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European medical schools

Discussion in 'General International Discussion' started by PB, Mar 17, 2000.

  1. PB

    PB

    Hello, everyone,
    I would like to know what opinions you have about European medical schools. In particular, I am considering schools in the Netherlands, France, and Belgium. I have Carlos Pestana's "Foreign Medical Schools for U.S. Citizens" book, and he recommends against Italy, Germany, and Spain.
    Also, do you know anything about Eastern European medical schools, such as the Third Medical Faculty of Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic? What about Palaki University, also in the Czech Republic?
    I'm looking for a school, preferably in Western Europe, that teaches in English at least for the first year, while I learn the local language. Do you know of any such schools?
    Any information/advice that you have will be greatly appreciated.
    Sincerely,
    Patricia
     
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  3. cholecalciferol

    cholecalciferol Senior Member

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    If you do decide to go to Europe remember that admission to med school in several countries is unlimited. That is anyone can gain entry into medical school.
    This only applies to the first year class which is mostly basic medical sciences taken in lecture halls. Each year, only a small percentage of the students get promoted to the next year. Needlessly to say, the competition is fierce to be at the top of the class and often those who don't make it try try again year after year.... This is true of Italy & France. I found this info from an exchange student from France. It may be different for other countries. Find out for yourself and good luck with your decision.


    [This message has been edited by cholecalciferol (edited 03-17-2000).]
     
  4. argonx

    argonx Senior Member

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    What about prague is this the case there? Do think they select the top of the class to advance, or do few people actually pass? I have spent some time in England and seen how the students can be so it does not suprise me
    that few advance (they party harder than we plus they don't study same way we do either).
    So I main question is do they accept only the
    top 10%, or those that pass to advance? Also can post some of these unlimited schools sites? Do they teach in english? Is it very expensive? Thanks alot. The web pages of those school would be very helpful. Oh yeah do they offer M.D's or M.B.B.S. degree's (the
    european equivalent for those who don't know.)

    Thanks

    ------------------
    There is more joy in giving then there is in recieving.
     
  5. cholecalciferol

    cholecalciferol Senior Member

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    Argonx:

    The schools weed out students during the basic medical sciences years. (This I found from a student I met while in Italy and from an French exchange student here in America) It is whitles down to the number of spaces they have for the clinical training phase. This course varies from school to school. So if they have 100 clinical spots and the class size is 1000, you better be in the top 10% to move on. It is not unusually to have more than 500 students competing for advancement spots


    PB:

    I have been to most of the Western European countries and have found that their standard of living is comparable to North America. Though, it may be a bit of a leap in logic, but I think the quality of the their medical education is similar to North American (save for our gravity towards high tech in medicine, we probably are one leg up on them here). I have not been to Eastern Europe, save Hungary so I can't say much about it.

    One of the reason why, the USMLE pass rate is lower for foreign grad is the language barrier. Can you imagine writing a German or Spanish version of the MCAT after having doing a BSc or BA in the enlish language? When it come to pure medical sciences, level of knowlege is most likely dependent on the ability student. With Clinicals, facilities & instructors may be more important. So if you do go to a foreign language medical school you may have a harder time translating the language back & forth especially for USMLE step 2 where you get alot of clinical vignettes.

    If you mother tongue is another language & can get into a school that teach in a same language, you will do no worse than going to the Carribean medical schools.

    However, other than England & the UK you probably won't find many schools that teach in medicine in English in Europe even though it is widely spoken


    [This message has been edited by cholecalciferol (edited 03-18-2000).]
     
  6. argonx

    argonx Senior Member

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    Thanks. So when those schools say that they teach in english they are lying? Why would they just to grab students? Another thing when I was in england the english "medics" where kids just out of their A-levels or highschool. My background in science was much
    greater due to that fact. Is this the case for european students? Also what chance would an American student have against so many competing for only a few spots? Are the european students similar to the english students in terms of preparation?
    Thanks!

    ------------------
    There is more joy in giving then there is in recieving.
     
  7. UHS2002

    UHS2002 Senior Member

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    Go to a school in an English speaking country or go to a Caribbean school. This will save you a lot of grief. Americans are not renowed for their foreign language skills, we just don't get enough exposure to foreign languages growing up and by the time we try to learn one, it is just about too late.

    Living in a foreign country can be an exciting experience but it is also stressfull. Add to that being a first year med student AND having to learn another language and you are setting yourself up for a very rough time.

    As for being ahead of the "straigh out of high school" classmates, it works great in theory, but you will find that reality is another thing. They have the hometurf advantage and are dealing with a lot less pressure. Additionally, with the exception of a handfull of school districts and private schools in the US, the high school curriculum in Western Europe leaves ours hopelessly behind, so we can't even begin to compare their level as "straight out of high school" to our equivalent here.

