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Elective Rotation: Spanish immersion in Costa Rica


Contact: Serena Edwards

Location: La Fortuna, Costa Rica

I did a 2-week Spanish immersion in Costa Rica with classes in medical Spanish through the Institute for Spanish Language Studies. During my two weeks in La Fortuna, I stayed with a host family, and a private Spanish tutor came to the house for four hours of lessons per day. Several afternoons each week, I spent 2-3 hours at a private general practice clinic, discussing the healthcare system of Costa Rica with a local physician, shadowing him during patient visits, and learning vocabulary specific to medical Spanish.

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2 weeks in La Fortuna

From: Kimberly Clinite

I also took part in this program. I spent 2 weeks with a local family and received one-on-one instruction for 4 hours daily from an instructor who came to my home. She tailored lessons to my level and individual need. I also shadowed a local physician for 6 hours a week in the local urgent care clinic.

ISLS Spanish Immersion Program

From: Bill Elder

I enrolled in the same Spanish Immersion course as Dr. Edwards in La Fortuna, Costa Rica. While the one-on-one Spanish tutoring at the house was great for reviewing the fundamentals, the real value of this trip was staying with the host family and being constantly drawn into Spanish conversations. The city of La Fortuna also offered a number of eco-tourism options which were fun half-day excursions but ultimately quite touristy. If you are interested in going, be aware that La Fortuna is prone to sudden downpours, high humidity and exceedingly hot temperatures in the summer.

Spanish Immersion elective in San Pedro, Costa RIca

From: Dorothy Marshall

For my elective away, I went to the Institute for Spanish Language Studies (ISLS) in San Pedro, Costa Rica for Spanish Language Immersion. I intentionally chose conversational Spanish, as using medical Spanish in my clinic visits caused my other Spanish language skills to atrophy. I needed to spend time relearning what I forgot in order to be able to better communicate and understand my patients' entire stories. The experience was wonderful as it was daily intensive Spanish conversation with knowledgeable instructors during the day, and ongoing practice with Ticos after class. I would recommend it as well.