Spanish for Health Care Professionals in Oaxaca, Mexico
Health Science 300 (6 cr.)
This program is designed to strengthen students’ Spanish language skills while introducing them to global health concepts and organizations working to improve health in Mexico. We combine rigorous classroom language instruction, daily conversation practice with a local partner, and Medical Spanish at the Instituto Cultural Oaxaca (ICO) with cultural excursions, learning modules on the health care system, and volunteer experience in the local community. Both students and faculty live in homestays with local families, and for the last two weeks the students are assigned to volunteer at local health care or social service agencies. The combination of language immersion and experiential learning allows students to build fluency in Spanish while also learning how culture, diet, modern medicine and indigenous healing traditions intersect in a richly multicultural society.
1 week, early May (TBD): Global Health Seminar on campus with Dr. Nestro
July 5 - August 6: Language & cultural immersion in Oaxaca, Mexico
Intermediate through advanced Spanish
Homestays with local families
Excursions to cultural sites, local clinics and NGOs
2-week volunteer placement
Term of enrollment: Spring 2018
Located on the grounds of a 19th century estate, the Spanish language School at Instituto Cultural Oaxaca has been welcoming students from all over the world since 1984. Their method is total immersion at every level, thus ensuring that students really learn to use the language on a daily basis. To enhance the language and cultural learning, the Institute provides numerous day trips and weekend excursions, as well as workshops where students can try their hand at Oaxacan cooking and handicrafts such as ceramics and weaving. The UMSN group will make frequent outings to local museums, markets and other historical and cultural sites. Weekend trips outside the city will introduce students to pre-Hispanic and colonial sites. Also included: a 2-day Ecotour to visit high altitude ecosystems such as cloud forests and bromeliad and orchid habitats.
This program is intended primarily for undergraduate nursing students, but all U-M undergraduates who are returning to campus in Fall 2018 are encouraged to apply. Students graduating in April 2018 are not eligible. Graduate students in health disciplines are also welcome to apply.
Applicants who have not taken Spanish or been evaluated in the last 2 years may take the U-M Spanish Department's online placement exam; a placement of Spanish 231 or above indicates intermediate proficiency. If you have any questions, please email Prof. Megan Eagle at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Minimum GPA: 2.5
Health Science 300 (6 cr.) The course will be taught using multiple methods including classroom language instruction, web-based technologies, health care focused experiences, journaling, and weekly seminar discussions. Weekly seminars will be organized around the six competencies of global health education:
global burden of disease
health implications of migration, travel and displacement
social and environmental determinants of health
globalization of health and healthcare
healthcare in low resource settings
health as a human right and development resource
The course begins in Ann Arbor with a 1-week introduction to the Mexican health care system in the context of global health as a discipline. In addition to lectures and discussion, students will visit local health and social service agencies that serve a predominantly Latino population.
The first two weeks in Oaxaca will be spent in mornings of intensive Spanish language classes at the ICO, with students sorted into appropriate levels by placement test on arrival. Afternoons will be devoted to conversation practice and specialized health vocabulary building, which will continue throughout the entire four weeks. The last two weeks will be an immersion in the local health care environment, with continued health vocabulary and conversation practice in the afternoons.
Students will also be required to create a poster on a global health topic for presentation at the School of Nursing during the following Fall term.
Language of Instruction
Term of Enrollment
UMSN Faculty Director Dr. Leslie Nestro, DNP, FNP-C, Lecturer
Credits & Course Number
Health Science 300, 6 credits (eligible to fulfill both credit and global experience requirements for the Nursing minor, "Population Health in a Global Context"
PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS PROGRAM DOES REQUIRE U of M TUITION AS PART OF THE OVERALL PROGRAM COST. THIS IS SEPARATE FROM THE PROGRAM FEE AND IS NOTED IN THE PROGRAM BUDGET.
The 2018 Program Fee is TBD. It includes ICO tuition and fees, homestay with breakfast, all program activities and [Student demonstrates injection] excursions, HTH health insurance coverage, airport pick-up and drop-off in Oaxaca. See attached budget sheet for estimate of additional costs.
Funding / Financial Aid Opportunities
Contact Mike Ross in the Office of Financial Aid regarding Spring/Summer Aid. Nursing students are eligible for scholarships through the Office of Global Outreach. Other students should consult their home college/unit for funding options.
Passport and Visa
A current passport, valid for at least 6 months beyond the end date of the program, is required.
Applications are accepted in M-Compass.
Students will be placed in shared rooms in homestays with local families selected and screened by the ICO. Breakfast is included, and additional meals can also be arranged for a set fee.
Need to Know
A mandatory predeparture orientation will be scheduled for early March.