Learn Medical Spanish on Immersion in Costa Rica, Ecuador & Nicaragua | CME & CE accredited Programs
2-weeks total trip length
2-6 weeks in length; you choose!
2-3 weeks in length
*All programs in Nicaragua are currently paused pending resolutions to political unrest. Contact Us if you would like to discuss.
Medical Spanish Immersion with Common Ground Int’l is The Best Way to Learn Medical Spanish and earn CME & CE credits!
This medical Spanish immersion program in Central & South America is specifically designed for healthcare professionals and healthcare students to maximize your learning every moment…
4-Minute Immersion Trip Intro
Everyone knows that immersion is the best way to learn medical Spanish. So the question now becomes: “What is the most effective way to do immersion, and who is a partner I can trust? I guarantee you won’t be disappointed with our medical Spanish immersion course abroad!”
My Spanish has improved so much! I am able to actually have a fluid conversation in Spanish and it’s so wonderful. I cannot even begin to describe how much better my Spanish is now. I can now talk in the past tense and use indirect/direct pronouns with confidence – that is huge for me!!!
Flights, Passports & Visa Requirements:
Top 10 Suggestions for International Travel:
You can’t find another program like this one:
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 to help you learn medical Spanish (and general conversational Spanish) through everything you do Mon – Fri. Here is how we do it:
- You learn medical Spanish in daily medical Spanish immersion classes (and general Spanish immersion classes) with native Spanish speakers
- You stay 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 Central America
- You deliver health education on volunteer medical projects to target communities with identified health needs
- You attend health lectures in Spanish by local healthcare providers and tour local hospitals and clinics
- You earn Continuing Medical Education Credits*: Category 1 / Prescribed CME credit for providers and CE credits for nurses.
- You’re not alone: When you travel with Common Ground is that you are not on your own. At a very minimum, you have the CGI onsite coordinator with your during your whole 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 with a clear track record of amazing Spanish immersion programs. You can call us up at any time, speak English (or Spanish), and get your questions answered immediately. That’s worth its weight in gold!
Registration is open for 2019 Programs…
2-Week Total Medical Spanish Immersion Programs
Nicaragua: January 26 – February 9, 2019 | June 29 – July 13, 2019 (Programming in Nicaragua in 2019 is still pending the political situation and safety for US travelers. If situation remains unstable, all programming will run in Costa Rica starting January 26) Learn more about Nicaragua’s situation here.
Costa Rica Program: June 29 – July 13 or July 6 – July 20, 2019 | January 25 – February 8, 2020
Ecuador Program: November 2 – November 16, 2019 | July 18 – August 1, 2020
Fly in and out of Managua Nicaragua (MGA) – or –Fly in and out of San Jose (SJO) or Quito (UIO)
- Attend two weeks (Mon – Fri) of Spanish classes (medical and general)
- Visit various precarios in the outskirts of
Granada, Nicaragua orSan José, Costa Rica or Quito & Cuenca and develop educational charlas that help the communities improve quality of life.
- Learn about access to healthcare and standards of care for the mainstream society and those who live in poverty
- Provide preventative health care education in conjunction with existing local efforts in these communities
3-Week Total Medical Spanish Immersion Programs:
Nicaragua – Costa Rica Combo Program: January 26 – February 16, 2019 | June 29 – July 20, 2019 (Programming in Nicaragua in 2019 is still pending the political situation and safety for US travelers. If situation remains unstable, all programming will run in Costa Rica starting January 26) Learn more about Nicaragua’s situation here.
Costa Rica Only Program: June 29 – July 20 or July 6 – July 27, 2019 | January 25 – February 15, 2020
Ecuador Program: November 2 – November 23, 2019 | July 18 – August 8, 2020
The 2 week medical Spanish immersion program plus:
- Another week of medical outreach work in underserved communities with marginalized populations
- Another week (Mon – Fri) of medical Spanish classes
- Working with children and their families on general health and hygiene practices
- Wilderness medicine course at Reserva Alto Coca (Ecuador Program only)
Travel: Fly in and out of Costa Rica (SJO) or Quito, Ecuador (UIO)
4-Week Total Medical Spanish Immersion Programs & MD, PA, NP International Rotations
Nicaragua – Costa Rica Combo Program: January 26 – February 23, 2019 | June 20 – July 27, 2019 (Programming in Nicaragua in 2019 is still pending the political situation and safety for US travelers. If situation remains unstable, all programming will run in Costa Rica starting January 26) Learn more about Nicaragua’s situation here.
Costa Rica Only Program: June 29 – July 20 or July 6 – July 27, 2019 | January 25 – February 22, 2020
The activities and details of the 3 week Costa Rica program plus:
- Another week of medical outreach work in underserved communities with marginalized populations
- Another week (Mon – Fri) of medical Spanish classes
- Optional clinical observations within a Costa Rican hospital (available to individuals with intermediate level Spanish & clinical experience)
- Join local ATAPS as they make house visits in a Nicaraguan shanty-town in the outskirts of San José Costa Rica.
- Time to explore some of the sights in the Central Valley and visit cultural points of interest in San José and Heredia
Travel: Fly in and out of Costa Rica (SJO)
5-Week Total Medical Spanish Immersion Programs & PharmD International APPE Rotations*:
Nicaragua – Costa Rica Combo Program: January 26 – March 2, 2019 | June 29 – August 3, 2019 (Programming in Nicaragua in 2019 is still pending the political situation and safety for US travelers. If situation remains unstable, all programming will run in Costa Rica starting January 26) Learn more about Nicaragua’s situation here.
