Why I took my 8 year old Son to Nicaragua for 5 Months

Many people asked me this question at one time or another when they found out I’d moved to Nicaragua.

It’s the question most asked…WHY? Why would I leave my solid job, rent out my house, move my son to a new school, Why would I do that? …right? Who does that?

When I announced it in my 2014 Christmas card (or shared our travel stories onSam and Martha Study Abroad in Nicaragua 2015line) about moving and living in Nicaragua for 5 months I received many replies. Mostly positive, and some just plain curious. Things like: Way to go! That’s awesome! Is it safe? I’m really excited for you! How are you doing that? What are you going to do there? Do you have a job? …and most often, Why? At the same time it also might have been the most unasked, looming, question. One friend even said, “It’s one thing to travel Central America on your own, but wow, taking your kid with you….that’s a whole different thing”. My brother in law is a Lutheran minister and while we were gone he even wrote a Sunday homily on the topic. Why international education? Why study abroad at age 8?

Because he’s at the magical age for language learning and living there would mean more than just Saturday morning Spanish classes, it would mean real language immersion, a chance to learn Spanish at a time when it could just come to him without the major struggle that most adults face learning a new language.

Because for Christmas he got a million toys and then we put most of them in storage. In Nicaragua they celebrate Christmas too, though gift giving is not a large part of it.

Because it’s safe. In past years we’ve been told lots of scary stories about Central American children leaving their home countries for the U.S. border. Nicaragua is not one of those places.

Because I have a friend there. Wilbert, my kind, Nicaraguan-Seattle friend who studied at the University of Washington years ago and we managed to maintain contact in one way or another over the years. Now he has his own English Language school in Diriamba, Nicaragua.

Because I’d been there before. It was 2003. Two months volunteering at a Catholic-run orphanage in Southwest Nicaragua….a wonderful place, beautiful children, unforgettable experience.

Because it was affordable. 1 US Dollar to 26 Nicaraguan Cordobas. We could live for several months there on what it costs to live in the U.S. for a month.

Because it’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time. I like travel. I like learning about new cultures and meeting people who live differently from me. I wanted to share that part of myself with my son.

Because I found a school that I thought would be a great place for Sam to learn and I could study Spanish there too.

What travel dreams do you have for your family? I’d love to hear from you.

What is your WHY?

5 thoughts on “Why I took my 8 year old Son to Nicaragua for 5 Months

  • October 17, 2015 at 2:49 pm

    Amazing! Thanks for sharing Martha.

    • October 17, 2015 at 8:09 pm

      Eliza, Thanks for reading! It’s been fun to share!

  • October 18, 2015 at 9:29 am

    I’m always happy to see I’m not the only “crazy” one:) I am currently spending a semester in México with my 9 year old. It’s amazing how much she has picked up in the last seven weeks of school! I’ve always been a strong advocate of study abroad programs but it wasn’t until I became a parent that I realized just how important these experiences are for children as well! Keep up all your great work- I’m looking forward to hearing more about it:)

    • November 19, 2015 at 10:36 am

      Thank you! I loved checking out your website and FB page too… It is always so good to know we are not alone, and even better to connect with our “tribe”. -Martha

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