Nica Slideshow / Learn About Nicaragua (Links)
to Frequently Asked
Questions about the NSS program.
program? / Teaching
method? / Spanish teachers? / Homestay? / Volunteer
work? / Need a visa? / Tuition reduction? / Need
special immunizations? / Classes on Holidays? / Communication
while in Nicaragua? / Money?
does the immersion program work?
The weekly immersion program with homestay runs from
Sunday to Saturday with classes Monday through Friday
from 8:30am-12:30pm. However, you can start your program
any day of the week by reserving extra tutoring by the
day/hour and extra homestay days to fill in before your
first Sunday or after your last Saturday. Your program
starts with an individual assessment of your Spanish
speaking level and subject interests. The instuctional
process is an ongoing dialogue between teacher and
student with the student being challenged and supported
in using and expanding their Spanish communication
skills. Class size is limited to 2 students of the same
level, or 3 for members of a group which allows for
individualized attention, but many times students will
have their own teacher if the school is not too full.
Additional individual tutoring is also available in the
afternoons for more intensive learning. Outside
activities are sometimes integrated into your morning
class and optional afternoon activities facilitated by
teachers, such as cultural classes or visits to local
social, political, artisan and cultural organizations,
allow students to interact, listen and learn in the
context of social or professional settings. Weekend
guided excursions to sites of interest expose students to
Nicaragua's natural and cultural experiences. Room and
board with a supportive Nicaraguan family allows you to
integrate easily into the community and use your Spanish
everyday in varied real-life situations.
kind of a teaching method does the NSS Managua school use?
NSS uses an interactive, conversationally-based,
all-Spanish method of direct learning, called the
"Functional Method", which customizes
instruction to the interests and abilities of each
individual student. The Functional Method facilitates a
natural and continuous conversational exchange between
student and teacher (both orally and with
reading/writing) on topics of personal interest
determined by the preferences of each student. Teachers
monitor and guide the dialogue process and encourage and
support the student in expanding their communication
skills to the level they are willing to reach withing the
given time frame of their program. The actual curriculum
is flexible because each class is planned according to
the competency level, learning aptitude, and personal
interests of each individual student. Classes are guided
and motivated by the experience of a well-trained teacher
who uses ongoing evaluation of the student's progress to
intervene with grammatical lessons and skill building
drills as necessary. The varied curriculum includes
elements of reading and listening comprehension,
speaking, pronunciation and accent, grammar and
vocabulary, and writing style. Classes consist of
conversation, demonstration, explanation and interaction
with teacher and students using visual, auditory and
kinesthetic materials, as well as activities which may
include visiting Nicaraguans. Students who want a truly
"intensive" program can also receive extra
one-on-one tutoring in the afternoons in addition to the
basic morning classes, but the afternoon activities are
also "Spanish-only." NSS learning materials are
created by NSS staff and are supplemented by language
texts and other materials purchased locally.
Spanish teachers trained and experienced?
NSS teachers are native Nicaraguans chosen for their
suitable educational background, knowledge of Spanish
grammar, knowledge of Nicaraguan history and culture,
teaching and organizational ability, human relations
skills, and positive attitude. They are continually
trained in NSS's proven second language
"Funcional" teaching method and participate in
the creation of school teaching materials.
a Managua homestay like?
NSS Managua homestay families are generally middle-class,
well known by the school and have experience hosting
students. Homestays have to meet NSS standards of
cleanliness and security. They have indoor plumbing and
tiled floors. You will have a private room that you can
lock, but most students feel secure with their family
from the start. Laundry service is available or you can
do your own at the "lavandero". Nicaraguan
families are very hospitable by nature and the whole
family willingly engages the students and welcomes them
into their home. If you have any special dietary or
personal preferences, they can usually be accommodated.
Students are usually overwhelmed by the warmth of
Nicaraguan hospitality. However, you can request to
change homestays after you are placed if you have a
problem with a particular setting.
kind of volunteer work is available?