    In addition, if you are seeking admission to a foreign school, it is most likely not because you want an "international education" but because, at some time, you experienced some academic difficulties which have made you a less competitive applicant (regardless of the circumstances). Therefore, it stands to reason, that your own background may not be as strong as you would like to think. All these factors put together lead me to believe that an American college graduate is NOT at a competitive advantage when attending a foreign medical school.

    As for the language of instruction, most schools have a transitional period in English and then, it is sink or swim. If a school offers you the entire two years in English, when their usual language of instruction isn't English, you can be sure that:
    You are not getting the same instruction as their native students, so you can't even say you get the same level of education
    They want you for your money above anything else.
    Think with your brains instead of your emotions. Do you think any medical school in the States would be offering an extra curriculum in, let's say Japanese, just to be nice to our Japanese friends? Not unless we needed cash, and lots of it. And if their less competitive students came here for our "Japanese program", do you think we would be investing great resources to make sure they go back to Japan as well trained as our own graduates?!

    I would strongly advise that you check out Israel (their program for foreign students is in English),Ireland and Australia, followed by the Caribbean schools.
     
  8. AC

    AC

  9. Brit Girl

    Brit Girl Junior Member

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    I am most offended ! "I have spent some time in England and have seen how the students can be ". We DO actually have to work for our degrees here, and the fact that we ARE only 18/19years makes it harder in a way; yes, we do want to party, but also have a very heavy workload.
    By the way, the work we do at A level is actually quite intensive, even if it is a little less relevant than a premedical degree. A levels give a solid scientific background.
    SO the British do like to party; but at the end of the day, we still make just as effective clinicians ! [​IMG]

     
  10. argonx

    argonx Senior Member

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    SORRY I did not mean to offend. I was pointing out my experience (England really is a great place!!). My point is that I am just as prepared if not more so than an English (who i understand works very hard!) doing thier A-levels. However I realize that this changes very quickly because of the highly concentrated courses they take compared to us Americans. For example it is unthinkable, and very rare for an American student to take 4-6
    science courses in a semester. However, in England it is common, I did it and got B's so it is doable (it was fun, I love the English!!). Sorry again if I insulted you Britgirl!!

    ------------------
    There is more joy in giving then there is in recieving.
     
  11. Lee

    Lee Sleestack
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  12. abbeydesert

    abbeydesert Senior Member

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    Why does he caution against schools in Germany? I have the opportunity to start med school there this fall, since my parents live there. I haven't been accepted here after two tries, in spite of good grades and MCATs, and I'm a non-trad, so I'm eager to get started with med school ASAP. I do hope to come back to practice in the States- probably primary care- I know I run the risk of not getting a residency when I finish in 6 years, but at least I'll finally be a doctor and I won't have any debt (med school costs about $180/semester in Germany). What's the word on German schools out there...anybody? Thanks!
     
  13. PB

    PB

    Hi,
    are you fluent in German? At which school are you going to start?
    PB
     
  14. abbeydesert

    abbeydesert Senior Member

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    I lived in Germany for 8 years, so language is not a problem. The way med school admissions in Germany works is through a central application process- first, you find out whether or not you're admitted to med school period- but you don't find out which school you're assigned to until July or so (classes start in mid-October). I'm hoping for either Munich (long shot) or Hanover (probably more realistic, since that's where my parents live).(A different process applies if they consider you a "foreign" applicant- in which case you can apply directly to the school. Each school reserves about 2% or so of its seats for foreigners, so if you know the language, it's worth a try!)



    [This message has been edited by abbeydesert (edited April 23, 2001).]
     
  15. Fiona

    Fiona Member

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    I'm one of those 18 year olds doing A levels in Chem, Phys, Bio and A/S maths and believe me, it ain't easy! Anyway, you have to get high grades to even think of med - ABB is the absolute minimum - in practice few have less than AAB. And they've just restructured A levels to make them even nastier... Anyway, St George's med school in London have just started a new programme called the GEP specially for people who already have a degree and don't want to associate with us youngsters doing the 5 yr course... [​IMG] But med in the UK is really competitive (worse than the US - you can only apply to 4 medschools in one year).

    I heard that the course in Prague is quite good, but that's the limit of my knowledge. I would have been finding out more if I hadn't got a place in the UK, but I did, so it's moot.

    BTW, France definitely only take the to 10% or something to actually go on and complete a med degree. Austria is the only west european country to be wary of regarding status of med degree - there were serious doubts about their education last year and I haven't heard that it's been resolved.

    [This message has been edited by Fiona (edited 04-06-2000).]
     
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  17. Simul

    Simul Member

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    That's strange that German med education isn't well regarded. I studied a bit about it, and the American system's basis is from German foundations. Hell, I went to a doctor in Munich when I was sick on my travel break, and he seemed pretty competent to me. But here in Denmark, and when I was in Germany, they did seem a bit quick to give the antibiotics to me and my friends, whevever we were ill.

