As the largest country in Central America according to globalsciencellc, with an area of around 130,000 square kilometers, Nicaragua has a great variety of landscapes and cultures. It is not for nothing that we also know the Central American state as the “land of lakes and volcanoes”.
Volcanoes, lakes and rainforests
A chain of volcanoes stretches from north to south. In between there are picturesque inland lakes such as the mighty Nicaragua Lake. With more than 300 islands, it is a fascinating sight. While the largest rainforest region extends north of the Amazon in the north and coffee plantations shape the landscape, wide lowlands and savannah define the east of the country. Nicaragua borders on Honduras to the north and Costa Rica to the south. In the west lies the Pacific, in the east the Caribbean Sea. The coast is lined with white sandy beaches and coconut trees.
The majority of the 5.8 million Nicaraguans live in the metropolitan areas in the Pacific flatlands. The climate here is tropical, which is why it is warm all year round. The state capital and administrative center of the country is Managua, whose modern buildings form an interesting contrast to the remains of historical buildings. In contrast, León has made a name for itself as the cultural capital and university city. The cityscape is characterized by pastel-colored houses, baroque churches and green parks. The oldest university in Nicaragua can also be found in León.
The pulsating tourist city of Granada is no less attractive. It offers an impressive view of Lake Nicaragua and the volcanic peaks of the Mombacho. Granada promises a special atmosphere with its colonial buildings and rustic bars. And Masaya also has its own charm. The small “flower town” is known for its local handicrafts, its colorful Indian markets and traditional folklore.
The “Nicas”, as the Nicaraguans call themselves colloquially, seem a bit reserved at first glance. However, if you live in the country for a while, for example because you are in Nicaragua to study, you will quickly feel their hospitality and warmth.
Costs and financing of a degree in Nicaragua
Both state and private universities in Nicaragua have tuition fees. Depending on the type of university and the chosen field of study, the amount of the fees can vary significantly. In contrast to the state universities, which are at least partially subsidized by the government, private universities have to finance themselves to a large extent. Therefore, students at state universities only pay up to 150 Córdoba Oro (40 US dollars) per semester. The private universities and other educational institutions, on the other hand, charge US $ 1,000 to US $ 5,000 per semester. You should inquire about the exact amount of the tuition fees from the relevant university institution.
The cost of living in Nicaragua is lower than in Germany. However, the actual expenses depend on your own standard of living and the respective region. The question of how much you get involved with the local living conditions also affects your actual cost of living. However, you should plan at least an average of 400 to 500 per month.
In the larger cities of Nicaragua, especially in the university city of León, there are student residences in which international students can live. In many cases, accommodation is also provided with host families or people who rent their homes to students, travelers and volunteers. Alternatively, there is the possibility of staying in local hotels or hostels. Private apartments are rather rare and the rents are correspondingly high.
Students who want to spend a semester abroad or a maximum of one year in Nicaragua have the opportunity to apply for BAföG abroad. Since there are more generous assessment limits for foreign BAföG than for domestic BAföG, students have comparatively better chances of receiving funding than in Germany. The international funding includes the assumption of the tuition fees up to an amount of 4,600 euros, a travel allowance and, if necessary, a supplement to health insurance.
The DAAD offers further financing options for a stay abroad. High-performing students from all disciplines can apply for a DAAD annual scholarship, for example. The DAAD also supports study visits and internships, for example with the PROMOS scholarship, for up to six months.
Visa and entry requirements for Nicaragua
German citizens who do not intend to stay in Nicaragua for more than 90 days do not need a visa. All you need is a tourist card, which you can buy at the airport for ten US dollars. A passport that is still valid for at least six months is required for the tourist card, as well as the documents for the return or onward journey.
German citizens who stay in Nicaragua for more than 90 days must apply for a residence permit at the Immigration Office Migración y Extranjería in Managua. For that you have to
- the birth certificate or a current extract from the registry office’s birth register
- a handwritten police clearance certificate and
- a health certificate from the family doctor
are present. All documents must be translated into Spanish. However, it is not necessary to have it certified by the consulate. It is sufficient if the responsible German government agency confirms the authenticity of the documents with an apostille.
The border authorities sometimes insist on proof of sufficient funds to finance the stay abroad.
In practice, students who study abroad in Nicaragua often make use of the unofficial entry option with a tourist card. The length of stay can be extended by a further 90 days. The prerequisite is that you leave Nicaragua for at least three days after the 90-day period has expired. For example, Costa Rica, which has not signed the CA-4 border agreement, is an option as a country of departure. When you re-enter, you will receive a new stamp with which you can stay in the country for another 90 days. Alternatively, you can have your residence permit extended by a maximum of 90 days at the Nicaraguan immigration authorities for a fee of around 45 euros.