Exclusively for pre-med / pre-health students committed to making a difference with a career in heath care…

Cecilia Quezada, Program Director

Summer 2017: Who Else Wants to Earn 9 Spanish Credits, Shadow Health Care Professionals, and Travel the Best of South America?

(limited to 45 participants)

Spend 9 weeks in Latin America (Peru or Chile) with fellow pre-health students, observing doctors in real medical clinics and completing the equivalent of THREE college semester courses- all while having one of your life's greatest experiences.

Begin Application  $25 application fee

Are you willing to leave your ego (and comforts) behind while you greatly improve your Spanish AND your grad school and career positioning?

Our summer program is not for everyone.  It requires you to live for several weeks in a foreign country - away from the people you know and without the comforts you are used to.

It will be a challenge and many college students do not have the courage to succeed.  Some even beg to go back home shortly after arriving at the airport, quickly realizing they are "not in Kansas anymore".

Frankly, if you don't adapt well to new surroundings, you probably are not ready for Latin America.​

But you are in the right place if...

  • You are aware that Spanish is increasingly necessary for a health care career in the United States, in many cases a strict requirement to even get interviewed.
  • You know that without mastering Spanish, you’ll be doing a disservice to, and perhaps even putting at serious risk, a large portion of the population.
  • You are curious about other cultures, and you want to see how another health care system operates. - how a “third world country of limited resources” still makes things work.
  • You like the idea of traveling abroad, forming new relationships, and accumulating travel stories you’ll still be telling 30 years from now.
  • You can step out of your comfort zone and live in unusual surroundings, try foods you don't usually eat, and meet people far different than your friends and family back home.
  • You do not want to do the program merely to "stack the deck" on your graduate school application or to "fill out your resume" as a tie-breaker, but to genuinely become someone capable of helping Spanish-speaking patients, understanding not only their language, but also their cultural backgrounds.

If you identify with the above, and know that a summer in Chile or Peru could improve your health care career, as well as the people you'll help along the way, please keep reading.  

You will learn how to not only greatly improve your Spanish, gain health care experience, and deep-dive into Latino culture, but also how to stand out in a competitive applicant crowd in a way that transgresses MCATs and GPAs. ​

"What Level of Spanish is Required?"

No prior Spanish is required to participate in the program.  

Our goal is to significantly improve your Spanish, whatever your starting point may be.

Some students start as complete beginners, others are very advanced.  

We have appropriate classes for all levels.​

"So what is 'Ecela' anyway?"

map Spanish schools in South America

Ecela is an acronym for "Español y Cultura En LatinoAmerica".

It​ is our mission to get 2,000 people fluent in Spanish and fluid in cultural awareness by 2020.  

Our six schools in three countries (Argentina, Chile, and Peru) all share the same core principles: 

  1. Teachers Great at Teaching  We do not hire our Spanish instructors based on the fanciest degrees, the most research prizes, or the most books authored.  Even more important are effectiveness and empathy. After all, we want you to wake up looking forward to class...and dread having days off.
  2. Extra Small Classes    By keeping classes at a max of 8 for fundamentals, and only 4 for conversation, we ensure you get plenty of "reps" for rapid progression.  After all...speaking, rather than reading, writing, or hearing, is"where fluency is made".  Small, face-to-face classes keep you engaged, holding back the tide of boredom common to larger lectures.
  3. Cultural Integrations  Not only will your heightened cultural awareness make you a better person, but being able to use your Spanish "out in the field", the very same day you learn it, gives further incentive to concentrate and activates your "memory storage muscles" for easy vocab retention.

Our simple but effective roadmap to fluency:

Ecela Fluency Acceleration System

We have carefully designed our course to deliver you rapid improvements in your Spanish communications with only four hours of class time per day, leaving you lots of free time for cultural explorations.

  • Fundamentals (2 hours/day Max 8 students/group)  Solid foundation in grammar & proper structure.
  • Conversation (2 hours/day Max 4 students/group) Practice what you've learned in a supportive group.
  • "Field Practice" (unstructured)  Get real-world practice by using your Spanish in the surrounding areas.  Explore by yourself or with other students in your "360 degrees of Spanish" environment.
  • Homestay (Optional but highly recommended) Get even more Spanish practice (and cultural immersion) with a local host.

Spanish & Medicine volunteer day.

Interacting with local artisans in Cusco.

An Ecela Spanish instructor reviews the basics.

Much of Cusco is built over ancient Incan passageways.

An engaging Spanish instructor keeps students interested as class time flies by. 

Trying Peruvian 'causa' - a potato based pie.


Befriending a Machu Picchu'resident.

Group of Medical Spanish students.

spanish language school homestay in Santiago, Chile

A family homestay, one of your housing option.

