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Spanish immersion program recommendations


Specializes in Community & Mental Health, Sp Ed nursing. Has 3 years experience.

I would like to immerse myself in Spanish this summer and am looking for a Spanish language course south of the US border.

These are my primary learning goals:

* Calming and comforting a patient

* Reviewing medical history

* Clarifying patient symptoms

* Full assessments

These are my secondary learning goals:

* Gain and understanding of the current

health care issues facing the population I am serving.

* Comprehend the health care delivery system

in Mexico (or another country).

* Increase my cultural competency.

I am interested in specific immersion school recommendations that any nurse has attended within the last 3 years. Links are much appreciated. BTW, I have very little Spanish and would like to go for 6 weeks.



RN in December 2008

Hey there, who did u end up going with.....city, price, clinical, etc. thx


Specializes in Community & Mental Health, Sp Ed nursing. Has 3 years experience.

I ended up going to Pop-Wuj in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala (also known as Xela). I found it through the UCSF website so I knew it was good, but I booked it on my own. I don't understand why the med school programs are sooo much cheaper than the nurse programs. I picked the cheapest one I could find for the med. school, it was $250/week, for 3 meal/day with family and 5 hours of private instruction/day. (w/o the volunteering in the clinic option the cost is $160/week). After two weeks immersion, I went to a 1 week cultural competency class continuing with language study in the afternoon. The last 3 weeks I worked everyday in the clinic or on the van in the mornings with yet more language classes every afternoon. Mostly first year med students and nurses were in this program. The med students could speak Spanish, but had no patient care. I focused on doing a good assessment and less on learning the Spanish in the medical setting. If I had to do it again, I would have focused on learning the Spanish and not volunteering in the clinic so much. I didn't learn as much as I would have expected.

I will be returning to Guate this summer, though I'm not sure I'll be go to the same school. I have been invited to to Antigua to stay with a friend of a friend. Antiqua is expensive and this would make the cost the same.

Xela is a better town, I found it more lively, and far less touristy than Antigua. However it is colder, since it it at elevation, and this year is shaping up to be a very wet, cold year. They do not heat their houses in Xela and my room was very cold, I heard the same complaint from my classmates.

Lake Atitlan is very beautiful and if I could find a place to stay with a good program, that would be my first choice.

I will be going somewhere this summer for 4-6 weeks just not sure where yet. I'm considering an immersion program through my local community college. I'd get credit for it and they have learning competencies I'd have to achieve, though it really is expensive and not one to one learning.

Links for schools and info in Guate:



Hi geocachingRN,

Your post was very helpful, especially the link to the UCSF website. I've always wanted to travel in Guatemala, and I also want to practice my clinical skills while getting some mileage on my spanish.

I'm an "intermediate" speaker, and I simply need more practice.

I'm currently a BSN student, have just finished Med-surg 1, and will have my Med-surg 2, OB, and mental health, and Peds rotations done by the time I plan to do spanish immersion again in August. With all those rotations under my belt, do you think the clinic/volunteer opportunities offered by Pop-Wuj will actually help my clinical practice?



Specializes in Community & Mental Health, Sp Ed nursing. Has 3 years experience.

As you are an intermediate level speaker, consider calling the US director of Pop-Wuj she can coordinate for you to volunteer at a clinic in Santa Cruz, on Lake Atitlan. You would be working with the indigenous popn and an American couple who run it and living at one of the most beautiful lakes in the world. My Spanish isn't good enough, maybe next year for me.

Good luck and please post when you have decided what program you would like to do.


Has 1 years experience.

I'm a few years late seeing this thread! But, I also looked into Pop-Wuj. I've emailed the director of the Medical spanish language course and asked her a few questions which she did answer but not into much detail. I'm very interested in the program and I wanted to know more about your experience..

Did you have your classes and clinicals with the other American students? Also, how were arrangements at the airport?

(Most importantly,) Do you feel more confident speaking to Hispanics using medical spanish?

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