Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Europe's medical students flock to Romania

Monday 26 January 2009
France24 TV

While Romanian doctors often leave their country to work elsewhere, medical students are flocking to Romania. Our correspondents met some of them at the Medical University of Cluj-Napoca.

Cluj-Napoca, in the heart of Transylvania. At first sight you’d think this is just your ordinary sleepy provincial town. But take a look behind the austere facades and you’ll see that calm and tranquility have become a thing of the past. One French student is absolutely thrilled: “Nightlife is great. You can meet many people and party a lot! Even more than back in France!”

The secret of this vitality? Medical students! Out of the 7,000 studying at the Cluj-Napoca Medical School, 1,600 come from abroad. Romania is indeed very attractive for medical students: affordable tuition fees, good facilities and many opportunities for clinical exposure. It’s for these reasons French student Sivashalini left her university of Strasburg two and half years ago. “Compared to France, where we’ve had to pass an entrance examination and where professors are quite elitist, here it's like a dream: professors are very open, they love teaching us, and that’s why we enjoy learning even more!”

Sivashalini is driven by her enthusiasm. But that’s not her only ally in her quest to become a doctor. Conditions here are optimal: direct access to the hospital, concrete work with patients, from theory to practice! “Here we take the time to examine, but also talk to our patients. In France things go faster.”

Of course lessons are taught in French: 1,000 students are registered in the French-speaking department. The English-speaking section also stands strong with about 600 students, 200 of which come from Sweden. “This education is very different from the medical education in Sweden because we get to do more 'patient contact' and we get more advanced anatomy classes,” say one student from Sweden. Romania is now shining out as an ideal location to study medicine in Europe.

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