• 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
General grants/scholarships
Health & Safety

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
Feb 27, 2024
Mar 25, 2024
9 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

Video and Photos

Diversity & Inclusion

BIPOC Support

CFHI is deeply committed to supporting BIPOC participants in our programs, building our programs and operations from a basis of anti-oppression, anti-racist, and anti-colonial approaches. We work closely with our Global Team to provide participants with location-specific information regarding local customs, norms and recommendations. During pre-departure preparation, we encourage participants to discuss their identities, needs, abilities, and concerns and set up 1:1 planning calls to ensure questions are answered, and a robust support system is established before travel. In addition, our local teams and CFHI leadership are available 24/7 to offer support and assistance.

LGBTQIA+ Support

At CFHI, we are dedicated to fostering an inclusive and supportive environment for participants of all identities, including those within the LGBTQIA+ community. We firmly believe in equal access to quality global health education, ensuring that everyone can engage and thrive. We collaborate with our local teams to provide resources and support to participants that is specific to each program and location. During pre-departure, participants are encouraged to discuss their unique concerns and set up 1:1 planning calls to ensure questions are answered and a robust support system is established before travel. Through these efforts, we aim to foster an environment where participants can learn, grow, and make meaningful connections while participating in global health experiences.

Neurodivergent Support

CFHI encourages participants to discuss their accommodation needs with CFHI after acceptance to their program to ensure we understand the accommodations needed and be well prepared to support them. Before departure, our team will work directly with each student and their institution (if relevant) and will make every possible effort to implement learning and physical accommodations and adaptations, remove barriers and allow full access to the extent possible without fundamentally altering the program's essential structure and standards. If it is not possible to accommodate a student on their first choice of program due to significant structural barriers or similar, CFHI will work with the student and their institution to select another suitable program option.

Accessibility Support

CFHI encourages participants to discuss their accommodation needs with CFHI after acceptance to their program to ensure we understand the accommodations needed and be well prepared to support them. Before departure, our team will work directly with each student and their institution and will make every possible effort to implement learning and physical accommodations and adaptations, remove barriers and allow full access to the extent possible without fundamentally altering the program's essential structure and standards. If it is not possible to accommodate a student on their first choice of program due to significant structural barriers or similar, CFHI will work with the student and their institution to select another suitable program option



Sustainability is at the core of our partnerships at CFHI. Our longstanding global partnerships, spanning more than 10+ years, reflect our ethical and Fair-Trade approach. CFHI's organizational values emphasize our interconnectedness as humans sharing one planet. To expand educational opportunities while reducing our organizational carbon footprint, we offer a range of virtual/online programs. Additionally, several programs focus on Planetary Health and encourage participants through our Planetary Health Pledge to commit to actionable initiatives that contribute to a healthier planet. Through these efforts, we are dedicated to nurturing sustainable and enduring relationships with our partners and the planet.

Ethical Impact

CFHI is a leader in community-based Global Health Education Programs with over 30 years of experience and in Special Consultative Status with the United Nations. CFHI's work has centered around offering safe, ethical, and sustainable global health education opportunities to trainees and academic partners. Our research and scholarship have focused on documenting the harm caused by neocolonial and paternalistic approaches to global health engagement and collaboratively developing standards and best practices rooted in Fair Trade Learning Principles, Asset-Based approaches, and appropriate legal and regulatory frameworks. Through immersive experiences, participants are embedded in existing health systems, deepening their understanding of host countries' health landscapes, refining intercultural communication, exploring complex health realities, and cultivating a commitment to global health ethics.

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

4.90 Rating
based on 10 reviews
  • 5 rating 90%
  • 4 rating 10%
  • 3 rating 0%
  • 2 rating 0%
  • 1 rating 0%
  • Growth 4.9
  • Support 4.9
  • Fun 4.7
  • Housing 4.9
  • Safety 4.8
Showing 1 - 8 of 10 reviews
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

A very memorable experience!

CFHI is a great program to experience cultural immersion, clinical exposure, and language acquisition. It was a very well rounded experience with a lot of helpful support in place from the coordinators, my host family, and alumni advisor. We had enough structure in our schedule to reap benefits from the experience and enough free time to relax and enjoy the environment. I definitely would recommend it to other students!

It was interesting to see some of the common chronic diseases (diabetes, hypertension, hypercholesterolemia) because of diet and food access, also seeing unique tropical diseases like Dengue and Chagas, and seeing the younger age that women tend to have children as a result of social factors.

