Medical Spanish Immersion Program | Costa Rica & Ecuador

Medical Spanish Immersion Program | Costa Rica & Ecuador | Earn CME & CE

Common Ground International Medical Spanish Immersion

Everyone knows that immersion is the best way to learn medical Spanish. So you are left with 2 questions:

1. What is the most effective way to do immersion?
2. And who is a partner I can trust?

I guarantee you won’t be disappointed with our medical Spanish immersion course abroad!

Rory Foster

Immersion Director

Medical Spanish Immersion Trip
4.94 out of 5 based on 99 customer ratings

Summer volcano and Spanish immersion for teens

Ecuador Medical Spanish Immersion

Based in Cuenca, Ecuador

1 – 2 weeks in length

  • Starts June 15, 2024

  • Consider 10 days to have a full weekend to explore!

  • Host family, hotel, or hostel

  • 20hrs/week Spanish Classes

  • Tuesday – Thursday medical outreach projects

  • Great day trips to the equator, hot springs, etc

  • CME & CE Accredited

  • Great Andean mountain hikes

  • Interprofessional mix of fellow travelers

  • 24/7 leadership, coordination & support by immersion program leaders

Ecuador & Costa Rica Spanish Immersion

Medical Spanish Immersion in Ecuador & Costa Rica

Medical Spanish immersion trip guiding principles
Based in Cuenca & Santo Domingo de Heredia

2 – 6 weeks in length

  • Starts June 15, 2024

  • Host family, hotel or hostel

  • 20hrs/week Spanish Classes

  • PharmD Rotation Option

  • MD, PA, NP Rotation Option

  • Amazing beaches, active volcanoes, cloud forests & Andean mountain hikes

  • Great day trips, exciting weekend excursions & unique eco-tourism

  • CME & CE Accredited

  • Interprofessional mix of fellow travelers

  • 24/7 leadership, coordination & support by immersion program leaders most of the program

Pura Vida Spanish Immersion Programs are immersions in Costa Rica

Costa Rica Medical Spanish Immersion

Medical Spanish Immersion in Costa Rica
Based in Santo Domingo de Heredia

1 – 6 weeks in length

  • January 27, 2024 & June 29, 2024

  • Consider 10 days to have a full weekend to explore

  • Host family, hotel or hostel

  • 20hrs/week of Spanish classes

  • Optional 1:1 private lessons

  • Tuesday – Thursday medical outreach projects

  • Great day trips

  • Amazing beaches, volcanoes and national parks

  • CME & CE Accredited

  • Interprofessional mix of fellow travelers

  • 24/7 leadership, coordination & support by immersion program leaders most of the program

This program fills on a first come, first served basis. Reserve a spot on the program for 30 days – no obligation – no credit card, just 30 days to help you coordinate your schedule!

Watch the most recent Adult & Family Spanish Immersion Info Meeting:

I felt really supported. Every detail was thought through carefully and it felt like a safe environment


Nurse Practitioner, California

Medical Spanish Immersion with Common Ground Int’l is The Best Way to Learn Medical Spanish and earn CME & CE credits! What are the primary components of our program?


Conversational Medical Spanish classes

Spanish classes on your immersion trip are a nice combination of learning new material and getting comfortable actually speaking. Too often we learn more but don’t move the needle on our speaking. Our classes are taught by professionals and conversationally focused so that you build confidence speaking Spanish!


Community outreach work

Our approach to “medical mission” work is community health / public health education topics. We don’t focus on clinical work, we focus on education. This is ethically less complicated for local communities and local health systems and it’s actually more effective for your Spanish communication skills.


Lodging with host families

Host families on Spanish immersion are essential to improving your general conversation skills and everyday rapport-building conversations. You work hard all day long in your community projects, your Spanish classes, and then you go home to your loving host family for more practice speaking :). It’s tiring, but it works!


Weekend adventures

Work hard Monday through Friday on your Spanish and take a break on the weekends! We put together group travel options for you on the weekends that you can join, or you can venture off on your own. When we explore with the group, we commit to speaking Spanish on the weekend as well to keep the immersion alive.

