By Georgina Palencia.
Let’s see. You have already decided to open up to an experience that will change your life. Yes, it is true. That is learning a language. It is to have a change of life, forever.
To be bilingual is to have another identity. It is not having a passport that allows you to enter into other cultural worlds with permission. It is more than that. It is to be part of those worlds.
Deciding it was the product of an intense internal debate. How much time will I have to dedicate to it? Will I spend a lot of money? Will it be easy or difficult for me? They are the first questions. However, did you know that there are more critical questions for you to start on the right path?
The next questions will make you inquire about school options and course alternatives. Do I make it on my own? Will I go to school or am I looking for a tutor? Which school is the one? Will I do it in person or online?
Then, once you arrive at a school and you think you have everything clear to start, ta ta ta tan (fanfare sound) you find many different program alternatives: General Spanish, Professional Spanish, Business Spanish, Medical Spanish, they are perhaps the more common.
Let’s start with the fact that you are a professional in a specific area, including health.
The first thing you should know and this is our expert opinion, even when we respect others, is the General Spanish course will always be your best option. In this kind of course you acquire the main bases, tools, and skills. Those that will help you to cope in any situation and through the four skills: reading, listening, writing, and speaking.
Let’s see. Let’s clarify a little what each program is about, to know which one you are looking for, and you should choose. We will divide these programs into three modalities with a simple comparison.
The General Spanish course is the structure of the house. It is the floor, the columns, the walls, the ceiling, the strategic room distribution, bathrooms, kitchen, and other spaces. Everything you need to have a place to live. Even a house that already comes with basic furniture and appliances, the essentials.
The Professional Spanish course is all the spaces and furniture in a house that are not necessarily essential. They make life easier, a game room, laundry room, entry closet, garage, additional sofas, dishwasher, porch, nightstands. We all love to enjoy the comfort of living in the house as our home.
Likewise, we love to complement the General Spanish course with Professional Spanish if our students want/need it. We know of schools and programs that build the house while filling it with non- essential furniture. It’s a way, but not ours. We have a professional complement for our general program.
The third kind of program, in our opinion, comes after having the bases and essential parts of the house and having been complementing it with furniture and comfort spaces. That is when we
dedicate ourselves to decorate because decorating personalizes the home. It is how a language gives specific skills to a professional or a non-native speaker.
I give you an example to illustrate what I mean.
After knowing how to use the present indicative for routines, having practiced it a lot with regular and irregular verbs, with reflexive verbs or not. Just after learning how to talk about personal daily routines, we could explore vocabulary and specific formulas of work routines.
There is nothing to explain or skills to acquire in this second moment. This moment is one of dominance, comfort, and then it can be the one to add. Add vocabulary and some specific records that are part of working life.
The first moment is for every speaker. The second is for every professional.
Ahhh! Only after that second moment, it makes sense to endow the language with specific vocabulary and proper formulas in a context. After all, an oil, real estate, or healthcare worker is essentially a speaker, then a professional, and then a specific professional.
I repeat, some programs teach Medical Spanish from 0 and begin learning the most basic structures already immersed in the health environment. We don’t even disagree with that.