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Etudiant "anglophone" en med


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Salut tout le monde, 

Toute mes etudes on étais fais en anglais: école secondaire (immersion français), cégep, bac, et maîtrise. Je me demande comment ca sera pour étudier en français pour la premier fois de ma vie dans des etudes "avancé".  Je peut communiquer en français, mais parfois ma comprehension peut me ralentir dans mes lecture, et meme mon écriture alors que j'essaye de m"exprimer. Je ne sais pas comment sa sera dans les classes ou les examens, mais ca m'inquiete déjà que j"aurai la difficulté a comprendre certain mots/phrase dans un environment académique francophone. Y-a-t-il des étudiants "anglo" a Laval/Sherby/UdeM qui pourront partager leur experiences? Je cherche aussi des recommendations pour  m’améliorer et m'adapter d'ici Septembre. 

Merci!

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Hi! I’m bilingual but I’ve frequently switched from French to English during my studies (ie cégep in English, then university/msc in French and now I work in an English environment). From my experience, a lot of the textbooks/resources in the medical field tend to be in English. However, going to ULaval you will definitely need your French to be quite strong as you will need to be comfortable communicating during your externat and with your patients, but the good news is that you still have 2 years to improve!! I would say watch Netflix with French audio/subtitles, try to practice your French with friends etc. Also reading should help expand your vocabulary dramatically. I personally find that I was always able to improve a particular language when I was fully immersed (and not when I was just trying to learn it part time), and this is coming from somebody who didn’t speak either English or French 15 years ago. So try to practice your French as much as you can and you’ll be just fine!! 

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I think it's really important to be as pro-active as possible to avoid becoming a victim of the language 'issue'.  Spend as much time as possible between now and September being in French environment and exposing yourself to French, preferably medical French - try watching medical dramas, preferably with Quebec accents.  Maybe spend time in the regions of Quebec or doing reading or questions in medical French.  Take advantage that everything is now P/F to learn in French as much as possible while you're enrolled.  Look at it as a marathon.  Unfortunately, I didn't know much about the 'issue' before I started and those I spoke to minimized the potential problems.  

Your French is more sophisticated than mine was - I started with a very weak level of French, but very strong English.  I found it very frustrating since not only did I find it difficult to achieve my best results despite massive effort and improvement, it's sometimes poorly understood or acknowledged as an issue (or taken as an 'excuse').  Others adapted more readily, but were significantly more comfortable than me initially in a French academic environment.  Still, others found things difficult, and even some staff have spontaneously sometimes mentioned switching languages, even for a short-term fellowship, to be very challenging for them despite good background in English.     

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Thank you for your insight @medpharm24 and @insidious. Coming from the medical field myself in a bilingual institution, I do have the occasional chat with my patients in french instead of switching over to English for comfort. I also try to communicate in "franglais" with my peers, but have picked up a bit more in french - avoiding the "franglais" all together. My partner is also "franco" as they did their undergrad and masters in french, but wants to strengthen their own English - so avoids French at home :lol:. I have already started to implement your suggestions for diving deep into french, but will make an effort to move to Quebec city sooner. 

Also, would you recommend I hire a personal french tutor? Or are there extra services available at ULaval that would help me with this?

 

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15 hours ago, drone said:

Thank you for your insight @medpharm24 and @insidious. Coming from the medical field myself in a bilingual institution, I do have the occasional chat with my patients in french instead of switching over to English for comfort. I also try to communicate in "franglais" with my peers, but have picked up a bit more in french - avoiding the "franglais" all together. My partner is also "franco" as they did their undergrad and masters in french, but wants to strengthen their own English - so avoids French at home :lol:. I have already started to implement your suggestions for diving deep into french, but will make an effort to move to Quebec city sooner. 

Also, would you recommend I hire a personal french tutor? Or are there extra services available at ULaval that would help me with this?

A tutor could be useful for grammar and working on accent, but I'd look into ULaval to see what options they have.  Good idea to move early.  You've got the right attitude - just look at this as sequentially building skill/strength in French so that when the semester hits you're more prepared.  It's a marathon so building up to long days in French will help you when you begin.  I think it's difficult to be able to achieve the same quality sustained studying in French, but every improvement will help.  

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On 6/8/2020 at 2:34 PM, Mambi said:

Hey, I'm also gonna be studying medicine in French as an anglophone! I was hoping to look into some textbooks and acclimate to French medical language. Do any of you guys have French medical textbook recommendations? 

Try and ask some of your classmates or upper years!  I wouldn't spend the whole summer studying, but if you think your comfort and/or knowledge in French could do with improvement, then try to get a head start on immersing.  You could do a self-assessment by looking at med-related material that you already know in English and see how it goes in French, i.e translated textbook.

