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.
go to SALUD Medical program listordownload SALUD
Medical Spanish & Portuguese
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
Is airfare included?
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
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
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
I have a particular specialty, can I be
guaranteed hands on experience in my
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
How much will I be able to do in the
hands on service learning portion of the
This will depend upon your
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
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