Social Work Abroad Program (SWAP) is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization committed to providing international learning opportunities for US-based social work students.
Location: Guanacaste, Costa Rica
Recommended Airport: Liberia (LIR)
Program Dates: Jan 6-13, 2019
Application Deadline: Sep 23, 2018
Program Cost: $1300
Los Angeles/Long Beach Area
Date: October 6-8, 2018
San Jose Area
Date: September 29 and October 14, 2018
Los Angeles/Long Beach Area
Date: October 20, 2018
San Jose Area
Date: October 27, 2018
Program Highlights May Include:
Program Fees Include:
SWAP Costa Rica (Guanacaste)
SWAP has partnered with "Viva Nicaragua!" to offer an exciting new social work abroad opportunity in Guanacaste, Costa Rica from January 6-13, 2019. SWAP has moved its 2019 programming from Nicaragua to Costa Rica due to the political instability that erupted in Nicaragua in April 2018. Located off the beaten path in the rural communities of Bolson and Ortega in the province on Guanacaste, this Costa Rican region is an area where many Nicaraguans migrate and an ideal location to learn about the intersection of culture, history, economy, and people. This program offers the opportunity to live in a rural community and interact with both Costa Ricans and Nicaraguans, work with different social groups, visit different government institutions, and participate in social and cultural activities.
Service learning placement sites will center in the small rural communities of Bolson and Ortega, located about an hour and a half away from Liberia. This is a perfect location to learn about the true culture, history, economy and people of the Guanacaste region.
The two communities are surrounded by sugarcane plantations which is the primary economic activity. In addition, the towns are near the Rio Tempisque and Palo Verde National Park and many of the residents work in tourism on the river as park guards or in conservation efforts. Much of the sugarcane work is done by Nicaraguan workers.
The communities count on bus transportation, a clinic, two elementary schools, a soccer field, a restaurant and bar, and a community center and has potable water and sewage systems. Participants will live with families in simple but adequate conditions and work with children's groups, youth and adolescents, women, and the elderly population. Community members and Viva Nicaragua! will offer presentations about Nicaragua and Costa Rica relations and Guanacaste. You will have the opportunity to visit schools and clinics to learn about the country's model universal healthcare system and public schools. Local guides will take us on a boat tour of the Rio Tempisque, we will visit sugarcane plantations and talk with Nicaraguan workers, make tortillas with our families, and learn about the customs, dance, music and the community's Chorotega and Spanish roots.
Applications for SWAP Costa Rica 2019 will be accepted through September 23, 2018. Complete an application with us today for this incredible opportunity!
Click image above to view your tentative itinerary
Guanacaste is located in northern Costa Rica and shares a border with Nicaragua. Previously part of Nicaragua, it was annexed to Cost Rica in 1824. The population is primarily mestizo, or mixed descendants of Spanish and Chorotega Indigenous groups.
The official point of entry of Costa Rica from Nicaragua is Penas Blancas, located about 1.5 hours north of Guanacaste's capital city Liberia. However, all along the Nicaragua/Costa Rica border there are many blind spots where Nicaraguans cross without documentation.
Nicaraguans living in Costa Rica work primarily in agriculture, construction, and domestic work. Some Nicaraguans migrate between Guanacaste and other provinces in search of agricultural work. Others migrate back and forth between Nicaragua and Costa Rica. Money earned by Nicaraguans in Costa Rica is sent back to support their families in Nicaragua.
The mission of Viva Nicaragua! is to (1) support the efforts of both public institutions and non-governmental organizations working to promote social justice and sustainable development in Nicaragua and (2) facilitate cross-cultural learning by recruiting motivated individuals to participate in experiential learning programs.
Viva Nicaragua! works to support community based social justice and sustainable development efforts in the southwest of Granada. Working with community leaders, organizations, and international interns and professionals, Viva Nicaragua! collaborates with communities to design projects to improve the overall living conditions for all Nicaraguans, especially those living in conditions of extreme poverty. Projects focus on social justice - trying to protect the human rights of people from sectors of society whom, due to their socio-economic conditions, find their rights violated on a daily basis. They have limited access to education, employment, legal protection, and healthcare. Most of projects involve work with youth, women, children, and the rural and urban poor.
Accommodations and Meals
In this fully immersive social work abroad experience, all participants will reside with a host family that has been carefully screened and selected by Viva Nicaragua! There may be 2-3 participants in each home stay setting. Home stay accommodations will provide breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The homes may not have air conditioning or hot water.
Following program completion, SWAP will organize a reunion for participants to continue their learning following re-entry into the United States. Participants are strongly encouraged to attend.