View Full Version : Information obtained on Pecs

08-19-2012, 01:06 PM
The following is intended for people who are considering Pecs as a place to study. It involves an interview based narration of the experiences of someone who wants to be known as #DrCardio. Living in the city, interactions with the university, the students and bits of information that you might find useful. Before posting back, please keep in mind that as mentioned a few words before, the following is not what I am saying, I do not intend to offend any of the places, people and procedures described. Someone might be offended, or think that something mentioned is not true, or simply wants to disagree just to draw attention. If that is the case, I apologize in advance. This is intended just to help those considering Pecs and should only be used for that purpose.
Taking this opportunity, I would like to thank #africa.child whose posts I extensively read while looking up information on Hungary.
Special thanks to the people who helped me get in touch with #DrCardio, himself for the hours he allowed me to take up.

Q: Why Hungary?
A: You tried to get admitted to the US, but it is too expensive. You thought of England and your home country, but it is too hard to get in. Australia is too far away. So is the moon. That’s right. Eastern Europe is your last choice. It is going to be either Ch. Republic, Poland, Hungary. Or Romania (no thanks), or Bulgaria (no thanks). On a serious note, you are, or should, consider Hungary as a last choice. Keep reading.

Q: How do I get there?
A: The very first time, you will do as every ignorant student does. You will land at the airport, you will take the bus to the train station, from there you will take a train to Pecs, then you will walk or take a cab to the hotel. After a while you will feel stupid, because there are quite a few airport shuttle vans who can take you directly from the airport gate and drive you at any address you give them within Pecs. Play a little bit with google and you will see what I mean. I can’t really advertize them here. What I can say is that the one that has a collaboration with the uni, I have used many times. The only problem is that all the time they change the departure time, meaning that If you tell them to come at 10:00 and 24 hrs before departure they tell you they will come at 08:00. But fine overall.

Q: How was life over there?
A: Be more specific.

Q: Alright. Accommodation.
A: The very first time you get here (assuming you are barely over 18, you don’t know anyone here, you carry loads and loads of baggage ), consider staying at a hotel until you find a place to stay. They (hotels) aren’t cheap, especially those around the uni and the city center. Expect to spend around 70 euro/day for the room and w/e you eat. Plan your trip so that you arrive on a Sunday night, in order to have a clear head on Monday morning and of course a full week ( 5 working days) to find a house. Despair do not, there is loads of help, assuming you possess the right amount of money. The uni hosts a RE (edit. Real estate maybe?) agency on the second floor. I used them and they were very good, nothing bad to say about them. Contact them a few weeks before you get there. Tell them exactly what you are looking for. Seriously. Everything. From how much money you can spend, to what color you want the toilet seat to be. They can and will make it happen for you. If you planned your trip in a smart way and did as I told you, you will meet them on Monday morning, they will drive you to the place/s you chose, tell them which one you like, then you will meet the owner, sign the contract and by Wednesday you will be in your new flat. Other than the university agency, there are of course other agencies around the city. I never used them, never heard anyone mention them, so there is nothing I can say about that.

Q: I heard people say that blah blah blah paid deposit and lost it.
A: I know what you’re saying. I too have a close friend who used an unofficial agency of some guy who promised him a flat and everything, never showed him pictures though, then my friend wired him the money and…do you get my point?
The whole deposit thing is just how the market works. I can’t speak for the whole world, but in the ~10 countries I’ve visited in my life, that’s how things work. Deal with it. I have to say though, there is a very simple workaround. If you use the uni agency, they will print a draft contract for you both in Hungarian and English to read. Tell them to add a condition in your contract that the 2 months deposit can be used to pay off the last 2 months of your official contract, assuming you notify the owner in advance blah blah blah. No money lost then. Get it? (Surprisingly, this method is illegal in Italy. Edit: also in the state of WA. Bah.) (edit2. I have not been able to confirm this yet. Exercise caution)

