Nicaragua is a country of contrasts, where exquisite natural beauty serves as backdrop for this nation's fascinating history. It is the land of lakes and volcanoes, of colonial architecture and modern high-rises, of both rich and poor. Nicaragua is the perfect place to learn, live, and experience the realities of the developing world.
This country finds itself at the crossroads between north and south, between yesterday and today. Nicaragua has become a great destination for foreign visitors. Its beaches and rainforests are full of natural adventures. Its hospitable residents and flavorful cuisine are legendary. In Nicaragua, every conversation will be a learning experience, and every day will challenge your perceptions of the world. The program provides students with a transformative experience, develops awareness of social justice issues, and prepares them for committed citizenship.
Universidad Centroamericana was the first private university established in Central America. It was founded in Nicaragua by the Society of Jesus on 23 July 1960, as a non-profit, autonomous, educational institution of public service and Christian inspiration. It is a member of the Association of Latin American Universities Entrusted to the Society of Jesus (AUSJAL). UCA seeks to educate men and women to become ethical, competent and conscious professionals committed to the country's social, economic and cultural development. Its educational approach combines creating and training of learning communities; encouraging and sharing research outputs; and undertaking social outreach efforts with the various sectors of society. This approach is not only inspired by Ignatian spirituality and pedagogy, but also by the educational tradition of the Society of Jesus.
The University promotes teaching that is focused on learning outcomes and on turning students into active agents in their own learning process. Particular emphasis is placed on experience, reflection and systematic evaluation, as well as on sound humanistic training. Active methods are implemented from a socio-constructivist perspective and problem-solving is fostered through the application of knowledge.
UCA’s curriculum is designed to develop competencies and values that provide students with an individual and social identity as men and women who are committed to building a humane and just society. Faculty is made up of professionally and academically qualified professors.
UCA values are:
- Love as opposed to selfishness and indifference.
- Justice as opposed to injustice and exclusion.
- Peace as opposed to violence.
- Honesty against corruption.
- Solidarity as opposed to individualism and competition.
- Frugality as opposed to consumerism.
- Contemplation and gratuitousness as opposed to pragmatism and utilitarianism.
- School of Law
- School of Economics and Business Studies
- School of Humanities and Communication
- School of Science, Technology and Environment
Upon arrival, all students will participate in a comprehensive orientation program to help familiarize them with their local surroundings, discuss health and safety as well as acquaint them with university and program resources.
The program begins with a required two-week intensive Spanish language course and an introduction to Nicaraguan culture for three credits. During the semester, students will take four courses from UCA's curriculum, including the required History of Nicaragua course.The majority of courses are taught in Spanish by UCA faculty with a mix of Nicaraguan and international students. This program is excellent for students studying: Applied Ethics, Economics, International Studies, Latin American and Caribbean Studies, Peace and Justice Studies, Philosophy, Religious Studies, Sociology and Spanish!
Fairfield University, a Jesuit institution, is a fully accredited university and member of the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. All students will receive a Fairfield University transcript with letter grades.
UCA offers a social volunteer program since 1995 with over 200 active volunteers. The students that participate in the social volunteer program support institutions that develop projects that mainly cater to children, teenagers, young, old and men deprived of freedom. Through social volunteering the university encourages students to develop feelings of solidarity and humanism towards those who are most vulnerable.
Social volunteering contributes to social development and human and spiritual ethics, which enhance student talents. These opportunities are geared towards the greater good for others in the spirit of service.
For additional information and for a list of social volunteer opportunities please click here
Students live in a comfortable, furnished boarding house with a host-family on-site located just a few minutes walk to campus. Students will enjoy a shared bedroom and bathroom with other international students. All hosts are carefully vetted and chosen by UCA and have hosted American students in the past. Students will be provided breakfast and dinner daily as well as vouchers to eat lunch on campus. Homestays are equipped with bedding and Wi-Fi access is provided.
UCA offers students an excellent variety of student services and events. On the Vida Estudiantil
page of the UCA website, you will find services and events in the following areas:
- Reflection and Personal Growth
- Health and nutrition services and events
- Cultural events
- Volunteer opportunities
United States citizens studying abroad in Nicaragua do not need to obtain a visa prior to entering the country. Upon arrival in Managua, students will pay an immigration fee of $10 and be issued a tourist visa that is valid for 90 days. The Resident Director will then work with students on the visa extension process.
The only document needed for a student to enter Nicaragua is their passport, which needs to be valid for six months after the end of the program.
Application Procedures and Deadlines
In order to participate in this program, each student must first complete all application requirements at their home university. Each university has different application requirements so be sure to speak to your study abroad advisor.
After the initial application has been processed by the Study Abroad Office, students will receive an e-mail regarding their application status and instructions on the next steps.
Fall/ Year: March 1
Spring: October 1
Students applying to study abroad at UCA must have a minimum GPA of 2.8 as well as meet the remaining Fairfield University study abroad approval requirements. This program is competitive and applicants are expected to exhibit a high level of maturity, independence, and seriousness of purpose.
Program Fees and Cancellation
Semester program cost includes:
• Breakfast and Dinner six days per week
• Airport pick-up and transfer
• Comprehensive orientation
• Onsite student support with 24-hour emergency assistance
• Cultural excursions
• Insurance, including full medical coverage and medical emergency evacuation
Students are required to submit a non-refundable $1,000 deposit for their program after committing to going abroad for a semester or summer, and are subject to a cancellation fee if they withdraw from the program after the deposit deadline. The deposit is part of the students overall tuition and will be reflected on their invoice.The Deposit Deadline is as follows:
Fall/Year: April 15
Spring: October 15
The amount of the cancellation fee will be determined by the Fairfield University Office of Study Abroad after a review is conducted of the non-refundable expenses that have already been incurred. These direct non-refundable expenses will begin to incur as soon as commitment is made to the study abroad program; they may include tuition, housing, and orientation fees. The cancellation fee may be as high as $12,000 or more.
Please see additional program cancellation policy information.
All participating students are automatically enrolled in Cultural Insurance Services International (CISI) health insurance for the duration of their study abroad program. This insurance is included in the program fee, and there is no additional cost to the student. This coverage should not replace your primary insurance.
Fairfield University requires that all travel done independently from the program be registered with CISI for emergency purposes. Independent travel can be registered by logging into individual CISI accounts. Students will be able to log-in once insurance cards are issued (within a month of departure).
To view detailed information regarding the Fairfield University Office of Study Abroad program agreement with CISI, please see the following CISI website
If you have additional questions regarding this matter, please feel free to contact our office.
The Trustees of the University reserve the right to change tuition rates and make additional changes whenever necessary.