My host mom was very kind and helpful and an amazing cook! She would always be interested to get a recap of our days so we could practice our Spanish. I really enjoyed my stay with her.

Spanish classes were also super helpful and I learned a lot that helped me increase my fluency. My teacher, Rocio was extremely kind, patient, and supportive to help us make progress on a lot of grammatical and conversational skills.

The many beautiful beaches and the overall environment in Puerto Escondido were very beautiful to enjoy. We even took a weekend trip to Oaxaca which was also a wonderful place to visit.

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

Amazing CFHI Oaxaca & Puerto Escondido Program

My global health study abroad program consisted of about 2 months in Oaxaca city, Mexico and two weeks in Puerto Escondido. Not only did I learn more about health problems that affect the Mexican population but also how to spread prevention awareness. I had the opportunity to shadow doctors in clinics and a hospital and was exposed to the different obstacles that many of these clinics faced. Most of the clinics that I had visited had a limited amount of resources available and doctors wrote their clinic stories using typewriters. In Puerto Escondido our main goal was to learn about public health and how to incorporate it into the community. We were given the opportunity to give presentations to elementary school classes on sexual education and Vector-related illnesses. All of the children that we presented to, all showed the desire to learn more. Besides the academic part of the study abroad program, the culture in Oaxaca, Mexico is truly one of a kind. I was exposed to calendas (parades), dia de los muertos celebrations, and the beautiful beaches. Oaxacans are extremely respectful and easygoing, always greeting you when you walk by or eating. Overall, this was an amazing experience and I am very thankful that I was able to experience it.

What was your funniest moment?
In Puerto Escondido, the weather is humid and hot but at times it randomly rains. One day we went out for dinner as a group and we had walked since we lived about 10 minutes away from the restaurant. When we finished eating and starting walking back, it started pouring so hard. We all started running trying to use trees as cover. Unfortunately, it did not help and by the time we got back to our place, we were all drenched. This was definitely one of the funniest moments from this program.
  • Beautiful Oaxacan culture
  • The people there are super sweet and respectul
  • Have the opportunity to learn about traditional medicine
  • Not long enough
  • Not enough time spent at a hospital
26 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Oaxaca Spanish Immersion

Practicing my Spanish while immersing myself in another culture prior to residency had long been a goal of mine, and CFHI helped make that happen. I really enjoyed both my language classes and homestay in Oaxaca. I was also able to take part in local art and cooking classes in my free time to continue to practice my Spanish, in addition to shadowing at a private surgical clinic. I'm grateful for the opportunity and would love to participate in a similar language immersion program with CFHI again.

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

Traditional Medicine in Oaxaca City

I spent 4 weeks living in Oaxaca City, Oaxaca, Mexico and exploring the foundations of traditional medicine. I chose to travel to Oaxaca because of my connection to traditional medicine and my interest in cultural anthropological studies. As a physician, I hope to incorporate elements of traditional medicine into my practice, and I have a particular fascination with how different cultures integrate western and alternative medicines into one system for healing.

My experience with CFHI allowed me to compare the uses of traditional medicine practices in Oaxaca to the understanding of integrative medicine and traditional practices in the United States. I am so incredible grateful for the opportunity to learn in such an expansive and lively city. Being able to immerse myself in the Oaxacan culture was an experience I will never forgot and will only continue to inform my practice as a physician during residency. I improved my medical and conversational Spanish to the point of intermediate learner and was able to engage in learning that was entirely in Spanish. I learned so much about the traditional medicine practice in Oaxaca and different herbs that I can continue to learn about and utilize in my medical practice. I developed a deeper understanding of the interactions between traditional medicine and hospital medicine to inform my practice as an integrative medicine – family medicine physician. I also immersed myself in the Oaxacan culture and food and found a deeper appreciation for the way of life present in Oaxaca. I am so grateful I applied for this program and will continue to draw on experiences from this journey for the rest of my life.

Oaxaca is a food city and is known for its unique and delicious cuisine, so do not hesitate to explore and try the different foods that it has to offer.

  • Tradiitonal medicne expereinces
  • food
  • experiences around the city
  • Weather was very hot
  • Necessary to rent a car if you want to explore areas outside of the city
  • Need air conditioning in doors!
73 people found this review helpful.
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.
93 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
103 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.

129 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.

123 people found this review helpful.

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