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On 6/8/2020 at 2:34 PM, Mambi said:

Hey, I'm also gonna be studying medicine in French as an anglophone! I was hoping to look into some textbooks and acclimate to French medical language. Do any of you guys have French medical textbook recommendations? 

No worries, French medical textbooks are basically all in English so you'll have no problem understanding! Also, French terminology is almost identical with English, bar some light spelling differences (ex: mastoid process = processus mastoide) so you'll get used to it pretty quickly!

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23 minutes ago, keipop said:

No worries, French medical textbooks are basically all in English so you'll have no problem understanding! Also, French terminology is almost identical with English, bar some light spelling differences (ex: mastoid process = processus mastoide) so you'll get used to it pretty quickly!

Yeah but mastoid process in Spanish is proceso mastoideo which doesn't mean going to med school in Spanish would be easy either.  Otherwise you could skip Duolingo/Rosetta Stone/ and go straight to med school :p.  

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1 hour ago, indefatigable said:

Try and ask some of your classmates or upper years!  I wouldn't spend the whole summer studying, but if you think your comfort and/or knowledge in French could do with improvement, then try to get a head start on immersing.  You could do a self-assessment by looking at med-related material that you already know in English and see how it goes in French, i.e translated textbook.

Thanks for the recommendation! Yeah I'll start the immersion process now haha (Hello French Netflix!)

17 minutes ago, keipop said:

No worries, French medical textbooks are basically all in English so you'll have no problem understanding! Also, French terminology is almost identical with English, bar some light spelling differences (ex: mastoid process = processus mastoide) so you'll get used to it pretty quickly!

Ahhhh, thank you @keipop, that's  actually pretty reassuring. I suspected exactly this - that medical terminology is Latin-based so it should be quite similar/deducible, so I'm glad that you confirmed that.

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11 minutes ago, indefatigable said:

Yeah but mastoid process in Spanish is proceso mastoideo which doesn't mean going to med school in Spanish would be easy either.  Otherwise you could skip Duolingo/Rosetta Stone/ and go straight to med school :p.  

I see your point, but I was just trying to reassure someone who's presumably done all of their premedical studies in English but had to switch and do their med school in French haha! And given that OP specifically mentioned medical French and not conversational/daily French I thought that was a fair point to address ;) 

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19 hours ago, keipop said:

I see your point, but I was just trying to reassure someone who's presumably done all of their premedical studies in English but had to switch and do their med school in French haha! And given that OP specifically mentioned medical French and not conversational/daily French I thought that was a fair point to address ;) 

Acclimatizing to a French medical academic environment can go beyond vocabulary, as everything needs to be done in French including exams, patient encounters, etc..  Improving fluency in French is essential to be able to have meaningful learning experiences; if material is in English then it's even more important to improve French as translating from a native into a non-native language can be quite tricky, especially complex concepts (the other direction is typically much easier).  Some people are raised/submerged in both languages to such an extent that it's not an issue - but many aren't.     

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I went to a French medical school away from home and my French was horrible. For the MEMFI, I answered questions that were not asked got zero on these stations. I was put on the wait list and was accepted many months later. For lectures, either the profs mumbled and I could not understand or thy spoke too fast, and I could not understand. I stopped attending lectures before the first week was over, and became self-taught. Receptors routinely complained about my French. However, I was living and breathing in a French milieu, I embraced it, made friends, graduated and am now bilingual. Other Anglos have had similar experiences. It was very hard, but there is success at the end of the rainbow. Moreover, it was a walk in the park compared to residency!

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16 hours ago, Bambi said:

I went to a French medical school away from home and my French was horrible. For the MEMFI, I answered questions that were not asked got zero on these stations. I was put on the wait list and was accepted many months later. For lectures, either the profs mumbled and I could not understand or thy spoke too fast, and I could not understand. I stopped attending lectures before the first week was over, and became self-taught. Receptors routinely complained about my French. However, I was living and breathing in a French milieu, I embraced it, made friends, graduated and am now bilingual. Other Anglos have had similar experiences. It was very hard, but there is success at the end of the rainbow. Moreover, it was a walk in the park compared to residency!

Great work overcoming!  You may have mentioned some prior experience in French higher learning environments  though ?  And did you study in French or in English ?( - sorry for all the questions, but it could help the OP by contextualizing the language situation that is how difficult it can be even with French higher education)

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22 hours ago, indefatigable said:

Acclimatizing to a French medical academic environment can go beyond vocabulary, as everything needs to be done in French including exams, patient encounters, etc..  Improving fluency in French is essential to be able to have meaningful learning experiences; if material is in English then it's even more important to improve French as translating from a native into a non-native language can be quite tricky, especially complex concepts (the other direction is typically much easier).  Some people are raised/submerged in both languages to such an extent that it's not an issue - but many don't/aren't.     

