Tuesday marks one week in Nicaragua. So far I am loving being here! I often catch myself in awe of the fact that I am finally here! While I want to dive right in to all things Nicaraguan, my transition so far has been more like slowly getting my feet wet.
Here are some highlights of my experience so far:
I am staying with a host family here in Managua. They host international students often, as they have a building on the back of the property with about eight small, individual rooms. I have a bed, a desk, a closet, a bathroom, and a fan (which I am very thankful for because it is humid!) The property is large and colorful; it used to be a preschool! My family is very nice, but they are pretty hands-off. My host mom makes breakfast and dinner for me and the three other girls staying here, but we don’t eat with the family. They like to keep the family space separate, which I can understand.
The other three girls I am staying with are from Connecticut, and they speak fluent Spanish. Unfortunately, they prefer to speak English when we are at home, so I don’t get much opportunity to practice my Spanish. I was hoping to use this first week before classes start to practicing my Spanish here at home, but it looks like I will just have to do my best once classes start. I can be guaranteed the chance to improve my Spanish then!
The university is practically right across the street from my house! That is good news because I have a tendency to get lost! It also means I don’t have to wake up super early to walk to class.
I have class Mondays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. Kind of a weird schedule, right? Two of my classes are only taught on Saturdays and are 2 hours and 50 minutes each. Yikes!
The campus is beautiful! I would say it is about the size of Seattle U, and its landscaping is just as pretty! There are lots of places to sit and study outside in the shade. I went exploring the other day! One of my favorite places so far is the chapel. I went to mass on Thursday, and it really reminded me of the St. Ignatius chapel at Seattle U. I got kind of nostalgic when the choir was practicing before mass. It reminded me of going to student mass and seeing my friends in the choir at home.
Hmm…Managua…I think it will probably grow on me. It’s not exactly the most beautiful place. The 1972 earthquake did some serious damage here, and the city has not recovered its former glory. It’s also a little bit difficult to get around. There are a lot of wide streets without crosswalks, and the drivers totally ignore pedestrians, so you have to sprint across the street. There is also a lot of poverty here, which is difficult to witness everyday. The majority of universities are here, though, and it is very easy to get to other cities by bus. My housemates and I took a trip to Granada is past weekend, in fact! ¡Súper fácil!
In reality, since I have only been here for a week, I have so much more of Nicaragua to experience! I start class on Thursday, which will add a new component to life here. I am excited to meet some Nicaraguan students and improve my Spanish!