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2 posts categorized "Science"


"Spanish for Public Health Professionals" CIEE Alcalá

A popular course this session is “Spanish for future health professionals” which is for students who plan to be doctors, nurses, medical assistants, paramedics, EMTs, administrators and who need to use Spanish in their workplace. Last year, the Universidad de Alcalá- Instituto Benjamin Franklin signed an agreement with Alcalá´s medical center, Hospital Universitario Principe Asturias,  which allows U.S. college students to do internships as final year medical residents.  One of the hospital requirements is that American students are majors in pre-medicine, chemistry, biology, physiology, nursing, physical therapy or other medical sciences. Although the lab fee and hospital coordination makes the class tuition more expensive than regular Institute classes, the CIEE program did not charge for the additional internship expenses.


The course has a practical approach, which includes learning medical terminology, understanding the most commonly used grammatical structures and learning cultural aspects which every health care professional should know.  CIEE students visited the hospital Principe de Asturias in Alcalá during the second week of classes, accompanied by their course Professor Dr. Mar Martín, Institute Coordinator Professor Rosi García Borroso and the CIEE Resident Director, Cristina Blanco.




According to CIEE student Paula Gomez from the University of Iowa, “This first visit to the hospital was great because we got to see the many aspects of running a public medical center. I used to work in a daycare center in Iowa and now I get to see how doctors and nurses work with children here in Spain. My individual practical experience at the hospital is in the neonatal section. I am observing first hand how the medical staff works with babies. It´s a wonderful experience!”



During the five hour visit CIEE students were joined by Dr. Gomez Carrasco, a pediatrician and professor at the Universidad de Alcalá, while also meeting with other hospital staff  that explained and showed the different hospital sections. For example, students entered the operating room and the hospital kitchen to get a firsthand look. In addition, the class visited and learned about the infrastructure of the emergency services, which is known as one the best services throughout the Madrid region, and completed a walk through with commentary of the baby delivery rooms.


Another CIEE student, Scott Symonds from Williams College has been fascinated by another aspect he learned during the hospital visit: “As a foreigner, I am allowed to donate blood here in Spain. All I have to do is bring my passport and show that I weigh over 50 kilos. In the US, I have worked with emergency ambulance services and there are a lot of limitations which do not seem to apply here in Spain.” 


The course is taught by professor Mar Martín (PhD in Biology and MA in Teaching Spanish as a Foreign Language), who guides her students to communicate effectively in a medical environment. Class participants learn and practice the differences between medical terminology in Latin American countries and in Spain. Students also learn intercultural skills outside the classroom through regular visits to local medical facilities.


Dr. Martin is a well respected faculty member who previously worked at the University of Illinois in Chicago, Columbia College and the Instituto Cervantes. Her main research area is teaching Spanish for heritage learners and medical professionals. In her free time, she sings in the Universidad de Alcalá choir.





Science and Engineering Students Accessing Alcalá "culture lab". CIEE Alcalá Summer 2012 (session I)

Science Majors and Engineering Students Accessing the Alcalá “culture lab”: Summer 2012, Session 1 An unusual high number of Science majors in Engineering, Biology, Nursing and Pre-Medicine have hung up their white lab coats and are now focused on language and culture in the CIEE summer session of Alcalá. One of the main reasons for selecting this program is seeking out an academic option in the summer, especially when special requirements for science majors make it a challenge to study abroad during the fall or spring semester. For many of them CIEE Alcalá is a good combination of rigor and access to Spanish culture.

 Sarah Shires and Statue


 Integrative Physiology and Science major Sarah Shires, from University of Iowa, who is posing with a statue of Don Quijote, is taking this summer opportunity to explore Spanish culture. Sarah is planning to go to medical school upon graduation and during this first session in Alcalá Sarah is doing course work in Spanish Art History and Spanish-English Translation. Sarah says: “I love solving structural problems and in my Translation class I feel I am constantly solving a scientific puzzle.”

  Corey in Alcala

  Electric outlet

One of the engineering students this summer, Corey Randall from Colorado State University, who is excited about residing within the medieval heritage of Alcalá, has summarized his experience as follows: “One of the first things I noticed in my home stay was the different electrical outlet: Strange yet modern.” “This started me thinking of many questions and how to ask them in Spanish. I wanted to expose myself to speaking the language. CIEE Alcalá is one of the few programs in Spain with a full eight-week program that allows for both cultural immersion and language learning. I wanted this experience to be rewarding because I did not have this type opportunity during the rest of my academic year. I have to be in lab rooms and completing research in biological and chemical engineering and now I can focus on Spanish culture.” Corey is taking Spanish Literature and Spanish-English Translation.

 Nikki and Ariel and Bull

Other science students are also looking for a broad cultural experience. Nursing student, Nicole Orth, from St. Catherine University, and Pre-Medicine major, Ariel Winter, from University of Wisconsin-Madison, took a study break and went exploring the city of Toledo for one day.

 Girls in La noche en Blanco

Other science students went to “La noche en blanco,” a free and annual music and arts festival in the historic center of Alcalá on Saturday, June 9th: They were Joanna Amaya from University of Iowa (Biological and Chemical Engineering), Rachael Talentowski from University of Iowa, (Biology), Kelsey Stayer from University of Pittsburgh (Biology), Paula Gomez from University of Iowa (Physiology), Maria Schreiner (Economics) and Elizabeth Molleston fro University of Indiana (Elementary Education). The musical acts included a variety of gospel choirs, flamenco dance groups and several new Spanish rock bands. Many of them performed on the outdoor stages that were especially built on the main square of the Plaza Cervantes, sections of the calle Mayor and other open, lit-up spaces with historic building backdrops in the city center.

 La noche en Blanco escenario La noche en Blanco concert crowd