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imgr8's avatar

Will I be okay alone in Nicaragua?

Asked by imgr8 (429points) February 8th, 2015

I am a 21 year old girl from Canada. I am going to volunteer in Nicaragua (Granada) for 2 months, leaving in about 10 days, and all of a sudden I’m having cold feet. I have traveled before and even lived abroad short term in Peru but I’ve always had supervisors, an organization, or at least a Spanish speaker there to support me. This time I’m on my own.

I speak very basic Spanish and I’m afraid I won’t be able to get by. Do they speak English in the airport in Managua at least? I’m also very timid and anxious when in new cultures and I’m worried I’ll do something stupid like starve to death because I’m too self conscious to go to the market or super market or whatever and buy food.

I’m also scared that my passport will get stolen, or that I’ll run out of money halfway through the trip and be screwed over. I’m scared of being homesick despite the fact that I just got back from being abroad for 6 months. I’m just worrying about everything.

Also, are there a lot of poisonous spiders in Granada? I’m terrified of spiders but I think I’ll be able to handle it if they’re not going to kill me… Are they going to kill me?!

I’m also scared I won’t be able to make friends and I’ll just be completely alone the whole time.

I know most of this post probably seems absolutely ridiculous and I realize its probably just pre trip nerves that will go away once I’m settled, but I’d really appreciate if anyone could help put my mind at ease. Clearly, I’m kind of freaking out.

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10 Answers

dappled_leaves's avatar

You say that you’re “volunteering” – aren’t you doing this with some kind of organization that can offer you support and answer your questions?

jca's avatar

I wouldn’t do it. That’s just me. Safety is #1 for me.

Adagio's avatar

My question to you would be exactly the same as @dappled_leaves asks.

imgr8's avatar

@dappled_leaves @adagio nope no organization at least not until I get there. And none that speaks English really.

gorillapaws's avatar

I think you’re nuts. It’s one thing if you’re with a group, but this seems super-sketchy.

My girlfriend’s friend went to somewhere in Central or South America (I think it was Venezuela) many years back by herself. The cab driver took her from the airport to a really sketchy part of town and she nearly got raped. She ended up putting on her crazy face (the don’t fuck with me or I will gouge your eyes out look) and managed to get back to the airport and immediately came home.

This is a 3rd-hand account so it’s possible the details are wrong, but the general point is there. Some of these countries can be dangerous for an attractive young woman with money traveling alone… especially if you look lost or particularly vulnerable. At the very least I would OVER PREPARE for it. I would plan ahead now to work with a group so they’ll be expecting you and you’ll know exactly where you’re going.

You might want to read this report from the US state department for Nicaragua. Scroll down to safety and security and read about crime. It sounds pretty risky to me to do that alone.

funkdaddy's avatar

It’s great that you’re volunteering and it’s good to think it through, but don’t get discouraged. Something made you want to go, and there must be a reason you chose Nicaragua.

Why there? Do you already have travel arranged and paid for? I’m assuming so. Do you have a place to stay in Granada? How are you meeting whoever you are volunteering with? There must be some connection that you already have in place, that will probably be all you need.

If your plans are flexible, try this. Think right now that your trip is canceled, the whole thing is off and you’re staying in Canada. In that first minute, are you relieved that you don’t have to go, or disappointed that it didn’t happen?

dappled_leaves's avatar

@imgr8 Well, I don’t understand why you would do such a thing with no plan whatsoever. You seem very ill-prepared, in my opinion, and that makes me question your motives and your judgment.

I think you should cancel the trip, do some homework, make contact with a group you can communicate with effectively, and then do your volunteering where it will do the most good. What are you going to have to offer if you land in a foreign country where you don’t speak the language and are afraid of your own shadow?

longgone's avatar

Your plan does not sound well-thought-out. I spent a month in Cosa Rica, as a volunteer – but I was extremely grateful to be living with an organization. Your rudimentary Spanish is inconvenient, and the lack of planning seems very dangerous. I’ve heard many cautionary tales about Nicaragua, specifically. Costa Rica, while much safer, was still a bit of a shock in its “lesser civillized” parts.

I think you should contact an organization, or postpone the trip. Be safe, please!

imgr8's avatar

Please note that I typed out this whole thing while having a panic attack yesterday (oops). While yes, I do have some fears, I’m not stupid. Yes I have a place to stay and a reliable ride there from the airport. Yes my Spanish sucks, but yes I do speak the basics and I have also lived in south america for 3 months so yes I looked like a crazy person when I wrote this but honestly I do know what I’m doing for the most part. I have travel insurance of course. Also from what I hear Granada is actually reasonably safe. Anyways, sorry for the slightly ridiculous post but I’m pretty sure I’m not gonna die now that I’m calm, and I feel capable of dealing with anything that comes my way.

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