It has been a wonderful experience, I cannot recommend this enough. They teach you general Spanish for everyday conversation and also specific medical Spanish. 


Earn College Credit while you travel!

Get up to 5 undergraduate university credits for all of the fun and challenging immersion work you’ll do abroad.

Our trips are accredited for 200-level (2nd year) college credits as follows:

  • 3 College Spanish credits for 2-week programs
  • 4 College Spanish credits for 3-week programs
  • 5 College Spanish credits for 4 week programs

Additional fees apply. Email Leslie for more information

I’m so glad that I came because I advanced my Spanish tremendously and I also had time to enjoy my weekends


MD, Washington

Why the Common Ground Medical Spanish Immersion Program?

We offer the best language and cultural outcomes

The primary difference with our medical Spanish immersion programs is that we weave 4 Spanish language components into your everyday experience. In other words, you learn medical Spanish (and general conversational Spanish) through everything you do Mon – Fri. Here is how we do it:

– Learning medical Spanish in daily medical Spanish immersion classes (and general Spanish immersion classes) with native Spanish speakers
– Staying with a local host family (one student per family) so that you’re immersed in speaking Spanish 24/7 and acquiring Spanish as you relate to your host family and experience daily culture in Latin America
– You deliver health education on volunteer medical projects in order to serve communities with identified health needs
– We attend health lectures in Spanish by local healthcare providers and tour local hospitals and clinics in order to see healthcare in action
– You can earn Continuing Medical Education Credits*: Category 1 / Prescribed CME credit for providers and CE credits for nurses.

You’re not alone

We understand that traveling alone isn’t for everyone, there is safety and peace of mind when you have others checking in with you day after day. Not to mention, working other healthcare colleagues improving their Spanish is exciting and fun.
When you travel with Common Ground is that you are not on your own. You’re surrounded by a group of like-minded professionals and led day to day by our program leaders.
At a very minimum, you have the CGI trip leader with you during your trip.
Additionally, you will work closely with one of our medical supervisors during a portion of your trip, and you’ll have our lead medical Spanish instructor with you as well.

We prepare you before you travel

Preparation is essential for establishing clear expectations for your trip, staying safe while you travel, knowing the day to day plan, and positioning yourself and your Spanish for maximum success on your program. Our custom pre-departure course is an amazingly effective online course that connects you with your fellow travelers and prepares you for every single detail – including culture shock!

You know where we live

We’re a Colorado-based organization, and we have a clear track record of amazing Spanish immersion programs. You can call us up at any time (303) 684-5557, speak English (or Spanish), and get your questions answered immediately.
That’s worth its weight in gold!

I loved absolutely everything about it… it’s memories that I’ll have with me for the rest of my life.


RN, California

This program has given me the confidence to take what I have learned into my everyday life, into my job, so I can better help my patients. 


This trip is custom designed for you!

This medical Spanish immersion program in Central & South America is specifically designed for healthcare professionals and healthcare students to maximize your learning every moment.

And if you have CME money to spend, this qualifies!

Every year we go through the process of accrediting our medical Spanish immersion trip for CME and nursing CE credits. If you have education funds available, this trip should qualify.

Most importantly, it’s effective…

You’ll never participate in a better medical Spanish immersion program. Read the reviews, you’ll be speaking better Spanish when you return home!

AAFP CME Credit Approved

I had some reservations initially because I haven’t traveled much since I was a young adult, but the family at Common Ground made the whole process much easier that I had expected.

Cheryl G.

MD, Arkansas

4-minute Immersion Trip intro:

4 Medical Immersion Qs Answered (11 min)

No other program like this

Top 10 suggestions for international travel

Diversity and Inclusivity on Spanish Immersion

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.

Diversity and inclusivity on Spanish Immersion

My Spanish has improved so much! I’m able to actually have a fluid conversation in Spanish and it’s so wonderful. Additionally, my speaking is so much better now. I cannot even begin to describe the improvement. For example, now I talk in the past tense and use indirect/direct pronouns with confidence – that is huge for me!!!

