Intern Journal: Conversing and Corresponding in English

In addition to the dance and aerobics classes that I teach on-site at Tomorrow’s Youth Organization, I recently started leading English conversation classes at An-Najah National University for second-year medical students.  Most of my students have studied English for ten or more years, and they are all eager to put what they've studied to practical use in order to communicate effectively with native English speakers.  In our most recent class session, my students worked with a partner to develop appropriate dialogues to accompany the medical and social scenarios I assigned them, which ranged from communicating with a patient at the doctor’s office to inviting fellow classmates to form a study group.  I also arranged for my students to write a joint letter to an American peer: a fellow alumnus of Georgetown University who is now studying at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.  My students described their experiences studying medicine in a Palestinian context, and they were curious to learn about the opportunities and challenges that present themselves to medical students in the United States.  A few of them shared their motivations for pursuing a career in medicine, describing a doctor as “a servant to heal other’s wounds” and the medical profession as “the best way to help people,” and they asked their American “pen-pal” why he had chosen to study medicine.  We expect to hear back from him before our next class session, and his response should provide some interesting material for a class discussion! - Julie

Julie is an intern at TYO Nablus and a participant in the Kalimatna Initiative.