SST to return to Nicaragua, after 30 years

CV Image Study-Service Term (SST) will return to Nicaragua after 30 years in the summer of 2008, according to Director of International Education Tom Meyers. In 1978, the college stopped sending students to the Central American country because it was experiencing great civil unrest that would result in 12 years of war and a devastated economy.

Associate Professor of Chemistry Doug and wife Maria Schirch will be the first group leaders. Doug spent 15 years in Nicaragua, including 10 years as a college chemistry professor, and Maria is Nicaraguan.

Goshen College initially sent students to Nicaragua in 1968, but stopped in 1972 because of a massive earthquake, resumed several years later and then in 1978 ended the program because of civil unrest. During those years, 190 students studied and served in the country. It was a very successful program and “we are always open to returning to a country we have been to before,” said Meyers. “I have heard from students who went to Nicaragua years ago on SST who are excited about us returning there.”

When the college recently decided to stop sending students to the Dominican Republic for SST after 20-plus years – with this summer’s unit being the last – Meyers began looking for a new Spanish-language location. “Although we had a wonderful program in the Dominican Republic, we don’t want to wear out our welcome in any country,” Meyers said. The college will also continue offering Spanish-language SST in Perú, though it will send students there year-round and only send students to Nicaragua during the summers.

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