Medical Spanish Immersion Program

Natalie K


Regardless of your level of Spanish, this trip is right for you!! I learned so much during the trip, but more importantly, I became comfortable making mistakes and feeling more confident! This isn’t something I would’ve been able to overcome without this immersion program. I highly recommend this program!

Medical Spanish Immersion Programs

Laura J


This is a perfect combination of vacation and serious learning in a beautiful and friendly place. Immersion families make you feel at home and small group classes are excellent for rapid expansion of skills. The people are the best part from the staff to the other students and to the hosts.

Doctor on medical Spanish immersion trip

Mark M.


I found CGI through a basic Google search for medical Spanish immersion programs offering CEUs. So, I took a leap of faith and will never regret it. This program was exceptionally well-tailored to the medical professional wanting to learn Spanish with any level of prior knowledge. As someone with an intermediate level before the course, I was able to advance my command of the language to a functionally communicative level by the end of my two weeks. And my confidence improved immeasurably. I loved the homestay aspect of the program and the gentle encouragement of the leadership to use Spanish to interact with other students. The weekdays were well balanced with community activities in the morning and small-group Spanish classes each afternoon.
The schedule was both varied and predictable, and the weekend excursions offered the right balance of respite and continued language practice! Not even half-way through the trip I knew I couldn’t wait to share my experience with my colleagues and encourage them to attend.

Medical Spanish Immersion Trip in Costa Rica and Ecuador

Kristin J.


For me, this trip taught me lessons that they do not include in the medical school curriculum. I was able to gain an understanding of the culture of many of my future patients. No other experience in school has taught me this much about another culture, about healthcare abroad, and about myself. And Spanish has been a goal of mine for years, and after this trip I feel that I have finally made some significant progress. It’s true that immersion is the best way to learn. I am excited to be able to use Spanish with my patients in a few months to connect with them on an entirely different level than I could have before.

Best Medical Spanish Immersion Trip

Camri M.


I would definitely recommend this program. You learn so much Spanish and so much about the culture at the same time. There is nothing like immersion!


PharmD Student, Kentucky

Summer volcano and Spanish immersion for teens

1-2 Week Medical Spanish Immersion in Ecuador

1 Week Programs in June ’24:

  • 6/15/24 – 6/22/24
  • 6/22/24 – 6/29/24

2 Week Program in June ’24:

  • 6/15/24 – 6/29/24
  • Fly in and out of San Jose (SJO)

  • Learn about access to healthcare and standards of care for the mainstream society and those who live in poverty so that you gain perspective

  • Fly in to Quito (UIO) and out of San Jose (SJO)

  • Learn about access to healthcare and standards of care for the mainstream society and those who live in poverty so that you gain perspective

  • Stay with a local host families in each country

  • Provide preventative health care education in conjunction with existing local efforts in these communities in order to help without hurting

I would recommend this program to anyone looking to improve their Spanish. The classes were great; there is a lot of information! I was only here a week, if you could stay longer that would be great.


MD, Nevada

3-6 Week Combo Medical Spanish Immersion Programs in Ecuador and Costa Rica

2-week Ecuador & Costa Rica Immersion Program: 

  • 6/22/24 – 7/6/24

3-week Ecuador & Costa Rica Immersion Program: 

  • 6/15/24 – 7/6/24
  • 6/22/24 – 7/13/24

4-week Ecuador & Costa Rica Immersion Programs: 

  • 6/15/24 – 7/13/24
  • 6/22/24 – 7/20/24

5-week Ecuador & Costa Rica Immersion Programs:

  • 6/15/24 – 7/20/24
  • 6/22/24 – 7/27/24

6-week Ecuador & Costa Rica Immersion Programs:

  • 6/15/24 – 7/27/24
  • 6/22/24 – 8/3/24
  • Experience 2 countries in 1 trip!

