Ometepe Bilingual School

see info below

Course Details


January 7 to January 23, 2018

17 Days

Departure City

Lima, Peru

Tuition: $3170 *
Estimated airfare: $650 *
* important details here

SStS partners with the Ometepe Bilingual School and Picture Change to deliver high-quality photography and English language instruction.
The SStS Nicaragua course primarily occurs in the small village of Merida on the scenic island of Ometepe.

Nicaragua is a nation of awe-inspiring natural beauty. It is also the second poorest nation in the western hemisphere where only 50% of children finish 5th grade. Amidst these difficult conditions, SStS’s non-profit partner, the Ometepe Bilingual School, aims to harness the natural splendor of this area to fulfill the need for higher quality bilingual education. After arriving in Managua, students will travel to the volcanic island of Ometepe to begin their project work. Because of its unique geographic and ecological diversity, this island, consisting of two volcanoes in Lake Nicaragua, has been designated as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. This designation has led more tourists to begin visiting the island. Despite the increased economic opportunities that the growth of tourism has created, access to quality education is still limited in this region. The Ometepe Bilingual School intends to change this reality.

While in Merida, the SStS group will support two different service projects. First, they will work with the non-profit Picture Change to teach local students photography skills which will allow them to tell their own stories and learn skills that have future economic value. Students will also take advantage of their English fluency to lead an English immersion summer camp that will help local students improve their language skills over summer vacation. In addition to these projects, SStS students will walk the local students home each day to get to know their families as well as participate in community dinners and intercultural exchanges. While on Ometepe, the group will also have the opportunity to kayak to Monkey Island, hike to a waterfall, and explore remote beaches. In this striking and unique island setting, the students will have ample opportunities to reflect upon what they have learned about global citizenship.

Course Elements

The course elements are based on a rating from 1 to 5, 1 being the least rigorous 5 being the most rigorous.


The SStS students will spend time teaching photography with Picture Change in addition to leading a summer enrichment camp focused on English language immersion.


Prior to their travels, students complete a series of online activities (30 minutes each). While traveling, they also read engaging articles, participate in cultural experiences, and create presentations in small groups.


Because a majority of the course occurs in a rural agricultural village with few cars, the students will primarily walk or bike to visit sites near Merida. The group will also have the opportunity to explore various sites on the volcanic island of Ometepe on a couple lengthy day hikes.

Living Conditions60%

While at the rural project site, the students will live in simple dorm rooms at the Hacienda Merida, a hostel that uses its profits to support the school. While in Rivas and Managua, they will also stay in hostels.

On the Move40%

After arriving in Managua, the group will drive for about two hours to Rivas. The next day they will travel by boat and van to the island of Ometepe. Finally, they will return by boat and van to Managua on the final day of the course.


Students will spend two weeks at Hacienda Merida. Although students do not stay with individual families, opportunities exist each day to interact with the children at the school, their families, and the Nicaragua staff at the Hacienda.


The group will spend a majority of their time in Merida, a rural farming and fishing village on Ometepe, a sparsely populated island in Lake Nicaragua.

Element Descriptions


Day 1

Depart from Lima,  begin group orientation, evening in Rivas

Day 2

Travel to Ometepe, introduction to the project, Hacienda Merida, and the Ometepe Bilingual School

Day 3

Begin project work, introduction to Picture Change, visit students´ homes

Days 4-7

Project work with Picture Change, afternoon activities, and cultural experiences

Day 8

OBS student photography exhibition

Days 9-12

Summer English enrichment camp for OBS students, afternoon activities and cultural experiences.

Day 13

Santo Domingo beach trip, afternoon excursion to Ojo de Agua

Day 14

Bike and hike to San Ramon waterfall, afternoon activities


Days 15

Trip to Finca Magdalena, closing activities and reflection, begin debrief

Day 16

Finish debrief, travel to Managua

Day 17

Return to Lima


: In Three Phases


the 5 Lens Curriculum

Prior to departure, students are guided by their course instructors through a series of interactive, online lessons. Organized by SStS’s Five Lenses Curriculum, these activities (30 minutes per week) allow students to directly engage with other members of
the group.


partnering with ngos

The majority of the days at each site are spent engaged in meaningful service work with our NGO (non-governmental organization) partner. Days not dedicated to project work are spent immersed in intriguing cultural activities.


post travel advocacy

During the next school year, students educate others by advocating for our NGO partner through public presentations to the community at large and/or younger, school-based audiences.

Travel Journal

During the travel phase of each SStS course, students spend time reflecting about the learning that occurs through their immersion and service experiences. These posts capture the impact of our programs on individual students. Explore the posts below to learn about the SStS Nicaragua program from the important viewpoint of our students.

Explore Nicaragua

Important Details

Cost Information

Tuition: $3170
Estimated airfare: $650 (Gateway city: Lima, Peru)

Please note, tuition does not include airfare and immunizations.
Tuition costs are all inclusive with the exception of personal expenditures (e.g. souvenirs).
Airfare and medical evacuation services are purchased as a group. The cost of these services are included in the tuition.
Talbot Travel Agency provides travel services for SStS, working personally with us to find the least expensive group fares. As a result, it is not possible to use airline miles or credit card benefits for the international flights. However, these can be used to purchase tickets to the gateway city.

Travel Expectations
Please note that we expect all participants to travel together, adhering to the identical itinerary. We will depart as a group from a gateway city. Additionally, travel in the developing world inevitably includes “the unexpected” (e.g. weather disruptions, transportation strikes, etc.). SStS will adjust the itinerary accordingly, making the best of uncontrollable situations. Due to the unknown variables in international travel, participants are asked not to make travel plans or to enroll in programs that start immediately after their return. SStS is not responsible for expenses incurred due to missed flights if the group is delayed in their return.



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