How to learn a new language with MediCarrera

Learning a new language is not the easiest thing for everyone to do and it requires that you put a lot of effort into the learning process. You might be wondering if you are going to make it and the answer is that almost everybody who has been studying hard from the beginning will make it in the end.

MediCarrera has a learning process that is divided into two different steps: the preparing online language course and the intensive language course at the campus. Only less than 5% of our candidates are not able to complete the language course in our training process, most times because of personal issues.

We have asked previous candidates and their partners about their experience with our language courses. We also asked them what it is like to learn a new language in just a few months. Most of them are positive and even though it was some tough couple of months, they admit that in the end, it was worth all the hard work.

Preparing language course online

The first step in the process of learning the new language is our preparing online language course. The course lasts three months, the doctors or nurses are expected to study for one hour every day (approx. 8 hours/week). Since this online course is part-time and self-educating, the candidates need to be responsible and manage their study hours well. Our goal with this online course is to make it easier for candidates from the beginning of the intensive course.

The intensive language course at the campus

Our campuses are located in Budapest and Calafell (outside Barcelona), which is where the candidates study the language full-time. It is composed of 5-6 hours of classes every day and, also, they are expected to do homework for another 3-4 hours after they leave the campus. 

Our teachers at the campus are very skilled and experienced. They are good at noticing problems among the candidates and can, therefore, add extra support in time. Thanks to the weekly tests conducted, the teachers can discover a lack of knowledge before it is too late, and they can offer some extra help if it is necessary. After every finished level (following the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages) there is also a test for the candidates to pass to see if their knowledge is good enough to continue to the next level.

Another important thing that can be crucial for the progress is how much the candidates speak the new language to the others in the group. For example, he or she must respect the pedagogics of only talking Swedish during the language classes.

Even though English is like a second language in Scandinavia, the candidates need to understand that it is not the case within healthcare. The communication language with colleagues and patients in these countries is in their own languages, which is why it is important for the future employee that the candidates learn the language before starting to work with them.

Required level of language

All our candidates that are going to start a new medical career in Sweden need to reach level C1 by the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. This is not something MediCarrera can control, it is Socialstyrelsen. In their website, you can read more about the required level of Swedish needed for different specializations in medicine, like Nurse and Doctor of Medicine for instance.

According to an agreement with the employers in Norway and Denmark, our candidates moving to these two countries need at least level B2 in Norwegian or Danish, by the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages.

Previous candidates’ words about the experience of learning a new language with MediCarrera

“The teacher we had was the best teacher I’ve had in my life! I didn’t think it would be possible to learn Swedish in such a short time, but then, surprisingly, after four months we could speak fluently. It was simply fantastic! When I had my first patients in Sweden, they hardly believed me when I told them that I had only been in Sweden for one month and that I’d started the language studies six months earlier.”

Agnes, General Practitioner from Hungary working in Sweden.

“I remember that it was incredibly hard to study Danish. We were, of course, far away from home but it was actually good to be isolated in this way. At home, you have many other things to do, many distractions. Among other things, you have family and friends to be cared for and phone-calls to be answered. In Spain, we only had to focus on the language course. 5-7 hours a day and then homework, but in fact, we sometimes got into such a good convers­ation that when the class was over, we stayed and continued the discussion. Our Danish teacher was incredibly talented, and we learned a lot every day. Spain is a lovely country, sunny and warm. And that helped a bit, I suppose.”

Camelia, Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist from Romania working in Denmark.

“The intensive course was incredibly efficient and very hard. We studied a lot. We had five hours of lessons a day, and afterward, we had to do homework for 2-3 hours a day… And we also watched many Danish movies, so it really was many hours with Danish every day. But it worked! It is absolutely essential to speak Danish at all times, also during the breaks. And we were in complete agreement on the team. We only spoke Danish, although it felt a little strange at first, it quickly became natural”.

Dimitris, Psychiatrist from Greece working in Denmark.

“The language course was really structured. We had an amazing teacher, who I would like to thank for being so strict with us. It helped us a lot once we moved abroad. Plus it was quite gratifying seeing people surprised when they actually hear us speaking Danish! Practicing constantly and communicating with the other doctors on the course in Danish was really useful. I don’t deny that the first month was tough, learning a new language from scratch is always a bit hard but we eventually became familiar with it.

In hindsight, I think it was really positive to be separated from the doctors. When the group is smaller the participants are more actively involved and the learning is more effective.”

Miriam, Neurologist from Spain working in Denmark.

“We worked quite hard, but I thought it was a nice change and that it was good to be able to take a pause from the job as a psychiatrist in order to learn a new language”.

Petra, Child psychiatrist from Slovenia working in Norway.

“The daily training is important in order to be able to get to grips with the language. When we go to lectures, for example, we understand about 90%. Especially during the beginning at the hospital, we found that it was of great help having studied Swedish for the health sector during the course. But keeping up conversations around other topics than medicine is still a bit harder.

We hadn’t really familiarized ourselves with what the training really entailed. You go to class all day and then have several hours of home study every day. It was demanding for us since we’re not used to studying”.

Mercedes, Ophthalmologist, and Jorge, Paediatrician, from Spain working in Sweden.

“Regarding the language course, I have only positive things to say. First, we had an online language course and… I’ve got to admit, this course was well structured and serious. Honestly, it was way better than I had expected and more professional than the one I was familiar with from my home country. When we started the intensive course in Budapest we had classes and homework every day. My partner and I were very happy with the teacher and the course, the quality was very high and the teacher’s engagement was incredible.

The course was intensive, but luckily, the workload was well organized and it was possible to easily keep up with it. I am still in contact with the teacher, who is always available for any doubts and explanations.

In the class, we all got on well together and we sort of had this ‘rule’ of talking to each other only in Norwegian. To improve, you know… Well, it helped a lot!”

Aloys, Neurologist from Belgium working in Norway.

“It was very hard to imagine that I would ever understand Danish the first time I heard it. We worked hard to learn Danish and we practiced a lot with our teacher. We got a lot of homework and it was hard work. But I wasn’t surprised – since I already knew it was going to be difficult to learn a new language fluently in 6 months only. So, in the end, it wasn’t harder to learn Danish than I had expected.

Language is the most important thing to focus on when moving to Denmark. The most important thing for the Danes is that you speak Danish. If you speak Danish or at least try, they take it as a positive initiative from your part and they will be more open towards you. You have to be prepared to get a new lifestyle and be prepared to go through some hard months in the beginning.”

Daniela, Oncologist from Croatia working in Denmark.

“The teachers have a lot of experience in teaching Swedish to foreign doctors.

We were surprised when they predicted that we at a certain point would experience difficulties. How could they know? But they were right! We hit the wall and lost our confidence, but then they encouraged us and kept our motivation up so that we got through the most difficult period”.

Mihai, Psychiatrist from Romania working in Sweden.

If you want to know more about how to learn a new language with MediCarrera, our process and evolve in your medical career, register here to start now.

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