SWAP Nicaragua is not presently available.  Please visit our SWAP Costa Rica

(Guanacaste) page for information about our current program!

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​SWAP Nicaragua

Project Summary

Sometimes called the Land of Lakes and Volcanoes, this tropical country is becoming increasingly popular as an international travel destination. Ethnically diverse, with cultural influences from the Spanish rule hundreds of years ago as well as indigenous populations, Nicaragua offers a lively culture for participants to experience as they work on projects in healthcare, education, and community development. 

Pre-departure Orientations

One mandatory pre-departure orientation will be scheduled to help participants prepare for their two-week internship experience in Nicaragua. Orientations cover the following topics: SWAP background, team building, risk and safety, engaging with hosts, Nicaraguan culture, coping strategies, and logistics. Attendees will have the opportunity to engage with and learn from guest speakers who have previously lived in Nicaragua, get to know their fellow program participants, and begin planning for their experience abroad.

Service Learning Placement Site

Participant responsibilities at their placement sites vary depending on the needs and expectations of their service learning placement assignments. SWAP Nicaragua 2019 placement sites may include the following:

  • Community Clinic: Community clinics are affordable alternatives to hospitals for Nicaraguans seeking medical care.  This opportunity includes leading health education workshops on topics such as reproductive health, dental hygiene, diabetes, and sanitation.  You may also be supporting medical teams during clinic sessions, assessments, home visits, and mobile clinic excursions.
  • Older Adults:.Organize and lead cognitively stimulating and ability appropriate activities for older adult residents of a local retirement home.  
  • Semi-Permanent Residential Home: At-risk youth spend weekends with their families and weekdays at this semi-permanent residential home where they are exposed to a structured environment, positive mentoring, group counseling, and social skills development.  You may also engage parents in parenting classes at this site.  Advanced Spanish skills are required for this placement site.
  • Community Center or School: ​Provide school aged children with much needed education enhancement programming including games, arts and crafts, and physical education activities that focus on developing social skills, peer support, self esteem, and habits supporting personal growth and well being.


Partner Organization

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.


Participants will attend an orientation following arrival, becoming further engrossed in Nicaragua's rich culture and history. Participants will be matched with a local leader/translator at each placement site and will partake in evening/weekend seminar sessions with SWAP's US-based social work team who will facilitate meetings designed to deepen the group's learning and understanding of their experiences abroad. This team will additionally provide logistical support as needed and conduct site visits at placement agencies.

Spanish Class

Programming includes one week of morning Spanish classes.  Participants will self select a beginner, intermediate, or advanced level course and have ample opportunities to utilize their Spanish at their placements sites and with their local home stay families.

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 1-4 participants in each home stay setting including private and shared room accommodations. Home stay accommodations will provide breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The homes will not have air conditioning or hot water. However each room will include a fan.

Re-entry Support
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.

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.

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