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Medical Spanish Immersion Trips – What makes CGI unique?

Medical Spanish Immersion Trips – What makes CGI unique?

There are many medical Spanish immersion programs and thousands of Spanish study abroad opportunities around the world – so what makes Common Ground’s Spanish immersion programs so unique?

Several more things that make our programs special…

Medical student holding a baby on medical Spanish Immersion
The medical Spanish immersion trip with Common Ground was such an amazing experience. The leaders are excellent. Learning Spanish in Costa Rica and the program that is set up through Common Ground is an opportunity that every medical student or provider should participate in. I had such an unforgettable experience. I felt safe, supported, and challenged through my time there. Best cultural and life experience! -Maia U, MD

Our unique Medical Spanish immersion trips – whether you are a working healthcare professional or a healthcare student – place a balanced emphasis on 3 primary components of proficiency developing activities: medical outreach work in Spanish, Spanish classes focused on general and medical terminology, and host family lodging that gives you 24/7 immersion. This balanced approach ensures that our immersion students have unstructured & spontaneous language experiences with their host families (no memorized dialogue could ever prepare you for those conversations), structured time preparing for and delivering educational messages through various service learning projects, and time in a class to sort out the native-paced Spanish input they’re receiving 24/7.

Most Spanish immersion programs that you see online are language school brokers and collect fees from language schools around the world to list their programs on their site. Yes we also work with a language school that we don’t own – but Common Ground is far from just the broker for medical Spanish immersion trips. We work with you from the point you register to the time you get home. Here is a quick peek at our involvement in your medical Spanish immersion trip:

  1. Pre-departure preparation: Multiple pre-departure webinars together as a group help you anticipate the experience, set your expectations realistically, prevent some culture shock, and prepare for your community involvement. Being prepared with relevant knowledge about the towns and communities in which you’ll be living and working are essential if you want to be a part of a successful medical Spanish immersion program.
  2. 24/7 access to CGI coordinators and leadership: CGI has its staff and it’s partner medical providers who are always with the immersion group. Why does this matter?
    1. You have someone you can rely on for logistical help
    2. You have a Spanish teacher around you all the time for those random language questions borne out of real-life situations
    3. You have a medical provider close by to assist you in your community work and help you ensure that the medical outreach work you’re doing is always relevant and sustainable for the community
      Group of medical students and healthcare professionals giving health education in Costa Rica
      My Medical Spanish immersion program experience with Common Ground was amazing! All facets of the experience helped me improve my Spanish speaking ability and vocabulary. I was able to return to my work with patients in Denver with an improved ability to communicate, understand and educate them! It is a very well organized program! Living with a host family was an invaluable cultural and language learning experience! My classes taught by a very skilled teacher at ELEC, our volunteer work and optional trips on the weekend all contributed to an amazing learning experience! I would do it again! Gail S. RD, CDE (right)
  3. We focus on your language proficiency while we turn you loose to help the community – but NEVER at the community’s expense. We’re responsible to ensure that the work you do complies with our mission statement for responsible medical work abroad. You are welcome read the medical mission statement that guides our medical outreach work in local communities if you haven’t already.
  4. Lasting impact. There is a direct link between your time abroad with Common Ground and the long-range goal of becoming a more-effective healthcare worker back home. Most of our participants don’t have an interest in Global Health as a vocation, they just want to be better equipped to work with their Spanish-only patients back home. The intentional combination of medical Spanish training with understanding cultural norms of health in Central America work together to make you a more effective healthcare worker.

Essentially, the advantages of CGI’s medical Spanish immersion trips boil down the the fact that we walk with you through the experience to help you maximize your learning, and to maximize the benefit that the communities receive through your involvement. You have plenty of autonomy of course, but you take comfort in knowing that the medical work you’re doing in a community level while on  your medical Spanish immersion program is not happening in a vacuum. Your medical outreach work is an integrated piece of a larger puzzle that fits together nicely and coherently within the context of multiple interventions throughout the year.

If you’re considering participating in Common Ground’s medical Spanish immersion in Costa Rica, please contact us. The program isn’t for everyone, but if it looks like it might be a good fit for you, we’ll be happy to help you decide one way or the other.

By the way – we think you’re awesome for considering a medical Spanish immersion program. It will really make a difference in the level of care you provide to your patients!

Rory
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Rory is passionate about the Spanish language, an expert instructor, and specifically energized by the practical use of language in industry & community settings.
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