"I love my teachers and the school, but most of all my homestay family.." (Lucy Singleton, California)

"Clinics and Hospitals Across the Country are Struggling with Spanish-speaking Patients"

The USA Has More Spanish Speakers Than Spain?

Yes, the USA has more Spanish speakers than Spain. In fact, only Mexico and Colombia have more.

Soon, the USA will move into second place.

What does that mean for health care?

What does that mean for you?

Of course, to meet that demographic reality, more and more hospitals require Spanish of their workers.

It only makes sense. It’s certainly a tiebreaker between two equal candidates.

Fair or not, ”it is what it is“.

Other than perhaps counting to diez, it is true that most older doctors do not speak Spanish.

They are “grandfathered in”, their English-only ways accepted. Access to an interpreter is what they’ve come to expect.

Newcomers to the field do not have that luxury.

Belt-tightening hospitals cannot keep staffing interpreters when so many other candidates meet the Spanish-speaking requirements.

“There is a Chronic Shortage Of U.S. Doctors Who Speak Spanish”

Hospitals and career placement organizations nationwide agree on the necessity of more Spanish-speaking healthcare professionals.

Petra Luna, of the Ventura County Family Centers, says, “Knowing the culture, the customs, the religions and trying to be sensitive to that is so important. It makes the patients feel like people.”

Adds Dr. Victor Dominguez, of the same clinic,I find that a lot of patients don’t feel comfortable communicating with a provider that doesn’t speak Spanish, because they don’t like to bring an interpreter into the room, and there are privacy issues associated with that.”

From IMDiversity: “There is a chronic shortage of U.S. doctors who speak Spanish. Amid a record influx of Latin American immigrants, clinics and hospitals across the country are struggling with Spanish-speaking patients.”

From the same article: Dr. Carlos Jaen says that he has witnessed “multiple occasions” when miscommunication has resulted in “dangerous situations.” For example, the word “once” is spelled the same as the Spanish word for eleven.

When a prescription states that a medication be taken “once a day,” some Spanish-speaking patients have interpreted it as 11 pills daily. For heart medication, this dose could be toxic and cause death”.

Marianne NerlandNorway

My summer in Cusco was one of my most memorable vacations ever. I enjoyed staying in the beautiful city, getting to know both Peruvians and other international students.

Ecela put me together with a host family who was loving and caring. They helped me improve my spanish by talking with me every night. 

Tim DixUnited States

My experience with ECELA Cusco was much more than learning Spanish for a few hours a day.

The professors were extremely friendly and welcoming and it felt like we were more of a family than just students and teachers.

The staff were always telling us about some location that we had to visit, or even just grabbing some lunch or coffee to get to know us better.

Classes were never boring and always seemed to fly by.

GUEST EXPERT:  Dr. Sahil Mehta

Dr. Mehta, founder of MedSchoolCoach, is nationally known as one of the premier experts in medical school admissions. He is currently on staff at Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital and is an Instructor of Radiology at Harvard Medical School.

Listen to Dr. Mehta’s advice about the best way to approach medical shadowing, how to best serve your patients even as “just” a shadowing student, how to properly “bring home” your experience abroad, and much more.

0:00 – Dr. Mehta’s introduction

2:02 – Is shadowing for me?

4:03 – How do I maximize the experience?

4:51 – How do I treat the patient?

5:52 – What are the best questions to ask?

8:30 – How do I “bring home” my shadowing experience in a foreign country?

9:36 – How do I properly include my shadowing abroad in my medical application?

10:54 – Does knowing a second language really make a difference?

12:36 – How much Spanish helps?

13:22 – How does shadowing relate to medical school?

15:09 – How does shadowing help me get into a competitive specialty?

15:55 – Who are the Med School Coach coaches?

17:23 – Who can be a Med School Coach student?

18:03 – How do I “take the opportunity” when I study abroad?

How Will YOU Use Your Spanish to Help Your Community?

We ask prospective applicants like yourself why Spanish is important to their futures and have received hundreds of fascinating answers. Here are some of them:

I plan on becoming an emergency room doctor and will be interacting with Spanish speaking patients on a daily basis. I worked with doctors in an ER in Nashville this past summer and frequently encountered patients that did not speak English.”

“There are many Spanish-speaking patients who, I believe, suffer from the language barrier that is present in many hospitals and clinics, and by expanding my knowledge of Spanish and Hispanic culture, I will be better able to treat these patients.”

"I am currently pursuing a career in physical therapy, and Spanish is an extremely valuable asset to bring to the table. A language barrier can cause many issue in a physical therapy setting, as patient feedback is an integral component of any rehabilitation model. Feedback informs the therapist on when to increase rehab program intensity, so having a strong foundation in Spanish is essential to becoming a skilled physical therapist.”