I agree. Personally, an added challenge is that I communicate in three languages daily, so I'm always translating to English when addressing issues in other languages. I went to perform a self-assessment of medical french, and despite having some comfort with this area at work,  I needed a bit more time to translate scientific and medical terminologies. For example: when reading about respiratory physiology, it took me a bit to recognize that "le cornet nasale" is referring to the nasal conchae - not an ice cream cone :P.  Personally, I am not gambling with my time during med school to play catch-up with French, so I'm slowly immersing myself in French. I'm actually considering moving to Quebec City a month earlier. 

On 6/8/2020 at 2:34 PM, Mambi said:

Hey, I'm also gonna be studying medicine in French as an anglophone! I was hoping to look into some textbooks and acclimate to French medical language. Do any of you guys have French medical textbook recommendations? 

Here is the link summarizing notes from Quebec medical schools.   https://wikimedi.ca/wiki/

I'm currently using it to acclimate myself to medical french. Have fun!

 

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I studied only in English and was in an Anglo bubble before med school. Went to one of the francophone schools and knew a handful of students in the same situation. Unfortunately, hard to generalize.. I will say in general, most Anglo students will get through med school without any problems. Some went on to match to competitive specialties. I think I would have performed better both during preclinical and clerkship if I went to an English program. During preclinical, there's a lot of small group learning and I found it hard to follow all the discussions especially during the first year. However with time, my French improved and it wasn't much of an issue anymore. You don't need to study translations of different medical terms now, that'll be easy to catch on. During clerkship, I found I wasn't as eloquent when answering questions on the spot. Even though my French was eventually very good professionally/ for medical communication, my French was not as good in respect to socializing/networking. Clerkship evaluations can be quite subjective and is in part influenced by how much they like you as a team member. Harder to relate to them (to the same level that I would with Anglos) because we had different cultural backgrounds (music, movies, TV shows..).

I don't regret anything though. My French has improved significantly and I am now comfortable to work with francophone patients and to work in French hospitals. Even if you are in the Mcgill network, a lot of your patients will be Francophone. Being able to communicate and evaluate patients in their mother tongue is invaluable. Even though I feel like I could've achieved more, at the end of the day I learned how to function in another language and that is priceless.

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On 6/11/2020 at 7:52 PM, Bambi said:

I went to a French medical school away from home and my French was horrible. For the MEMFI, I answered questions that were not asked got zero on these stations. I was put on the wait list and was accepted many months later. For lectures, either the profs mumbled and I could not understand or thy spoke too fast, and I could not understand. I stopped attending lectures before the first week was over, and became self-taught. Receptors routinely complained about my French. However, I was living and breathing in a French milieu, I embraced it, made friends, graduated and am now bilingual. Other Anglos have had similar experiences. It was very hard, but there is success at the end of the rainbow. Moreover, it was a walk in the park compared to residency!

This is really inspirational, and is something i was always worried about! You've given me hope haha, thank you for sharing! :)

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Great stories in this thread! I'm not an anglophone so I can't really comment on the experience but let me tell you, most anglophones in my class were very sociable and integrated well within the cohort. If anything, their background was a plus! To get a feel for the way health professionals speak in their day-to-day, I recommend watching De garde 24/7 (a docuseries shot in Hopital Maisonneuve-Rosemont in Montreal). 

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On 6/11/2020 at 8:22 PM, indefatigable said:

Great work overcoming! You may have mentioned some prior experience in French higher learning environments though? And did you study in French or in English? (- sorry for all the questions, but it could help the OP by contextualizing the language situation that is how difficult it can be even with French higher education)

I went to elementary and high school that were supposed to teach us subjects in French. However, the kids spoke only English during recess, lunch, after school AND the administrations of the school taught in French only when the Imspectors came to visit. I went to English Cegep & university for undergrad. My French was so bad that in the MEMFI I was unable to understand questions which I had thought I had understood and misinterpreted. 

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My own challenges with French may have been more extreme as I've lived most of my life in areas without many French-speakers - and my exposure was really mainly through some very early education (also in-class only - no real immersion).  I was probably more naive and optimistic when it came to a French environment.  In the summer before med school I completed an advanced undergrad human physiology course (and also taught MCAT review); but, I would have been probably been better off going to a beach in Martinique as my French would have made greater improvement.  If anything, I've tried to make suggestions that I would have found helpful. 

 I think by the end of med school, my French was where it should have been at the beginning.  I know it took me much longer to get to the same level of French that even some anglophones had started with.  Nonetheless, I still found it  challenging to excel and the difference even at the end studying for the LMCC (in English) and faculty exams (in French) to be night and day in terms of learning quality and efficiency; the LMCC in French would be much harder for me.  It would be easy to focus on the negatives  - but, I recognize that this experience of adversity helped me gain even greater perspective and understanding of privilege and resilience, even within medicine.  One staff member I spoke to spontaneously mentioned having a child who went to a French med school - and the child never even returned to Quebec afterwards feeling so disturbed by the experience.            

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