The PML Experience

The PML experience—connecting the people of Minnesota and the people of León—supports you in moving beyond cultural differences and creating memories you will value for the rest of your life. 

The experience begins when a group—whether formal, such as a class, or informal, such as family and friends—united around a common interest travels to León, Nicaragua.

Through the PML experience, you will bring home not only insights and memories, but perhaps better Spanish and a taste for Nicaraguan food!

 

Enjoy a unique crosscultural exchange.

Group travel members benefit from PML's 30-year partnership between Nicaraguans and Minnesotans.

  • Build personal relationships.

PML travel groups focus on cultural exchange and creating connections between people, rather than on short-term projects. 

  • Learn about life in Nicaragua through immersion and homestays.   

The average American tourist never has a chance to go deep into another culture. Many returning travelers consider homestays the highlight of the trip. Homestays can be challenging and sometimes unsettling, but they are invaluable in deepening the learning experience. 

  • Gain a deeper understanding of our common humanity. 

Group members learn about Nicaragua's culture, politics, religion, education, and history. They share their own experiences with their Nicaraguan hosts and help them broaden their perspective of North America.

  • Explore the social, political, and economic realities of life in León.

This glimpse into Nicaraguan life often inspires travelers to continue working on one of PML's ongoing projects or to work with the people of León in the creation of a new partnership.

 

Form a group.

Are you part of a group (or would you like to form a group) that is eager for an intercultural exchange? PML has hosted religious, business, and student groups; medical teams; and others.

One ongoing and unique effort has been to support a Youth Cultural Exchange between First Universalist Church in Minneapolis and young people in a variety of León neighborhoods. Twelve Minnesota teens and twelve Nicaraguan teens are matched and participate in a two-year program. The first summer the Minnesota teens go to Nicaragua, and the following summer the Minnesota teens host their Nicaraguan "siblings" in their homes. Click here  to watch a video of the 2011–2012 exchange and here for the 2013-2016 exchanges.

 

Choose a focus.

Have you been thinking about an issue or question you want to dig into? Groups often find having a focus inspires deeper exploration, and PML can help customize a trip for your group on the theme you choose. (See possible themes below and here.) A focus is not necessary for a meaningful experience in León, however, and PML is happy to organize a trip that introduces participants to a wide array of the region's cultural and natural attractions.

Group travel activities could include:

  • Investigate past and present social, economic, and political realities.
  • Enjoy the natural environment—volcanoes, the Pacific beach, and tropical birds and plants.
  • Experience Nicaraguan culture; create a Nicaraguan-style painting or learn a folkloric dance at Taller Artístico Xuchialt, an art school PML helped establish.
  • Analyze comparative religious affiliations, legal systems, and citizen participation.
  • Learn Spanish or teach English.

Groups might also observe PML's community development work in San Carlos, a rural area outside of León, where PML staff member Rosa Lira Ulloa works with the community to organize and act collectively to improve their quality of life.

Click here for specific ideas about how you can explore these additional issues in Nicaragua:

  • Human rights
  • Environment
  • Religion 

 

Let us help you design and plan your customized trip!

For a downloadable brochure about group travel with PML, click here

For more ideas or to start work on a travel group, contact PML's development and outreach director Emily Wallace-Jackson (emily.mn.leon@gmail.com) or PML board member Deborah Allan (dallan@umn.edu).