Q: What can you tell me about the house market in Pecs?
A: When we talk about this country, there are some things that you need to keep in mind. This is an (ex) COMMUNIST country. No, communism isn’t 1969 love peace freedom. Read about it. Ask your parents. Google pictures of north korea, Cuba, etc. Communism explains many things that are wrong in Hungary. YOU, have dollar signs written all over your forehead. Understand that. Before I go on about flat rates etc, let me give you an analogy, an example ok? The basic salary of a PhD student working at the anatomy dpt here, without counting what he makes working extra, taking up classes in the English / german program etc, the absolute minimum is 96000 Ft. My 80 m^2 flat’s rent was 100,000 k Ft. The point is, there are bad people all over the world. Some flat owners are really good, honest and hard working people. Others will try to rob you of any Ft you have in your pockets. You can’t know until it is too late. Hopefully it will not happen to you. If you want to have an idea on how much flats are worth, use google translate to look up Hungarian websites, or walk by the main streets of Pecs and look at the papers posted by other agencies and see how much they charge. Rule of thumb: Foreign tenant, more rent. Hungarian tenant, less rent. Go figure.

Q: Where do you think I should get a flat?
A: Really that depends on you, your pocket that is. If you want peace and quiet in your head, go and find a place way up in the hills. If you like busy streets and noise, go live downtown. Also, if you started med school a tiny little bit late like me and you didn’t spend your years going from party to rehab to party, then you should have a few thousand euros put aside. Go buy a car. With the whole economic crysis over there, you can get a very good deal. When you first walk inthe car dealerships they don’t speak English, but once you throw them a brick of euros in their face they can even speak Chinese. They take care of all the paperwork and insurance for you. Thank me later.

Q: Ok so, now I have a flat. I need a mobile phone, internet, cleaning services, chef, girlfriend.
A: There is nothing I can do about the last one. During your first days at the uni, many people will come in the lecture rooms trying to sell you stuff. I will not tell you what is good and what is not. What I can tell you is that once you realize there is a world outside the uni, you will find the same services for less money. Don’t laugh about the chef thing. They can make food for you (lunch and dinner) for 6 days with ingredients worth 5000 Ft. I dare you to do better.

Q: Immigration, omg its so hard whine whine whine.
A: First of all, when you come in a country, there are some rules. The government must know who you are, where you live, why you are here, if you have insurance, if you have money to support your stay. It makes perfect sense. It is true that it is not required for EU citizens travelling within EU. However Hungary is not exactly yet EU, it’s a long story. Try to take care of immigration before your school starts. And make sure you have all the papers required BEFORE you go there. Unless you feel like going back and forth. Wierdo.

Q: Ok so everything is set. The school is about to start. Books?
A: Do not buy anything. Really. Don’t. For my first year I only bought 2 books for my anatomy/histology. Easy boy. That is 14 weeks ahead, and statistically speaking there is a 50% chance you won’t make it through the second semester. Keep reading.

Q: I wanna know as much as I can about the courses of the first year.
A: Oh boy, there we go.

Semester 1.
Medical ethics: it is something that you do every second week. Basically you go at a library and a (descent chap I might say, nothing bad to say about him) guy tells you stuff about abortion, medical dilemmas, whether to treat someone with no insurance or not, etc. I do not want to say anything about this course. It is something you have to go through. The exam takes place at the last seminar of the semester. You have the questions from before. Put the pdf file on your smartphone and forget about it.

Medical anthropology: This is a once a week, lecture based course. And they teach some stuff like..uhmm. (20 mins later and after he talked to his roommate, the only thing they remember is the final words of the last lecture “you are treating human beings, not diseases”). So yea, you get the point. I do remember now, at some point there was a lecture about monkeys. That was the only time I ever fall asleep while in class. The exam takes place at the end of the semester. A lecture hall, for the first and last time full of students. At some point the prof. went to another lecture hall where there was a parallel test. Yes he left us alone. I do not think anyone got less than 4.
Public Health/Disease prevention: This is a lecture based once a week / seminar based once every second week. Introduced a couple of years ago directly to the first year newbies. They teach some statistics about stuff in the medical field. The seminar is pretty much the same, go show up and they tell you about some stuff. The exam is, as you guessed, a written test at the last lecture of the semester. You have to memorize loads of statistics and number.

