Clarkson Business School 2017

May 14-27, 2017
ViviendasLeón and Clarkson University developed for the first time this year a new partnership with a unique focus on business for their Global Education Trip. Guided by ViviendasLeón and accompanied by Professor Michelle Crimi, the students started off their two-week trip being welcomed by their home stay families and settling into their new homes in León. Students spent a day with faculty and students from UNAN-León, the local university where they participated in a dialogue surrounding sustainable development and the role it has on Nicaraguan economics.

Clarkson students were also able to carry out a business workshop with ViviendasLeón’s Honey Bee Cooperative (COABE) from our Small Business Enterprise Program. The students developed a workshop that helped capacitate the women part of this cooperative with knowledge regarding marketing, increasing sales, and packaging. COABE benefited greatly from this new knowledge, which will assist them in improving and expanding their business.

As the two-weeks continued students met with various people and organizations from different parts of the country and economic sectors from micro-lending and small business to large aid organizations, banks and companies, so they can deepen their understanding of Nicaraguan business and economics. After traveling around the country, the students from Clarkson University ended their trip with a relaxing visit too Lago Apoyo, a fresh water later within a volcanic crater. Here are some things that the students had to say:

“I learned a lot here, about the culture from all our visits to businesses, homestays, and dancing! We had a really good group and leader. Great trip overall.”

“The trip was everything I hoped it would be!! An amazing experience.”

“The trip was very good! The people were very friendly and it was really cool to experience the Nicaraguan culture…”

“The trip was an eye opening experience to what differentiates between North American and Nicaraguan culture.”

“I like seeing how pretty the countryside was and learning about the heritage.”

ViviendasLeon and Clarkson University will partner for the first time in 2017 to create a unique business immersion trip to Nicaragua. Guided by ViviendasLeon and accompanied by Professor Michelle Crimi, students will have the opportunity to dive into the economic realities of Nicaragua, meeting with a variety of people and organizations from various parts of the country and economic sectors from micro-lending and small business to large aid organizations, banks and companies with international and export markets relationships.

During this two week trip, students will meet with officials to discuss local and national economic conditions from the Director of Economic Development Department of Leon, lectures from the National Autonomous University of Nicaragua faculty, and staff from the Ministry of Development, Industry and Commerce. Students will also explore Nicaragua’s use of its natural resources from Mantica Investments (sesame), Cooperative UCA Miraflor (coffee, orchids), Plasencia Cigars (tobacco), and Cooperative Xochiltacal (meat). Additionally, students will meet with US officials at the US Embassy in Managua to discuss US-Nicaraguan relations and history, alongside the US’s economic development programs in the country. Students will also get the opportunity to explore and work on ViviendasLeon’s programs such as the Family Farms and the Honey Bee Collective in the rural communities of Leon.

Throughout the trip, students will also go on local and nature excursions, exploring and witnessing Nicaragua’s natural and historical beauty. Students will visit historical landmarks like the Leon Cathedral, revolutionary murals, and museums like the Art and Ruben Dario museum. Natural landmarks that students will visit will be sites like El Cerro Negro, relax on the beach, and visit the San Jacinto Hot Mud Springs and the Masaya Volcano. This trip will increase students understanding of the economics of Nicaragua, its relationship to external markets and the variety of goods that are produced there, while also immersing themselves in Nicaraguan culture.