  • Develop educational charlas or talleres in Spanish to help underserved communities improve their quality of life

  • Fly in to Quito (UIO) and out of San Jose (SJO)

  • Learn about access to healthcare and standards of care for the mainstream society and those who live in poverty so that you gain perspective

  • Stay with a local host families in each country

  • Provide preventative health care education in conjunction with existing local efforts in these communities in order to help without hurting

  • Attend 20hrs medical Spanish & general Spanish classes each week (Mon – Fri)

I learned a lot! I feel very lucky that I was able to find this program and my school was able to offer it to us. If you’re thinking about an experience that will put you out of your comfort zone, I would highly recommend it.


PharmD Student, Kentucky

Pura Vida Spanish Immersion Programs are immersions in Costa Rica

1-6 Week Medical Spanish Immersion Programs in Costa Rica:

1-Week Costa Rica Programs:

  • 1/27/24 – 2/3/24
  • 2/3/24 – 2/10/24
  • 6/29/24 – 7/6/24
  • 7/6/24 – 7/13/24

2-Week Costa Rica Programs:

  • 1/27/24 – 2/10/24
  • 2/3/24 – 2/17/24
  • 6/29/24 – 7/13/24
  • 7/6/24 – 7/20/24

3-Week Costa Rica Programs:

  • 1/27/24 – 2/17/24
  • 2/3/24 – 2/24/24
  • 6/29/24 – 7/20/24
  • 7/6/24 – 7/27/24

4-Week Costa Rica Programs:

  • 1/27/24 – 2/24/24
  • 2/3/24 – 3/2/24
  • 6/29/24 – 7/27/24
  • 7/6/24 – 8/3/24

5-Week Costa Rica Programs:

  • 1/27/24 – 3/2/24
  • 2/3/24 – 3/9/24
  • 6/29/24 – 8/3/24
  • 7/6/24 – 8/10/24

6-Week Costa Rica Programs:

  • 1/27/24 – 3/9/24
  • 6/29/24 – 8/10/24
  • Fly in and out of San Jose (SJO)

  • Learn about access to healthcare and standards of care for the mainstream society and those who live in poverty so that you gain perspective

  • Stay with a local host family

  • Provide preventative health care education in conjunction with existing local efforts in these communities in order to help without hurting

  • Attend 20hrs medical Spanish & general Spanish classes each week (Mon – Fri)

  • Work with children and their families on general health and hygiene practices

  • Develop educational charlas or talleres in Spanish to help underserved communities improve their quality of life

I came on this immersion program in order to have the experience of living with a family… people who are helpful and understand that you’re learning Spanish. They love to talk, hear about your life. They put up with bad accents, faulty grammar, and lack of vocabulary, but let conversation flow freely so that you’re learning while you’re having fun!


MD, Florida

If you have any uncertainties about your upcoming adventure, it might be a good idea to use extra protection ?

If you’re looking for a Cancel for Any Reason policy, we suggest you shop for it here at

Cancel for any reason insurance covers personal things like scheduling conflicts and those crazy things that rarely happen – like global pandemics.

All of our programs include basic travel medical insurance with trip interruption, delays, lost bags, etc. Here is the standard description of coverage for your included travel insurance plan.

A few video comments from recent travelers:

Why does learning medical Spanish even matter?

  • It makes a tangible difference in the lives of your underserved patients every day

  • Your Spanish speaking patients get faster and better care

  • Your patients are immediately put at ease when they see you trying to meet them where they are

  • Your Spanish speaking patients have an advocate they can turn to within the healthcare system

  • You understand your patients more easily, so you are naturally less frustrated

  • You feel better about your work with Spanish-only patient

My teacher was the most phenomenal teacher there is. When I first started all I could do was say broken sentences. I could only speak in the present tense. I knew some conjugations but not very much. I wasn’t very confident. Between my teacher and my host mom, I was surrounded by people who wanted to help me learn and grow in my Spanish abilities.


