Frequently Ask Questions

Ecuador / Nicaragua

What if I missed the parent info night?

 

You can find all of the info on your trip page and in the videos below:

Chacaraseca Background:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JE8OGkCJZ98

Chacaraseca Itinerary:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VRVceHCTY00

Boaco Background:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lUPfevlgD-I

Boaco Itinerary:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eepCHdu1b7A

Health & Safety:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZPmTA9h6gHw

 

Is Nicaragua safe?

Global Student Embassy has built a vast network of in-country contacts in all of our partner locations and communities. We stay in dialogue with these partners regularly and are constantly receiving the most up-to-date information about our destinations and how it affects our groups and programs. We do everything we can to safeguard ourselves and our possessions, but students are also responsible for their own safety by following our policies, guidelines, and advice.

Read our Executive Director’s statement regarding recent news and GSE preparations surrounding Zika virus in Latin America.

Do students need a visa for traveling to Nicaragua?

Students will receive a tourist visa upon entrance to the country. When you arrive, you will need to pay $10 at immigration for your visa. It is easiest to have a $10 bill with you.

Do students need to carry a copy of their vaccination records with them?

Yes.  Your student should carry their vaccination record with them at all times.

What if my son or daughter cannot pay the full price of the trip?

That is a great question. We actually have many students who cannot personally fund the whole international trip. For this reason, and because we want as many students as possible to be able to realize their goals of traveling with us, we offer scholarship opportunities and workshops to help students fundraise. We recognize fundraising as an essential skill in organizing and advocacy, and value the opportunity to mentor our students in developing these skill sets. A great place to start exploring fundraising is with our fundraising packet here, which provides tips and examples for how to use our provided fundraising tools. Many students have fundraised their entire trip cost!

For more information on fundraising workshops, check the calendar on your school’s web page. For more information on scholarship opportunities, we invite you to explore our scholarship page and apply for a GSE scholarship for travel. Please inquire with our partner GSE teachers and/or your local program coordinator about our nomination process for receiving a scholarship.

Can my son or daughter bring any food with them, like Clif Bars?

Yes. In fact, we encourage it. Many of the service workdays involve long hours or challenging labor. Water and snacks are always provided but students should bring additional energy bars that they can snack on throughout the day.

What meals will be provided?

All of the meals are provided as part of the trip cost. The food is delicious and a mix of local delicacies so students get a feel for the local culture. We have private cooks that are part of our local staff team in more rural areas. When students eat out at restaurants, we take them only to places that our staff have eaten at previously. Vegetarian options are available, however please inform staff in advance on the medical form provided after registration.

What should the participant pack for their trip?

Pack light! You can hand wash clothes throughout the trip. We recommend that you either purchase or borrow a backpacking backpack that is large enough to hold all of your travel items and can be carried on your back (~50 liters). Rolling suitcases or duffel bags are discouraged as they will be difficult to manage. Additionally, bring a small backpack that you can take on day trips, fill with carry-on items on the plane, and keep close to you with your valuable items (camera, passport, ATM cards, etc.). Limit your luggage to two bags only. Make sure that both are small enough to be carried onto your flight.

Please bring $10 for your VISA, which you will receive upon arrival to Nicaragua.

Clothing:

  • 1 nice shirt or outfit for celebrations and formal events
  • Comfortable lightweight shirts, mixture of long and short sleeve (3-5)
  • Knee-length shorts (1-3)
  • Lightweight pants (1-3 for working in rural communities and mosquito protection)
  • Socks (2-5 pairs, for work days)
  • Underwear (4-6)
  • Hiking shoes (durable shoes for working and/or hikes)
  • Sandals
  • Sun hat
  • Sleep clothes (shorts, tank top, etc)
  • Swim suit
  • A light jacket or sweatshirt
  • Lightweight rain jacket

*Appropriate work clothes – inappropriate clothing will not be permitted in the work sites or in community interactions. This includes shorts or shirts that are too short or too tight.*

Other Items:

  • Passport
  • Money belt (for money, passports, vaccination cards, etc.)
  • Towel (quick dry preferred)
  • Any medication you need
  • “Emergen-C” or other vitamin supplement you can add to water, any other supplements you’d like to bring to keep your immune system strong
  • 2 durable water bottles
  • Travel size toiletries (tooth brush, floss, toothpaste, biodegradable soap, etc.)
  • Travel size sunscreen (50 SPF or higher)
  • Aloe Vera
  • Bug/mosquito repellant (35% DEET minimum)
  • Travel size liquid, biodegradable soap for washing clothes (Dr. Bronner’s is great)
  • Sunglasses
  • Work gloves/Gardening gloves
  • Headlamp (preferred) or Flashlight
  • Power bars (nice to have when traveling and working)
  • A bandana (useful during workdays and essential for respiratory protection in Chacraseca)
  • Games for down time (Deck of cards, Frisbee, Bananagrams, hacky sack, etc.)
  • Pictures of loved ones to share
  • A good book
  • Journal (if you keep one you will love it, and be very glad you did)
  • Spending money ($100 in U.S. dollars for drinks, souvenirs, etc.)
  • Camera/Music player (bring at your own risk and remember that we will not be bringing these out with us at all times. Technology signals that you are a tourist, and gives the impression that you have lots of money)
  • A positive attitude!

