Anyone Done A Medical Spanish course?

Hey all you OPMers,

Some of you may remember … one of the vendor booths at the OPM conference last weekend was from La Universidad Autonoma de Guadalajara (University of Guadalajara). I’m not interested in attending its 4-year medical school, but I am possibly interested in its summer medical Spanish program. I had a really long conversation (in Spanish, of course - I’m fluent) with UAG’s rep, and it sounded pretty interesting.

I’d like to work, at least in a part-time or volunteer capacity, with an underserved, urban Spanish-speaking population after I (hopefully!) finish med school.

Anyway … just wondering: Has anyone on the OPM board done this program, or anything like it?

I’d like to hear what others have to say, if possible, before I leap into anything that costs ~$1,600 + airfare to Guadalajara, Mex.

Like I said, I’m already fluent (years of studying Spanish in school, and a semester in Chile in college). I’m placing an order for a medical Spanish dictionary today so I can study on my own. And I’m hoping to volunteer as a Spanish translator in a community clinic (if they think my language skills are good enough).

But the more formal training - and in Mexico - sounds like it would be good, too.

Any thoughts on this?


I would think that if you are fluent in spanish, you are 5 steps ahead of the game. I believe that the summer program by UAG is designed for the english speaking students who flock to the medical school. You may get a decent online or self-paced book course and save a few thousand dollars. -sp…

BTW, don’t knock UAG. They have been around for many years, are part of a legitimate and long established university and, in my opinion, are damn sight better than most foreign schools. But as always, US medical school, whether MD or DO are always better. Besides your Harvard material


I would have to agree with gonnif on that. Since you already speak Spanish, you’ll probably be better off investing your $1600 in something else. Most of medical schools have some sort of international elective or make it possible for their students to participate in medical/ humanitarian missions.

I also talked to a representative of La Universidad Autonoma de Guadalajara at the conference and I think you would not benefit from this particular program.


Thanks to both of you for your replies and comments.

And thinking about it, I believe you are right. I would be better of saving the money for something else, and also saving my time for something else. Because god knows we’ve all got so little of it these days!

I think I’ll stick with getting the medical Spanish dictionary for now. My mom (who’s a longtime hospice nurse and lives not far from me) also speaks Spanish, and we practice together on the phone every week. I think I will suggest incorporating some medical Spanish practice sessions into our regular conversations. I’m sure she’ll go for this - she wants to improve her medical Spanish as well, since she has a number of Spanish-speaking-only patients/families for whom she cares in her job.

Thanks again; I always appreciate the feedback.

And a note regarding Kasia’s post –

The sorts of international experiences you mentioned, Kasia, are VERY important to me. In fact, that is one of the things I’m looking for in a medical school - the opportunity to go abroad for some sort of elective time/experience/course/et c.

I know not every school does it, and perhaps I won’t get into any schools where that’s an option. But being somewhere where I can do that is ideal, in my opinion. Preferably in Latin America, where I studied abroad in college. (I was in Chile, but traveled all over South America during my brief vacations … those were the days!).

Thanks again.

You might also check out Dr. Molly’s Medical Spanish Podcasts . I see she has now added a premium content section, but she has a ton of free podcasts on different topics that I found to be pretty good.

I just checked it out, and it looks great! Thanks for the tip, Emergency! - I’m not sure I would’ve thought of this avenue otherwise.

I’m going to set up an account and download one of the podcasts right now.

Agree with the others who suggest waiting for an opportunity in medical school. We have had a number of students go for 4-8 weeks during 4th year. Be sure to check into this when you are applying to med schools. Many will give lip service to doing it. You will want to find a school with an outstanding global medicine department.

Hey terra-incognita!

I just had another idea. If you can’t wait until med school starts for your South/ Central American adventure, maybe you can go on a mission trip with a church?

Just a thought.


Thanks again, everyone, for the suggestions. And yes, this is going to be one of my criteria for me school.

This evening, I did a bunch of Web hunting and found an online database (!!!), put together in part by the AAMC, that has collected information about international opportunities for medical students at various U.S. medical schools (allopathic). I plan to pore over this database more tonight and tomorrow. And I’ve bookmarked it, as I’m sure I’ll be going back.

Anyway, here’s a link to the site in case anyone’s interested:

International Opportunities in Medical Education