• Mexico
    • Puerto Escondido
    • Oaxaca
4 to 10 weeks
Biology Education Healthcare International Business International Relations Life Sciences Nursing Public Health Public Policy Social Work Sustainable Development +1

Program Details

Academic Year Fall J-Term Maymester Spring Spring Break Summer Winter Year Round
Host Family
Weekly Hours


Starting Price
Price Details
Please visit our website for full pricing of all programs.
What's Included
Accommodation Some Activities Airport Transfers Some Meals SIM cards Travel Insurance
What's Not Included
Some Activities Airfare Some Meals
Sep 07, 2022
Aug 08, 2022
7 travelers are looking at this program

About Program

As a CFHI participant, you will dig deeper into the healthcare system and culture of Oaxaca. You will observe how local healthcare professionals are addressing the challenges of literacy, sanitation, unemployment, and access to healthcare. You will live with a host family and take Spanish classes. The following programs will also provide you with unique insight and cultural competency for serving the growing Mexican immigrant population in the US and abroad:

Intensive Beginner Spanish & Global Health in Mexico
Global Health in Mexico, Oaxaca
Global Health in Mexico, Puerto Escondido (Optional: Reproductive Health Focus)

CFHI participants may organize weekend trips to nearby destinations such the Zapotec ruins of Monte Albán. In the city of Oaxaca, participants may also shop, explore museums and art galleries, or hang out with locals in the vibrant Zócalo or main plaza.

Video and Photos

Program Highlights

  • Rotate at community level clinics and hospitals.
  • Understand the impact of the social determinants of health on the local healthcare system.
  • Become immersed in Mexican culture and language through taking Spanish lessons and living with a host family in Oaxaca.

Program Reviews

4.83 Rating
based on 6 reviews
  • 5 rating 83.33%
  • 4 rating 16.67%
  • 3 rating 0%
  • 2 rating 0%
  • 1 rating 0%
  • Growth 4.85
  • Support 4.85
  • Fun 4.7
  • Housing 5
  • Safety 4.85
Showing 1 - 6 of 6 reviews
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

This Program Helped Me Solidify that I Want to Work in International Healthcare

Prior to the program, I had never had the opportunity to travel alone and never really got to explore healthcare in other countries even though I always had interest in global/public health. Before CFHI, I didn’t know who to ask or where to go in order to find shadowing opportunities overseas that would allow me to learn about medicine and culture. I learned about CFHI at the UC Davis Pre-Health Conference during two lecture sessions about global health (one anecdotal and one from the program on ethics) and I knew immediately that this program was what I had been looking for.

Dr. Jenny was even kind enough to exchange her contacts with me for a one on one zoom call where she talked to me and my friend for 2 hours about all our concerns post-COVID. The program even granted me the Community College Scholarship to help my family with the cost.

I learned quickly the best way to reach the staff is by email pre-departure, though information on logistics could be more readily available, sooner released, or clearer. The application and training is very straightforward.

The entire month in Puerto Escondido passed by too soon. I loved my clinic placements! The doctors, nurses, “chemicos,” and entomologist I met were all willing to teach and they are super sweet. I definitely find that you need to be willing to step out of your comfort zone, ask questions, and come in with an open mind. Anything I asked was answered in detail. Clinics themselves had a limited scope of practice focused on prevention, metabolic disease, and there was a lot of visits on women’s health, mostly prenatal care and family planning. Between the clinics and Spanish class, I learned how Mexico organized their medical care in the public sector, public programs, culture, and from many conversations with medical professionals and my professor, what is working and what needs to be done. The medical staff, including Dra. Isabela the Medical Director, even helped me learn in depth about violence against women in Mexico (an issue I want to address in the future as a doctor). When when things were slow, the doctors would explain the procedures we had done and taught us to take blood pressure (of course only taking hers and a fellow CFHI student to practice).

In terms of the homestay, I was blessed to be placed with a sweet older lady who cooked bomb foods, mixing it up with traditional stewed meats to steamed veggies and rice when my roommate had gotten sick. The host sister even invited us to her birthday, took me out my first few days, and everyone made sure we got our conversations in.

This being said, the experience is what you make of it and what you put in, you get out. For me, it was everything I could ask for.

