top of page




Are you a 2019 graduating senior or a junior or senior? Are you a College or Post Baccalaureate pre-med student interested in Global International Health and a career in Medicine?   Are you a solid academic student with a passion to better understand health disparities and/or are a student underrepresented in medicine?   Have you completed at least one semester of college Spanish or two to four years of high school Spanish? Are you committed to developing second language fluency in Spanish?  Want to know how you can merge your passion for travel and cultural diversity with your love for a career in medicine?  Want to eventually return to inner city communities and use your skills to make a difference?


Apply now for our Urban Bridges's International Medical Scholars Study Abroad Program.  This intense program will help exponentially improve your language skills pushing you towards language fluency and preparing you to meet the growing need of our Spanish only speaking patients.  As you travel abroad, exploring other cultures and our global interconnectedness, the resulting awareness and adaptability helps to make you a better rounded individual.  Medical schools often appreciate student applicants with this international experience potentially making you a more competitive applicant.


Our travel abroad program is June 6 – July 24, 2020.  The program will begin, however, one week prior to departure with a pre-participation orientation week.  It will conclude, upon return to the U.S., with a Closing Ceremony and presentations in Spanish.


Applications open September 1, 2019 and will close April 1, 2020. Scholars will be announced at the upcoming PREPARING OUR SUCCESSORS IN MEDICINE ANNUAL STUDENT GALA.

College credit may be available but may require "Enrollment at Large" at one of our participating universities.  Inquire directly with Dr. Conway for more details and instructions.  You may also be able to arrange for credit through your own college or university.



                                  PROGRAM COSTS:  $4,750.00 (payment links will be emailed upon registration)




We are seeking mature, academically solid students who are underrepresented in medicine and/or who, regardless of race or creed, have a passion for reducing health disparities among disproportionately affected minority and economically depressed communities.


  • College or Pre-Med Post Baccalaureate Student

  • Graduating High School Senior

  • Minimum GPA 2.75

  • 1-2 letters of recommendations, one from college professor or teacher and another from a civic or church organization

  • High school students MUST have completed a minimum of two years of high school spanish.  Advanced years preferred

  • College students MUST have completed at least one semester of college level spanish

  • Complete a personal statement of 1000 words or less

  • Submit your unofficial transcripts

  • Be available to participate the duration of the ENTIRE program and meet all requirements necessary to participate


The I Am Abel Foundation’s URBAN BRIDGES INTERNATIONAL MEDICAL SCHOLARS PROGRAM  is seeking to recruit a cohort of talented graduating High School Seniors and College/Post baccalaureate  students who are interested in careers in medicine.  We are specifically seeking students from the Chicago Metropolitan region with demonstrated need.  Students must have a sincere desire to one day meet the growing needs of a spanish speaking population in America and through missions abroad in developing Latin countries.


Our Scholars will participate in the following required activities:

  • 6 Weeks Intensive Immersion style medical and conversational spanish in the beautiful mountain town of Grecia Costa Rica at our host school Central American Spanish Academy.   Classes taught by talented, dedicated college and graduate level native spanish speaking Costa Rican professors. 


  • Pre-departure workshops and training for parents and students that will promote program and travel readiness and will include an introduction to medical concepts needed to be successful as a student medical shadow.

  • Spanish placement exam and placement into small groups from 2-6 students based on language proficiency.  Classes will be daily Monday-Friday with classes or cultural experiences typically from 8am-3pm

  • Comfortable and safe accomodations with 2 weeks in our student Villas and 4 weeks in local, vetted Costa Rican Homestays

  • MANDATORY CPR Certification (PRIOR to leaving for Costa Rica)

  • Expected to participate in all service projects to include the following

    • CPR Course Instruction to High Students and staff at a local high school

    • Participate and organize Health Fairs for Senior Facility

    • Participate in Elderly Outreach programs

  • Complete a closing ceremony presentation in spanish at the language school and upon return to the U.S.

  • Visit with the International Red Cross Costa Rica to learn about emergency medical services of this organization internationally and work being done in Costa Rica

  • Assistance with getting college credit only for participating colleges and universities

  • Community Orientation and Grecia Walking Tour

  • Lectures and teaching on Costa Rica’s Single Payor Health System

  • Medical Shadowing in private or public clinics

  • Salsa dancing, Cooking Classes

  • Unique to this program is the opportunity to further learn of the the large Afro Costa Rican presence in Costa Rica, it's rich history, colorful afro-centered holidays and celebrations and it's common yet disparate histories compared to blacks in America

  • Team building activities, tutoring and support to create a home away from home for our student travelers

  • All academic books and study materials

  • 24/7 phone access to Costa Rican school director and/or School owner to facilitate any urgent needs.

  • On-site support by our foundation’s  team of physician mentors, counselors and/ or professional staff who will travel WITH and ATTEND our students

  • Closing Global Health Awards Ceremony and Banquet (U.S.)

  • Educational and leisurely excursions to explore the rainforest, volcanos and beautiful ecosystem destinations (will include 2-3 or more of the following based on weather and local conditions)

    • Manuel Antonio National Park (transportation, overnight accomodations and meals included)

    • Arenal Volcano with Natural Hot Springs (transportation, meals included)

    • Shopping in Sarchi (transportation included; meals not included))

    • San Jose City Tour (will take local bus with tour guide; meals and transportation NOT included)


  • Optional Weekend Excursions (supervised)

    • Canopy Zip lining

    • Horseback riding

    • Rainforest Adventure

    • La Paz waterfall Garden and Poas Volcano  (transportation and meals  included)


  • (Excursions are weather permitting and subject to change due to climate changes in the rainforest)


Does NOT include

  • Spending money for gifts, shopping, snacks etc…

  • Meals while on overnight or full day excursions unless otherwise stated

  • Optional activities like surfing, zip lining, horseback riding, etc… (for those 18 years and under will require parental consent IN ADVANCE OF TRAVEL).