Mollecular Biology 1: (edited to the current format as of academic year 2011/2012)The biology dpt is the best, nicest, most polite, most fair, most logical, most good hearted, most unselfish, most willing to listen that you will find during your whole stay in Pecs. 1 will teach you about classic biology. DNA, RNA, organelles methods blah blah. The lectures hosted by the chief of this dpt were full. There is a reason for that. He is really amazing at explaining and dumbing down complicated stuff for you. The dpt issues a syllabus every year. Take it with you on every lecture and add your own notes. You will not need more for a five on the exam. There are also some seminars for this course. Usually the PhD “juniors” as we call them host the sessions. Use them to your advantage. Ask them to explain something you did not understand from the lectures, ask them what kind of questions you might get during the exam, ask them to check if your notes are complete. Use them.
As for the exam, read very carefully what I have to say. Every 4 weeks or so, we have the so called mid terms. I do not want to dramatize things. Maybe I have this impression because I absolutely hated biology. However, you have to be a rocket scientist to figure out how to answer those multiple choice questions. They are really tricky. So what you have to do is meet the right people *cough Koreans * and get your hands on the enormous collection of past papers that they possess. How you do on the midterms only counts by 10%. At the end of the semester, you will have a big test. If you score more than 90% or so you don’t have to go for the oral exam, you are exempted. If you score less than 90% you have to take the oral exam. If you scored less than 52% you have to go to the oral exam with a grade 1, but before that, you have to take the so called MRT test, consisting of 12 questions, 9 correct required to pass. “So?” you will ask. “So”, 42% of the students failed biology on the first semester, I will say. The MRT is a booklet that you can find at the bookshop. Buy it from day 1 and start memorizing. Thank me later. We are not done boy. There is a lab for this course. Each time you will be assigned to a table and you have to perform some experiments, take notes, write down your observations and you are done right? No. Read on Biology 2.

“Medical” chemistry 1: (edited to the current format as of academic year 2011/2012) The “medical” part is intended to appear like this. Oh boy, that chemistry. What a pain. This is very similar in structure to Biology. Lectures every week and seminars. They teach inorganic chemistry and some organic at the end of the semester. The lectures, compared to those of biology, are problematic. Even I admit that. They are too fast. Too much information in little time. Dare asking a question? You were here last time, you should know, sorry no time, nag nag is what you get for an answer. Before each lab you are supposed to take a small test. The prof. walks in, you pick a paper with a question. You answer correctly 8 or so out of 12, you can go for the exam. You fail to do so and, well, you fail the course. The questions are published usually the Friday before each Monday lab so you have quite some time to find the answers and memorize them. Oh, don’t bother looking up the questions on the internet. Use the workbook they also upload and the lab manual. Took my year a few weeks to figure that out. They really insist on you memorizing loads of stuff. They kept telling us we will need that for IM and pharma. Yea. Right. The good part I saved for last. 57% failed Chem 1.

Biophysics 1: (edited to the current format as of academic year 2011/2012) The 10 or so students who went for those lectures really had a hard time staying awake. The guys working at that dpt are really cool. They understand technology, you can talk to them, tell jokes, go out for a drink. I am sure they are great scientists and I do know the uni has a really competitive research team. But they , just, can’t , teach. Sorry. As a part of this course you have a lab each week. You are assigned basically with a partner to a lab every week. Before each lab you copy paste a summary of the practical to a lab book, then perform the experiment, have the prof. sign your book and you re good to go. Yes, you are right, it is not as easy as that. You see, in order to perform the lab you need some sort of instructions. A God given epiphany if you wish. Not here. They have some old papers laying around on each table. If you manage to understand their written English on how to perform an experiment, well, you have my respect.
As for the exam. Well I am sure there is just one mid term. They publish some questions and yes, you have to memorize them. The test has 2 parts, theoretical and practical. Score more than 90% of whatever at the theory and you are exempted from the MRT (see Biology), score well at the practical part (please do that), read Biophysics 2 to see why.

