Find a Global Perspective at McKendree University



Play Nicaragua Immersion Video

Immerse Yourself

Discover the link between you and the lives of those around the world! Join students, faculty, staff, parents, and alumni to experience a whole new global perspective:

Check Mark Apply to Become a Bearcat

Check Mark Step Outside of Your Comfort Zone

Check Mark Develop Self-awareness

Check Mark Challenge Yourself

Check Mark Learn the Benefits of Another Culture

Check Mark Realize How Privileged You Are

Check Mark Relate to People in the World




Explore Nicaragua

As a Bearcat, you'll have opportunities to explore our world!

Check Mark Learn the shared history of the U.S. and Nicaragua

Check Mark Study social, political, economic, faith and social justice issues

Check Mark Take a historical tour through the capital city of Managua

Check Mark Attend a church service

Check Mark Tour a sweatshop

Check Mark Visit an after-school arts and educational program for low income youth

Check Mark Talk about social justice with American citizens living in Nicaragua

Check Mark Work at a home for youth and adults with mental and physical disabilities

Check Mark Visit the colonial town of Granada

Check Mark Experience Apoyo Lagoon

Check Mark Zip-line through the wilderness

Check Mark Explore rural Nicaragua




Reflect on the Experience


Photo of Samantha FagerburgSamantha Fagerburg ’17:

Quotation Graphic

Major: Business Administration

Hometown: Morton, Illinois

"I saw how selfless people in Nicaragua are and seeing that makes me want to be more like them. I learned that I am very privileged in the States and even though I am a college student and don’t have much, I still have much more than they can even imagine. I don’t notice when I am home how privileged I am, but entering Nicaragua I came to that realization."







Photo of Chandler AiraghiChandler Airaghi ’18:

Major: Health & Wellness

Hometown: St. Louis, Missouri

Quotation Graphic

"This experience opened my eyes to how the world actually is. I’d never been out of the country before. Seeing a different side of life really opened my eyes to everything. I was already appreciative of everything I have but now I’ll be extra appreciative. I guess I kind of grew in my faith a little bit while I was here.

This trip has opened my eyes to my world in comparison to other worlds. The fact that I have running water and I can get water out of a faucet, just those little things I won’t take for granted anymore. And just sharing with other people how they are privileged, that they have things that other people don’t have."




Photo of Hannah DeanHannah Dean ’18:

Quotation Graphic

Major: Psychology

Hometown: Normal, Illinois

"I don’t think you can go to another culture and just be a tourist and get anything from it to change your heart and change your mind. When you are immersed into another culture, you see how other people live, how they eat. I feel it is very important to open our eyes and expand our horizons.

This trip is going to impact me in the future immensely. I have tendency to judge a book by its cover. This trip has opened my eyes. You don’t know everything about a person so you can’t judge them. You need to listen to their story and what they need to say and if you have questions, you need to ask them. Be open to being vulnerable and asking hard questions, and get to know people.

This trip definitely pushed me to live outside my comfort zone, which is becoming a common theme in my life these days. One thing I try to keep in mind that I’ve definitely implemented here is everything you’ve ever wanted is right outside your comfort zone—which is a beautiful place where nothing grows."




Photo of Yatzia MonteroYatzia Montero ’17:

Major: Sociology - Social Work

Hometown: Berwyn, Illinois

Quotation Graphic

"I wanted to immerse myself in an environment that I really didn’t understand before and open my mind to why I believe the things I do... This trip helped me understand people who are impoverished but are happy."







Photo of Victoria CookTori Cook ’15:

Quotation Graphic"One of my future career goals is to work with Spanish-speaking immigrants and their communities in the United States. Many of their most prevalent issues, such as gender inequality, teen pregnancy, and poverty, also turned out to be the focus of many organizations in Nicaragua. It was incredible to learn exactly what types of interventions people within these communities were implementing, and it kind of felt like I was going straight to the source. Overall, this trip taught me how to incorporate other cultural aspects, on top of language, into potential psychological treatment. It also gave me a much greater appreciation for the privilege many people in the world are born into that others are not."






Photo of Tim HarrisonRev. Tim Harrison, chaplain and director of church relations:

Quotation Graphic

Center for Faith & Spirituality

"Immersion calls us to go deeper than sometimes service and mission opportunities afford. I think our culture is a in a “do” mode; we often want to do things for other people. Immersion is really more about being… It’s really about going alongside and learning and connecting to and engaging in relationship building. It is much more internal than it is external. It’s about learning to grow within ourselves and learning how we can grow in relationship with others who live in other parts of the world… people we’ve never met, strangers. Yet we found as we talked to them throughout the week, that there are a lot of similar issues we deal with all the time, regardless of where we’re located. It’s about listening and learning and growing to value and respect other people.

Accompaniment, which is a part of what we were trying to accomplish in the immersion trip, is a costly act. It’s not just about painting somebody’s fence or building somebody’s house and then walking away and it’s done. Accompaniment requires us to continually build that relationship, not just in one day or one week, but over a course of time. That’s the harder challenge for us as a group - to think about how we can build bridges on a long-term basis. That’s why I believe immersion is even more demanding than certain kinds of mission and service opportunities."




Photo of Karen OnstottDr. Karan Onstott, associate professor of health promotion and wellness:

Health & Wellness

Quotation Graphic"I was interested in taking a group of students to Central American countries to investigate and learn more about their health care systems. Dr. Wiegmann and I are planning to take a trip to Africa next spring and this gives us an opportunity to see how a student led trip went. A lot of what we talk about in my global health class has been reinforced from this trip. I gained new knowledge, a new understanding and also new contacts that I hope I can tap into in the future to bring into the classroom.

The most impactful thing for me was the home stay. There were a lot of aspects about that that made an impact. I appreciate what had and what they did with what they had… and how quickly we could interact. We have seen people do so much with so little."




Photo of Janice WiegmannDr. Janice Wiegmann, RN, professor of nursing:

Quotation GraphicNursing

"You have to begin to know people and feel a little comfortable with them before you can do for them. Even in a different part of the world, people have the same issues - such as reproductive issues and domestic violence - but because of limited resources, they aren’t able to handle them in the same way.

I definitely can take back from here to add to my classes about life in other countries, family life, the health system, the health problems that people have and how they deal with them. It will help me the most in my global health classes, the health classes, and possibly the family health class."





Photo of Nathan LuberNate Luber, digital asset coordinator, university communications and marketing:

University Communications & Marketing

Quotation Graphic"I believe this experience changed me by giving me a broader perspective on the world. I think sometimes I get too caught up on the small things in life and forget about the bigger picture. It has helped me reevaluate what I believe to be important."








Photo of Julie HauptJulie (Franklin) Haupt ’99:

Quotation Graphic"The fact that the Alumni Office extended the invitation to this trip says that McKendree values its graduates, the people who have invested time and resources to the institution and gone on with their lives.

It’s such a rich experience to learn a new language, to see another part of the world and to recognize that you can relate to people that grew up very different from you and to make a connection - it’s incredibly valuable."








Photo of Katherine RipperdaKate (Wiegmann) Ripperda:

Quotation Graphic"I will definitely use this experience in the classroom because when I teach young people the Spanish language, it all comes back to being able to draw on personal experiences and use pictures that of myself and people I know, in the classroom. I have been to Nicaragua, I have been to their house, I have shared meals with them."







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