Intensive medical Spanish – Quickly and properly
This post was most recently updated on November 20th, 2021
How much Medical Spanish can you learn?
Medical Spanish has always been the focus of our programs. Each participant has their motivations. And for many, clinical electives and community health fairs are their number one reason for coming here, and, of course, seeing Peru!
Nevertheless, we have always understood that for many reasons, we can help healthcare students and professionals quickly develop medical Spanish (And general Spanish) skills that they can usefully apply in their professional lives. These reasons include:
- Structured language program covering both general and medical Spanish (CME accredited with AAFP)
- Taught at beginner, intermediate and advanced levels
- Small group numbers (Maximum five students)
- Great teachers – Both physicians and professional language teachers
- Family homestay for total language immersion
- The city of Trujillo – A working city with some, but not too much tourism (No menus in English)
- Hospital rotations with Peruvian professionals and students
- Community health fairs – seeing dozens of patients on a single morning
Increasing the hours
When we began The Medical Elective Network back in 2011, students took 3 hours of medical Spanish classes per day, and we thought then that it was a lot. This was later increased to 4 hours each afternoon, as we introduced the conversation club.
At the beginning of 2017, some participants asked for more Spanish, and, in response, we came up with the intensive medical Spanish program of the 4 hours in the afternoon, plus an additional 2 hours each morning. We did not think this would be a popular innovation, but how wrong we were.
Perhaps 50% of participants taking both a hospital elective and medical Spanish class now take the intensive medical Spanish program for the first one or two weeks when they arrive. For many, it is a great way to develop their confidence in Spanish before beginning hospital rotations. They then go back to the regular program of hospital in the mornings and 4 hours of Spanish in the afternoon.
The program is also popular with professionals, who, with limited time, often take two weeks of the intensive medical Spanish program for CME credits. This intensive learning experience is immediately applied once they arrive back at work and start seeing Spanish-speaking patients.
Since 2018, we push the program participants a little more, with 7 hours of intensive language classes per day. The first couple of days are tough, but students are happy to be making progress so quickly.
So what is our Intensive medical Spanish program?
The program runs in the mornings from 9 am to noon and then begins again, after lunch, from 2.30 pm to 6.30 pm.
- 9 am – 10.30 am
- 10.30 am – 12 noon
- 12 noon – 2.30 pm
- 2.30 pm – 3.30 pm
- 3.30 pm – 5 pm
- 5 pm – 6.30 pm
- General Spanish
- Medical Spanish
- Break for lunch at home
- Conversation club
- General Spanish
- Medical Spanish
Do not worry. You do have a 10-minute break between classes.
As the name suggests, the conversation club is an opportunity to speak and listen to Spanish in a relaxed environment. The class takes place outside on our patio and is managed by a language teacher or doctor. This class is managed and not taught. The whiteboard is not used. It is just games and conversation topics designed to get your brain working for the afternoon.
We are fortunate to have a small team of young doctors who teach medical Spanish and manage our community health fairs. Medical Spanish classes look at different areas of medicine and the vocabulary used. More advanced-level courses go deeper into each topic. Role-plays are used to provide lots of real-life practice (And for lots of fun).
The classes combine grammar and vocabulary. Without a complete understanding of general Spanish, the real-world benefit of the medical Spanish element would be pretty limited. So, our language teachers investigate grammar points in real-world situations. Again, classes are kept lively and fun with a focus on student interaction.
Intensive Medical Spanish for you?
If you are looking for an immersion program that will enable you to develop your medical Spanish skills beyond healthcare vocabulary comprehensively, consider coming to Trujillo. 7 hours is a lot of Spanish each day. But for those willing to commit the time, the rewards will be apparent on your return to work.