Having one of Italy’s best hospitals right on Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore’s doorstep sealed the deal for Reshma Rajeev when she was searching for the best university to study medicine.
“With a multitude of people in various positions from our professors to doctors who work right here in Policlinico Gemelli University Hospital, we can connect and take part in more personal teaching experiences where we can follow and work with the doctors in their respective fields,” Rajeev, a fourth-year Medicine and Surgery student from Canada, explains.
Fifth-year student Elena Shimizu agrees. The half Italian, half Japanese student was able to conduct clinical internships in many wards at that hospital, including Maxillofacial Surgery, Ophthalmology, and ENT since September 2021.
Indeed, Policlinico Gemelli University Hospital doubles up as a place for training, observing and learning for Università Cattolica’s students. If they have specific interests, they can take up extra clinical internships too. The hospital’s convenient location within the university campus makes it easy for the students to have early and easy access to patients as well.
An added benefit is that Policlinico Gemelli University Hospital is ranked first in Italy on the World’s Best Hospitals 2021 ranking by Newsweek — in which 2,000 hospitals are evaluated for overall excellence, nursing care and technology. That means Università Cattolica students have the unique opportunity to directly learn from the best professionals about innovation and quality in healthcare.
The six-year Single Cycle Medicine and Surgery programme, taught in English, ensures that students get first-hand knowledge of multidisciplinary patient management — both ethical and legal aspects — in addition to effective and compassionate communication with patients and families.
Following this curriculum at Università Cattolica is exciting and fulfilling. “Our days consist of a mixture of lectures, clinical rounds and labs. So, no matter how much of the day is planned, there is always something new and exciting we get to learn and experience on a daily basis,” Rajeev enthuses.
Small class sizes allow 80 students from 15 different countries to interact better with lecturers, a perk few other Italian institutions offer. That is why both Rajeev and Shimizu remember their heart dissection class so well.
“Seeing the heart in 3D in the anatomy class was such a unique experience, as it is very hard to imagine the actual organ by looking at pictures,” Shimizu shares.
Rajeev adds: “This was taught in a completely new setting, which gave me a whole new outlook on what medicine is moving forward and how interactive it will start to become.”
A significant feature of the Medicine and Surgery programme at Università Cattolica is having all students equipped with the necessary technical competencies for operating independently and responsibly in the medical sector. They will also learn to analyse health issues as holistically as possible.
On top of these, the School of Medicine is among the top 150 in the QS World University Rankings by Subject – Medicine. Their curriculum is designed to prepare students for the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) Step 1 and Step 2. The degree is also well-recognised across the EU and in many other countries for residency study or professional activity.
Beyond campus, Università Cattolica’s Rome campus — in the heart of Italy — allows students to explore the sweet life outside university.
“We went to ski in a little town near Rome, and even though most of us had no idea how to organise for the trip or how to move around, it was such a fun experience,” Shimizu recalls.
On her free days, Rajeev particularly enjoys walking around the ancient city and grabbing meals by the Spanish Steps with her friends.
“Not only have I met many people of different cultures, backgrounds, religions and so on, I have also made lifelong friends whom I can share experiences and make memories with,” Rajeev adds.
Finally, the outstanding support from the International Office is the icing on the cake for both Shimizu and Rajeev.
“It was a huge relief for me knowing that I had direct contact with a representative, because I was quite anxious about starting a new life on my own, in a country that I didn’t know,” Shimizu says.
Similarly, for Rajeev, the Office was “always there throughout, and quick to respond to and offer any type of suggestions to guide her in the right direction.” “When I have a certain question I don’t know the answer to, or I’m confused as to where to get the answer from, the International Office is the first place I go to for support,” she adds.
With all these in place, it is little wonder why studying Medicine and Surgery at Università Cattolica has truly been a rewarding and fun experience for Shimizu and Rajeev, and can possibly be for you too.