“I plan on specializing in Endocrinology and diabetes is a common disease among Hispanics. Speaking Spanish would be crucial to my career and I would love to start clinics in Honduras which would be a lot easier if I was fluent in Spanish.”

“Growing up in Manhattan, I’ve been greatly immersed in the Spanish speaking environment. However, it was only when I volunteered in a hospital my senior year of high school that I realized just how many strictly Spanish speakers there are, and how their inability to understand English, especially in a medical setting, is a major detriment. Being able to communicate with patients isn’t just helpful, but imperative.” 

"I currently volunteer at LA/USC County Hospital, and even as a simple volunteer, Spanish is immensely valuable for communicating with patients. For physicians, it is absolutely indispensable.”

"Currently I am majoring in Public Health. For my future career I want to travel to Latin American countries and give them access to the healthcare and medicine everyone should be entitled to. The only way I will be able to help these people in these countries will be if they trust me enough to help them, and in order for this to happen they will have to be able to communicate with me and knowing fluent Spanish will help me get that trust.

"I plan on choosing a career path in the medical field where I know many latinos/hispanics are present. While volunteering at a hospital in Oxnard, CA I personally saw the lack of communication between the patient and doctor which made me realize how many patients do not feel comfortable having their information translated.

Communication is key with medicine and being able to talk to Spanish-speaking patients would be awesome instead of having someone translate. It would make the patient feel more comfortable and safe to be able to communicate with their doctor in a language they are accustomed to.” 

"I plan on working as a PA in the future. Knowing Spanish will enable me to communicate with patients who are not able to speak English. I would prefer not to need a translator when communicating with patients who speak Spanish.”

“In the town I grew up in there were a lot of Spanish speaking families. My father is a doctor and at the hospital he works at there are as many Spanish speakers as English speakers. The only Spanish he knows is “No hablo español”, but he always tells me that his communication with patients would be a lot better if he spoke Spanish. I too want to be a doctor so I know this will help me with communicating with Spanish speaking patients.” “

I plan on being a physician, and in the US state of Texas, many many patients are poor immigrants from Mexico. Most speak only rudimentary English, but they still deserve the same access to excellent health care as everyone else. I want to provide that care.”

"I love it here. It's so cool and the class sizes are perfect...I wish I could stay forever."

"Overall it's a fantastic experience and well worth it."

Ana & Adora explain the class structure.

"no Spanish when I arrived...just me and a dictionary"(trans).

"It has been an incredible experience. I've learned a phenomenal amount and have made many great friends."

"The teachers are amazing - they really know what they are doing and they really care about you."

Spanish & Medicine  (Chile or Peru)  Summer 2017  Tuition: $9,290

  • 9 Weeks in South America Choose between Chile (May 21 - July 22) or Peru (July 2 - September 2)
  •  Health Care Field Exposure Additional Medical Spanish role-playing and vocabulary classes, Medical shadowing in real-world clinics. Plus introduction to ancient alternative medicine practices, with roots in the nearby jungle, still used today.
    1.  Earn 9 College Credits Nine weeks of standard Spanish immersion course (equivalent to three college semesters) Academic transcript from Universidad Bolivariana.
    2.  Live with a Host Family  For most students the homestay is a major highlight of the program.  It includes breakfast & dinner, but those are the least of its benefits to you.  (Housing is included in tuition.)

    $25 application fee

    Direct all questions to medicine@ecelaspanish.com

    Why Traditional Methods of Learning Spanish Often Come Up Short - And Why Immersion Programs Work

    Let’s face it: With traditional grammar drills, memorization and repetition-based teaching through high school, colleges, DVD’s, books, CDs, apps and even more being some of the most common ways in which students attempt to learn, is it any wonder why so many people give up or fail?

    Unfortunately they are usually:

    Too hard

    Too long

    Too boring

    Too confusing

    Too repetitive

    Too ineffective

    Here’s why…

    1. High school and college classes are usually filled with too many people – which means little participation opportunities and not enough time to focus on individuals.
    2. The mood is usually a very low energy as most of class doesn’t want to be there – they just need a grade.
    3. Often they are overly focused on grammar and vocabulary (because it’s far easier to grade than conversation practice, which ultimately is what you really need to excel).
    4. Learning times are structured using rigid scheduling which simply is not convenient to a busy lifestyle.
    5. Languages are being taught for only a few hours a week, and that simply doesn’t provide the consistency required for focused learning, so often people forget what they learned the last time they were in class.

    Then there is the downside to self-study through books, DVDs, CDs, apps...

