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SALUD Frequently Asked Questions

What Is SALUD?

SALUD is a language-learning program developed by AmeriSpan for people studying or practicing in health-related fields (pre-med students, medical students, doctors, dental students, dentists, nursing students, nurses, physician assistants, EMTs and those involved in public health). SALUD offers participants the opportunity to learn Spanish or Portuguese while learning about another country's medical system. Participants are exposed to different cultural practices and traditions and also have opportunities to establish relationships with others with the shared goal of healing and serving those in the community.

Programs are offered in a number of different Latin American countries. Although each program's specific itinerary varies, each program will introduce you to a variety of health settings and includes discussions/lectures to give you an overall picture of the medical practice in that country. Each program also includes Spanish/Portuguese classes (some emphasis on medical terminology), lodging & meals with local families, cultural activities and some excursions to immerse you in the culture. Click to go to SALUD Medical program list or download SALUD Medical Spanish & Portuguese brochure (PDF)

Who Can Participate?

Each SALUD program has different requirements so that we can accommodate a wide variety of people. Backgrounds of past participants include: traditional & osteopathic medical students, pre-med, nursing, pharmacology, and physical therapy students, physician assistants, nurses, paramedics, EMTs, and physicians. Many additional destinations have been added over time and the SALUD program is now available for Spanish or for Portuguese.
We have had students from many medical schools participate in the SALUD program. Click here to see a listing of the medical schools where past SALUD participants were from.

Do I need to know Spanish/Portuguese to participate?

Some programs are open to all levels of Spanish/Portuguese speakers (including absolute beginners), others have a minimum Spanish/Portuguese level required. Check the language level requirements for the program that you are interested in.

What To Expect?

The majority of SALUD participants have commented that this program changed their lives in some way. However, false and unrealistic expectations have the potential to ruin your experience.

You should expect:

  • To improve and/or acquire foreign language skills in Spanish or Portuguese depending on which location you choose.
  • To be open minded about your experience.
  • Some additional out of pocket expenses. Things like local transportation, going out in the evenings, etc. are not included in the program cost.
  • To participate in cultural activities.
  • To learn something about the medical system of the host country. This may be accomplished in a variety of ways, which include some or all of the following: site visits, special topic lectures, service learning, etc.
  • To dress appropriately for site visits. Specific information will be included in your confirmation package after enrollment.

Do not expect:

  • To be able to treat patients directly. Remember, you are not licensed in the host country. You may be able to do some basic hands on work depending on your language level and medical skill level.
  • The schedule to be set in stone. Opportunities may arise on-site to add something or change something on the original itinerary for the benefit of the participants or other reasons beyond control.
  • This to be a relaxing vacation. The primary purpose of this program is to give you a lot of information in a relatively short amount of time. You will have some free time. If you are looking for a more relaxing program, try our Standard Immersion Programs, which are non-specific to medicine.

Who are these programs open to?

Each SALUD program has different requirements. There are programs available for pre-med students, medical students, nursing students, nurses, EMTs, Physician assistants, dental student, ophthalmology students, and medical professionals. Additionally, we have accepted participants from related fields of study like public health, pharmacology, physical therapy, etc.
 

Is academic credit available?

We have signed many elective waiver forms for SALUD participants. Check with your advisor if you are interested in this option. For more information on academic credit click here

Will this count as a rotation?

No. Although you will have observational and may have some hands-on work included (depending on program), you should not plan for this to count as a rotation.

What is the difference between the SALUD Standard and the SALUD Independent programs?

The main difference is that the Standard programs are offered only during the summer months. Although students sign up individually, they will meet a group of participants on-site who are from all over North America. The Independent programs are offered year round and participants are not part of a group. Itineraries, costs, and locations offered vary between the Standard and Independent programs.

Is airfare included?

Airfare is not included. You will be responsible for booking and paying for you own airfare. One suggestion is Exito Travel 1-800-655-4053, they specialize in travel to Latin America and can get discounted rates.

Will I have any free time to sight see?

You will have most evenings free during the week. During some weekends, excursions are planned to popular destinations, and are included in the program cost, so you will also be able to sight see on these excursions. During other weekends, you will have free time to explore or relax as you wish.

What out of pocket expenses will I encounter?

Depending on the location, you will be provided with 2-3 meals per day at your homestay.  You will be responsible for any meals not included in the program. Additionally, plan for any snacks, souvenirs, drinks etc. Transportation to/from service learning and during your free time in the evenings, etc. is also not included in the program cost. For most countries there is an airport departure tax (usually about $20). You should also plan to pay for a taxi to return to the airport after the program. Pick-up upon arrival is included in the program cost.

I have a particular specialty, can I be guaranteed hands on experience in my field?

We do our best with special requests especially pertaining to hands-on experience. However, please understand that we cannot guarantee that any or all of your hands on opportunities will pertain to your specialty. You will still be able to observe and gain experience in general.

What type of clothing should I bring to wear to on-site visits?

You are expected to bring your own scrubs as many of the clinics and hospitals to not have enough of a reserve supply to provide for visitors. If you are planning to participate in the Ecuador or Argentina programs, scrubs are not needed. However you will need to bring a white lab coat. You will be advised on-site of what you will need to wear and when. Please be aware that tank tops and shorts are not appropriate to wear to on-site visits. Plan to dress business casual (khaki pants and button down shirt or blouse, for example). No open-toed shoes are allowed during the site visits.

How much will I be able to do in the hands on service learning portion of the program?

This will depend upon your language level and what skills you already have in the medical field. In the past, SALUD participants who had a lower amount of Spanish/Portuguese were doing much more observational work than those with a higher Spanish/Portuguese level.

Will I be expected to bring a donation?

Yes. The itinerary for each program has some suggestions for donations. Anything you have access to will be welcomed. Please be careful bringing prescription medications or more than could be for personal use. Plan to leave a little extra room in your suitcase to bring these items.

Are there any immunization requirements?

In the pre-departure "Need to Know" information that you will receive upon receipt of your application, there is a section that talks about immunizations required and those suggested. For most locations, there are no shots required to enter the country.

Are there any visa requirements?

If you are a US citizen, you will not need a visa for any SALUD location provided that you are not staying longer than 90 days. Please check with the host country's embassy if you are not a US citizen, or if you plan to stay longer than 90 days for other visa requirements.
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