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Cultural, language immersion program offered

Jan. 28, 2008

KALAMAZOO--Seats are still available for students interested in immersing themselves in Mexican culture and the Spanish language through a six-week study abroad program in Patzcuaro, Mexico, a forested colonial town in central Mexico on the shores of a 100-square-mile lake.

"Students in this program live with host families, go to language school and learn about Mexican culture and health care," says Kathi Fuller, the WMU master faculty specialist in holistic health who is leading the study trip. "They'll be practicing Spanish every day as well as getting formal language instruction four hours a day, five days a week for the entire six weeks."

The $3,500 program cost includes lodging, food, in-country field trips, the language school, and a three-credit-hour Interdisciplinary Mexico Immersion in Health Care course. Although designed for students in health-related fields, it is suitable for students in a wide variety of majors, including anthropology, business and political science. Fuller will work with non-health care majors to develop independent projects more suited to their fields of study.

The Mexico immersion program runs from May 10 to June 21 and is structured similar to a seminar course. Participants must have taken Spanish 1000, or it's equivalent, or test out of a free placement exam that is typically passed by those who have taken one year of high school Spanish.

"My goal is to familiarize students with the Mexican health care system and migration issues as well as Mexico's indigenous population and relationships with the United States," Fuller says. "My overarching hope here is to increase our students' employability by improving their language skills and better preparing them for our multicultural, multilingual world."

An informational meeting about program will be held at 3 p.m., Monday, Feb. 4, in Room 1016 of the College of Health and Human Services Building on East Campus. Details also are available by going to www.wmich.edu/hhs and clicking on "Attention HHS Students!" or contacting Kathi Fuller at kathi.fuller@wmich.edu or (269) 387-3839.

Media contact: Jeanne Baron, (269) 387-8400, jeanne.baron@wmich.edu

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