    1. You can learn on your own time, but unless you’re super disciplined, most of the time you will never get around to actually doing it — and even if you do — it generally doesn’t last for long as the distractions of everyday life will usually pull you away
    2. Plus not having a teacher around to give you instant feedback makes it virtually impossible to know where you going wrong, what adjustments you can make to improve or if you are even progressing
    3. Boredom usually sets in when wading through material because there is no social component, or conversational interaction with others, and it soon becomes a boring and lonely experience
    4. Then you have books, DVDs and CDS which usually end up gathering dust in the corner or being given away in a yard sale
    5. Also with so many apps on the market claiming to help you, it’s very easy to get overwhelmed and confused as to which one is really going to work, and how accurate their method of teaching is over the long haul.

    "So what's the alternative?"

    Fortunately there's a better way.  You can learn Spanish at a fast pace while also enjoying yourself so much that it seems practically effortless.

    The 9 Main Reasons Why Spanish Immersion Can Get You Fluent Without the Frustrations and Drawbacks of Traditional Education

    We've come up with a list of the 9 main reasons that learning here could be more effective than any educational experience you've ever had:

    1. Single Focus  Unlike a university situation where you're juggling 4-5 classes, or your home life where you're dealing with so many projects, going away specifically to learn Spanish lets you focus on that one thing, not wasting mental energy jumping all around.
    2. 360 Degrees of Spanish  Not only in school but also out and about town, you're hearing and seeing your new language constantly, and little by little it sets in subconsciously.
    3. Community Support  Ecela students are diverse - you could be in class with a middle-aged Brazilian lawyer, a young Swedish photographer, a retired Swiss journalist, and a college student from Florida - but everyone is moving in the same direction, yet not competing.
    4. Engaging Teachers  Rather than focusing only on an instructor's academic background, we place a heavy emphasis on finding teachers who excel at connecting with students in a most supportive way.  This keeps you looking forward to class rather than dreading it.
    5. Immediate Learning Incentives  Since you will have the chance to use your Spanish the very same day you learn it, your studying is more relevant (and thus you're more receptive) than when learning about something you may never use.
    6. Grammar/Conversation Balance Traditional language courses are almost always way too grammar heavy - after all, it's easier to grade and easier to teach in large groups.  At Ecela we dedicate a full 50% of class to conversation so you won't just be "good on paper".
    7. In The Now  You will be mentally and physically in a different place than your past regrets and your future worries.  This gives you what travelers call "heightened aliveness" and your mind is cleared for learning.
    8. Extra Small Classes  With only a handful of students in each class you are receiving constant attention and don't find your mind drifting as you would in a "one lecturer to many students" learning situation.
    9. Extra Speaking Time  Between the small classes and the Spanish everywhere environment, you'll have constant chances to speak - the area most often ignored in traditional classes and even self-study. 

    Extra small classes means lots of individual attention - and extra fast learning.

    Enjoying a Pisco Sour, Peru's national drink.

    Preparing for a medical shadowing turn.

    Peru is famous for its gastronomic delights.

    The summer program includes a weekend trip to ancient world wonder, Machu Picchu.

    Boarding the train to Machu Picchu

    Excursion photo from Moray

    Moray's ancient agricultural terraces, an easy weekend excursion from Cusco

    Watch, or even take part in, traditional local festivals as you explore the area.

    Spanish & Medicine program participants volunteering at a local clinic.

    Surprise birthday party for a favorite teacher.

    "For the first time in my life I woke up looking forward to class...and dreaded having days off."

    The Spanish and Medicine Program in Chile or Peru is Carefully Designed for Your Success

    Extra small classes, a "Spanish everywhere environment", and a supportive learning community create a pathway toward language fluency.

    Your program host, Ygor Zambrano, shows you part of Ecela Cusco....we keep it small enough so the students and teachers can know everyone else's name.

    What you can expect during your Spanish immersion in South America...

    • Accelerate your learning with four hours of classes every weekday. Sounds like a lot, and the first day will be tiring. After that, you will thrive.
    • Nine weeks is equal to three full college courses of Spanish. But you’ll learn MUCH more than that.
    • Enjoy an engaged and dynamic classroom with a “useful in the real world” focus on conversation.
    • Bond with like-minded students who share your passion for learning and travel.
    • Benefit from extra small class sizes. Because our classes range between 4-8 students max, you’ll have tons of opportunities to participate, get personal feedback, and hone your skills.
    • Because the classes are kept so small, the dynamic is more like getting coffee with a group of friends than being just another face in a crowded lecture hall.
    • The conversation classes (50% of course time) are capped at only four students, intentionally designed to be intimate enough that even students “on the timid side” have no reservations about participating.
    • Get a front-row seat to the real culture. Live and play in one of the most popular small cities of Latin America while using your Spanish in real-life settings, speaking naturally and with confidence.