Medical Biometrics: (edited to the current format as of academic year 2011/2012) Pretty clever, that is a name to cover up “statistics”. But nothing like you have ever seen. I stopped attending the lectures after some point, I just could not follow and did not want to be bothered. I found it very difficult to cope with dozens of notes I found a few hours before my exam. The guy felt sorry for me and let me go. Good man. Seriously though, get your hands on the exam questions and try to answer them with the prof. every week. He will help you if you ask in the right way. What? Statistics isn’t useful? You are a fool. See how it rhythms?

Semester 2.

About 50% of the students failed something in the first semester. Of those, another 50% failed the exams in June, of those 80% failed biochem and to make a long story short, only ~40 people make it to the clinical module.
Biology 2: (edited to the current format as of academic year 2011/2012) classic biology is gone, here they focus on 2 things. Signalling pathways and cancer. Interesting stuff. Same structure as Bio 1. The difference here is that the final exam is different. In order to go for the oral part, you need to pass not only the MRT but also the lab. Remember all those experiments you spent a year performing? You will walk in there, pick 2 cards and talk about it. Hopefully they will let you pass. And hopefully it will be the last time you walk that door, ever. Please study the MRT, please study the labs when you do them and please repeat when you can the topics of the first semester because in case you did not figure it out yet, they are included.

“Medical” chemistry 2, aka introduction to Biochemistry: (edited to the current format as of academic year 2011/2012) Ok so, inorganic chemistry is gone. Now the serious stuff. This course makes you memorize, pardon me, teaches you I wanted to say about…stuff..about chemistry. That of course you have to draw at your sleep. Because they say so. On a more serious note, there are a few lectures that you will find interesting. I cant remember of an example out of my head. The purpose of this course is to give you some hands on experience working with chemical instruments. Also it is a good way to see how many useless things you can fit your head with. Of course I should also mention time management, kidding aside, which is absolutely essential in medicine. Towards the end of the semester, as I was informed by some students, they now start teaching biochem. Which means that as a first year student, you will have to learn everything about glycolysis, fatty acid oxidation, TCA, electron transport, ROS. Good luck dudes. As for the exam. Simply you have to memorize 600+ mrt questions divided in 13 or so pools, answer like 70% correct, collect points from mid terms and lab tests and you will pass. Eventually.

Biophysics 2. (edited to the current format as of academic year 2011/2012) A lot more interesting than Bioph 1 I might say. You learn about how the CT scan works, the MRI, flow cytometry blah blah. Same structure as Bioph 1. One midterm, however all questions and labs from Bioph1+2 are included. The key is to repeat stuff from Bioph1 during the spring semester so that you do not forget.

Anatomy 1: “Congratulations for making it to the second semester. And welcome to hell”. I still remember that. And I never understood why. I do not wanna say much. Every student has his own opinions about the anatomy dpt. I get that and I respect that. To begin, this course will force you to memorize everything there is to know about the myoskeletal system. You have to learn every bone of the human body with all its regions. You have to learn every muscle with its name, origin, insertion, innervations. You have to learn every nerve, every branch. Everything. Each group is assigned to a cadaver. To be more presice, you are assigned to the either left or right side of a cadaver, because the other side is given to the Hungarians. Once you realize that the amount of knowledge you have to acquire is far less than what you have to know for chemistry, you will stop worrying about it. Just repeat every day. That is the secret.
To be honest, I am not very good in chemistry and I remember nothing about biology. But during my studies in the anatomy dpt I had the best days of my life. The prof. I had kept pushing me on a daily basis to my limit and beyond. I never asked why, I didn’t care. I just kept learning and learning. Walking out of the dpt for the last time after my anatomy final exam (which includes anat1, 2, histo 1, 2, embryo 1,2, neuroanat), having a 5 on my book, I was just sad. I knew that no other dpt in the school would push me that hard, ever. (I just have to mention that, because thanks to the anat dpt, when I did my surgical rotations in Cleveland, I simply kicked the behinds of all those arrogant boys attending those high profile med schools in the US, (edit. that is another chapter I will talk about in the future.) So anatomy is not that bad. Don’t bite the attitude they are selling. Don t pay attention to the trash talk. Nothing better than watching their faces while they sign your grade book with a good grade.

