Program Site: The Youth Culture, Literacy, and Media program is based in Managua. It is administered by the School for International Training (SIT).
Eligibility: Minimum 3.0 GPA; at least four recent semesters of college-level Spanish and the ability to follow coursework in Spanish.
Description: Dubbed the "land of lakes and volcanoes," Nicaragua's natural beauty also includes beautiful beaches and lush tropical forests. Managua, the economic and political center of the country with roughly 2.2 million residents, has a wide variety of cultural offerings. In the 20th century Nicaragua experienced occupation by U.S. Marines, Latin America's longest dictatorship, a 1972 earthquake that devastated the capital, a revolution, and a counter-revolution. The very successful literacy campaigns of the Nicaraguan Revolution provide a focal point for the SIT program.
Program provider SIT is a pioneer of experiential, field-based study abroad. Students learn from a variety of sources including small seminars and discussions, lectures from academics, policymakers, and numerous field visits throughout the semester.
The program offers the opportunity to conduct an independent research project. Students intending to complete a senior thesis or capstone project for their major and those considering graduate school are especially encouraged to participate in this program. This program is a good academic fit for students in the Latin American Studies minor (offered through the Department of Spanish & Portuguese).
Academics: The program is modular in nature, and some of the modules overlap. Through the interdisciplinary coursework in this program, students will critically examine youth culture, advocacy, social change, and expression across generations. Throughout the program, students will engage with a wide range of Nicaraguan academics, historians, advocates, community members, and youth. All coursework is delivered in Spanish.
The program's first thematic seminar, Rewriting Nicaragua: Literacies, Rights, and Social Change, provides students with an overview of the historical and contemporary Nicaraguan context, emphasizing revolution and literacy, and working up to Nicaragua's current struggles and challenges. The second thematic seminar, Re-imagining Nicaragua: Youth Culture, Media, and Expression, focuses on youth culture, taking care to consider questions of access (to educationand digital media) and issues of difference (ethnic, sexual, class, religious, etc.).
In the program's advanced Spanish seminar, focused on reading and writing, Experiments in Writing, students examine politically charged poetry and literature of Nicaragua. The course is offered at four different language levels.
The Research Methods and Ethics seminar provides students with qualitative research skills and introduces them to arts-based research techniques utilizing digital media.
The Independent Research Project (ISP), conducted in Managua or other approved locations appropriate to the project in the final month of the program, offers students the opportunity to conduct field research on a topic of their choice within the program's thematic parameters.
Course load and Credit: Students earn 16 USC units.
Activities and Other Program Features: The program includes both short site visits and longer educational excursions. In Managua students visit various NGOs and radio stations, a key avenue of expression and communication in Nicaragua. Further afield, students participate in a week-long rural homestay with campesino families, visit the Solentiname arts community at the southern end of Lake Nicaragua, and travel to the Caribbean coast, where they visit indigenous and Afro-Nicaraguan communities. In the spring semester students travel to the city of Granada for the International Poetry Festival. Each semester students take a longer trip (7-10 days) to Cuba (or Costa Rica) for a comparative look at literacy and youth issues.
Accommodations: Students live in homestays in Managua. Other accommodations during the semester include small hotels, private homes and hostels.
Dates: Fall or Spring. Fall semester runs from late August to mid December. Spring semester runs from late January to mid May.
Estimated Semester Cost:
Cost Updated: 4/29/2014
Text Updated: 07/18/2013
*Additional expenses include estimated costs for airfare, room and board, books and supplies, health insurance, and personal expenses (which can vary greatly from student to student). USC financial aid, scholarships, and tuition remission may be applied to program costs. Please visit the Office of Overseas Studies for more detailed cost information.