A Premed/Prehealth Summer Study Abroad
NOTE:  Advanced Spanish is NOT required.  Students join as Novice, Beginner, Intermediate, or Advanced.
"Who Else Wants to Learn Spanish & Shadow Doctors in Latin America?"
  • Spanish Immersion: Intensive language course in a "Spanish everywhere" environment
  • Medical Shadowing: Observe patient interactions in real-world Chilean clinics and hospitals
  • Short-Term: Come for 4, 8, or 12 weeks.  (students typically earn one college credit for each week)

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Prehealth/Premed Study Abroad:   
Learn Spanish & Shadow Doctors in Latin America
Chile/Argentina, Summer 2020

Spanish & Medicine features (clockwise from top left) small group Spanish classes, medical shadowing, cultural activities, volunteering.

"Did you know the USA has more Spanish speakers than Spain?"
In fact, only Mexico has more (for now)
What does that mean for the future of healthcare?
Are today's students prepared for America's demographic realities?
If you are a premed/prehealth student and you are not fluent in Spanish (but would like to be) AND you have a sense of adventure AND you like meeting new people, please read this page in its entirety.
Students get briefed for their shadowing placements
Who is Spanish & Medicine Study Abroad for?
The program is for premed/prehealth students who want to:
  • Treat your future Spanish-speaking patients in their own language, safely and with empathy
  • Gain medical shadowing hours to add to your academic credentials
  • Proudly put "fluent in Spanish" on your job and grad school applications
You are eligible to apply if:
  • You are a future healthcare professional
  • You will have completed at least one year of college studies before the start date
  • ​You have a genuine desire to treat your future Spanish-speaking patients in their own language
  • ​You are able to spend 4 (or more) weeks far from home and away from your friends and family
"There is a Chronic Shortage of American Healthcare Professionals that Speak Spanish"
- IMDiversity
Meet Some Students:
"What can you tell us about Spanish & Medicine experience?"
"Go out and meet the people from the city. Meet locals...that's how you practice your Spanish."
"I was a little nervous because I had never left Texas before, but I'm really happy I decided to do this." 
"I don't have similar opportunities in the States, but here I've watched surgeries and shadowed doctors."
"I was so nervous.  It was my first time out of the country,..when I got here everyone was so supportive."
"I have never met, here or elsewhere, so many amazing people. I wish I could take you all back to Mississippi with me." 
"People are absolutely professional... the staff and teachers treated us perfectly, taught us well."
"I want to learn Spanish to be able to help more people in the United States, where a lot of people speak Spanish."
"I learned lots of medical terminology and in the future will be able to speak with my patients in Spanish." 
"I talked to a bunch of doctors and nurses and the medical shadowing was really helpful."
"The [Spanish] classes are awesome, but my favorite part of the program has been shadowing doctors here."
"I'm a global health student and want to learn Spanish for my career. So far I've met many patients in the clinic for diabetes."
"I've seen how different it is from the United States and I realized how lucky we are to have what we do."
"When I'm here I learn a lot of Spanish...many new words...and things about the culture of Latin America.."
"One of the best things is I've become friends with the staff and they've been very supportive the entire time." 
"I highly recommend the trip. I've had a great time seeing what the healthcare system is like."
"As a premed student, this program was really unique in that it offered Spanish classes and shadowing opportunities."
"It's very important...in the United States a lot of patients have an easier time speaking Spanish than English." 
"I've had an amazing time here and I'd do it again one hundred percent. It's been fantastic."
"I had no idea what to expect and was nervous, but the people were so welcoming and so nice."
"I thought it was going to be so bad, but it ended up being one of the best experiences of my life." 
"I have taken lots of Spanish before, and I am here to improve my hearing and speaking."
"I came here with essentially no Spanish, and I'm leaving a lot more confident in my language skills."
"It really helped me understand how medicine works in countries other than the United States." 
"It's been an amazing experience to be here and learn Spanish and make such great friends."
"I got to see some surgeries and consultations with Dr. Safron who was very helpful."
"I was pleasantly surprised to find such a warm community. I've made some lifelong friends." 
"There are tons of opportunities for shadowing nurses and doctors in different fields."
"I saw a lot off really cool things like surgeries with a gastroenterologist. I wish I could stay longer."
"It really opened my eyes to the possibilities of becoming a Spanish-speaking doctor." 
"I came to Chile not knowing anything about the country, but I've had a phenomenal time here."
"Lower quality of health care and worse health outcomes are more likely when language barriers exist between patients and provider"
- US National Library of Medicine
"We could look upon physicians' learning of Spanish as a type of medical intervention. As with any sound medical tool, it is designed to positively affect as many patients as possible with minimal investment of resources."
- AMA Journal of Ethics, from "Should All U.S. Physicians Speak Spanish?"
Spanish & Medicine Details
The study abroad program is carefully designed to prepare future healthcare professionals for success in America's demographic realities.
Component 1: Medical Shadowing
The medical shadowing rotations are designed to give you exposure to real-world Spanish in healthcare situations AND to help develop your empathy for Latino cultures:
  • AAMC-Compliant All shadowing meets standards established by the AAMC.  Students observe interactions with patients but are not permitted to touch patients.
  • One or Several Disciplines  You have the opportunity to stick to one healthcare specialty or sample different areas.  Students work with a Spanish & Medicine advisor to customize schedules.
  • Real-World Spanish  Actual conversations with actual patients let you absorb the language in a "not watered down" scenario so you get comfortable out of the classroom
  • Make Do With Less  The clinics are often short on resources so you will see how they provide excellent care despite lacking what many American hospitals consider essential 
  • Personal Statement Material  Be sure to keep a journal so you can recall your experience in South American clinics for your essays on job and graduate applications.
Shadowing healthcare professionals in South America
Component 2: Spanish Immersion
Most students find the Spanish immersion experience very different (and more effective) than prior classes in high school or college:
  • Extra Small Classes A maximum of 7 students gives you an optimal learning environment - large enough to keep things interesting, but small enough for individual attention
  • Easy to Participate  The comfortable setting (like going to a cafe with friends) facilitates conversation, even for students that don't usually raise their hands
  • Students Fully Present  Almost of all of our students love the classes, with comments like "For the first time in my life I woke up looking forward to class...and dreaded days off."
  • No Juggling of Classes  Your only academic class will be Spanish, so your mind will not need to waste energy switching topics several times each day
  • 360 Degrees of Spanish  The "Spanish everywhere" environment keeps you motivated since you get to try out your new language skills the very same day you learn them
  • College Credit  Each 4-week session gives you the equivalent of one college semester course (We work with your university to arrange the transcript)
Small group Spanish classes finally give you the repetitions you need to get fluent.
Above: Boarding train for a weekend away, ready for shadowing, extra Spanish help.

