Saturday, January 26, 2013

Counting down...

Hello friends and family!

As many of you know, I'm leaving in a couple days for Guatemala.  I am going primarily to study Spanish, since I've often felt frustrated at my inability to communicate with Spanish-speaking patients,.  After attempting with limited success to learn through coursework and podcasts, I realized that nothing could substitute for a true immersion experience.

In that spirit, I'm heading to study at a language school called Celas Maya, which has come highly recommended by lots of fellow medical students.  It's in the second largest city in Guatemala, Quetzaltenango, which most people refer to as "Xela" (pronounced Shay-la).  I will be spending about 5 hours a day in tailored, individual Spanish lessons and will practice what I learn with my host family, patients in a local public health clinic, and the community.

Quetzaltenango is located in Guatemala

Several other UNC and UVA medical students will be there at the same time as me, which will be great!  In the evenings, we can hang out in town and on weekends, participate in school-organized or independent excursions.

In making my packing list, I'm excited about the variety it promises - gifts for my host family, a camera, stethoscope, "just for fun" books, hiking boots, scrubs, sunscreen, and lots of layers for the warm days and cold nights.

I hope to post regularly on this blog so feel free to check in or email me if you're interested!

Be well,

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