  • Passport, which needs to be obtained 90 days prior to travel


$4,750.00 per person

(Final payment due April 1, 2020)



  • Roundtrip coach airfare from Chicago to San Jose Costa Rica

  • Roundtrip airport transfer (from San Jose Juan Santa Maria Airport to Grecia Costa Rica and return)

  • Intensive One Week Pre-Departure Program

  • Pre-departure Workshop for Parents

  • Passport Assistance (but must purchase independently)

  • Health and Trip Interruption Insurance

  • Complete program curriculum and activities, text books, etc…

  • CPR Certification

  • Many excursions included with optional excursions or activities available at additional cost (i.e. Horseback riding, zip lining, etc…) for students OVER the age of 18 or otherwise only with express parental consent prior to departure


Our program costs are one third to one half the cost of similar private and university based programs with more content and activities and professional support.


Upon acceptance, a NONREFUNDABLE deposit of $350.00 will be REQUIRED to secure your program seat.  It will be used on downpayment on airfare and again will be NONREFUNDABLE.  


Payment in full

( Includes deposit)

Installment Plans

( for your convenience)

Deposit only



  • Scholars must understand that the mission of the I AM ABEL FOUNDATION includes a strong emphasis on volunteering, service and peer to peer mentoring.  As such, a component of our programs will always include required service projects.

  • Must be willing to present your project at our closing ceremony in spanish. 

  • Scholars must be prepared to follow ALL rules and safety regulations.  The schedule will be busy and all students are expected to participate fully.  


  • In the unlikely event you are traveling at night, should do so only in pairs.

  • Scholars will live in a safe home stay with vetted Costa Rican families where 3 meals per day will be provided. There will be home rules and expectations, most of this for the Scholar’s  safety while traveling in a foreign country.  Your home mom will assist you with your laundry.

  • Scholars are expected to communicate with their host family ONLY in Spanish.  Many of the costa-rican families may speak some english but will speak only Spanish with the Scholar.  This is the quickest and most efficient way to learn a new language.

  • Must be willing to follow all of the guidelines and requirements of the program as expressed or implied, which are subject to change and be willing and able to participate in the full calendar of events from start to finish

  • Each scholar is expected to be of the highest ethical standards, self-directed and able to operate independently as needed particularly at volunteer sites.

  • Each student must provide PROOF OF PASSPORT WITHIN 3 WEEKS OF TRAVEL or risk forfeiture of participation.

  • Deposit of $350.00 is NON REFUNDABLE.  NO EXCEPTIONS!




I AM ABEL FOUNDATION will be offering, based on funding several scholarships for our summer study abroad program in Costa Rica.. The scholarship process does NOT REQUIRE A SEPARATE APPLICATION PROCESS.  You need only to apply.  By applying for acceptance into our program, you are automatically considered for our scholarships.  Please note, that acceptance into our summer program is no guarantee of scholarship award.  Scholarships will be awarded based on scholastic achievement, service, leadership and need.   The student will have an exceptional scholastic record as well as a strong interest and commitment to becoming a physician.  The student must also strongly desire to one day provide care to vulnerable, underserved populations, particularly the latino population where Spanish is the primary language spoken and where there is currently a gap in medical service due to this language barrier.  Awardees will be announced at the upcoming PREPARING OUR SUCCESSORS IN MEDICINE ANNUAL STUDENT GALA.


You are responsible for raising the entire cost of your Global Health Study Abroad Program.  We will, however,  assist you with fund raising campaigns.  Our program costs are one third to one half the cost of similar private and university based programs with more content, activities and one on one support to ensure an optimal and safe experience.


Upon acceptance into our program, a NONREFUNDABLE deposit of $350.00 will be REQUIRED to secure your program seat.  It will be used on down payment on airfare and again will be NONREFUNDABLE.  


This scholarship is in honor of the mother of our founder, Dr. LaMenta S. Conway.  She credits her mother for inspiring her to believe against all odds that becoming a physician was more than just a dream but her personal truth.  Dr. Conway has served as the designated Spanish speaking physician in many hospitals and clinic practices and wants to encourage second language acquisition and study abroad among underrepresented high school and college student populations who seldom encounter this life changing experience. Student(s) selected for this award must demonstrate high academic achievement and have sincere desire to study medicine and develop second language fluency.

This scholarship will award ½ scholarship(s) to carefully selected students with a track record for community service and humanitarianism.  This scholarship is named in honor of Dr. Conway’s grandmother whom she credits with inspiring her to serve.  Grandma White, as she was affectionately known by countless many, embodied what it meant to be a “servant” to mankind.  Students selected for this award must demonstrate academic scholarship with a proven track record of volunteer and service commitment within the community as well as a sincere desire to study medicine and develop second language fluency.


To support or sponsor a very deserving scholar please donate.

Meet the lovely Jeanetta Owens, the owner of Laterraza Guest House in Grecia Costa Rica and an American ExPat who speaks about integrating within the Costa Rican Culture and learning a new language all at a ripe young age.
Please join I AM ABEL FOUNDATION International Correspondent, Corey Conway, as he interviews Professor Emeritus, and renowned lecturer on Afro-Costa Rican History and the African Diaspora, Dr. Sherman Thomas
Interview in Spanish
Interview in English

Watch as our I Am Abel Foundation International Programs Correspondent, Corey Conway, a Purdue University 4th year student, interviews Dr. Sherman Thomas, a native of Costa Rica about his identity as a black Latino. 

bottom of page