GPSA Global Public Service Academies

GPSA for Health’s Xela Program is an intensive experience for Bayside High School students with a passion for a career in the medical field. The students’ GPSA experience begins in their arrival city: Guatemala City, Guatemala (GUA Airport). The students will travel as a group, including GPSA staff, to Xela. Xela is about a 5-hour drive from Guatemala City airport. Though Xela is the center of activity for the program, students live with a college leader in groups of five or six with a host family in pueblos outside Xela. Living with a host family creates a perfect atmosphere to practice spanish and learn/experience the Guatemalan culture. For their clinical service, students are divided into teams led by trained college students (premeds from Duke or similar universities) or faculty. Students learn to facilitate several medical interventions and screenings (how to measure glucose levels, infant height and weight, blood pressure, heart rate, etc.) and complete and important introductory cultural and language training. The language training is intense (two hours, one-on-one) and focused on Spanish. Participants will spend a culture day in the country and a team day with their host families in their city. Participants not only learn about healthcare, but they also get to know a new and different culture, perhaps making some lifelong friends in the process.