SANTIAGO, Chile, Sept. 20, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Ecela (http://ecelaspanish.com) recently conducted a survey of premed students across the U.S., which showed consensus around a number of political and social ideas. Sixty-four percent of respondents agree that fluency in Spanish is an ethical responsibility for healthcare workers going forward. Ecela's Spanish and Medicine study abroad program (https://ecelaspanish.com/spanish-medicine-cusco-peru-summer-2017/) is a proven way to meet that responsibility, while also creating a lifetime's worth of memories.
"As a future member of the healthcare community, I believe that healthcare providers should do all that they can for anyone and everyone that they can, regardless of citizenship status," said Alexis Adrian Sanchez, a biochemistry and Spanish student at Portland State University. "Learning Spanish would break barriers. As American citizens, we shouldn't make immigrants feel ashamed that they can only speak Spanish."
"Healthcare is a privilege in an unsettling number of places even here in America," added premed student Michael Ehrman. "Health is a basic human right and should be accessible to every human, no matter how they identify themselves."
Despite their sincere belief in the importance of the Spanish language in their careers, relatively few premed students follow through on that belief in the form of dedicated coursework. This begs the question: "Why not?" There are numerous answers, many of them are not unique to premed studies.
First, many college students in demanding programs report being too busy to pursue additional electives, especially when they're not directly related to their field of study. Students understandably must prioritize, and the near-term value of faster matriculation often outweighs the long-term benefits of fluency in Spanish. More importantly, institutional language classes are far from perfect, emphasizing memorization and quizzes. Fluency requires immersion. One-hour sessions three times a week can't provide that experience.
Ecela President Ken Graham has witnessed how demographics are influencing hiring practices. "Increasingly, clinics and hospitals are more likely to hire a candidate with language competency than hiring an additional translator," he explains. "Premed students now understand that Spanish fluency is not simply a resume line, but also an indispensable skill."
The Ecela Spanish language-learning program is a solution to all of the major problems with traditional language instruction. The program is fully immersive: students attend school in one more locations in South America, experiencing a new language and culture firsthand. Class sizes are small, and students have the option of living with a host family to maximize their exposure to the language as it's used in daily life.
Ecela's Spanish and Medicine program offers an experience tailored to the needs of future doctors. Students will spend time shadowing local doctors in a clinical setting, as well as listening in on discussions of critical cases. Some classroom time will also be set aside for medical role-playing in Spanish and technical vocabulary.
"This is a no-fail way to learn Spanish," adds Ingraham, "and the 'return on investment' is enormous. Our past students have nothing but praise for the program. Many return in later years to increase their skills, meet new people and see new places."
Ecela (http://ecelaspanish.com) is a Spanish language-learning program with six sites in Peru, Chile and Argentina. Thousands of students from across the globe have taken advantage of the small classes and affordable tuition to learn Spanish while enjoying everything the local culture has to offer.
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