Improve Your Spanish or French Language Skills this Summer
Discover New Perspectives
Roll up your sleeves and join us for a French immersion program in Guadeloupe or on one of our Spanish immersion programs! Improve your French or Spanish language skills while volunteering with local communities.
In Guadeloupe, you will improve your French language skills while also working on a blend of environmental initiatives, organic farming and workshops with small businesses. VISIONS is based on the idyllic island of Marie Galante. Known as the “island of a hundred mills,” echoes of the historic sugar industry still remain and ox-drawn carts transport cane from field to factory. Very few local people speak English, creating an immersion experience ripe for improving language skills that is driven by the mutual desires to make new friends across cultures.
What alumni say about French immersion with VISIONS:
This summer was probably the best of my life. I learned so much about myself through bilan (circle meetings) and living in close proximity with people. I also learned so much French and fell in love with the language. I got to interact with people my age in the community that I’m still in contact with as well as the amazing kids and counselors I met. VISIONS changed my life through all the friends I have made, the challenges I conquered and the things I have learned. I will never forget it.
My trip to Guadeloupe was definitely a positive and rewarding experience. By opening myself up to a culture other than my own I was able to look at the world in a new light. As I looked through the eyes of a Guadeloupean, I realized that personal relationships are much more valuable than any material wealth. By communicating in French, I had to readjust to a different set of values that were different from those with which I was familiar. I really had a good time and would definitely recommend the trip to anyone with an open mind.
Pirette, who functioned like our Guadeloupean grandmother, once sat me down and said (in French) “You are so serious and alone all the time. This is Guadeloupe—the sun, the sea, the flowers.” Which was a very good point. Guadeloupe is beautiful, the people are nice. I had a great time going to beautiful places, learning new things and meeting interesting people. It was probably the best July of my life.
You can’t resist practicing your Spanish at our program worksites, during excursions, while enjoying meals with community members, and in day-to-day life while you live as part of a local neighborhood. The language is everywhere, and local people are genuinely eager to get to know you. Service projects range from developing water systems to building schools, and working on a permaculture farm where giant tortoises roam freely. The adventures are just as diverse, with beaches, cloud forests, Machu Picchu, and the Galapagos. Now is the time to enroll: Dominican Republic, Galapagos and Peru.
What alumni say about Spanish immersion with VISIONS:
With VISIONS, you get so much more than you ever could have expected. I felt safe and loved and comfortable with everyone there. I came to think of the other participants and the Dominicans as my new family. I learned so much just by walking down a street with a barefoot child in my arms. He couldn’t speak a word of English and my Spanish wasn’t all that great, but I don’t think either one of us felt odd or like an outsider. That’s how all of the people were. They welcomed us with open arms and they filled your heart to a point that I cried when it was time to go. VISIONS is a great service and I’m definitely going back next summer.
VISIONS DR was one of the best times of my life. Not only did I help BUILD a SCHOOL but I also got to learn the local customs, how to dance, and how to actually speak Spanish. There are no words that could describe the experience I had the past summer. I had the time of my life, while doing something that benefited the community.
I learned more about myself and about another culture on the VISIONS trip than I ever have before. I had the chance to speak, play, eat, listen and live with several members of Ingenío Santa Fe. The attitude of the welcoming members have inspired me to change the way I look at my own life, to appreciate how lucky and blessed I am, and to someday return and offer them smiles and kindness once again! I wouldn’t trade the experience for the world. I would also give anything to do it all over again
The VISIONS trip was unlike anything I’ve done before. Traveling to a country thousands of miles away gave me the opportunity to speak a different language, eat new and exotic foods, meet new people, and immerse myself into a culture completely different from the one I have been accustomed to for so long. I will never forget the friends I made and the experiences I had.
My time with VISIONS has given me a new look on life, in the way that it has taught me how important it is to have confidence in yourself and your abilities, whether at the worksite or speaking Spanish, as taking risks can lead to beautiful experiences and growth. Also, I gained an understanding of the culture of Peru that I never would have gained being a tourist, and I learned how you can have a million things to speak about with people who on the surface may seem completely different than you.
I enjoyed meeting and living amongst the Peruvians who have a wonderful human spirit. I learned a lot from each and every one of them. I loved immersing myself in la cultura peruana, whether we were with our home stay families or just speaking Spanish around the town of Urubamba. And at the end of the day, I loved sharing my experiences with the rest of the group as well as hearing about others’ at Ayllu [circle].
The two boys who worked with us everyday, Paulo and Carlos were awesome and since they only spoke Spanish it helped me to feel more comfortable speaking Spanish. It was the same case with my homestay family. The mother of the family, Elena, was so sweet she actually made lunch for my homestay partner and me the next day at work and brought it to us. The whole cross—cultural interaction was really an amazing experience. The Peruvian way of life is so different, but they appear so content and comfortable that it allowed me to feel quite comfortable as well. When I returned home I walked into a restaurant, and because I was so used to speaking and thinking in Spanish, I mistakenly started communicating in Spanish instead of English!