Costa Rica Only Program: June 29 – August 3 or July 6 – August 10, 2019 | January 25 – March 1, 2020
*PharmD APPE rotation limited to summer program dates. Blocks begin one or two weeks into our normal medical Spanish immersion programs. Depending on the season, your rotation will begin either in week 2 or week 3 of the general medical program. Since your start date is staggered, you will complete your rotation two or three weeks after the 4-week medical program completes.
- The activities and details of weeks 3 & 4 of the general medical Spanish immersion program plus
- 1 additional week of medical Spanish language school and host family lodging in Costa Rica
- 1-2 weeks of local retail pharmacy placement (if PharmD student)
Travel: Fly in and out of Costa Rica (SJO)
6-Week Total Medical Spanish Immersion Programs:
Nicaragua – Costa Rica Combo Program: January 26 – March 9, 2019 | June 29 – August 10, 2019 (Programming in Nicaragua in 2019 is still pending the political situation and safety for US travelers. If situation remains unstable, all programming will run in Costa Rica starting January 26) Learn more about Nicaragua’s situation here.
Costa Rica Only Program: June 29 – August 10, 2019 | January 25 – March 8, 2020
The activities and details of weeks 3 & 4 of the general medical Spanish immersion program plus
- 2-3 additional weeks of medical Spanish language school and host family lodging in Costa Rica
Travel: Fly out of Costa Rica (SJO)
A few video testimonials from recent travelers:
More thoughts from recent travelers:
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.
I loved being put outside of my comfort zone. I was nervous about living with a family I didn’t know and not being able to speak the same language as them but they were very accommodating and very nice. I loved that the instructors (Rory, Safiro, and Dr. Steve) continually encouraged me to speak in Spanish. If I could do the whole thing over, I would stay for the 4 week program instead of the 2!
Top 4 Medical Spanish Immersion Questions Answered (11 min):
Get the inside scoop from Rory, the program director, on the most common questions re: safety, fit for beginning learners, date flexibility, if spouses, s.o.’s and family can join.
Why does learning medical Spanish even matter?
Learning medical Spanish matters for a variety of reasons:
- It makes a tangible difference in the lives of your underserved patients every day
- Your patients are immediately put at ease when they see you trying to meet them where they are
- You understand your patients more easily, and are less frustrated
- Your SSO patients get faster and better care
- You feel better about your work with Spanish-only patient
When you learn medical Spanish on immersion with Common Ground, you learn it by participating in a well-rounded total Spanish immersion context that includes medical outreach work (volunteer medical projects in underserved communities), medical Spanish classes, host family lodging and weekend adventures. You work hard and you have a lot of fun; but the bigger picture, the real reason that we invite you to participate in this medical Spanish immersion trip, is that you take medical Spanish back to your home community and you give better care to your patients for a lifetime!
Learn more about how we’ve intentionally designed the following experiences to create a total medical Spanish immersion program for you:
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 & International Rotation Informational Webinar. This video is 22 minutes. 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
- How the 4 unique components work for you
- Our goals for you
- 3 ways we help you make a difference with your Spanish-only patients
- The day to day schedule on immersion
- The towns we’re based in
- How to be certain if this trip is right for you
- Schedule and budget requirements
- Program inclusions
- Additional budgeting items to consider
Btw: If you’re working on learning Spanish for your healthcare career, we have the medical Spanish you need!
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 options available to healthcare professionals and students. Primary, the differences relate to pre-trip preparation, integration into the local communities and the type of medical outreach work we do, out-of-class learning experiences, and program supervision. For a more detailed explanation of how our programs are different, read our blog post here: (https://commongroundinternational.com/immersion-in-costa-rica/medical-spanish-immersion-trips/). If you’re not sure how to choose between the programs you’re considering, we’ll also be happy to give a free comparison/contrast with any other program you’re considering. 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 Nicaragua & Costa Rica has been reviewed and is acceptable for up to 22.50 Prescribed credit(s) by the American Academy of Family Physicians. 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.
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. While everyone has unique careers and varying professional aspirations, the one thing that EVERYONE has in common is a sense that they need Spanish for their work with patients. Some of the students are participating in a formal International Rotation in Costa Rica through Common Ground, and 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. 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 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. 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 reality is that the stronger your foundation is in Spanish before participating in a program, the more you have to build on when you are in-country. You will also be joining a series of live webinar meetings online to help you prepare for 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. As a beginner, you face frustrations and challenges that intermediate and advanced level speakers don’t face (it takes you longer to get comfortable with your host family, you strain harder to follow conversations and presentations that we receive, and you work harder to develop and facilitate your charlas) – but it’s totally worth it and 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 a few different non-profit groups that focus on bringing health education & healthcare to the poor and under-served in several different communities around the Central Valley of Costa Rica and the Granada area of Nicaragua. We spend significant time in schools or other public meeting places in these communities 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. 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. 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. We do not provide medical care as a general rule. If we have the opportunity provide primary care to patients, it will always 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; 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. Simple and portable items like: your stethoscope, otoscope, ophthalmoscope, bp cuffs for adults, children and infants, thermometers, glucometers, etc. We’ll be able to give you more specific information relating to the specific program you’re applying for after application.
Can I bring my family with me?
Of course! We’re happy to have your family join you on your immersion program. This does require some additional planning – so we will want to know that you’re thinking about bringing a spouse and/or children sooner rather than later.
The ratings and reviews for this Medical Spanish Immersion trip in Nicaragua and Costa Rica speak for themselves