¡Bievenidos a Nicaragua!

It is with great excitement, anticipation, and confidence in the Nicaragua Peace Corps team that I write to you this inaugural blog post from Managua, Nicaragua.  Woo hoo!  Our group of 41 TEFL and Environmental Education trainees have been gathered at a beautiful hotel minutes from the Managua Airport since noon on Wednesday to participate in an all-cohort, four-day orientation retreat.  So far our days have been jam packed with learning all about what our future will be like as Peace Corps (PC) Nicaragua trainees.  We are considered trainees, or “aspirantes,” until we complete our 12 week Pre-Service Training. If we have been successful in our training then we will be sworn in as volunteers. I want to share with you how I feel right now:

Honestly, so far Emily and I have had nothing but positive vibes from the staff and the trainings we’ve had so far.  Here are some of the highlights:

  • Our Country Director for Nicaragua is one of the most experienced, highly regarded Country Directors in the Peace Corps.  A former Peace Corps volunteer, he has served as a Country Director on three previous occasions, including Guatemala throughout most of the 80s, and Nicaragua in the late 90s.
  • Our Training Director has been coordinating, creating, and leading PC trainings for decades, mainly in Nicaragua.
  • Nicaragua was one first posts to utilize the community-based training model, which is now a best practice used throughout the world.
  • Before working with the Peace Corps, our Safety & Security coordinator worked for the US Embassy in Managua.
  • My Spanish language/culture facilitator has been teaching Spanish with the Peace Corps for 17 years
  • The Spanish language training program looks incredible! We will be split into groups of 3-4 trainees of similar levels, and engage in intensive, community-based training for six hours a day, four days a week, for the next 12 weeks.
  • Our TEFL trainers have extensive experience teaching English, and have prepared some excellent, well-organized materials to support us in learning the technical skills for our job. We will start training in classrooms, working with counterpart teachers, in three weeks!
  • All of this adds up to and early termination rate of 7% for PC Nicaragua volunteers, vastly better than the Peace Corps worldwide average of ~28%.

Additionally, Emily and I feel that we are starting to bond with many of our fellow trainees. This orientation has been so informative and helpful, and has instilled a tremendous amount of confidence in us. For any concerned parties out there, I hope this post has instill confidence in you, too 🙂

Stay tuned for updates regarding our experience in Pre-Service Training, as we will be shipped off to live with our host families after the retreat!


9 thoughts on “¡Bievenidos a Nicaragua!”

  1. Yay, thanks for the wonderful, positive update! So great to hear from you. What a wonderful experience you will have. Can’t wait to hear about your host families! Love, Mamma

  2. Congratulations!!! You made it!!! A note just on the “if we have been successful in our training…,” you’re not going to have an issue finishing if you’re determined to finish it! There wasn’t one person who didn’t in our group (with exception of one individual who had a family emergency in the States). You’ve arrived in Nicaragua and now you’re here to enjoy the next 27 months!!!

  3. Mrs. Nilsen,

    By a happy random blessing I stumbled upon your website, and even though it’s been a long time since I’ve seen you, by what I’ve read I can tell you that you still remain to be one of the most inspirational teachers/people I have ever come across. Thank you for sharing your light and love and compassion and service and for and leaving a legendary effect on my heart and life. Best wishes to you and your husband on your new adventure!
    Brooke Penni
    (from the first graduating class of MRA)

    1. Brooke, I can’t even begin to thank you enough for you kind words. Believe it or not, but I think I learned more from all of you than you did from me. You still continue to be a bright source of light and compassion in my heart. I hope that you continue to share your stories as they are powerful, too. Take care and keep in touch. I’d love to hear where you are and how you’re doing as well.

    1. I love that you commented on so many! It made me do little happy dances all the way down here in Nica! So good to hear from you and sending so much love and light your way. And I agree – Do it!

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