Why did you choose to go to Nicaragua for study abroad?
I chose to go to Nicaragua because I was looking for a new experience. I also thought it would be a good opportunity for me to practice my Spanish. The Manna Project’s main areas of focus include health, education, leadership development, and economic empowerment, which was something I am very interested in. I had a limited amount of time to make a trip abroad due to my involvement with a variety of campus activities. The spring break schedule also allowed me to earn extra credits toward my degree.
What was your biggest surprise on arrival to Nicaragua?
Upon my arrival, my biggest surprise was the condition of the city of Managua. I didn't really know what to expect. This is how Manna International describes it: “La Chureca was the home and working place to the poorest of the poor in Nicaragua. Roughly 1,200 individuals lived and worked collecting and classifying the one thousand tons of trash that arrived daily within the 42 hectares that previously made up the dump. This was the main source of income and their workday could last between 12 and 14 hours. Weekly income varied between 8 and 10 US dollars.”
What did you learn from studying abroad?
I learned a lot about the history of Nicaragua, the culture of the people, and new words that are part of their daily dialect.
What is the biggest change that you have noticed about yourself since coming back?
I'm more appreciative of the things in my life. I left Nicaragua with a profound sense of gratitude, not only for the hospitality the people of the community and Manna Project showed us, but also for the things I hold close to me in my life. Some of the kids and families that we met live in extreme poverty, but they always seem to be happy and have an uplifting spirit. The way they cherish the little things like family and education makes you feel that the material things that we cherish here are insignificant.
Why would you recommend study abroad?
Why wouldn't you study abroad? It is important to expose yourself to new people and experiences in life. It makes you a more well-rounded individual. You see things in an entirely new light. It’s not only a learning experience, but also an enjoyable one.
Cheyenne is a member of the WSU Women’s Basketball team.