COA’s first Study Abroad trip: Experiencing Nicaragua

By on February 1, 2018

Note: The Outer Banks Voice will be doing a series of exclusive stories on the trip with pictures, comments and stories from the students who participated. Stay tuned for more.

Ben Douglas, Kristin Cordeiro, Anna Grace Holland, Bill Rawson, Ivy Trevillian, Lauren Bolton, Connor Roughton, Brianna Hall, Jessica Thai, Ekaterina Brooks, Shannon Collier, Brian Edwards, Dean Roughton, Russ Lay (Ben Douglas Photo)

College of The Albemarle’s (COA) first study abroad trip was a success and students returned inspired by their experiences.

On Dec. 28, nine COA students traveled to Nicaragua along with four chaperons and one community member. The purpose was to expose students to community service learning while exploring a new culture.

“This was truly an inspirational experience. I went wanting to change lives and ended up changing my own,” said Lauren Bolton, one of COA’s Study Abroad students, who thanked COA’s Foundation Board at their January meeting for supporting this opportunity through the Foundation’s Success Unlimited Fund.

Bolton summed up her personal experience by saying, “allow one person to challenge your perspective,” after sharing her story about working with children, who were full of life in Los Fierros.

During the trip, students participated in service-learning projects. At Los Fierros, a village near the city of Managua, they helped locals pick coffee and prep the land.

At the Instituto Diocesano Monte Tabor, a Catholic School, students helped with garden work and cleaned up the school’s grounds.

Due to inclement weather back home, students had extra days added to their trip, part of which they used to help clean a school building and assisted in holding a children’s camp.

Students experienced an array of cultural studies along their trip. They toured the city of Grenada, one of Central America’s oldest cities, and took a sunset cruise on the Islets of Grenada, one of 365 tiny islands formed thousands of years ago when a neighboring volcano erupted.

They explored Lake Nicaragua, a freshwater lake the size of Puerto Rico, and embarked on a ferry ride across to Ometepe, an island formed by two extinct volcanoes, hiked its ecological park and swam in a pool filled by a natural spring.

Students also toured a Cultural Art Museum, watched traditional Nicaraguan folk dancing and visited the Lake Managua waterfront during their travels.

Dean Roughton, COA’s dean of Arts and Sciences and Secondary Education, encourages the community to get involved. “This opportunity is open to the public, and we hope to explore new opportunities for COA’s Study Abroad program in the near future,” stated Dean.

For more information or to join one of the scheduled Study Abroad interest meetings in February, contact Brian Edwards, COA’s Study Abroad program coordinator at 252-335-0821 ext. 2206.

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