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3.5.2020 – Nikki on “Médecins Sans Frontières” or “Doctors Without Borders”

Doctors without Borders

As an undergraduate student with her heart set on both medicine and the French language, I’ve been advised to choose between the two, because “it is not necessary to know French as a medical practitioner.” However, one of the biggest, most successful non-profit organizations requires both of these skills. This organization is called Médecins Sans Frontières or “Doctors Without Borders and was founded in 1971 by French doctors and journalists who wished to “expand impartial and equal healthcare across borders without considering factors that can normally affect access to healthcare (such as politics or religion).” Their goal is to provide free healthcare all around the globe, often in Francophone (French-speaking) countries. My own professional goal is to work with Doctors Without Borders so that I can pursue both of my passions by practicing medicine in French-speaking countries

This non-governmental organization appeals to people who want a future of travelling and exploration while applying both language and medicinal skills to diverse communities and geographical areas. Complete language fluency is not necessarily required but those interested should be at the B2 (upper intermediate level) for the relative language. UIC students who are taking advanced language courses or are majors/minors in any language would be good candidates for Doctors Without Borders. Their website,, details their current projects and career opportunities.

Even if you do not plan on pursuing medicine, but are still interested in applying your language skills to find a job around the French-speaking world, they offer other diverse career options. They have medical, paramedical, and non-medical field positions ranging from financial administrators, supply logisticians, and laboratory technicians to doctors, nurses, and psychologists. Their “Essential Requirements” page explains who strong candidates would be.

In addition to Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors without Borders, there are numerous other organizations “without borders.” Check out this website for a list of these other groups, including Accountants without Borders, Architects without Borders, Artists without Borders, Engineers without Borders, and plenty more. If you speak another language and wish to travel in the future, I highly recommend exploring this list and researching ways to integrate culture/language into your career.

– Nikki