By Extended Studies
Have you ever dreamed of immersing yourself in the vibrant language and culture of the Spanish-speaking world? Look no further than the Spanish Immersion Program offered by UC San Diego Division of Extended Studies (DES). Whether you're a student seeking to enhance your language skills, a professional looking to expand your horizons, or someone who simply has a penchant for travel and adventure, this program is designed to provide an unforgettable immersive experience.
One of the standout features of the Spanish Immersion program at DES is its flexibility. Two program options are offered: the Ensenada program and the Querétaro program. The Ensenada program, which lets students choose between a weekend or weeklong immersion experience, offers a wider variety of courses and placement according to students’ skill levels. The Querétaro program offers a weeklong adventure packed with exciting activities. Querétaro program students can be from different skill levels; there is one course for everyone attending.
Spanish Immersion in Ensenada
Upon arrival in Ensenada, students take a placement test to a
sess their Spanish skill levels. Based on the results, they’re placed in a small group of a maximum of four people. The program caters to all levels of Spanish proficiency, including specialized courses for certain professions. In this program, which is hosted by the Pacific Spanish Institute in Ensenada, students earn three credit hours for the weeklong stay and one credit hour for the weekend stay. Some students attend for three consecutive weekends to earn the three total credit hours.
During your stay in Ensenada, you can choose to stay in a hotel or you can live with a host family, offering you the unique opportunity for full immersion. Families are carefully selected based on their lack of English proficiency, ensuring an environment where you can truly practice your Spanish. Plus, they'll provide you with three delicious home-cooked meals every day. With close proximity to downtown Ensenada, you'll have the chance to explore the city and experience the local culture firsthand.
While you'll have some flexibility to organize your own time in Ensenada, both the school and the host families will gladly provide recommendations and suggestions to ensure you have a fulfilling experience.
Here’s what one Ensenada program student said about their immersion experience:
“I stayed with a host family while visiting Ensenada and must say it was a great experience and would highly recommend it for future students. The host mom was very engaging with a great upbeat attitude..."
Spanish Immersion in Querétaro
The Querétaro program, launched in April 2023, has quickly gained popularity. Querétaro is a beautiful city located in the heart of central Mexico. In this program, students are required to stay with host families for a full week. Classes are held in the mornings, complemented by practical activities in the afternoons, including visits to local markets and cooking lessons. This program is limited to just 10 students per session and taught by one DES instructor, ensuring an intimate and personalized learning environment.
The Querétaro program provides the added benefit of guided transportation to various historical sites and cultural landmarks. You'll learn about history in the morning and then embark on a sightseeing tour in the afternoon, allowing you to make the most of your time and see more of the beautiful region.
Here’s what the Querétaro program students said about their immersion experience:
“This was a wonderful adventure, full of opportunities to practice and advance my Spanish skills (and in a way that felt like fun instead of work!) and to learn more about Mexican history and culture. Living in San Diego, it's easy to think I know a little about Mexico, but central Mexico is a completely different and wonderful place entirely. I was amazed at the cost, given all of the experiences, instruction, service, and delicious food it included.”
“[The Querétaro] weeklong immersion was an amazing experience from start to finish. My host family took very good care of me and didn’t speak any English..."
Immersion Program Travel and Accommodations
When it comes to logistics, the program takes care of the details. You'll receive recommended flight options, and upon arrival, the school provides transport from the airport to town where you are met by your host family. Throughout your stay, transportation, three meals a day, and—in the Querétaro program—a packed schedule of sightseeing, cooking classes, and excursions are provided. While you'll have limited free time, the experiences offered will more than make up for it. (Plus, you might even discover hidden talents, like one student who learned how to knit from their host family!)
The hospitality provided by the host families is second-to-none. Plus, the Ensenada program instructors are all former teachers who understand the importance of creating a welcoming and supportive environment. They go above and beyond, ensuring your needs are met. The testimonials from past students speak volumes about the exceptional level of care and dedication provided by the program.
Benefits of Full Language Immersion
The Spanish Immersion program attracts a diverse range of participants, from professionals seeking to enhance their careers to retirees fulfilling a lifelong dream of learning Spanish.
One of the most compelling reasons to consider a Spanish immersion program is its effectiveness. While traditional classroom learning has its merits, nothing can compare to the benefits of complete immersion. The program emphasizes speaking and practicing the language in real-life contexts, helping you overcome any language barriers or fears of making mistakes. In just one week, many students find themselves making more progress than they ever did in a traditional classroom setting.
For those in the healthcare field, the Spanish Immersion Program in Ensenada offers a specialized track that incorporates medical vocabulary and context into the curriculum...
If you're a law enforcement professional, there's even an option for Spanish for police. This specialized program caters to the unique language requirements of those in the police force, equipping them with the linguistic tools necessary for effective communication in their line of work.
Taking the Leap Into Spanish Immersion
One of the common concerns participants might have is staying with a host family. But the testimonials from past students highlight the incredible friendships and bonds that form during their homestay experience. Host families, which are selected by the school community, go out of their way to communicate and ensure mutual understanding...
The Spanish Immersion Program through Extended Studies is a wonderful opportunity to immerse yourself in the Spanish language and Mexican culture. Whether you're a student, professional, or retiree, this program offers a range of options to suit your needs and interests. From the exceptional hospitality to the carefully crafted curriculum, every aspect of the program is designed to provide students with a memorable and rewarding experience.
Don't miss out on the chance to learn Spanish in a way that goes beyond the classroom. Step out of your comfort zone, embrace the language, and discover the magic of immersion. Visit the program website for more information. ¡Vámonos!