Service-learning aims to match subject content with social need to give practical meaning to student learning. This international service-learning trip to Nicaragua paired medical English, and other medical skills students were learning, with the need for medical care by underserved people in San Ramon, Nicaragua. One purpose of the trip was to provide a venue for the use of medical English learned in the classroom at a time when there was no such venue available. We hoped that through the program students would �gwake up�h and recognize that language is a living thing meant to be used in communicating. We aimed to identify both positive and negative effects of the service-learning trip on the students who participated. In particular, we sought answers to the following: �@Did the service-learning experience help students improve their English skills? �ADid the service-learning experience improve student learning motivation? and �B Is it possible for beginning medical students to effectively serve in a rural clinic in Nicaragua? Student questionnaires and journals reflecting on the service-learning experience were used. The service-learning experience led to increased motivation and awareness of language weak points. In addition, students identified barriers to communication that went beyond language, such as biases and stereotypes. Finally, students initially felt their medical knowledge was inadequate to work in the clinics, but found that they were able to offer indispensable assistance to the other team members and Nicaraguans.
Tetsuo Kuramoto, Aichi University of Education, Japan
Christine Kuramoto, Hamamastu University School Medicine, Japan
Stream: Student learning
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