First Few Days

Saturday PM Leave USA (you will likely have an overnight flight)
Sunday AM Pickup at airport and taken to housing Most students either live with a local hosts or in a shared student apartment
Sunday PM Explore neighborhood & meet housemates Recuperate after a long trip and get ready for Monday.
Monday AM First day of class We make sure you are situated at the appropriate Spanish level.
Monday PM Orientation lunch + city tour Most students come alone, but begin making friendships early.
Tuesday Settle into normal routine

Typical Schedule

9:00 Spanish Class Small group classes with a 20 minute break. With lots of conversation practice the time passes much faster than in a one-to-many (lecture) environment.
12:40 Lunch Most students go out for lunch at a nearby restaurant, which are usually much more affordable than what similar offerings at home.
14:00 Medical Shadowing Rotations are a few hours and focus on observing one or more healthcare professionals. Most will discuss the cases with you between patients.
17:00 Free time siesta, dinner, homework, meet up with other students, cultural activities, etc.
Spanish & Medicine F.A.Q.
Who is Spanish & Medicine for?
It is carefully designed for pre-health students who anticipate using Spanish in their careers.
The ideal student:
+ can live without all the creature comforts of home.
+ enjoys meeting new people and is culturally curious.
+ has a desire to witness health care in action.
+ has a genuine interest in learning Spanish.
Who is the program NOT for?
You will not be happy if you:
- require hands-on practice (our shadowing is based on ethical observation, not practicing) 
- only want to participate to “stand out” on grad school and job applications
- only want the college credit and have no real interest in using Spanish
- need a high-comfort environment or are a "Debbie Downer"
Does the shadowing comply with AAMC study abroad standards?
Yes. The clinics we partner with for shadowing, as well as local health care regulations, do not allow our students to diagnose patients or to perform medical procedures. You will be observing the professionals that do.
How do participants receive academic credit?
Depending on your level, you will receive a transcript from Bolivariana (South America) or Brookhaven (USA).
What is the minimum level of Spanish required?
There is no minimal level of Spanish. Our school has complete beginners all the way through people that teach Spanish themselves.
Beginning students often advance the most, yet understand the least. It will be frustrating at first, yet by the end you will be surprised at your abilities.
What’s included in the tuition?
Your Spanish & Medicine tuition includes: 
+ all Spanish instruction, including additional classes on medical Spanish
+ all course material
+ academic transcript
+ housing with a local host
+ medical component (shadowing, guest lectures, field trips)
What additional expenses should students allow for?
You should also budget for:
>>> plane ticket to South America  You can save a lot of money by searching for student tickets
 >>> “walking around” money (lunch, snacks, entertainment etc.) about half what you pay in North America 
>>> optional school activities. Excursions are optional and you pay only for the ones you want. Usually they are inexpensive – for example, the cooking class everyone puts in a few dollars (and then gets to eat the food anyway)
Start Dates & Fees (Summer 2020):
Session 1  May 25 (Chile)
Session 2  June 22 (Argentina)
Session 3  July 20 (Chile)
Session 4  Aug. 17 (Argentina)
Student Investment 
Tuition & Fees: $890 per week
Housing (optional)  $390 per week
* You may join us for 1, 2, or 3 sessions.  (Each session is 4 weeks).  Typical college credit is one course per 4-week session.  
** Includes Spanish course, materials, medical shadowing, cultural activities, academic transcript, administration fees
*** Housing:  Local host with half board (breakfast, dinner)

If you're ready to find out if Spanish & Medicine is for you, here's what's next:     

  • Click the button below to complete a short survey about your background and goals.
  • Then, you'll be allowed to choose a time to speak with a program advisor for a free discovery session. These calls are consultative in nature and are designed to explore your readiness for a Spanish & Medicine trip
  • From there, you will decide if you'd like us to improve your Spanish and get you shadowing experience. It's that simple.
Copyright 2019 Spanish & Medicine

New El Pulso Spanish & Medicine Quarterly Report

(PDF) El Pulso - Program newsletter
Contains:  interviews with students (and advisors), cultural insights, medical fascinations, new photos, feedback from USA road show.