Guide to Improving language skills quickly

Improve language skills quickly

At The Medical Elective Network, we receive health care students each move with different levels of Spanish language experience and knowledge.  What all participants share is a desire to learn, and to improve quickly.

Once students arrive in Trujillo, everything is geared towards their learning. As an immersion program, this involves the family accommodation, hospital rotations, and, of course, the classroom-based medical Spanish program.

Nevertheless, every student is different, and regardless of their level of Spanish on arrival, we do find that some students progress more quickly than others.  Improving Spanish is something that you will feel and enjoy on a practical level. Every day.  Whether it is understanding grammatical points in the classroom or using what you have learned in a conversation with your homestay mom in the evening,  You will gain immense satisfaction as your skills develop.

So, how to improve your medical Spanish and general Spanish quickly

Preparation for your language program

Developing your language skills rapidly on our program begins before you arrive in Peru.   You are busy with work or exams, but taking a little time each day to study Spanish in the weeks and months before you arrive will undoubtedly pay dividends in speeding up your learning once you are here.

Before you arrive, we will send you a medical Spanish book to get you underway.  This book covers both medical Spanish and general Spanish, at all levels.  It is an excellent complement to the medical Spanish program we provide.

As well as the book we send you there are many Spanish learning resources available to you, including apps such as Duolingo that can be used for just a few minutes per day wherever you are.

The Classroom program

Time spent in the classroom is essential.  It is here that you will master the grammar and get lots of controlled practice in the conversation club and doctor-patient role plays.  Our regular program is 4 hours per day.  However, you do have the option, that we recommend for beginners, to take extra morning classes for the first week or 2 to provide a foundation and develop your confidence in Spanish.

Attending class is not enough.  As with life, you will reap what you sow.  Participating in class and completing any homework given are essential.  Our language teachers are committed to your learning and are happy to take the time to ensure that your understanding improves.

Students doing just a little self-study in the evenings do cement what they have learned in the day and do shine.

Spanish at the hospital

The hospital is the place where you will put your developing grammar and vocabulary into action.  Here, listening may well be more important than speaking, especially in the early days.  However, being friendly and developing relationships here with local professionals and medical students will ensure lots of conversation practice and open up more patient interactions.

Time with your homestay family

Staying with a family is to live Spanish.  It is a large part of why students on immersion programs progress so quickly. The families are friendly and interested in you.  Showing an interest in them and making conversation will supercharge your language development.

Your driver

You will have the same driver each day for your hospital rotation.  Like our families. The drivers are friendly and happy to chat.  Make the best of it and use these short journeys each day to talk in Spanish.

Spanish with your classmates

Each month we have different participants, and each group has its own personality.  What is clear is that those groups of students who make an effort to chat to each other in Spanish (No matter how little they begin with) tend to be the groups that advance the most.

Speaking with other English speakers in Spanish can be tricky, especially if you begin with a limited vocabulary.   Most of your conversations with other group members will undoubtedly be in English.  However, just an agreed 30 minutes Spanish only each day will make a huge difference.

Trujillo and Peru

In Trujillo pretty much every sign and every interaction on the street is Spanish.   There is no better place for you to learn or improve the Spanish language skills you already have.  Whether it is a conversation in a cafe or a trip to the cinema, every day, you will be speaking, hearing a reading Spanish.

If you are looking to develop your language skills quickly, there is no substitute for the real thing.  Come and live Spanish!