Alumni Spotlight: Paul Munn


What did your program provider (or university) assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?

The program provider assisted with placements in the different types of schools, accommodation, and materials for teaching. As a group, we had to organize lesson plans for the following week, each Friday.

What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?

I wish I had known more about one-on-one teaching in the schools. I would advise researching what type of teaching you would like to do, rather than the program selecting it for you, based on your initial application.

I would tell my friends to choose this program, as it was well organized and the experience, in my opinion, was incredible.

What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?

It depends on what schools you are assigned to and how much you want to work. I was initially working two mornings from 08:30 to 11:30 and two afternoons from 13:00 to 16:30 teaching basic English. Lesson planning on a Friday was conducted at the main office at 10:00, followed by a picnic.

I chose to work more, as I was only there for a month and taught every day in two different schools, as well as computer-based teaching in another location created by the program.

Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?

I was a little apprehensive because I had chosen Nicaragua. I had seen the revolution there on the news while growing up and even though the program had lots of advice on the country nowadays, I still had a few reservations.

I had lived through a civil war myself, coming from Northern Ireland, so I knew that the media can over-exaggerate things and reality can be so different. The experience there completely changed my views and things were normal and safe.

Is there anything else you would like to share about your experience in Nicaragua?

Nicaragua is a beautiful country and in my experience very safe, and there are so many tourists everywhere, from all over the world. The cost of living is very low and you can enjoy delicious food at a very low price. If you like a wee tipple, alcohol is very reasonable also.

I loved the one-on-one teaching because the kids really wanted to learn and when you see a little progress, the feeling is priceless. If I could change anything, I would have only taught in one school doing one-on-one teaching because it was so rewarding and I was only there for a month.