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Listing languages on apps

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by epsilonprodigy, Aug 9, 2011.

  1. epsilonprodigy

    epsilonprodigy Physicist Enough
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    Obviously there's a place toward the beginning where you talk about languages you speak, but I wondered if it was appropriate to list it under work/activites too. The reason I ask is because, while I'm fairly confortable conversing in Spanish, I'm early on in the process of learning Amharic. (I can speak some but am actively in the process of learning more.) I want to learn Arabic next and thought that might be of interest to the adcoms. But I don't want to look like I'm padding. How can I note that I'm learning Amharic without implying that I'm fluent?
     
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  3. MartletMD

    MartletMD O Canada...

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    From what I understand:
    At the beginning, the languages you list are those that you are fluent enough to conduct an interview in ONLY.

    I too was thinking of putting down "independent language study" on AMCAS, which I do as well (and which gels very nicely with my major). If you choose to put it down, I would aim to be able to talk about the structure of your study, methods, and samples of how you've used a language (if possible) in the space for your blurb, even how you chose the language.

    Granted, this opinion comes from the outside looking in, but if you were to put it down at all, I think the way I described above makes the most sense.
     
  4. epsilonprodigy

    epsilonprodigy Physicist Enough
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    Does this mean they would actually try to interview you in Spanish?! I'm fairly solid in it but could potentially run into trouble in some situations. I talk to my patients in Spanish all the time (no consenting, etc. though...just conversational stuff) but I also know when to get the translator, which I sometimes need to, although decreasingly so as time goes on.
     
  5. MartletMD

    MartletMD O Canada...

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    From poking around the boards, yes, they could potentially interview you in Spanish, and it has happened (allegedly).
     
  6. Kekeirda

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    Yes, if you list a language you need to be prepared to interview in it. Many schools conduct all or at least part of the interview in a language (if the interviewer is also fluent)
     
  7. Kekeirda

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    looks like martlet beat me to it
     
  8. epsilonprodigy

    epsilonprodigy Physicist Enough
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    Actually I think I'll avoid listing either under "languages" but then list language study under work and activities. I'm not fluent: fact is, I DO sometimes have to call the translator and don't do really important stuff like discharge teaching or consent because I'm not totally there yet. How does this sound? Surely they have to respect that you're learning but know your current limitations?
     
  9. MartletMD

    MartletMD O Canada...

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    This applies for all situations, not just med school, too:

    I was actually interviewing for an on-campus job last year, and I went in for my interview. They had my resume, and, given where my university is located, I thought it was pertinent to list that I was competent in French (which I am, to an extent). Anyways, about half-way through my interview (which had proceeded in English), one of the interviewers asked me where I learned French (in French) and I replied in French and we continued in French for a bit before switching back to English.

    If you would be uncomfortable in that situation (making the appropriate linguistic substitution, of course, ;) ), do not list Spanish. The bump you get is not worth the risk, should your Spanish freeze up in the middle of an interview and make you look like a jackas$. If you would be comfortable, I would list it, and if you get to a place where your vocabulary just hasn't developed enough, politely demur in Spanish and continue in English.
     
  10. epsilonprodigy

    epsilonprodigy Physicist Enough
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    So this is what I have as of now: In my "description," I say that I have an intermediate working knowledge of Spanish and can converse comfortably. I also say that I am early on in the process of learning Amharic and enjoy using both languages to converse with my patients (I'm a nurse and work in a predominantly black and Hispanic community with many Ethiopian immigrants.) Does that sound like waffling? I do feel it's relevent but I'm not about to imply perfect fluency where there's none.
     
  11. MartletMD

    MartletMD O Canada...

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    First: I could bore you to death with the theories behind linguistic "ultimate attainment" (ie. perfect fluency) for second language learners, but I won't. There is no need to worry about implying perfect fluency. The description of how you use the languages will be most important. Don't overstate how you use them, don't understate either. Especially since you use them in a healthcare setting, albeit not for healthcare related purposes.

    Second: If you're waffling with two languages, I'm worse. Don't worry about that, period.
     
  12. epsilonprodigy

    epsilonprodigy Physicist Enough
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    LOL I'm sure you're not that bad. You just never know what kind of crap these people are going to pull, but I guess they can't nail you if you're honest. I wonder if they'll blast me for starting to learn a new language before becoming entirely fluent in the other one though. Oh well, I'll just explain it was the opportunity of being surrounded by lots of Ethiopians that made it too good to pass up. You can learn Spanish pretty much anytime but not just any Jo Blow speaks Amharic well enough to help a learner.
     
  13. MartletMD

    MartletMD O Canada...

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    Do not get into a language flaky-ness fight with me. I will win. ;)

    Especially given the demographics of your work's area (wording?), I would consider this a plus! You connected with patients, right? Isn't that half the battle?
     
  14. epsilonprodigy

    epsilonprodigy Physicist Enough
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    This is where I point out that I work in a pediatric facility. I can make useful statements such as "you are a silly monkey" and "I like little, furry dogs" in very authentic Amharic.
     
  15. MartletMD

    MartletMD O Canada...

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    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAA. :rofl:

    Please use that line in your app. Terribly charming.
     
  16. Lil Mick

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    Yes, that's how I approached the language issues. I only put down the languages in which I converse during an interview on AMCAS language section and listed some of the learning I'd done with other languages elsewhere on the application. Congrats on learning Amharic :) Maybe you'd be able to swing a rotation overseas if you're fluent by MS4...

    Also, a word of warning on interviews: you might have an interviewer from that country who is more comfortable speaking that language (two interviews of mine were not in English). That goes for anything that you list. Someone on the committee may request to interview you to discuss a mutual interest (such as a former chef asking you about your favorite dishes to make or an artist asking you about different mediums...). They probably aren't testing you; they're just interested.
     
  17. StudyShy

    StudyShy XOXO
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    Hopefully, they won't look over my college transcripts and think that I can speak Spanish and German. Understand maybe. :laugh:


    I would try incorporating it under "other" and list it as a hobby, perhaps.
     
  18. StudyShy

    StudyShy XOXO
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    Sometimes, during interviews they have you teach them something. This would be perfect. :p
     
  19. fizzgig

    fizzgig LudicrousSpeed!
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    first off, i agree with what your plan is. i didn't list a second language under the AMCAS language section because if someone were fluent and wanted to see if they could make a total fool of me, yes they absolutely could. i think i listed languages as a hobby or something in the activities section.

    also, with regard to your weird sentences being the ones you know in the foreign language:
    [YOUTUBE]x1sQkEfAdfY[/YOUTUBE]
     

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