INTERNATIONAL EXPERIENCE REPORT

Name of Organization: Ohiyesa Language Proficiency Program
Location (city, country): Antigua, Guatemala
Dates of your attendance: June 14, 2001-July 16, 2001
Purpose of site institution (3-4 words): Spanish Language Proficiency/Cultural Competency
Is there a language requirement? If so, state language: The program is geared to those who have little to no experience with Spanish

Activities available:

volunteering at a local hospital

Opportunities appropriate for:

pre-clinical students

  1. Please describe your activities while abroad (eg, seeing patients, clinical research, public health project, etc.):
    This month-long program accepts pre-clinical medical students with little/no Spanish experience. During this time, I lived in a host family, and each weekday afternoon had 4 hours of one-on-one tutoring in Spanish. Mornings were spent differently. On average during the weekday am there were 4-5 hours of medical spanish classes and 6-8 hours of talks regarding nutrition, breast feeding, midwifery, and many other aspects of Guatemalan public health.

  2. Please describe the range of activities available, in addition to yours:
    There were also trips to a health care clinic, a hospital for severely impaired patients, a midwife's home, and more.

  3. Would you recommend this institution to other Penn medical students? Why?
    Highly. This program was very, VERY well run. My Spanish improved drastically, and I learned a lot about health issues in Guatemala. The other students who participated in the experience with me were of top notch, and fun to be with.

  4. What did you not like?
    Very little. Be aware, those of you with intermediate or more advanced Spanish, that this really is a program for beginners. It really is for those with LITTLE or NO background in the language. I went with 2 semesters of night classes under my belt, and was one of those with the most experience in the group. If you are keen on improving on your more advanced skills, I would still highly recommend going to Guatemala to learn Spanish--there are many good schools and they are very affordable. Most of them are either in Antigua or Quetzaltenango, also known as Xela. Probigua, the school at which I studied, is excellent. They use their profits to establish libraries in rural Guatemala.
    http://probigua.conexion.com/

  5. Is there an application process for this institution? How does one arrange a visit? Are there important dates to know about?
    Get in touch with Dr. Lyons. As far as I know, he doesn't send out applications for the program until January, but don't wait until then to contact him.

  6. What costs were associated with the trip, other than transportation. Please include institutional fees, housing costs, food, etc.:
    Other than transportation and personal expenses, there were no costs. Ohiyesa is a foundation that funds this program. Your enrollment fee at Probigua, the language school is paid for, as is your host family, who not only houses you but feeds you 6 days out of 7.

  7. Did you receive funding for this trip? If so, from whom and for how much? Please provide important information, such as contacts, application procedure, and due dates:
    See #5 and #6.

  8. Would you agree to be contacted by other students interested in this site? If so, please give your name and contact information:
    Jeremy Souder
    Email: souder@mail.med.upenn.edu
    Phone: (215) 662-5138

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