 

Should my son/daughter bring money with them on their trip?

 

Everything that your son/daughter needs will be provided during the trip. However, there is a $10 visa fee upon entering the country. If your participant would like to buy gifts or memorabilia, then they should bring some additional spending money. They may also want to have some money to buy snacks at the airport.

I can’t speak Spanish; is that a problem?

Not at all! All staff speak Spanish and English. It doesn’t hurt to learn a few greetings and if you are studying Spanish our trips are a great way to practice!

Where will we be sleeping?

During your stay in Nicaragua you will be staying in hostels. In Chacraseca you will be staying in GSE’s newly built hostel ‘Chacraverde’ on our main school garden site. It is a great way to get to know the local community.

Are mosquito nets provided?

In all sleeping arrangements where mosquitos are a concern, we provide mosquito nets for beds. However, some students and families feel more comfortable in bringing a personal mosquito net or an insect repelling sleepsack, such as the coolmax insect shield.

Read our Executive Director’s statement regarding recent news and GSE preparations surrounding Zika virus in Latin America.

Will my student have email and phone access while in Nicaragua?

Our programs offer students the opportunity to be away from home and explore their independence. We will not provide the wifi password for students. In the event of an emergency or health concern, a local staff member will contact the primary guardian entered on the registration form. Emergency contacts will be contacted as a secondary measure in the case that any/all guardians are unavailable. In the case that there is an urgent family matter in which a traveling students needs to be contacted, please contact Jon Kaufman at gro.y1490674462ssabm1490674462etned1490674462utsla1490674462bolg@1490674462nahta1490674462noj1490674462, or (617)833-8683.

What is GSE’s policy on drugs and alcohol?

For all participants, GSE has a zero tolerance policy on the use of drugs. Alcohol is also strongly prohibited on high school trips. Our programs are focused on community service and building relationship and students are prohibited from seeking out or using intoxicants. Students will be kept by the side of a chaperone in the event that these rules are broken and may be sent home at their family’s expense if their behavior is endangering themselves or the group. (Please see the release waiver for more info on this subject). Alcohol use on college trips takes place in a responsible manner. Failure to abide by the expectations of your trip leader could also result in dismissal from the program. Alcohol use on college trips takes place in a responsible manner. Failure to abide by the expectations of your trip leader could also result in dismissal from the program.

What about clean drinking water?

Filtered drinking water is available to students 100% of the time. Students should bring canteens or water bottles to re-fill throughout the trip.

What type of insurance is provided by Global Student Embassy?

Global Student Embassy has an international health and liability policy that covers all participants, but we cannot purchase trip cancellation/interruption coverage for you and the property insurance offered to us has a very high deductible. Many homeowners and renters policies will also cover you for lost/stolen items during your travels. However, they can have high deductibles and a variety of clauses that can make this more troublesome than you’d prefer.

GSE strongly recommends that participants purchase trip cancellation insurance. Trip cancellation/interruption insurance protects you against losing money due to a last minute emergency, whether medical, natural disaster or a death in the family. It is best to purchase coverage that has the fewest exclusions, and if possible allows for coverage for “cancel for any reason.” Sometimes more extensive coverage is available only if you purchase with 14 days of your first deposit to GSE, so purchase as early as possible. We cannot recommend a specific policy, but you can shop on sites like squaremouth.com. Coverage should cost about $50-100 depending on the trip and how extensive the coverage is.

What if I get sick during the trip?

Different environmental factors exist when traveling abroad and our bodies may not be used to the challenges posed by daily life in a new country. While a certain amount of travelers’ diarrhea is to be expected, our leaders have the travel experience and medical training required to determine when an illness is potentially severe and when it is more routine. GSE has a wilderness first aid trained staff member on each trip. Should a student ever need to go to the doctor, a leader will accompany him/her to make sure he/she asks all the relevant questions and gets the best medical care possible. It is important that you notify your program directors and leaders of ANY medications you are taking regularly, or before you begin something new during the program. The closest hospitals are in Leon, Nicaragua a few miles away from our Chacraseca project, and is onsite at our project site in Boaco, Nicaragua.

Please be sure to consult with a travel doctor prior to your departure. If you have questions about vaccines needed for the region, please consult the CDC website. We ask that all participants be up to date with standard vaccines and have proof of immunization history in the event of a medical emergency.