CUTF Introduction: Medicine and Spanish really be-lung together

Hello everyone!

My name is Amaan Rahman. I am one of the recipients of the Chancellor’s Undergraduate Teaching Fellowship this semester. I am a senior majoring in Spanish, and double minoring in Hindi and Chemistry. In the fall, I will be graduating and taking a gap semester before matriculating to medical school here at Pitt. I’m still in the process of sorting out what I will do during my gap semester, but I would really love to either work with animals, or work in the culinary industry. I’m really excited to meet, and work, with everyone this year! Most of all, it’s nice to be face-to-face again.

I am currently a teaching fellow for Professor, and PhD candidate, Manuel Garzón. The course I am helping teach is Span 1323: Medical Spanish. My experience with Professor Garzón began in the fall term of 2019 when I was a student in his Hispanic Civilizations course. I am deeply appreciative of his stewardship. By delegating a variety of different responsibilities to me, he has helped my growth significantly throughout this process. My experience with the Medical Spanish course began the following semester when I was able to take the course with Professor Mari Felix Cubas-Mora.

Having the opportunity to return to the course in a teaching format is something I am grateful for. To this point, Medical Spanish has unequivocally been the most important course that I have taken during my time at the University. The Spanish language has the second largest population of native speakers in the world. By the year 2050, one-third of the country’s population is expected to be Hispanic. Thus, as a pre-health student, meeting the intersection of cultural competence and medicine is essential. Since taking the course, I have began working as a translator at the SALUD Free Clinic in Pittsburgh’s Southside. This has been an incredible learning experience for me. Above all, it has affirmed that the need for Spanish speakers in healthcare is large, and growing.

For those looking to improve in a language, my best piece of advice would be to find someone who a) speaks the language you’re trying to learn and b) is someone that you’re comfortable making mistakes with. Every day I speak Spanish, make a new mistake, and learn something new. That’s how you get better! With my best friend from Mexico and my next-door neighbors from Honduras, I’ve been very lucky to have people in my life to guide me through the learning process.

All in all, I’m very excited to continue teaching this semester. There’s a lot to accomplish with the students and I look forward to doing so. By the end of the semester, my hopes are to make a positive impact on the students and ensure they are comfortable speaking Spanish in clinical settings. Thank you for reading.

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