What is the first thing that comes into your mind when you think about Nicaragua?
Throughout the years, the media has put a spotlight on this country’s challenges. But underneath this coverage, there is a lively nation bursting in color with stunning views, friendly locals, and rich culture and folklore running through every corner of its cities and towns.
Quinn, originally from Wisconsin, is a compassionate and thoughtful AMIGOS alum who traveled to Nicaragua last summer for the Nueva Segovia STEM service project. Prior to this experience, he had traveled to various Latin American countries with his family, such as Peru, Costa Rica, and Chile – but volunteering abroad and traveling to rural Nicaragua would be an entirely new experience.
It has been almost a year since Quinn returned home from his summer with AMIGOS, and the memories from the trip to this Central American nation are still lively. He shared with us what this experience meant for him, and how it changed everything after he returned home.
Quinn (left) and Ethan (right) – Nueva Segovia 2021
How was your experience in AMIGOS last summer and why do you think it was so special to be in Nicaragua?
My experience in Nicaragua last summer was truly life changing. Nicaragua brought a whole new sense of life to me as before I was only a small town Wisconsin kid with little knowledge of the outside world and all the beauty I was missing. From the beautiful green nature that embodied the country to the volcanoes that mounted throughout, Nicaragua was a beautiful place. Despite the beautiful nature, to me, the most beautiful part of the trip were the people. By being so understanding and helpful as we volunteered with them, the Nicaraguan people highlighted the trip for me. Their constant gratitude for life and constant drive to improve their country allowed me to take some of their perspective back to Wisconsin to use it to help me grow and become a more well-rounded person.
What advice do you have for future Amigos who are thinking about international service this summer and why should they go to Nicaragua with AMIGOS?
For people even with a slight inclination to expand their view on the world and become a more well-rounded person set for the future, going to Nicaragua can accomplish that and more in only the three weeks you are there. In addition to going to Nicaragua on a life-changing experience, you will also be on the trip through AMIGOS who had the best advisers and took care of me and my fellow volunteers every step of the way making the experience better than I ever could have imagined.
What were the communities and the people like in Nicaragua? What about the service and places you went to?
The people we met in Nicaragua during our service projects and even just civilians in general allowed me to change the most. Their constant kindness and patience allowed me to learn and grow as a person by knowing how they look at life. In addition to the amazing people, the cities were some that I never envisioned by being a small town Wisco kid. The vibrant colors and chatter that filled the streets and homes allowed me to feel at home as we explored. When we weren’t exploring the beautiful cities, we were often at service projects where I met many Nicaraguan natives that taught me many life lessons through our fun work at improving their communities and gaining knowledge on renewable energy.
What did you gain from the experience and especially what you did gain from this project that you think is unique to Nicaragua?
It was different. I have done my fair share of traveling to Latin and South American countries, and Nicaragua clearly stands out in my eyes as being my favorite. From the amazing people we met via service projects to the amazing food that we were able to try and just the overall inviting feeling you get when you enter the country and immediately see the colorful houses and people constantly socializing. In my opinion, and I’m sure it is true for many others, Nicaragua’s uniqueness and difference from your average town in the US allows people like us who travel here from the US to gain more knowledge on other perspectives of the world and grow as a person when we come back to our normal lives.
Join AMIGOS in Nicaragua! By living with your peers and then local host families during the trip, you will have an authentic volunteer abroad experience that will stay with you for a lifetime.