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East Mediterr Health J. 2020 Feb 24;26(2):233-238. doi: 10.26719/2020.26.2.233.

Language barriers to studying medicine in English: perceptions of final-year medical students at the Arabian Gulf University.

Author information

1
Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, College of Medicine and Medical Sciences, Arabian Gulf University, Manama, Bahrain.
2
College of Medicine and Medical Sciences, Arabian Gulf University, Manama, Bahrain.

Abstract

in English, Arabic, French

Background:

English is the language of instructions in many medical schools in the Arab world. Its use may create a language barrier and adversely affect an individual's learning and later professional life.

Aims:

This study examined the views of final-year Arab medical students of a language barrier and its effect on their learning and academic performance, and their language preference for medial education.

Methods:

All final-year medical students (n = 142, 62% females) at the Arabian Gulf University, Bahrain, were invited to respond to a self-completed questionnaire. Differences in responses according to English proficiency and sex were assessed.

Results:

Of the 142 students, 99 (70%) responded. Most students did not feel a language barrier irrespective of their proficiency in English (P = 0.088). Most respondents did not think that language issues made studying more difficult, although there was a significant difference in responses between students considered proficient in English and those less proficient (P = 0.005). Most students (82%) were not aware or were not sure of medical terms in Arabic, but 66% were confident that they would be able to communicate with patients in Arabic. About half of the students (51%) supported medicine being taught only in English and 36% supported teaching in Arabic and English.

Conclusions:

Most students thought that learning in English did not affect their academic learning and performance. However, a good proportion supported being taught medicine in Arabic and English.

KEYWORDS:

Arab world; academic performance; language; learning; medical education

PMID:
32141602
DOI:
10.26719/2020.26.2.233
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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