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Medical Spanish Program

Since June 2002, Pop Wuj has offered a Medical Spanish Program for medical students, providers, public health professionals, and other healthcare practitioners (e.g., doctors, nurses, paramedics). For years we have attracted a growing number of healthcare students and professionals who would like to learn Medical Spanish. The Medical Spanish Program provides health and medical education as well as clinical experience in Guatemala.
One of the most important goals of Pop Wuj’s Medical Spanish Program is to increase students’ cultural competency in addition to their Spanish language skills. To deliver healthcare in a compassionate way, with the knowledge of the culture and history of the population one works with, is an essential value to Pop Wuj’s vision of the Medical Spanish Program.

When Is It Offered?

This special program is offered all year round, beginning the first and third Monday of each month and continues for at least four weeks.

What You Can Expect

There are five core components to our program:

4h Daily - One-on-One Spanish classes with supplemental curriculum for medical Spanish

3-5h a Day, 3-4 days/week - Participation in the Medical Spanish Program (Clinical experience suitable for elective rotation)

Lectures targeting cultural competencies during the first week in addition to the One-on-One Spanish Instruction

Homestay with a Guatemalan family in a private room with three meals a day, safe drinking water and a hot shower

Spanish School Activities (except transportation / entrance fees)
Spanish Medical Terminology
The program’s foundation is the one-on-one classroom setting. The goal of the classroom lessons is to give every student the tools (Medical Spanish Terms) necessary to take a history and perform a physical examination in Spanish or address simple healthcare needs. Outside the classroom, students have access to medical conferences (topics ranging from the Guatemalan healthcare    
system to endemic diseases to local, non-traditional medicines), and hands-on clinical volunteer experience. Additionally, medical students, nurses, and doctors studying at Pop Wuj can receive further history and physical tutoring from Guatemalan medical students and residents. The clinical experience in the Pop Wuj Clinic is suitable for an elective rotation for medicine students and residents.  Many schools and hospitals will give credits for this elective rotation. Pop Wuj itself does not extend credit to students.

The way the program is structured is all students have four hours a day of individualized language instruction “One-on-One Spanish” and participate in the Medical Spanish Program the other 2-5 hours a day, four days per week. During the beginning of the student’s stay, the Medical Spanish Program        
consists of the supplemental curriculum including cultural competency lectures. We feel it is important that patients encounter compassion and understanding, in accordance to their own traditional beliefs and value systems, which every human being deserves. For this reason, Pop Wuj offers cultural competency lectures in the first week. Topics include historical, social-cultural, and economic information in       
relation to healthcare delivery and issues in Guatemala. This information complements what is learned in the classroom and clinical placement. As mentioned before, cultural competency is an important part of the mission of Pop Wuj—to be dedicated to the respect and understanding of the beliefs, values, and traditions that form the foundation and survival of the people of Guatemala.

For participants, the medical program gives the opportunity for a better understanding of the origin, development, treatment, and cultural characteristics of certain illnesses. Participants are encouraged to select and research a health topic of interest, develop an essay, and, toward the end of the program, present their work to other participants in a round-table discussion atmosphere. Frequently, program participants have used these      
essays to give health education presentations to patients who wait their turn in a clinic waiting room or beneficiaries of other Pop Wuj community development projects. This is a significant part of preventative medicine and education for many community members. These presentations and round-table discussions are given completely in Spanish and provide program participants of all levels the opportunity to demonstrate their progress.
As the student’s Spanish language ability becomes more proficient, patient interactions become more frequent. This is determined by the student, the teacher, and the clinic director. By the end of the student’s stay, much of his/her participation in the Medical Spanish Program consists of clinical activity. Clinical activity begins the second week of the program and is contingent upon participation in the supplemental curriculum.

It is important that participants in the Medical Spanish program understand that it will be difficult to have time for  activities. It is possible to travel on the weekend, however the week is well structured with classes and activities. In addition, it will be a different experience from those enrolled in the Regular Spanish Immersion Course with additional hours for clinic time, lectures, and mobile clinics.

Elective Rotation
Many medical students and residents choose the Medical Spanish Program as an elective rotation. For an elective rotation most medical schools and hospitals mandate a placement of at least one month in a medical clinic away or abroad from their home institution in order to award credits. Although Pop Wuj does not extend credit, we can provide documentation upon your completion of the Medical Spanish Program.  Pop Wuj staff can complete evaluation forms regarding your volunteer work and studies at Pop Wuj. Please be sure to bring any required paperwork with you!
Medical Spanish - Health Services & Medical Care
Medical Spanish Program
Medical Spanish - One-to-One Tuition
Medical Spanish - The Community
Medical Spanish - Spanish for Medical Professionals
Medical Spanish - The Pop Wuj Clinic
Staffed by local doctors, the clinic serves families in our Safe Stove Project, Pop Wuj teachers and host families, and the local public. It will also be a place for visiting doctors, practitioners of other health-related disciplines, and groups of students from around the world to attend to patients while improving their own medical Spanish skills. Based on years of work in Xela and the rural areas that surround the
city, Pop Wuj teachers believe that lack of access to healthcare is one of the most pressing problems in present-day Guatemala. The Pop Wuj Clinic exists to address that need. Since its opening, the Pop Wuj clinic has opened its doors to students and healthcare professionals interested in helping in this process with donations of time, ideas, money or/and equipment!
Medical Spanish - Spanish for Medical Personnel

Interested?  Click here to read the registration info and enroll!

For further information please contact:
Jorge Archila

4h Daily - One-on-One Spanish Instruction with supplemental curriculum for medical Spanish

3-5h a Day, 3-4 days/week - Participation in the Medical Spanish Program

Lectures on cultural competencies during the first week in addition to the One-on-One Spanish Instruction

Clinical experience in the Pop Wuj Clinic (suitable for elective rotation)

Spanish School Activities (except transportation / entrance fees)

Homestay with a Guatemalan family in a private room with three meals a day, safe drinking water, and a warm shower   


$315 USD per Week*

One time registration fee $150 USD

The cost of the Medical Spanish Program and its registration fee is higher than that of the Spanish Immersion Program. Part of the extra money serves to offset the additional costs of medical conferences, materials, and scheduling. The remainder is put into a fund supporting the Pop Wuj Medical Clinic.

A minimum time commitment of four weeks is required
Note: The Medical and Spanish for Teachers programs include all that the Spanish Immersion Course consists of in addition to the unique focus that each of these specialized programs offers their participants.

*Pop Wuj will change our tuition prices and payment policies as of August 1, 2018. The new prices are currently listed on the website.  Regardless of the dates of their visit, students who registered before August 1, 2018 will pay Pop Wuj's previous prices.

Payment will only be accepted in person at Pop Wuj in either cash (quetzales, the Guatemalan currency) or via Tab, a secure online payment service. There is a 4% service fee for Tab.  

Students who choose to pay in quetzales will receive a discount on their tuition.  

The discounted price for the Medical Spanish Program is $300/week.

Pop Wuj uses the daily exchange rate as published in the Prensa Libre, a national newspaper. See the FAQ for details about how to change US dollars to quetzales.