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Shallos

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Is it possible to take a gap year between med 2 and med 3?

Obviously it doesn't make sense... Why would anyone take that gap year??

For the past 5 years I have been living in an Arabic country doing premed and the first two years of Med in an American University. I have learned a great deal of Arabic just by listening to people. And trying to talk.

When I was giving the interview for the actual med school they asked me how my Arabic skills were I told them not so good. They laughed and brushed it off... So I thought 'they accept foreigners so they'll probably help them with the language".

Well surprise surprise 2 years later I can barely communicate with the patients. Most of the patients are quite old and hard to understand.... Other patients just have a variety of dialects which is hard to understand even to nationals... What's the point of me being on the ICU floor if I can't even calm down an old man who just wants to go home???

Sure all the attendings, residents and so forth can speak English but when asked they may start in English and just transition back to Arabic with you standing there thinking "do they really expect me to understand Arabic medical terms?"

While everyone is trying to study for the steps I'm with them studying Arabic words on end. Am I pronouncing it right? Am I even reading it right? Who knows but the medical school sure doesn't care about you...

I'm on the dean's honor list for M1 and M2. This is going to affect my clinical year grades which are far more important...

If it is even possible for me to take that gap between M2 and M3 would it look that bad on my record?

If yes I'm thinking about just transferring to the US and redoing the first two years again, even though after reading a bit on the net it almost seems impossible to do.

Do you guys have any thoughts?
 

Shallos

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I don't see how Mandarin/Spanish would make this situation different?

And which part of this is stupid? The fact that I can't communicate with the patients or the part where I'm asking for advice?

Either way thanks for your "superficial" advice.
 

Psai

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Nvm thought you were trying to come to the us instead of just thinking about it
 
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ProfMD

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My understanding is that the OP is in an Arabic speaking country. It would be like going to med school in the US and not speaking English.

If you need to take time off to learn to adequately communicate with your patients, I suggest you do it. Try and do something else productive as well, though. You could try getting involved in research and taking some language classes at the same time. It is not at all uncommon for people to take time off between M2 and M3 to do research.
 
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tick_tock400

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Oh no OP! I feel for you. I wonder if you're in Qatar by any chance.

Anyways, to the other posters, Arabic's not like a lot of other languages, in that there are a lot of dialects. And these dialects can be REALLY different from each other, to a point that it can be like several different languages being communicated. I'm not Arab and did learn to speak Arab to a degree of fluency, but then another problem came up-- if you don't look Arab, a lot of people will just not understand you because you don't look Arab and they might think that you can't possibly be saying anything too sensible or be speaking Arabic.

Learning colloquial Arabic (which is not written down anywhere for those who don't know much about Arabic) can be very difficult. I definitely think OP should take some time to sit down and learn Arabic, but I'm not sure if taking time between M2 and M3 is the right time. Can you have someone help translate for you? This expectation the school seems to have upon you is ridiculous-- or that they would not be more up front about it. Have you talked to someone in the administration about this? Maybe they can help you. I also have to wonder what country you're in. What you should do depends also on where you, like if you're somewhere like Algeria/Libya (one of those countries where learning the dialect is going to be extremely difficult) vs if you were in the Gulf or Jordan/Egypt, where you could learn a little bit of Arabic and go far (because you can be taught Levantine/Egyptian and Gulf dialects fairly easily and they're close enough to written Arabic, so you'd have learning materials to learn from).

Arabic is also the #6 most spoken language in the world in response to someone saying it was a relatively rare language. I studied Arabic in a lot of different settings with a lot of different people and barely anyone was from an Arab heritage there. There are a fair number of non-Arab physicians throughout the Arab world (particularly in the Gulf). Can you find one of these non-Arab physicians per chance in each of your rotations, given that they're there, and ask to be paired with them?
 

Redpancreas

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Is it possible to take a gap year between med 2 and med 3?

Obviously it doesn't make sense... Why would anyone take that gap year??

For the past 5 years I have been living in an Arabic country doing premed and the first two years of Med in an American University. I have learned a great deal of Arabic just by listening to people. And trying to talk.

When I was giving the interview for the actual med school they asked me how my Arabic skills were I told them not so good. They laughed and brushed it off... So I thought 'they accept foreigners so they'll probably help them with the language".