    At Ecela, you’ll advance much faster than any other type of course or language program.

    We have seen firsthand the results of “Immersion Plus” on over 15,600 students so far – from seven year olds that come on our “family eduvacations” to adventurous seniors that plan to retire here in South America.

    It works on journalists from Australia, “gap year” travelers from the UK, lawyers from Brazil, diplomats from France,

    ....and, of course, pre-health students from the United States.

    Part 1) Extra Intensive Spanish

    Your first three weeks are spent in the country's capital: Lima (Peru) or Santiago (Chile).  During this portion the Spanish is extra intensive to prepare you for your shadowing in Cusco (Peru) or Viña del Mar (Chile), where Spanish continues but with a slight reduction in class hours (to allow for clinical time).

    "I finally felt like I could converse in Spanish."

    Part 2) Add Medical Experience

    The special program includes a significant amount of exposure to South American health care:

    • Extra medical Spanish lessons. In addition to the standard program, you’ll have role-playing and vocabulary sessions focused on Medical Spanish.
    • Real-world medical shadowing in a Peruvian or Chilean clinic. Observe doctors treating patients and even “eavesdrop” on the morning discussion of critical cases.
    • Guest lecture on the local healthcare operational system. See how a country of “limited resources” is able to provide accessible health care.
    • Store your experiences as a “conversational topic bank” for future job or graduate school interviews. Being interesting is often as important as being qualified.​

    While You’re Here….Earn 9 College Credits

    The program includes a transcript from Universidad Bolivariana to transfer credits to your school (or to save for a graduate program)
    • Three college courses may not sound like much, but they can come in very handy down the road when you are overburdened with requirements for graduation.
    • Since you will actually advance much more than in a usual class, your NEXT class (in college or elsewhere) should be much easier.
    • Note: The credits should be seen as a mere “extra”. A “nice to have”. If you are coming just to meet degree requirements, you’d be coming for the wrong reasons.

    Inside a fundamentals (Grammar) class.

    Experience Latin America Thru Its Culture

    Your program is not limited to class and health care. We also provide a full calendar of events to make sure you experience Latino culture.

    • “Learn” (or watch) how to cook regional food, such as pastel de choclo in Chile or ceviche in Peru.
    • Make sure to take advantage of the salsa dance classes to impress your friends when you get home.
    • Cinema Latino features noteworthy Latin American films with discussions led by a teacher. 
    • Cusco and Valparaiso (bordering Viña del Mar) have both been referred to as a “walking museum” and we’ll take you to the most important spots. 

      “What is a typical day like?”

      You’ll be spending four hours a day in class.

      Again, it sounds like a lot…but the classes are fun and go by fast. In addition, there are many cultural and social activities – from cooking lessons to “Cinema Latino” – at the school. It will be your home.

      • 7:00 AM: Breakfast. Join your host family and fuel up for the day.
      • 7:30 AM: Spanish warm-up. (recommended) Review yesterday’s lessons and look ahead to today’s.
      • 8:30 AM: Walk to school. Meet up with another student or two to go to school together.
      • 9:00 AM: Grammar class. (max 8 students) Review and drill the language fundamentals.
      • 10:40 AM: Break. Catch up with your new friends over free coffee and tea.
      • 11:00 AM: Conversation class. (max 4 students) Heavy-duty practice, with instant feedback, in a welcoming setting.
      • 12:40 PM: Lunch. Go to one of the many local, inexpensive restaurants with some classmates. Invite your teacher once in a while.
      • 2:00 PM: Activities Varies between medical shadowing, field trips, guest lectures, cultural activities, specialized Spanish lessons, and free time for independent exploring.
      • 5:00 PM: Cultural activity. (optional) Learn more about the local culture: cooking classes, dance lessons, museum tours, etc.
      • 7:00 PM: Dinner. Home cooked meal with your host family.
      • 8:00 PM: Homework. Today’s assignments.
      • 9:00 PM: Out. Meet up with friends to take in a live music show or just to people-watch.

      “Where Will I Live?”

      True immersion with a host family:

      • Gain extra Spanish practice as you bond with your nueva familia over breakfast and dinner.
      • You’ll have even more cultural opportunities – don’t be surprised if you’re invited along to birthday parties, weddings, and other fiestas tradicionales.
      • You are still free for lunch to eat with your school friends at any of the many Peruvian (and other international flavors) restaurants near the school. You’ll love how inexpensive, yet delicious, restaurant food is in South America.

      Homestay Tip

      Suggestion: Bring a small gift from your home region for your host. (Your local airport is a great source.) It will “break the ice” on the first day and give them something to always remember you.

