Before You Go

Pre-Departure Planning

The Graduate and Professional Handbook for students contains useful information about how to obtain a passport or visa, local resources for where to obtain required immunizations, travel insurance, and general health and safety tips for travel to any country. It is expected that student participants will read this handbook carefully. A brief overview to supplement the contents of the handbook is offered here.

Passports and Visas

A passport is required for international travel. The expiration date must be at least six months following the planned re-entry date into the United States. Allow ten weeks prior to travel to obtain your passport. Application forms and the latest passport information are available at the US Department of State Passport Homepage

Health and Travel Insurance

Participants are required to have health insurance with overseas coverage and submit proof of such coverage. The health insurance policy must additionally include assistance in emergencies, medical evacuation and repatriation. In addition to health insurance, it is strongly recommended to purchase trip cancelation, baggage loss and travel accident insurance.


Visit a travel clinic six to eight weeks before your trip to allow time for your vaccines to take effect. A professional at the travel clinic can advise you as to the immunizations that you will need specific to your situation and the country that you will visit. Be sure that your routine vaccinations are up to date. For a list of travel clinics in the Portland are see: Pacific University Student Health Center Travel Information

Required immunizations for Nicaragua include:

  • Hepatitis A
  • Hepatitis B
  • Typhoid
  • Tetanus (within the past ten years)

Although yellow fever is not a disease risk in Nicaragua, the government requires travelers arriving from countries where yellow fever is present to provide proof of yellow fever vaccination. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention is a good source for information on health and safety to prepare for travel abroad.

Malaria & Dengue Fever Risk

Malaria and Dengue Fever are a risk in Nicaragua, especially in the outlying areas away from large cities. Check with your travel clinic for recommendations regarding malaria prophylactics. Be sure to bring a pair of light colored long pants ( jeans are the worst - as they are hot, heavy and do not dry well), socks, and use DEFT for protection.


For safety, participants travel in a group when navigating in-country. Participants stay at pre-approved hotels and use pre-approved transportation services. Petty crime and theft are not uncommon concerns. Following are a few simple tips to help to protect you and your belongings:

  • Don't wear expensive clothes or jewelry
  • Do not carry excessive cash
  • When carrying money, carry it in your front pocket or use a money belt.
  • Pay close attention to exchange rates and count your change after purchases.
  • Current Travel Warnings by Country are posted by the State Department web site. This site also provides helpful travel tips for health and safety.