I just returned from a trip to Costa Rica, where I participated in Common Ground International’s Medical Spanish Immersion program! I 100% recommend it to anyone who, like me, loves to travel with a purpose. Imagine studying medical Spanish in Costa Rica! You are surrounded by natural beauty and wonderful people. Common Ground International ensures you learn more than Spanish. You truly experience the rich Tico culture and learn how Costa Ricans receive medical care. 

The trip was fantastic. We studied medical Spanish at Lapa Verde Spanish School in Santo Domingo de Heredia. Each student takes a pre-course exam that allows Common Ground International to place you in the appropriate class level. Additionally, Rory monitors things during the first day to ensure each student is in the correct class. There are 4 hours of classes daily. You can request private classes. That’s what I did so I could work on material for upcoming lessons! 

Each student has the opportunity to stay with a host family. This was a highlight of the trip! After dinner, conversations around the kitchen table were filled with laughter. It’s a perfect time to relax, forget mistakes, and communicate! I learned a lot of Tica phrases during these convos. Here are just a few:

¡Qué dicha! ~ How nice! 
¡Qué chiva! ~ That’s great! 
 ¡Tuanis! ~ Cool! 

They became your “familia Tica,” and you will likely build lifelong friendships. I can’t wait to return to my family next year. 😉 Yep. We are going back! 

We volunteered in a nearby community through the CEDCAS clinic. Honestly, medical volunteering in Latin America is tricky. It is essential to respect the local expertise of the Costa Rican providers and the cultural context within which they provide care. Common Ground International recognizes this. Therefore,  CEDCAS determines where we can be most helpful. This year, we provided health screenings. We measured height, weight, blood pressure, and blood sugar and discussed the results. We are not expected to provide care. We are there to support the care provided by the local healthcare professionals. 

We visited a major hospital in San Jose where doctors and nurses from the different departments explained a typical day and how patients receive care. A local nurse also gave us a well-organized presentation on the national healthcare system.  

Lapa Verde School even taught us how to cook and dance Tica style after hours. I have to admit, these were my favorite classes. 😉 

It was an experience of a lifetime!

Are you interested? Check out Common Ground International Spanish Immersion programs

I also worked on some new material with my teacher, Sandra, at Lapa Verde Spanish School. I will share this soon. But tomorrow, I must return to work at the hospital. Therefore, I will publish the next new lesson by Friday, February 23rd!

¡Pura vida!

Doc Molly


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