Last May, members of the Goshen College baseball team traveled to Carazo, Nicaragua for three weeks of study and sports. After much praise from the trial group of athletes, the May Term course will be returning in 2018, this time for the softball and women’s basketball teams.

The trip in 2016 was spearheaded by Doug Schirch, professor of chemistry and currently a SST leader in Peru, who is again behind the planning of the next trip.

Even as the first trip was being planned, Schirch was looking ahead, saying, “The first trial of the Study and Sports in Nicaragua course went very well, but it was limited to only men from the baseball team; at the time I promised to propose in two years a similar trip for women athletes.”

The success of the baseball team’s trip encouraged Schirch to continue to work on a trip for other Goshen teams.

“All of the men who went in 2016 were extremely positive about the trip,” said Schirch. In a post-trip survey the majority or almost all of them responded to all the questions about the value of the trip with a 5 out of 5 on a Likert scale.   

“I feel the baseball students enjoyed their experience as much as the SST students I’ve had,” he said.

The description of the course, as Schirch provides, is that it will be a May Term course in Nicaragua that includes Spanish language study as well as coursework and field trips in Nicaraguan history and culture. Students will live with Nicaraguan families and participate in limited service projects.

Journal writing is required. Designed for members of a different college sports team, with games played with local Nicaraguan teams, other students may join the course depending on space and compatibility.  Prerequisites include one semester of college-level Spanish and attendance at pre-trip preparation sessions in the Spring semester. There are a total of four credits applicable to SST alternative requirements.

The course will be made up of a number of different experiences throughout the three-week period, with activities like homestays, Spanish classes, lectures and field trips, service projects and of course games, with both the softball and basketball teams playing three games apiece against local women’s teams.

Should softball’s tournament play interfere with the trip’s schedule, the trip will be adjusted to begin after the conclusion of the softball season.