The significance of choosing the right medical school cannot be overstated.
Experience matters. So do access to training hospitals and early exposure to research.
Carol Davila University of Medicine and Pharmacy in Bucharest, Romania excels in these three aspects and more.
The University has a history of more than 150 years in medical education. Its founder — the illustrious general, doctor and Romanian pharmacist Carol Davila — and what his life work stood for continues to define the medical school to this day.
He was actively involved in solving the cholera pandemic, his dedication and professionalism obvious for all to see. It is this spirit that the university, in its teaching and research, continues to strive toward and bring to the 21st century.
This includes full involvement in the fight against the 21st century pandemic generated by COVID-19. On-campus, the University is committed towards providing a safe and welcoming environment for international students. Compared to other European countries, Romania and its capital Bucharest have not been hit hard.
Valuable clinical experience
The University was originally founded in 1857. For over a century, it has delivered over a century’s worth of outstanding medical education in Romania.
Today, it has grown to have over 37 clinical teaching hospitals affiliated to the University. These links provide many opportunities for the medical students to build their clinical skills, as well as to perform clinical research.
Hospital experience, together with the training of a students’ hearing, sight and touch in studying disease, are valuable. In addition to laboratories, libraries, teaching rooms, clinical work in hospitals allow students to gain practical contact with patients.
A students’ hospital work experience starts with major clinical specialities that allow them to build a strong educational foundation, which progressively get deeper into specific topics. From emergency departments to surgical theatres, students at Carol Davila are able to pursue a particular interest of their own to broaden their clinical experience.
Student Michael Tsatsis from Greece believes these hospital links are crucial.
“The most important part in medicine is the close clinical contact between the doctor and the patient. This is something that this university emphasises its stance on,” he said.
Exposure to research
They represent the breadth of research projects at the University, making global strides in various areas nationally and internationally. Researchers are in close contact with institutions such as the Romanian Academy, Ministry of Education, National Authority for Scientific Research in Romania, scientific research departments in other universities and so on.
Student Sevde Hasirci from Turkey said this provides valuable exposure to medical students.
“We have the chance to get to see more information about the research. It motivates students to make their own research in their early career,” she said.
“This is a very positive aspect and it helps also in improving how to talk in the medical language and also to the public.”
A friendly city to make new friends
Called the “new Berlin” or the “little Paris of the East,” Bucharest is a hip and upcoming capital city in Europe — and with a more affordable price tag too.
Communist-era blocks mix with Italian-style cafes, museums, parks and more public spaces for international students to explore. In this city of contrasts, expect to learn over hundreds of years of history, gaze at glorious Belle Époque architecture and dance away at its booming nightlife scene.
The beautiful Cismigiu Park is just a short walk away from the Faculty of Dentistry, or head to Grafit Cafe, a few streets further, in between classes to have coffee surrounded by nature.
Bucharest is a city with many spaces to meet with new friends from campus or friendly locals. Rooftops, garden terraces and wine bars — increasingly popular in recent years — offer plenty opportunities to meet people from all over the world, or practise Romanian with the locals.
Exposure to different environments with different cultures goes a long way in helping medical students become better doctors. Student Shamin Gholami Noudeh said, “It is not easy to study medicine in a foreign country without speaking the native language.”
“I was really fortunate because I had amazing colleagues and together we got organised during the pre-clinical years. And now I can honestly say I don’t regret the choice I made.”
It’s never a dull day at the University and city for Canadian student Iolanda Panaitiu too. Student organisations are always busy setting up events, conferences and certifications for students. There are numerous opportunities to participate in campus activities, even as a coordinator or volunteer.
“For me the best part about studying abroad is getting to meet lots of people and being exposed to different cultures and ways of thinking at this university,” she said.