Happy holidays! I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and will have a great New Year as well! I’m certainly enjoying my break from medical school and relaxing with family and friends, eating Christmas turkey and drinking some wine! My question for you is, what will be your new year’s resolution?
Despite growing up in America, I have not once taken a course in Spanish. I only know a limited number of words and phrases, and I’m ashamed for that. In this melting-pot country it’s important to recognize that we embrace many different cultures and customs which have helped form the United States. Like in many other countries, our neighboring countries have some of the strongest influences, especially on spoken languages.
In 2010, 16.3% of the US population was Latino or Hispanic. The growth rate of this minority group has been higher than any other minority group in the US. The influence on American media, advertisement, and food has arguably been the strongest ever seen in America; Mexican restaurants and Spanish labels on food, products, and advertisements are now commonly seen across the US.
My new year’s resolution is to learn Spanish, one word or phrase per week, for 52 weeks. As a soon-to-be physician, it’s important to understand both the culture and relevant languages of different peoples in this diverse country if I want to give patient-centered care. It helps avoid miscommunication and could save lives when your patient’s well-being doesn’t have the time to go find a translator. Additionally, non-verbal communication and values within different cultures vary. It’s critical to at least have a foundation to work with when a purely Spanish-speaking patient enters the hospital, an occurrence that happens every day.
With that I would like to wish you “einen guten Rutsch ins neue Jahr” with the German I already know, and in a few more days, “Feliz Año Nuevo!”