Paramedic, Connecticut

Our location in Ecuador

Our location in Ecuador

Our programs in Ecuador run in Cuenca. Cuenca is city south of Quito that was known as the northern capital of the Inca empire before the Spanish arrived. It’s a beautiful colonial city with a lot of cultural heritage and historic sites.

Our location in Costa Rica

Our programs in Costa Rica are based in Santo Domingo de Heredia. Santo Domingo is a suburb to the north of San José. It’s not a tourist community, it’s perfect for immersion. It also gives us great access to hotspots around Costa Rica

I was very impressed with the organization of this trip, from the pre-departure courses and meetings through everything… It was set up perfectly so that you get enough immersion experience but feel comfortable, welcomed and like you’re being taken care of. I couldn’t have asked for a better trip and experience.


PA, Ohio

Medical Spanish Immersion & International Rotation Informational Webinar.

This video is 12 minutes, so grab some paper to make notes, and dive in to the details of the best medical Spanish immersion trip for healthcare. In this info webinar you will learn all about:

  • The purpose and mission of our programs

  • The towns we’re based in

  • How the 4 unique components work for you

  • How to be certain if this trip is right for you

  • Our goals for you

  • Schedule and budget requirements

  • 3 ways we help you make a difference with your Spanish-only patients

  • Program inclusions

  • The day to day schedule on immersion

  • Additional budgeting items to consider

What are our guiding principles for medical work abroad? Read our Medical Mission Statement to see how we practice responsible and respectful medical mission work abroad while you learn Medical Spanish in Costa Rica.

Medical Spanish Immersion FAQs

How is this program different from other medical missions or medical Spanish seminars abroad?

Common Ground’s medical Spanish immersion programs are unique in several ways from other travel programs available to healthcare professionals and students. Primarily, the differences relate to pre-trip preparation. Secondly, the integration into the local communities and the type of medical outreach work we do is unique. Finally, out-of-class learning experiences and program supervision make this trip the best medical Spanish immersion program available.
For a more detailed explanation of how our programs are different, read our blog post here: ( Most importantly, if you’re not sure how to choose between the programs you’re considering, we’ll be happy to help. For example, we can give you a free comparison/contrast with any other program you’re considering. In short, it will be our pleasure to help you make a well-informed decision on which program will be best for you.

*What about Continuing Medical Education (CME) for providers & Continuing Education (CE) for nurses?

This live activity, Medical Spanish Immersion in Ecuador & Costa Rica, has been reviewed and is acceptable for up to 20 Prescribed credit(s) by the American Academy of Family Physicians. As such, physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.
Provider approved by the California Board of Registered Nursing, Provider #14584, for 20 Contact Hours per week of immersion.
*CME & CE credits are optional and billed separately here.

Who usually travels on these medical Spanish immersion programs?

We accept healthcare students and professionals from across the country on these medical Spanish Immersion programs. Therefore, while everyone has unique careers and varying professional aspirations, they all have something in common. Above all, the one thing that EVERYONE has in common is a sense that they need Spanish for their work with patients. For example, some students are participating in a formal International Rotation through Common Ground.  Others are just trying to bolster their Spanish before they hit the job market.
There is usually a high number of RNs and Nurse Practitioners on our programs as well. However, regardless of your profession, our goal is to match your expertise with a need in the communities where we work to benefit the local population. We have a small team of physicians and PAs that help supervise our programs in Costa Rica and Ecuador, therefore we’re able to ensure that our outreach work remains ethical, accurate, and applicable to the local populations that we serve.

How can I prepare for the Medical Spanish Immersion?

Preparation is one of the key elements of our Mission Statement for responsible international medical work. Therefore, you can and should be preparing as much as possible with your Spanish language before traveling. As mentioned elsewhere, beginners are accepted onto the programs without hesitation. However, you will never regret a single minute of Spanish preparation before you travel. There is a truism when it comes to language immersion programs: the more you know before you travel, the more you learn while abroad.

The stronger your foundation is in Spanish before participating in a program, the more you have to build on when you are in-country. So if you can make time for it, consider working on a few essential medical Spanish topics before you travel to make sure you’re ready to go.