Well surprise surprise 2 years later I can barely communicate with the patients. Most of the patients are quite old and hard to understand.... Other patients just have a variety of dialects which is hard to understand even to nationals... What's the point of me being on the ICU floor if I can't even calm down an old man who just wants to go home???

Sure all the attendings, residents and so forth can speak English but when asked they may start in English and just transition back to Arabic with you standing there thinking "do they really expect me to understand Arabic medical terms?"

While everyone is trying to study for the steps I'm with them studying Arabic words on end. Am I pronouncing it right? Am I even reading it right? Who knows but the medical school sure doesn't care about you...

I'm on the dean's honor list for M1 and M2. This is going to affect my clinical year grades which are far more important...

If it is even possible for me to take that gap between M2 and M3 would it look that bad on my record?

If yes I'm thinking about just transferring to the US and redoing the first two years again, even though after reading a bit on the net it almost seems impossible to do.

Do you guys have any thoughts?


This is confusing... but anyways, bottom line, do you speak the language medicine will be practiced in during 3rd/.4th year of medical school? If yes, taking a gap year is an incredibly bad idea. If you don't speak that language well, talk to administrators at the school. If they have accepted you, they should have resources in place.
 

Shallos

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My understanding is that the OP is in an Arabic speaking country. It would be like going to med school in the US and not speaking English.

If you need to take time off to learn to adequately communicate with your patients, I suggest you do it. Try and do something else productive as well, though. You could try getting involved in research and taking some language classes at the same time. It is not at all uncommon for people to take time off between M2 and M3 to do research.

My plan was to take intensive Arabic, volunteer at a freinds clinic and study for the step 1. The only thing stopping me is my fear that it would look weak when applying to residency in the US. Research isn't out of the question either since my university has plenty in other departments.

Oh no OP! I feel for you. I wonder if you're in Qatar by any chance.

Anyways, to the other posters, Arabic's not like a lot of other languages, in that there are a lot of dialects. And these dialects can be REALLY different from each other, to a point that it can be like several different languages being communicated. I'm not Arab and did learn to speak Arab to a degree of fluency, but then another problem came up-- if you don't look Arab, a lot of people will just not understand you because you don't look Arab and they might think that you can't possibly be saying anything too sensible or be speaking Arabic.

Learning colloquial Arabic (which is not written down anywhere for those who don't know much about Arabic) can be very difficult. I definitely think OP should take some time to sit down and learn Arabic, but I'm not sure if taking time between M2 and M3 is the right time. Can you have someone help translate for you? This expectation the school seems to have upon you is ridiculous-- or that they would not be more up front about it. Have you talked to someone in the administration about this? Maybe they can help you. I also have to wonder what country you're in. What you should do depends also on where you, like if you're somewhere like Algeria/Libya (one of those countries where learning the dialect is going to be extremely difficult) vs if you were in the Gulf or Jordan/Egypt, where you could learn a little bit of Arabic and go far (because you can be taught Levantine/Egyptian and Gulf dialects fairly easily and they're close enough to written Arabic, so you'd have learning materials to learn from).

Arabic is also the #6 most spoken language in the world in response to someone saying it was a relatively rare language. I studied Arabic in a lot of different settings with a lot of different people and barely anyone was from an Arab heritage there. There are a fair number of non-Arab physicians throughout the Arab world (particularly in the Gulf). Can you find one of these non-Arab physicians per chance in each of your rotations, given that they're there, and ask to be paired with them?

Actually, I am in a country with a Levantine dialect. I think this is the reason I was able to pick up the language in the first place. I have learned how to read and write but speaking in a formal way to a patient is very difficult and often results in agitation. I've seen it first hand already.

All the doctors here have excellent English as most have either finished med school or residency outside. But, I doubt that they would like to spoon feed for 2 years. Besides... The lack of independency is already a huge loss on the learning experience, in my opinion.

This is confusing... but anyways, bottom line, do you speak the language medicine will be practiced in during 3rd/.4th year of medical school? If yes, taking a gap year is an incredibly bad idea. If you don't speak that language well, talk to administrators at the school. If they have accepted you, they should have resources in place.

I have talked to the administration (though did not open the subject of the gap year). And it seems that they don't have the resources in place to help me out. I'm pretty much alone in this.


Thanks for your replies guys/gals.

I just have doubts that the residency programs in the US will see this as a valid reason for taking a year off between M2 and M3.
 
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