NICARAGUA: Comparative Sustainability in Nicaragua

BIOL 388/ENVR 388: Comparative Sustainability in Nicaragua is a new course from the Biology and Environmental Sciences department.  See the 'Course Details' below for more information.


Fast Facts

Program Type: Faculty-ledTerm/Duration: Summer/2-weeksSummer 2014 Program Dates:
May 25 - June 9, 2014
Credits: 3Application Fee: $20Application Deadline: APRIL 1
Estimated Study Abroad Fee: $2,450 NYS Residents; $1,771 Out-of-State ResidentsEstimated Tuition: $735 NYS Residents; $1,914 Out-of-State ResidentsApplication: Online - Apply Now!

Course Details                The Setting                 Orientation                
FacultyProgram CostsHousing and Meals
Special ConsiderationsApplication Deadline 

Course Details

This course, Comparative Sustainability- Nicaragua (BIOL/ENV 388), will allow students to come face-to-face with the particular biodiversity, water, energy, food and health issues of a non-North American, non-industrialized country.  This offers our students a unique perspective from which to examine those issues.  The College has a long-standing relationship with the town of El Sauce and the NGO Enlace Project in Nicaragua.  This relationship will allow students in the course opportunities to discuss issues with the town mayor, to get a first-hand view of the installation of sanitary water infrastructure, and to talk with members of cooperatives who are working to balance the need for economic development with protection of the environmental resources on which their business depends.  During the course, students will see first-hand biodiversity issues including threats to globally rare ecosystems and the opportunities and challenges provided by ecotourism.  They will live with host families and experience the decisions around water, food, and energy faced on a daily basis.  Students will finish the course with a deeper understanding of how “place” – the particular ecology, geography, economic and social system - influences the problems and the potential solutions to urgent sustainability issues.

The Setting

The course will travel through 3 major locations in Nicaragua: El Sauce in the dry tropical forest, and Central American pine forest region of Nicaragua, in the Cloud Forest outside Matagalpa in the Northern Highland coffee-growing region, and in the Masaya Volcano/Las Sierritas region in La Concha.  


Orientation will occur through the prerequisite course, Biol/Envr 388: Sustainability offered during the Spring 2014 semester.  


Kristi Hannam, Associate Professor, Biology Department has served as the co-chair of Geneseo’s President’s Commission on Sustainability since 2008, and has been travelling to Nicaragua regularly with classes and on her own for the past 3 years.  

Program Costs

For complete cost details, please download and review the Nicaragua - Comparative Sustainability Cost Sheet Summer 2014.


  • International airfare from major east coast metro area airport.
  • Accommodations.
  • Some group meals.
  • Teaching facilities.
  • Field trips, scheduled museum and entrance fees, guided tours, guest lectures, etc.
  • Travel in Nicaragua.

Does Not Include:

  • Passport.
  • Travel from your home to major east coast metro area airport.
  • Personal spending money.
  • Flight Deviation Fee (if applicable).

Housing and Meals

Room and board is included in the cost of the program, and will be provided with host families in the El Sauce community, in dorm or cabin style accommodations similar to what might be found at a State Park here in the U.S.,  and for one or two nights at tourist hotels.  The host families have been vetted by program faculty and on-site staff.  The host families are used to housing Geneseo students and take extra care to make sure students feel welcomed.

Special Considerations

Students should be prepared for the challenges of living and learning in a developing country where real poverty is part of the everyday experience.  While students will not be required to speak Spanish, some knowledge of the language will be useful. .  In El Sauce, students will stay with host an irreplaceable opportunity to learn about daily sustainability decisions Nicaraguans make, but students must understand that living with a family brings with it certain responsibilities.

Students will be required to conform to a fairly limited diet.  Students will be required to get appropriate vaccinations.  The students will have very limited access to computers and phone signals in some locations. 


Application Deadline:

Extended to APRIL 1