  • Easy Application
  • Kind Staff, Wonderful Spanish Teachers, and Passionate Medical Professionals
  • Fully Immersed into culture
  • Some programs have less students, so it might be lonelier.
  • Overall felt safe, but be weary of catcalling on the street/surroundings. You are still traveling!
  • I wish I had time in a hospital too.
14 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Global Health in Oaxaca 2022

Child Family Health International understands how to lead the nation in global health experiences in an ethical and educational manner. They value the local community, and work to partner with them so that participants can recieve a full cultural immersion. I shadowed in different clinics each morning, learning about the Mexican healthcare and insurance systems. I learned so much from observing the local healthcare providers and engaging in open conversations with them! In the afternoons, I took Spanish classes that were tailored towards medical vocabulary. Our evenings and weekends were free to explore the wonderful city of Oaxaca and make memories that would last a lifetime! I felt safe, supported, and encouraged my entire time abroad. I learned so much more than a classroom could have ever taught me and my Spanish improved immensly. This experience changed my life and made me a better human, as well as a better future physician. I learned empathy, independence, and adventure and I cannot wait to continue exploring the world of global health!

  • Expanded my healthcare knowledge immensly
  • Majorly improved my Spanish
  • Experienced a beautiful, vibrant culture
  • City becomes less safe after dark and extra caution needs to be given
13 people found this review helpful.
Yes, I recommend this program

Oaxaca: Medicine for the Soul

My participation in a Solomon Islands Community Environmental Health program in 2017 left me with a growing desire to explore the world once more through my education. I felt an urgency and natural obligation to have a similar experience of volunteer work and service in my motherland. I found CFHI's program through their partnership with the University of California. The idea of getting paired with a Oaxacan NGO for a practicum experience was something I naturally yearned for and had seemingly manifested for myself. I needed Oaxaca's people, colors, food, artesanías, landscapes and one of a kind streets full of culture.
Back in April when the program was starting in Mexico City I was put in contact with the Assistant Director of CFHI Latin America to talk about the goals and interests I had in mind for the Community Health Practicum, a month-long project I was to complete in Oaxaca City while completing volunteer work. I was placed to work with El Instituto de la Naturaleza y Sociedad de Oaxaca (INSO) after sharing with her my background in environmental science. I felt an immediate connection to INSO’s work due to their ability of recognizing the importance of a holistic approach to ecology and community health. I also visited Centro de Apoyo para el Niño de la Calle (CANICA) and although it was not an NGO I was originally assigned to, I asked to volunteer there as well. From Tuesday through Thursdays I worked with the incredible educators, staff, and students of CANICA. My role at CANICA was to be a teaching assistant for an educator of a combined class of first through fourth grade students. I helped teach weekly environmental health and earth science topics such as flooding, wildfires, and earthquakes. I learned how to complete lesson plans, how to get comfortable teaching a classroom in my native language, and how to inspire young ones on topics I am passionate about. I appreciated all the different tasks I had at CANICA; even the simple everyday activities of math tutoring and pickup soccer that allowed me bond more with these wonderful kids. The highlight of my volunteer experience was being granted the freedom and responsibility by CFHI to complete a Community Health Practicum project that represented my diverse list of passions. I am grateful that this experience gave me the opportunity to formulate a project under the weekly mentorship and wisdom of highly influential people. I gained valuable insight on how to think critically about development work. Particularly distinguishing gaps to become a useful bridge between an NGO and communities that are typically targeted for health, educational, and other development projects. Completing an internship abroad with CFHI has offered me a portal to connect with people and places from different parts of the world, an opportunity to gain valuable leadership skills and has opened new doors in my mind about my identity.

42 people found this review helpful.
Yes, I recommend this program

Integrity, Personal, and Meaningful!!

I came across CFHI as a pre-med student - I wasn't sure what branch of medicine I wanted to study. All I knew was that I was interested in traditional medicine and women's health, and that I liked traveling. I approached their table at a pre-health conference and was insistently drawn into a rich conversation with them. My eyes were immediately opened by CFHI who taught me what global health entails, such as the social determinants of health and the importance of approaching a trip as a learner and observer of the local culture. Being aware of cultural boundaries. Responsible and ethical partnerships. After doing my research, I realized that these values were not common in other abroad programs. I decided that a trip with CFHI would lead to my personal, academic, and professional development and signed up.

