Countdown to Nicaragua

Looking on the brighter side

Story by Meghan Hosely, Online Editor

The first time I flew on a plane I was 18 years old. I drove with my sister from Wisconsin to her home in Mississippi and flew back to Madison a week later.

The whole night before, I was stressing out about flying. It probably sounds stupid, but I’ve already realized I’m an unreasonable worrier. For me, it was doing something I’ve never done that freaked me out the most.

As I landed in Madison and greeted my parents they asked me how my flight was. I remember saying something like, “Not as bad as I thought it would be.” I worried so much, only to realize my depiction hadn’t measured up to my actual flying experience.

I think the same applies to how I’ve been feeling lately about going abroad. I’m worrying so much about how things might go, I’m not enjoying the fact that I have this wonderful opportunity at my fingertips.

So over the past week, I’ve tried to think of things I’m excited to do in Nicaragua, and I’ve come up with a few things:


I get to see the mountains

While it will be really hot in June, I’m hoping it won’t be as hot in Matagalpa, the city I’ll call home for three weeks. Matagalpa is in the heart of the mountains in Nicaragua and about two hours from the nation’s capital Managua.

I’ve never been out to see the Rockies, and if I have seen the Appalachian Mountains, I couldn’t tell you what I remember from those. The only mountain I can picture in my head is Rib Mountain in Wausau. So let’s just say it’ll be really, really neat to see something other than cornfields for miles while I’m in Matagalpa.


Getting to know new people

Sure, I’m anxious to meet my host family and find out if I have anything in common with them, and I’m interested in how I’m going to interact with the locals. But, I’m more excited to spend time with the seven other students on this trip.

We all spent about an hour or two together at orientation, and I’ve also been in contact with two other students who I’m flying out with. But, those are the only interactions I’ve had with my peers. I love meeting new people, and I love connecting with people deeper than the superficial level. Three weeks is a long time to spend it with people 24/7, and I’m really curious to see how the relationships I form with other students develops the time we’re away.



Matagalpa is in the heart of coffee country in Nicaragua, and one of the faculty advisers coming along, Rose-Marie Avin, has told me about how strong it is. Even as I’m writing this, I can’t even express how excited I am to have coffee that’s unlike any in the United States. I know I’ve had some darn good coffee here, but if my professor talks about how she couldn’t have coffee for a while after returning, I know I’m in for a superb cup of Joe.