Our mission of Impacting Communities Through Language extends to ALL travelers and learners regardless of age, gender identity, physical ability, race, religion, sexual orientation and socioeconomic status.
Our goal is to equip you to speak Spanish more fluidly and more confidently, so that you are empowered to make a difference in the lives of underserved Spanish speakers in your community, wherever you land, for the rest of your life: through your studies, your careers and as you age purposefully.
Each traveler on a CGI Spanish Immersion program has their own unique identity, and we want to ensure that our programs are accessible, enjoyable and safe for everyone. We work constantly with our local partners to promote inclusivity of all types for our travelers.
Similarly, travelers must be aware of cross-cultural considerations and different perspectives while traveling. You may face a unique set of challenges and experiences as you navigate a new and unfamiliar culture; it’s likely that attitudes and laws differ from your experience in the United States.
Your trip leader wants to partner with you to ensure that you are aware of any cultural perspectives or attitudes that may present a challenging situation for you as a unique individual. Please be sure to note any concerns you may have on your travel registration form. Additionally, please reach out to your trip leader to explore any curiosities you may have about the host culture and how you and your unique identity may be perceived.
A few resources to help you learn about perspectives abroad:
- LGBTQI+ travelers abroad (State Department)
- Race and ethnicity abroad (University of Wisconsin-Madison)
- Traveling with disabilities (State Department)
Special considerations for Common Ground Travelers:
Asian American travelers:
- There is a significant Asian population in the countries and cities we travel to in Latin America. Unfortunately, there tends to be little emphasis on the unique nationalities and heritages amongst Asians. You may notice that it’s very common to be referred to as chino (Chinese) regardless of your heritage. We encourage you to share your unique Asian heritage thoughtfully and respectfully as opportunities arise.
- Black travelers in Latin America tend to experience similar ranges of bias and colorism as they do at home in the US. You may encounter some bias, a lot of bias, or very little. In Central America, there is a rich history of Afro-Caribbean influence represented through music and food. One linguistic note to be aware of is the common use of words that focus on skin color. Moreno and morena are common words to describe people of darker skin. Additionally negro or negra and their diminutive forms negrito and negrita to refer to Black individuals. Generally speaking, there is no insult intended with this word and there is no emotional connection in Latin America to the related offensive term in English. If you’re uncertain about a particular term or want to talk through a situation you experienced, your trip leaders want to hear you and make sure you’re comfortable while on your program.
- Plenty of host families are unconditionally welcoming and open to travelers of all identities. Of course some are less open and welcoming… so we want to be careful and thoughtful with your host family selection in order to ensure a safe and comfortable living arrangement. Please openly communicate with your trip leader so that s/he can ensure an excellent host family match for you.
- Lodging on excursions. The standard lodging arrangement on excursions is shared rooms. Of course private rooms may be available pending hotel availability if you would prefer to have more privacy. Please openly communicate with your trip leader as soon as possible about your lodging preferences on overnight excursions. Standard rooming arrangements are as follows:
- Adult travelers navigate and negotiate room arrangements on their own with their peers.
- Minor travelers are generally assigned rooms with other travelers of the same sex. If this default rooming arrangement will be uncomfortable for you, please reach out to your trip leader as soon as possible so that we can work a solution.
- Latino travelers often feel expectations from the host country around their ability to speak Spanish because of their heritage (or inability to speak in spite of heritage). This is difficult to “look the part” but not sound the same as locals. Be encouraged that you’re doing the necessary work in an effort to help others in your community, and with time you’ll improve just like everyone else.
- We walk a lot while on program. You can expect a 20-30 minute walk from your host family to our meetup points every day.
- Uber and taxi service are readily available for getting to and from daily activities if needed.
- Most sidewalks in the towns where we have programs are not widely wheelchair accessible.
- Please communicate with your trip leader so that we can ensure that your physical ability needs are met at your host family, at language school, on excursions, etc.