Nicaragua has few large institutions for social service
work. Most volunteer work is done through local community
programs, so it is more personal. NSS has connections
with a variety of Managua organizations, public, private,
and non-governmental non-profit (see activity descriptions for details). Once you arrive at the NSS
Managua school, the NSS Program Director can introduce
you to organizations that might be of interest to you for
volunteer work. Usually, if there is work to be done that
you can help with, you will be invited to participate. If
you want to stay on working after your program is over,
you can extend your homestay with your family (space
need a visa to enter Nicaragua?
Visitors with a valid passport from the USA, Canada and
most of Europe (Denmark, Finland, Holland, Ireland,
Norway, Germany, Belgium, Sweden, Switzerland, UK, etc.),
Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and Korea get a tourist
card upon entry to Nicaragua (costs $5). Those
from other countries can contact the Nicaraguan Consulate
nearest them or call Nicaraguan Migración at
+505-2244-3989 or 2244-2111 for current entry requirements. Tourist
cards are issued for 30 to 90 days and visas for 30 days.
Both can be extended another 30 days at a time up to 90
days by visiting the Migración office in Managua and
paying a $20 fee (per 30 days extension) or by leaving
the country (to Costa Rica or Honduras) for a few days
and then returning.
there a way to get a tuition reduction besides being in a
Those traveling through Latin America "roughing
it" on a strict budget can study at a lower total
price per week by registering for the basic program
without homestay or with limited tutoring hours instead
of the basic four hours per day (no activities included).
need special immunizations to visit Nicaragua?
The Nicaragua government does not recommend nor require
any special immunization to enter Nicaragua. Unless you
are planning to go out to the campo and deep jungle, you
don't need any special shots or immunization to be able
to enjoy yourself safely in Nicaragua, but make sure your
normal innoculations are current. Practicing good
personal hygene and being careful about what and where
you eat outside of your homestay is your best defense
against catching a tropical illness. If you do get sick,
there are plenty of experienced doctors who can treat you
at affordable prices.
are the Nicaraguan Holidays and are there classes on
NSS Managua observes the more important Nicaraguan
holidays; there are no classes on those days, but
activities and homestay are not affected, and the missed
class hours are made up the following Saturday. The
Holidays are: January 1st, Catholic Holy Thursday or Good
Friday in March/April, May 1st, July 19th, August 1st,
August 10th, September 14th or 15th, November 2nd, and
How can I communicate with my family when I'm in
Your family and friends can get in
contact with you through the NSS Managua school or via
your family homestay, if the have a phone. You can make outgoing long-distance
calls and use computer services at local Cyber Cafés near the
school. NSS Managua also has free wifi for student use
and limited use of the school computer for e-mail
communications. When you are settled in your homestay,
you can contact your family and give them your homestay
phone number and e-mail contact address. Prepaid celphone service is also a conveniente and relatively economical option.
How should I take my money and how much will I
We suggest you take your money in
US dollars in the form of small cash bills American
Express traveler's checks and major credit cards. Larger
bills (100's and $50's) can be convenient for changing to
cordobas at banks. Smaller bills ($20's, $10's, etc.) are
more convenient for direct transactions at local markets.
Do not take bills with tears, stains or writing on them
as they are sometimes refused due to general monetary
insecurity. You can change American Express
traveler's checks into dollars or córdobas at banks near
the NSS Managua school. US dollars in small denominations
are accepted as readily as córdobas for many
transactions. You can also get US cash from
"Credomatic" in Managua with your credit card
and córdobas from ATM´s available in some locations.
All banks change US dollars into córdobas. As of this
update (January 2013), US$1 = C$24.20. If you have
reserved a basic program with homestay, you won't need a
lot of extra cash except for eating out, going on
excursions and buying some great artisan work.
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June 1998 . . . . Updated Enero 2013
Nicaragua Spanish Schools
Nicaragua Spanish Schools