        Ima & MimiSlovakia

        We had an excellent time at Ecela in Cusco. Before we arrived, Mima and I didn’t speak Spanish, but after two weeks we know so much more.

        "Mima will never forget her first pisco sour (haha) and I’ll never forget the first time I rode a horse!! Thanks for everything!!

        Besos, Ina and Mima, the Slovak girls."

        Thomas FeyUnited Kingdom

        My experience at the school was nearly perfect. I met a lot of nice, friendly people, students and instructors alike.

        The instructors are fun, dynamic, and really smart, and they have so much patience! 

        The people here always want to help. They’re friendly and fantastic!!

        Katie FeltColorado

        My time in Cusco was absolutely fantastic. The professors make learning Spanish fun, help you to practice it in the real world by going on outings to local markets and restaurants, and are always willing to help you practice or correct your writing in the afternoons.

        The small class size gives you loads of time to practice speaking.

        As if this wasn’t enough, Cusco is a wonderful city—markets galore, delicious cuisine, lots of hiking and other adventurous outdoor daytrips, ruins and museums aplenty, great nightlife, and, of course, the world-famous Machu Picchu.

        I will never forget my time there, and, for the person who wants to deeply experience a place and learn a lot of Spanish while doing it, I cannot recommend it highly enough.

        Leslie HusbansBarbados

        When I decided to study at Ecela, I was looking for a school that had good classes and a comfortable environment.

        But when I got there, I had a better experience than I ever could have imagined.

        The class structure was organized, and the small classes helped me learn quickly. The school’s staff was really kind and professional.

        Ron MatthewsUnited States

        Hola, it’s Ron and I have to tell you all about my unforgettable experience!

        It’s very calm here, and I like the mountains and the countryside. Also, my teachers Lili and Mario are fantastic.

        I enjoyed my time here with Ygor (the best activities coordinator). I drove an ATV, rode a hourse, went shopping at “El Molino,” and touched a condor!!!

        Heather YezseyevMichigan

        I could not have been more pleased with my progress in Spanish.

        They not only taught Spanish, but also helped the students feel comfortable and confident in a new city and culture.

        Thank you again for this experience. Thank you for making me feel that I was more than just a language student."

        "Cusco is an amazing city with tons of history and culture."

        "Everybody's super friendly and I feel comfortable making mistakes in front of them."

        "I liked the small classes...it's a richer learning environment in my opinion."

        "I'm immersing myself in the culture and the language eventually for my patients.  In Colorado a large percentage are Spanish-speaking"

        "So How Much Does This Cost...and What's Included?"

        The program tuiton is $9,290 and includes:

        • Dates: 9 weeks May 21 - July 22 (Chile) OR July 2 - September 2 (Peru)​
        • Tuition – 9 weeks of Spanish classes and 9 credit hours (3 courses) - but you'll learn WAY more. 
        • Medical Components – You will have the opportunity to shadow local doctors, visit local health facilities and to participate in a volunteer project.
        • Weekend Excursions – One day trip excursion is included
        • Cultural and Social Activities – including walking tours, music class and cooking class.
        • Homestay with Meals – full immersion in the local culture by living with a host. Includes breakfast and dinner.
        • Welcome Reception and Orientation – helps you to get to know your classmates and familiarize you with the local area.
        • Personalized Assistance – our Admissions Team in the USA will help you to prepare for your study abroad experience.
        • On-site Resident Director and Support Staff – will help with any questions or advice you may need while in Peru.
        • Official Transcript – upon completion of your program, an official transcript issued by Universidad Bolivariana will be sent to your home institution.

        "Count Me In...What's Next?"

        The application process is simple:

        1. $25 Application Deposit (Pay here.)
        2. Application Choose session, complete questionnaire, schedule phone interview (15 minutes to complete).
        3. Phone interview with an Ecela immersion counselor.
        4. Notification of acceptance status within 48 hours.
        5. If accepted you will have 7 days to secure your spot with a $500 deposit.

        A past Spanish & Medicine student describes his experience and the opportunities it opened for him later in his studies and career preparation.

        Apply for Spanish & Medicine Summer 2017

        $25 application fee

        Direct all questions to medicine@ecelaspanish.com

        Ecela Cinco Estrella Garantía

        Our five-star guarantee promises you an exceptional educational experience every week of your program, or you get TWO extra weeks absolutely free.

