One student’s journey into medical Spanish
Every year, thousands of English medical students spend their electives in countries where they do not know much of the language. Most get by with a phrase book and by relying on the fact that English seems to be most people’s second language if it is not their first. I suspect these students enjoy their elective but wished they could have spoken a bit more of the local language to understand the patients better.
I was keen to study a medical language, both to further my linguistic abilities and to immerse myself better in whichever country I chose for my elective. As I wanted to go to a Latin American country I chose Spanish.
Unfortunately, my medical school did not offer a medical Spanish course, so I was left with the choice of paying for private classes or teaching myself the subject. Having missed the deadline for grants for private