Besides the obvious integrity of CFHI, what drew me to CFHI and continues to impress me is the genuine personal attention and sincere compassion towards their students. CFHI is a small organization, and it shows in their student interactions and intimate communication. I felt completely supported throughout the entire process. They want to help their students and make it easy. They encouraged me to apply for a scholarship, with fully funded my trip. The application process was straightforward, as it should be.

CFHI is furthermore unique among other "study/volunteer/work abroad" organizations because of its individual focus. Rather than joining a trip 'slot', you decide where you want to go, what focus you want to have, what specific clinics you want to shadow at, when you want to embark, and for how long. It is totally catered to make it worthwhile for the student, while also assuring the highest quality ethical partnerships with locals. Each day consists of a medical aspect and a cultural aspect, reinforcing the idea that health is more than just the doctor-patient dynamic.

My 6 week trip in Oaxaca, Mexico focused on Women and Maternal Medicine, Midwifery, Indigenous Medicine transformed me, and now I am pursuing to be an OB-GYN, a profession I never would have chosen if it weren't for the eye-opening perspectives I got from my CFHI trip. And for that I am forever grateful. Thanks CFHI for all the opportunities and integrity you are putting into the world.

40 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Tropical Medicine in Puerto Escondido

My time in Puerto Escondido on the Tropical Medicine and Community-Based Health programme was an invaluable professional development opportunity. I have the chance to discuss with the local doctors on topics ranging from the political instability which resulted in hospital strikes, to an overview of the fragmented health system to how the vector control programmes worked within the region. Through being part of Oasis Surf & Spanish, I learnt how to surf and had lots of opportunity to improve my Spanish through living with a host family and taking medical Spanish lessons.

What would you improve about this program?
It took a while to get used to the change in pace of life - last minute planning and disorganisation is daily life in Puerto. I think slightly more direction for the local Medical Director and increased communication over what the programme would look like and being available for concerns would have made me feel more secure in my programme.
40 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Global Health Project in Puerto Escondido

My time in Puerto Escondido, Mexico was nothing short of extraordinary. Upon arrival, I was greeted with warm smiles and open arms. While I had done quite a bit of traveling prior to this experience, this was my first time traveling truly alone and with a more career-oriented goal. That being said, I was very nervous and I apprehensive about how my experience would be.

Luckily, my apprehension soon dissipated after my arrival. In my short time in Puerto, not only did I work on my project regarding childhood obesity in Mexico and learn an incredible amount about the Mexican healthcare system, I also was given many unique opportunities to learn about the culture and the people of Puerto. Being associated with the Oasis Surf and Language school allowed me to meet a ton of new people and have access to many amazing activities. To name a few, during my three weeks I was able to learn how to surf, freshen up on my Spanish, go to the local market, eat amazing local cuisine, release baby sea turtles on the beach, visit two different midwifes, learn how to cook typical Mexican meals from my host mom, watch movies on the beach, visit a wildlife refuge, hike along some ancient trails, and listen to the stories of some amazing local people.

Every day I would go to a local clinic and work on discovering and reducing health disparities that I found to be present in the population, and every evening I would sit on the beach and watch the sun disappear below the rolling ocean waves. It was truly a setting and an experience that made me reflect and realize how lucky I am and how badly I want to improve the health and well-being of others in populations around the globe. I am so lucky to have had the chance to experience all that I did with my short time in this coastal town of Oaxaca, and I would not have had such a chance if it weren't for CFHI! I definitely recommend this program and this organization to anyone who is looking to experience something new and life changing in the realm of healthcare.

What would you improve about this program?
The only thing for me that could have improved the experience deals with the language barrier I experienced. While I had previously taken Spanish courses and also took some classes while I was in Puerto, I found that I did not pick the language back up as quickly as I would have hoped. That being said, in my first week's clinical rotation I found that I was unable to speak with any of the staff besides the doctor. Although I tried to speak in Spanish, their inability to understand any English left me feeling inadequate and frustrated that I could not learn more from them and ask them the questions I wanted to. Luckily, after the first week, I was paired up with a student that spoke both English and Spanish fluently. She acted as my translator and this allowed me to learn a lot more during my time in Puerto. With that, my one suggestion would be to have the option of having a translator available to students who are uncomfortable with the language and need some extra help, even if it would just be available for a small portion of the time.
34 people found this review helpful.

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