If you feel that conversation & speaking is your biggest weakness, join Intercambio today to launch your Spanish conversational skills!

You will also be joining a series of live webinar meetings online to help you prepare. For example, we’ll review logistics and plan the medical outreach work that you’ll be participating in. We typically have 4 meetings in the 2-4 months preceding a program that systematically help you prepare for your travel.

Can I join if my Spanish is beginning level?

Yes, of course. Our Medical Spanish Immersion Programs are designed to improve your Spanish while you help communities with specific needs and learn about concepts of health and factors that affect healthy living in Latin America. We strongly believe that improving your Spanish proficiency is key to providing enhanced service to your Spanish-only patients in your home community, so we don’t turn people away at any level.
However, remember that as a beginner, you face frustrations and challenges that intermediate and advanced level speakers don’t face. For example, it takes you longer to get comfortable with your host family, you strain harder to follow conversations and presentations that we receive. Additionally, you work harder to develop and facilitate your charlas. That said, it’s totally worth it. In fact, every trip beginners thank us for allowing them to participate because they can’t believe how much progress they’ve made with their Spanish.

How are the facilities chosen where we will be working?

We work with different non-profit groups with different missions. However, they all focus on bringing health education & healthcare to the poor and under-served in several different communities around Costa Rica and Ecuador. We spend significant time in schools or other public meeting places in these communities in order to deliver our preventive health education and respond to the identified needs of the community. For more information on our guiding principles for health work abroad, please see our mission statement.

What medical issues do the target communities we’ll be working with suffer from?

Of course this is variable, but in general we see individuals with high blood sugar, high blood pressure, malnutrition, oral health needs, STIs, anxiety, depression, and a handful of other common conditions. In general you can expect a large amount of preventative health education to women and children. Therefore, we focus heavily on educating our patient populations so that they can make informed health decisions when we’re not present. You will receive much more detailed information about the specifics of the medical outreach work and the communities in which you’ll be working during pre-departure orientation.

What about donations?

During your pre-departure course, we may ask you to collect both physical and financial donations for your work on immersion. Your donations will relate directly to any charlas that you will be giving in select communities. For example, if you’re giving a talk on oral hygiene, we will suggest that your charla group try and secure toothbrush and travel toothpaste donations to accompany your charla. Other situations may lend themselves more to health education materials as donations. So, no rush at the moment, you will receive more details on the talks you will be delivering and have the opportunity to define your own donation items during your pre-departure preparation.

What sort of liability insurance do I need for this immersion trip?

Medical liability insurance is not required for the work we do since we do not provide medical care as a general rule. If, however, we have the opportunity provide primary care to patients, we take special caution. For example, it will always be underneath the supervision of a local healthcare worker and his/her organization. Because we want to always provide sustainable medical outreach services, we spend a lot of time educating patients about healthy lifestyle options in resource poor settings. This is great for you as a participant as well because you get to practice explaining the very same educational topics that you need to explain to your patients back home as well. For more information on our guiding principles for health work abroad, please see our mission statement.

Should I bring medical equipment?

Since our work is primarily educational, nothing is REQUIRED. However, you may have opportunities to use some basic equipment during a health education piece. For example, portable items like: stethoscope, otoscope, ophthalmoscope, bp cuffs, thermometers, glucometers, etc. Contact us any time for more info on the specific medical Spanish immersion program you’re considering.

Can I bring my family with me?

Of course!
We’re a family business and we have experienced the joys of sharing this experience with our own 3 children. So, we’re happy to have your family join you on your immersion program.
This does require some additional planning. Therefore, we will want to know that you’re thinking about bringing a spouse and/or children sooner rather than later.

Shopping Cart



Hold your spot for 30 days. These trips fill up on a first come, first served basis. But you can hold your spot with no obligation.


I want to learn more!

Join Leslie and Rory for the immersion info meeting.

And be sure to stay through the end for program discounts!

Keep an eye out for and email or two from Rory Foster [email protected] with login details for the Immersion info webinar... See you online!