Course Description

Course Name

Spanish for Specific Purposes - Health

Session: VVPU1123

Hours & Credits

45 Contact Hours

Prerequisites & Language Level


  • Prior to enrolling in courses at this language level, students must have completed or tested out of a minimum of four semesters (or six quarters) at the college level.


Spanish for Specific Purposes - HealthNAME OF COURSE: Spanish for Specific Purposes - Health
HOURS: 45 class hours

Course description:
Theoretical practical course oriented specifically at the communication contexts as well as the topics and roles that characterize the institutional-labor framework of health. The course will have an emphasis on the development of both oral and written comprehension, expression and interaction through formal and informal communicative activities with authentic texts related specifically to health in Valparaíso ?Viña del Mar.

Main objective
Improve the intercultural communicative competence from a pragmatic-descriptive perspective.
Specific objectives

  • Develop the skill of oral expression and interaction based on authentic, diverse, varied, and functional texts related to health in Valparaíso ? Viña del Mar? Develop the skill of understanding authentic, diverse, varied and functional oral texts related to health in Valparaíso ? Viña del Mar
  • Develop the skill of understanding authentic, diverse, varied, and functional written texts related to health in Valparaíso ? Viña del Mar.
  • Develop the skill of written expression and interaction through authentic, diverse, varied, and functional texts related to health in Valparaíso ? Viña del Mar.
  • Involve the students with the concept of interculturality through communicative activities and fieldworks where they must interact in different scenarios in the field of health from a pragmatic-descriptive perspective in Valparaíso and Viña del Mar.

ContentsUnit I: Immersion in the public and private health system
Situation: observation for descriptive purposes in which the student gets to know a public hospital, a clinic, a doctor?s office, and medical staff (directors, doctors, nurses, paramedics) from a comparative perspective on the access to health and functioning of our health system in Valparaíso and Viña del Mar.
Daily activities.
Daily work, organization.
Social interaction: the hospital, emergencies, the clinic, health centers, medical consultation
Functions: descriptions, information acquisition, description of daily and common activities. Formal and informal interaction.
Language: determinatives. Ser and estar. Haber. Tenses of the indicative mood. Aspect and tense variation. Verbal periphrasis.


Unit 2: Interaction doctor-patient. What can I do if I?m sick? What does the health professional do?
Situation: simulation of illness and its diagnosis based on a real situation of typical illnesses specific to the season and region. Problems that arise in daily activities in a hospital, clinic, private office. Anamnesis and medical examination.
Functions: expression of physical and emotional condition, express necessity. Suggestions, advice. Objectively feasible conditions.
Language: pronouns. Interrogative forms. Reflexive sentences. Imperative (to express necessity, obligation, conjecture, and suggestions)

Unit 3: Interaction doctor-patient. Diagnosis and treatment. What should I do as a patient? What does the treating doctor do?
Situation: simulation of treatment (medication, examinations) of an illness. Problem solving: possible/impossible (based on the previous unit?s interaction guidelines)
Functions: conditions in all possibilities and relation to time.
Language: levels of conditionals (real, potential, unreal). Use of the simple and perfect conditional. Use of the present subjunctive. Use of preterit subjunctives. Formal expressions of gratitude.

Unit 4: Health system in Valparaíso and Viña del Mar: Challenges and progress in transversal cases.
Situation: research on concrete problems of the health system in Chile. Private insurance companies (public policies versus private health system) and comparison of the local scenario with the global situation, for example: obesity, infertility, AIDS.
Functions: Information acquisition, research, action.
Language: use of indicative and subjunctive moods to describe and use arguments in critical texts.


  • Theoretical and expository lessons.
  • Oral presentations
  • Fieldworks
  • Debate and conversation
  • Reading comprehension and analysis

This course includes successive formative assessments (class and out-of-class work) and summative assessments that result in a final grade. The teacher will present a calendar of evaluations and the instruments that will be used when assessing different skills.

Programa de la Naciones Unidas para el Desarrollo (PNUD). Desarrollo Humano en Chile, Género, los desafíos de la igualdad. Santiago, Chile, 2010.
Calsamiglia, H., & Tusón, A. (1999). Las cosas del decir. Manual de análisis del discurso. Barcelona: Ariel.
PIIE Dossier


*Course content subject to change