I had the opportunity to study abroad in Costa Rica back in Spring 2014. I became fluent in Spanish and completed 130 hours in a local medical clinic. Ever since I became interested in medicine, I knew that I wanted to become fluent in another language. Knowing two or more languages can greatly benefit us as future physicians because of the increased patient population we would be able to reach. If you’re considering practicing medicine in the United States, you’d be at a great advantage to learn a second language because of the diversity and culture in this country.
One way to learn and maintain a second language would be to go to a country where you could immerse yourself in a different language. Being immersed and living in Costa Rica forced me to only speak Spanish, and taught me how to speak it “naturally.” You can also look into study programs with universities on completing medical internships or clinical experience in another country, all while learning a new language as well. If you’re unable to relocate to another country even for just a few weeks, there are plenty of apps and website programs that are designed to teach you another language. There are also websites to pair you with a native speaker, so you can practice speaking to someone.