Histology 1: Very hard. It is something new, something you have never seen before. You don’t know how to study, what to study, how much to know. I get it. Once you do learn how to study (should not take you more than 3 weeks), once you get into their mind and understand what they are saying, (that can even take years, but keep trying) you will see that histology is quite fun. I really liked the puzzle of finding out what the heck you’re looking at. Basically there are lectures where they teach you the theory, and practices where you get a microscope for yourself, you are given a couple of slides every week and they explain to you what you are supposed to see. You also have to draw what you see on a copy book. When you go for the exam, they give you 2 slides, and you have to tell them what you see. I really miss that.

Embryology 1: if there is something you should fear, this is it. This course describes how babies are made, how they develop limbs, organs, how they look like as they grow. I respect very much the person who hosts the lectures. However, the mistake I did is that I skipped the initial ones, then by the time I caught up it was too late. I did attend most of these, since that person was checking attendance. It was my fault that I did not prepare well for that, however, the only thing I can say, is that the lectures were meant only for those who already knew most of the stuff to be told. They were very useful for repeating students for example, because they were fast and too much information was given for my ignorant and un concentrated brain to process.

Exams of Histology/anatomy/embryology: 3 midterms. As far as I can understand the test if the following. You go to the lecture hall, then they project a timed power point presentation on the wall. And you have 20 seconds to answer each question. If a page has 2 questions then you have 40 seconds, and so on. The same thing for all the above mentioned courses. People usually do really bad on the tests. The reason for that is because they were never prepared for it. Even I could not get a good grade on those. (edit. He was provided some a few weeks ago). You have to see it to believe it. It is absolutely imperative that you score more than 2 as an average on those tests. The reason for that is the oral exam. You begin the exam with a cadaver walk. Basically the prof. asks you questions like show me the radial nerve, describe the brachial plexus, what is the origin or gluteus maximus, which muscles are used to make this movement, etc. If you pass that, then you pick 3 cards. The first contains a region of the cadaver, like aux region, nuchal, dorsal brachial etc. You go back to the cadaver and you are asked questions, the difficulty of which depends solely on the prof. The second card contains a joint, the third card contains something about the skull. It is easier than it sounds. Really. Going back to what I said about having more than 2 on the midterms, the reason is this. If you do, then you can fail a card. If you don’t have more than 2, then you cant fail a card. If you do, they kick you out.
For histology and embryology, well, you walk in you pick 2 histology slides and 1 embryology question. Officially, you cannot fail anything. However, it has become a common practice that if you know about 1 of embryo, then if you do well on the histology slides, you can pass with a 2. That of course depends on the prof.

Q: I need a drink.
A: That is not a question you cry baby.

Q: So how are the exams like? Can I buy myself out of trouble?
A: To be honest I have never tried. Also, I have never heard of anyone saying that he could even remotely do that. These people are too proud for that.

Q: What about talking your way out of trouble?
A: That is a good question. Again one thing you have to understand is that it doesn’t matter what you say. It matters how you say it. Body language, you know? The tone of your voice, the tie you wear on the exam. Whether there was traffic on the road that morning. Your breath, your smile, the profs. wife. All those things contribute to your grade. If there is one thing I can say for sure, from the depths of my heart is that the oral exams are – not – fair. I have seen people who were before me, knew more than me and failed. I went next, knew less and passed. I have seen guys before me who knew nothing and got a good grade, I was heading for a 5 and got a 3. Males give better grades to females. Females give better grades to males. Read up on body language and social engineering. Really dude. Or be German. Or Norwegian.