    I don't buy UHS's statement about only studying medicine abroad because you can't get in elsewhere. French doctors are considered amongs the world's best, and amazing medical research comes out of Sweden. After doing study abroad, I too would enjoy med school abroad, but I totally would not be able to be away from my family for so long (this year was amazing, but I miss mams and pops and my sis).
    If anyone has questions about the med education and med students in the Nordic countries, feel free to write, I live with a few.

    Simul
     
  18. Stephen Ewen

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    Good discussion, everyone.

    An option to point out in International study for those not versed in the language of a school under their consideration is to enroll in one of the sometimes numerous language learning programs for foreign students of the country of interest. These are often university-based home-stay programmes, and many can become quite proficient in a second language in them given a full year of it full-time. International study for such can become even a first-choice. After proficiany in the language is gained, THEN apply to med school of the foreign country. If you do not get in, all is still well--you will be all the more valuable to those in your home country.

    This is definitley an option that can potentially make one unique and wanted wherever they might have an area of interest. It will call for much growth by those who do it. But that is exactly why it is can be so valuable.
     
  19. UHS2002

    UHS2002 Senior Member

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    Simul,

    I don't know whether French doctor's are among the world's best, but I know that if you go to France to study, then you must come back to the US for your residency, in order to be able to practice here. And since the major chunk of your clinical knowhow is aquired during residency, you will be missing that wonderfull French training anyways! If you choose to do your residency in France, then you will not be able to practice in the US, unless you want to do it all over again here... As for practicing in France, unless they have a special deal for foreign doctors, getting work permits in Europe is no "walk in the park" unless you happen to hold an EEC passport (again, perhaps there are exceptions for physicians, but I kind of doubt it, as there is a surplus of physicians in many European countries).

    Again, I would not minimize the language barrier. I spent 5 years traveling and studying abroad and met many Americans who became proeficient in the local language, but met far more who never did... Being able to communicate well with your patient is half the job. How can you be a competent physician if your language skills are rudimentary...heck, how can you make through med school under these conditions?!

    It has been my experience that most pre-meds I have met in the US want to practice here, although they may be interested in a "stint abroad". You cannot make the kind of money you make practicing medicine in the US anywhere in Europe. And if money is of no concern to you, then you are probably the type to go practice medicine in an underdeveloped nation rather than in Europe, which I personally think is very commendable.

    So, most US pre-meds do go abroad because they cannot get into a school stateside. Nothing wrong with that, mind you, there are plenty of very good medical schools abroad.
     
  20. hualex

    hualex New Member

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    Hi,

    right now I study in Budapest, Hungary, medicine in the second year. Because I`m from Switzerland I do it in german but it is possible to do it in english as well. The first german course started in 1983, the english one started I think in 1989. Since then it works and it grows. The Semmelweis University was found in 1769, so they have some experience in teaching. It is said, that this University has a great recommondation among Europe. And from my personal experiences I can tell you that the University is, espescially in the basic sciences, very good. For the first two years of Med-School it`s not necesseraly needed to know hungarian but when you start the clinical part it is easier because the patients not always speak english (or german)! The University itself has an integrated hungarian course. And there is a possibility to make the USMLE. Not all teacher can speak perfect english/german and sometime you even get a teacher who knows only few words but the majority speaks very good! And as I earlier said: they know what they are talking about.

    If You want to know more feel free to ask. By the way: there is a homepage too...
    http://www.sote.hu

    hualex
     
  21. argonx

    argonx Senior Member

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    Uh ok do the students here take the USMLE? How many actually come to the states? Also why is it that american students are not able to do electives at the New York med. school?
    Sounds Fishy to me.
     
  22. PB

    PB

    I think that we should avoid Eastern Europe, if possible. The results from these schools really haven't been established yet. The only one that might have some credibility is Charles University in Prague, but I still think I would need more information about this school before I would go.
    PB
     
  23. argonx

    argonx Senior Member

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    What about SAckler in Isreal?
    I would really love to go to the middle east to study!
     
  24. argonx

    argonx Senior Member

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    Oh yeah I think prague sounds nice as well. Pb when are you entering med. school this year or next? I am traveling on my year "off"
    studying abroad in Korea.
     
  25. GordonRamsay

    GordonRamsay New Member

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  26. johnny_blaze

    johnny_blaze And my name is hawkeye

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    Having a science degree doesnt really make much difference. I'm in england and there are students in my year who have come straight out of highschool and some who have done science degrees before hand. Everyone is the same, everyone works just as hard. I know people who did degrees in anatomy who still used to go back and put in hours in the anatomy lab to revise the stuff they forgot! I went to high-school in canada and i gotta say that A-levels sound really hard... much harder than what i had to do.
     

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