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Student Testimonial: Liz Michaud

A rising senior biology major with minors in math and Spanish, Liz spent a month in Nicaragua studying the humanities with classmates from SUNY Geneseo. Recently she summed up her experiences with a testimonial about her time here. Read on to learn about her experience exploring Nicaragua!

I highly recommend this study abroad program. I had the experience of a lifetime, and I would go back in a heartbeat if I ever get the chance. Ometepe was absolutely beautiful and was a great start to the trip. It allowed us to acclimate to the climate and to get to know each other better before going to El Sauce, where we were mostly responsible for ourselves and for communicating with and getting to know our host families. These families were so excited to have us and to get to know us that it was very easy to feel right at home with them. The host family that I lived with was extremely nice and accommodating and they did everything they could to make us feel comfortable and welcome. Also, my host brothers were hilarious and my host mother was a fantastic cook. It was hard to leave them at the end of the trip.

The weekend excursions to León, Ocotal and Granada were eye-opening, gorgeous and insanely fun. The entire trip on a whole was also quite humbling. Just being there and observing everyone and everything around me really made me appreciate not only what I have in my life, but who I have in my life. Family and friends are so important to them down there, and it made me realize how important they are and that we tend not to realize that until it’s too late. We also tend to take lots of things for granted, like running water, which most of them only have for a few hours a day. They work extremely hard for everything they have, and they appreciate the small things in life. They know that there is more to life than just physical comfort.

They have a great appreciation for music. All of their songs have meaning to them, and everyone knows and understands the stories and the history behind them. Someone told us that in order to know the history of Nicaragua, all you have to do is listen to the lyrics of their music. You don’t even have to read a history textbook.

Never once did I feel like I was in danger. Everyone is incredibly nice and willing to help you with anything and everything. All you have to do is ask. And if you get sick, don’t worry; you’re in excellent hands. You will be taken care of, and they will do everything they can to make sure you don’t miss out on anything. There are tons of things to do and see. If you’re ever bored, it means you’re not doing something right. Take advantage of your time down there. Explore. Try things that are outside of your comfort zone. Help out with the English class, talk to the students, make friends, and learn as much as you can about their history, culture and life style. They are extremely kind, open and welcoming. They want to get to know you and to become friends. They’ll also give you tips about what to do and where to go in El Sauce. If there were one thing I regret, it would be not spending more time with the students from the English class. Whatever you do, make sure you leave with no regrets. This is truly a unique and extraordinary experience, so make the best of it.

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