Q: What about the rest of the students? How are they like?
A: Well, they are just like you, trying to survive. On the English program there is always a big german lobby (those who were not good enough to be admitted to the german program). There is a norwegian lobby, basically a financial agreement between Pecs and them, they do the first year there, then do the anatomy summer course and they let them pass to the second year. These two then transfer back after the second or third year to their countries, that’s why I said earlier only 30 people make it to the clinical module. Of course, Korean people, some of my best friends are Korean. Cool kids, but they have a really hard time speaking English. Middle east students. A recent trend has been the Spanish students. Quite noisy. Here and there you might find Americans, Indians, british, so it depends. Just like every community, you will find people you can mix with and people you can’t. Just like that guy you mentioned who said that you are not here to make friends, you are here to study. (edit. Referring to #african.child I assume).

Q: Fun?
A: Sh$ty bars, two or three good restaurants, a cinema, shops, a mall. A couple of gyms, soccer fields, tennis, basketball w/e ball. Again, you are here to study.

Q:Anything special I need to bring with me?
A: Patience.

Q: No I mean like as in tools?
A: No. There is a medical shop close to the uni. Go to (edit. a supermarket chain from germany that sounds like “little”), face the door, then look right, there you will see on an alley a board with an old lady and some Hungarian words. That is the medical shop. For the first year you will need a few lab coats, scalpel with disposable blades, safety glasses, gloves. And like I said, patience.

Q: What can you say about the uni value in general?
A: Look, for (edit. the current tuition fee is 14700$) I don’t think we get much. Basically many people over here buy a seat. They do not deserve to be anywhere near a medical school. It is true that this place is very disorganized. Everyone functions as a separate, autonomous unit, there is no central control. However, I don’t want to blame all to the Hungarians. In western Europe things aren’t much more organized. Ever spoken with a student from those countries? They complain about the same things. So EU students will not feel much worse than home. Only north Americans, Asians, Australians, etc. If you ask a Hungarian something with a smile and a few good words, he will not say no. Trust me. Pecs is CA board recognized and that was all I need. All in all, the books are the same, the methods are the same, the patients are the same.

Q: Can you describe a typical day of your daily routine?
A: Wake up at 6:30, breakfast, warm up diesel engine, school from 08:00 – 12:00 on the best day, 08:00 – 15:00 typical day, 08:00 – 17:00 a bad day, go home, eat, rest, study until you cant anymore, sleep, repeat. After the pre clinical module it is more fun because you spend less time for lectures and more time for hospital work. Years 1-3 are like that everywhere so..

Q: What is the best way to pay the uni?
A: You can wire money to their account. And then be charged money for conversion rates. Or, just pick up a cheque with the exact amount of Ft as it appears on your uni account, give it to their cashier, end of story. That is the best way.

Q: So its true that a med student has to study that much?
A: Look, it depends on you. I spent a lot less time on things I found interesting, because I could remember them easily and a lot more for those things that were boring. Its natural.

Q: If you went back in time when you were 15, what would you tell yourself?
A: Quit Lineage (edit. a video game on the internet), study hard in high school, get a good GPA, get in a north American med school. It wont be easier, but it will be more fun.

08-19-2012, 01:07 PM
space reserved for future updates.

Richard Tyrrell
05-13-2013, 06:33 AM
Hello, I am an 18 year old irish student who just received a place to go to Pecs.
I have a few questions, but my main one is,
- Everybody talks about up to half the year not making it into second year, but i am wondering is that just down to lack of study and not attending lectures on their part? As i intend to work hard and get through it, but i do not want to attain this college if it is biased.

Please reply,

07-30-2013, 03:36 PM
This message is too funny, laughed so many times at the accurate ( in parts ) description. Well done to whoever did this . I have to say not everybody there " doesn't deserve to be near a medical school " - many students , yes you question why they were there but generally those who really want it.. Work hard & succeed :)

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