        We guarantee…

        1. Your right to change schools If you feel a change of scenery would be beneficial, simply let us know a few days in advance and you can switch - at no extra cost.
        2. Significant Spanish improvement  You will make substantial advancements in your Spanish each week, by YOUR standards.
        3. Thorough course enjoyment  You will look forward to class each day and to spending more time with your instructors, your classmates, and the Ecela staff.
        4. Comfortable environment  You will find our school facilities comfortable, clean, and inviting – more like a home than a language institute.
        5. Friendly treatment by staff  As a welcome guest of ours, we don’t consider you just another language student. You will be treated like part of the Ecela family by all of us.

        “Our goal is to help you have “one of your best experiences ever” and we will want the chance to “make it right” if we fall short.

        "If you feel that we failed at any of the above, at any time during your program, just let me know and we will give you two extra weeks of classes, to be used at any of our schools, absolutely free – no questions asked.” - Cecilia Quezada, Director of Services

        I got to see many interesting cases that aren’t commonly seen in the United States

        "My favorite part about the Spanish and Medical shadowing program with Ecela was having the opportunity to shadow local doctors in El Hospital Regional de Cusco.

        During my time in gastroenterology, I witnessed many endoscopies and other procedures. While in the emergency room the doctors put us to work, taking information from patients and checking vital signs.

        My favorite part, however, was spending time in the infectious diseases ward, where I got to see many interesting cases that aren’t commonly seen in the United States such as tuberculosis, dengue fever and even parasitic infections.

        The knowledge and experience I gained while shadowing in Cusco were not only eye-opening but also increased my confidence both in speaking Spanish as well as working in a health-care environment."

        TESS HANSEN University of Nebraska-Lincoln 

        What goes on in this school is an unforgettable experience.

        "When I walked into Ecela the first time, I was impressed by how friendly the people were. I could participate in all of the activities even without being enrolled. After a while, they convinced me to take classes, and it was worth it.

        What goes on in this school is an unforgettable experience. There are people from all over the world, from different cultures, and everything works so well. I thought it was good that we used what we learned in class in the activities during the afternoon and at night. That way, you learned things much more quickly. Especially those who were new to Ecela. The school is truly a wonderful thing."

        DAVID KOMANSKI Switzerland

        ...it really provided an incredible opportunity to learn the language

        "The Spanish and Medical shadowing program was really an amazing experience. I didn’t have any Spanish experience at all before I arrived and by the time I left, I could understand and speak a significant amount!

        I decided to go during my gap year between undergrad and medical school, and it really provided an incredible opportunity to learn the language, see medicine at practice in another country, and fall in love with Peru.

        Even though my Spanish skills were very basic, I still absorbed a lot in our shadowing sessions and got to observe big and subtle differences between hospitals there and the US.

        Also, one of the best parts was the people I met. I learned so much from the doctors, my classmates, the Ecela staff, locals, travelers, and the kids we volunteered with. I will remember them all for a long, long time."

        LISA WANG Northwestern University 

        Spanish & Medicine Program Itinerary

        • Before
        • Weeks 1-3
        • weeks 4-6
        • weeks 7-9
        • after

        Application: The program is limited to 45 students, with no more than 2 from any university. During the application interview, we examine your maturity and your tolerance for being out of your comfort zone. Apply here.

        If you are accepted, you then can confirm by paying a small program deposit.

        Pre-departure: Uur onboarding specialists to arrange your college credit (three semester courses of Spanish). We will also help you get student-discount flights.

        Placement: Before arrival you will need to take a class placement exam (most students will start somewhere between “No Spanish” and “Intermediate II”). You will also let us know your preferences for the medical shadowing portion.

        Frequently Asked Questions Spanish & Medicine in Peru or Chile

        Who is the Spanish & Medicine program for?

        Our summer program in South America (Peru or Chile) is 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 Spanish & Medicine 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 do the program to “stand out” on grad school and job applications.
        • only want Spanish for the college credit and have no real interest in using the language. 
        • need a high-comfort environment.
        • are a "habitual complainer" - the group is tight-knit and a "Debbie Downer" can spoil the experience for all.

        Does the program comply with AAMC study abroad standards?

        Yes. The clinics we partner with for shadowing, as well as Peru health care regulations, do not allow our students to diagnose patients or to perform medical procedures. You will be merely 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). If your university is cooperative (most are) you will receive credit for three Spanish courses, though you will learn significantly more than in two traditional courses.

        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 will advance the most, yet understand the least. It will be frustrating at first, yet by the end you will be surprised at your abilities.

        How much will my Spanish advance?

        Technically the program is three college courses, but you should increase your language abilities far more than that. The reasons for superior learning include:

        • more class hours – 180 with Ecela vs. 135 in college.
        • much smaller classes and far more individual participation.
        • surrounded by a “Spanish everywhere” environment.
        • focus on one class instead of four or five.

        Can I take extra Spanish classes?

        If you have the time, we recommend spending an extra two or three weeks. You may study at any Ecela location and we have special pricing for participants in the Spanish & Medicine program.

