing country and some students are initially shocked by the poverty they encounter there. One way to handle this shock and the feelings associated with it is to find a way to volunteer with a community in need. Your ISEP coordinator can help you find a community service project.

As a foreigner in a developing country with a high percentage of population living in poverty, you may be associated with wealth and may be approached by beggars and street vendors. This may make you stand out as a target for thieves and pickpockets, so be aware and use good safety precautions by not wearing clothing that will attract attention to you and don’t carry large amounts of money or valuables.

Family

In Nicaragua, the family plays a very important role. It is a center around which many activities revolve. Nica (meaning Nicaraguan) families are extremely close and it is not unusual for children to live with their parents until they get married. The extended family is a large, tightly-knit circle of relatives and friends tied to the family through ceremony and tradition.

Greetings

Typically, Nicaraguan friends, greet each other and say goodbye with a kiss on the cheek. A handshake is appropriate for professional introductions.

Space and distance

Nicas are less conscientious of personal space than others. Nicas stand close and touch frequently during conversation. Public transportation (which is not recommended) gets very crowded and people cram together closely to allow everyone to fit.

Time

Nicaraguan culture doesn't stress an importance on punctuality in the same way as other cultures may. You may be frustrated and feel like nothing starts on time. However, you should be punctual for class and professional situations.

Health and Safety

https://www.isepstudyabroad.org/guides-and-tips/health-safety

Currency

MONEY MATTERS

The official currency unit of Nicaragua is the córdoba (C$); it is divided into 100 centavos, which are available in both coin and paper bills. Although the córdoba is the official name of currency, you will also hear money referred to as pesos. U.S. dollars are often accepted and if you pay with dollars, you may get change in córdobas.

Credit cards are also accepted widely in stores, hotels and restaurants throughout the country, though not in small towns and out-of-the-way destinations. Additionally in local markets it may be easiest to pay in cash. The most common credit cards accepted are Mastercard and Visa.

The Central Bank of Nicaragua publishes the official exchange rate on a daily basis. It is advised to change money only at official money changing institutions (Casas de Cambio) or banks. Street money-changers or coyotes may offer a cheaper rate, but they also may rip you off.

Banking hours are generally 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. with half-day service on Saturdays. The first and 15th day of each month are paydays and best avoided due to long lines. Check with your domestic bank to see if they have partner banks in Managua.

As Nicaragua is a developing country, you may find that some items are less or more expensive than you are accustomed. A large 1.5 liter of bottled water may cost you around 12 cordobas (or roughly USD $.60) and lunch may be between 40-80 cordobas (USD $2-4).

It is important to be aware of your surroundings and don’t carry unnecessary amounts of cash or credit cards. Pickpocketing on public busses is not unheard of, and it is always smarter to use private ATMs in booths that lock or require you to slide your ATM card to gain entry.


Compare your currency to the Nicaraguan córdoba.

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