        What’s included in the tuition?

        Your $9,290 tuition includes:

        • all Spanish instruction
        • all course material
        • additional Spanish classes focused on medical Spanish
        • academic transcript
        • housing with private room, includes breakfast and dinner
        • medical component (shadowing, guest lectures, field trips)

        What additional expenses should students allow for?

        You should also budget for:

        • plane ticket to Lima (we provide transportation to Cusco)
        • “walking around” money (lunch, snacks, entertainment etc.) about half what you pay in North America
        • souveneirs – gifts for family and friends back home
        • 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)

        Anything else important I should know?

        If you do the Peru program, keep in mind that Cusco has a high altitude and takes a few days to acclimate. Check with your doctor if you are worried about being in a high altitude environment.

        Ecela Students Share Experience, Offer Advice

        Listen in as Veronica Vilski, host of Planeta Ecela, interviews students to get an in-depth report of their experiences and to hear what advice they have for future students. Each talk is about 15 minutes long and well worth it if you are considering this program.

        Joseph Brewster is an ambitious University of Texas College of Pharmacy student who has traveled the world before even completing his final year.

        Joseph is passionate about studying abroad and truly has a heart for people. He gives some sound advice about communicating without being able to communicate at first as well as shows how far even a six-week Spanish immersion program can take you.

        Listen as Vanna Ramirez shares her joy in completing a Spanish & Medicine program in Cusco, Peru.

        Hear about her frustration with not being able to speak well in Spanish even after years of Spanish instruction, and see what helped her improve.

        Vanna is a cheerful aspiring reconstructive surgeon who will show you that hard work is worth it, even if it is bien yucca.

        Emily Swafford of Tennessee is a premed student at the University of Miami

        .She just recently attended our Spanish & Medicine program in Cusco, Peru, and she has some excellent stories and advice!

        From sleeping in the jungle to observing procedures without anesthesia, Emily has memories to share and experiences that will stick with her as she continues down the path of becoming a physician.

        Derek Spath of Rochester, New York, is in his undergraduate program at the University of Buffalo.

        He attended our Medical Spanish program in Peru, and gives a good overview of what to expect.

        His heartfelt descriptions will help you feel his passion for language and helping others, and he will introduce you to a couple crazy (and amusing) Spanish words.

        Matthew Rossler is a sophomore at Calvin College and a future dentist.

        He was very tentative before his arrival, and he didn’t know anyone else attending the program.

        Listen to how Matthew views the immersion process at Ecela and his take on the differences between Peruvian medicine and that of the United States.

        Justin Dale of Reno, Nevada joined our Spanish & Medicine program as her first trip alone outside of her hometown.

        She recounts her eye-opening experiences and has remarkable advice for those who may be scared when it comes to attending an immersion program abroad and some good tips for making the most of class time and the weeks in Peru.

        Shivani Patel was one of our Spanish & Medicine students in Cusco this past summer.

        Having only had a couple year of high school Spanish, she speaks to how much understanding she gained throughout the six weeks there.

        Shivani jumped right in to the hustle and bustle of a busy homestay experience, and she brought home a spirit of relaxation and enjoyment in most any circumstance.

        Gary Huang of Belleville, Illinois, is in the final semester of his undergrad program.

        He is an aspiring physician, and he spent six weeks in Viña del Mar, Chile, in our Spanish & Medicine program.

        Gary details program specifics, a fun extended weekend trip to La Sirena, and has a realistic view on how his experiences will affect his future in medicine.

        Matthew Neumann, an undergrad student at CalPoly, wanted to further his future career as a family doctor or general practitioner.

        Matt has a very balanced, mature perspective on his time in South America, despite a few hang-ups.

        He speaks of his time in medical shadowing in volunteering, his adventures, and his connection with his homestay family.

        Cuidado, after you listen you may just want to jump on the next flight out!

        Kia Stern, an aspiring pediatrician, planned as best she could for her Spanish & Medicine program, but there were still many things that caught her off guard.

        Kia’s passion for helping families raise up their children is very admirable, and she jumped right in to gain the skills necessary to communicate with even more people.

        Listen to hear about her exploration, advice, and obstacles she overcame to get the most out of her weeks abroad.

        Apply for Spanish & Medicine Summer 2017

        $25 application fee

        Direct all questions to medicine@ecelaspanish.com

        "A bilingual doctor is a better doctor.  Let us make YOU one."

        Cecilia Quezada, Director of Services

        P.S.: Each session is limited to 45 total students

        To avoid missing out on your summer in South America,  Apply here ($25 application fee) while we can still save you a spot.

        Direct all questions to medicine@ecelaspanish.com