View Full Version : MBBS options in EU countries for Americans?

12-28-2014, 07:15 PM
Hi. I have a few questions about medical education and the validations of a MBBS from an EU country. I would like to study in an English medium, inexpensively, so I've looked at countries like Poland, Romania, Belarus and a few others. After I graduate high school, what would it be like to apply to a medical school there? How difficult would it be? I have a 4.48 weighted GPA. I'm not sure what it is unweighted, but it's probably around 3.7 or 3.8. After obtaining a degree, would I be allowed to practice in non-EU countries like Norway or Iceland? What about non-European countries in Asia or Africa? Any schools or countries you recommend? Any tips? Thanks for any information. I've looked for a lot of time but there is a lack of information on this.

12-29-2014, 11:11 AM
There is a lot of information about this on VMD. Use the search function and you will find enough to choke a rhino. In a nutshell, though:

Admissions criteria in the E-EU vary significantly according to the school. Some are nauseatingly easy. Others are rather competitive. Since you are North American, if you wish to work in North America, then put E-EU on the back burner and bust your butt to get into a US/Canadian medical school. MD or DO. Seriously. Your life will be a million times easier.

If you are not interested in North America, for some reason, or choose to ignore the above advice, then your credentials are likely competitive for just about every medical school English program in E-EU. If you are as smart as your GPA suggests, you will likely be perplexed at the level of... ahem... 'intellectual rigor' demonstrated by some of your classmates in E-EU English programs.

Make sure you are looking at EU schools, first of all. Belarus is NOT a member of the EU. Poland and Romania are EU members. Poland has some good programs (Jagiellonian, Warsaw, Gdansk) and some others that are not nearly as good. Romania is even more of a mixed bag. If you want cheap medical school in Europe, and you want a first rate education, then learn German and apply to the medical schools in Germany. Tuition is ridiculously cheap, and the medical training is world-class. You are apparently not afraid of learning languages, if you are asking about work in this spectrum of foreign nations, so this would be a good way to start.

Speaking of becoming a polyglot... working in Norway and Iceland (which, while not EU, have EU ties) presupposes a decent level of fluency in the native language -- which is the case anywhere. An EU diploma does not guarantee you a job in the EU, especially without EU citizenship, but you are definitely out if you cannot speak the language! Sweden currently hires doctors and recruiters pay to put them through Swedish language training, but only after they have completed residency training elsewhere.

Working in non-EU countries is impossible to gauge because every country has its own medical licensing requirements -- sometimes they vary even within the states of the same country (as in the US and Canada and Germany, for example). You are kind of shotgunning all over the map here, so it is hard to get a gauge on what you actually want to do with your medical degree.

If your goal is to work internationally, like through Doctors Without Borders or something, then you will probably want to be trained and licensed in a developed country and go from there. The hospital where I work sends doctors all over Africa and Asia and elsewhere, but they were trained in the West and work here in Switzerland most of the time (meaning they can financially support themselves and gather support for their medical service work).

12-29-2014, 03:19 PM
Thanks for the information. I'm not planning on coming back to the United States after studying abroad. So, after getting a medical degree, what would it be like to get a residency and job? I have heard about Germany and its high quality education for small fees. Do you think that I could learn German well enough in the next few years to study there? Whenever I search this kind of stuff in google or somewhere else a bunch of stuff about China and India come up. Why is that? Also, if I wasn't able to learn German to a high enough degree by the time I graduate, what country has good English programs? You mentioned studying in developing countries. Where would you suggest? Thanks for everything.

12-29-2014, 04:10 PM
That first question is impossible to answer. Getting a residency and a job as an American ex-pat would be impossible on some countries (France, etc.), tough but possible in others (Ireland, etc.), and relatively straightforward in others. Again, this depends on your language abilities, your citizenship(s), and how good a student/doctor you are. Can people do it? Yeah. I did. But then again, about 75% of my medical school graduating class have been unable to find residency positions outside of Eastern Europe, which means that they (or their parents) are continuing to pay tuition for the privilege of being abused as a resident. It is not an easy road and I do not recommend it to most people.

Re: learning German -- some people certainly learn German sufficiently in two years' time. Can you do it? I have no idea, but people do it. There is a resident in vascular surgery at my hospital who learned enough German in 18 months to get hired as a resident. In Switzerland, no less. Yeah, he's bloody brilliant, and married to a Swiss woman (which helped a hell of a lot), but it is possible. By the same token, about half of my class started learning German about 2/3 of the way through medical school, and exactly one of them got a job in Germany. The rest quit within a semester, or did not learn it well enough, and they are among the 75% unemployed mentioned above.

You read a ton of stuff online about Chinese and Indian applicants because there are a crapload of Chinese and Indian doctors who want to leave their home countries and get a job as a doctor in a place that will actually pay them a living wage. No big secret, no big surprise. I would not be in a hurry to practice medicine there, either.

Note that I suggested developed countries (not developing... big freaking difference). Unsurprisingly, the best places to study in English in Europe are Republic of Ireland and the UK. Neither is inexpensive, but the training is excellent and the native language of the instruction is English. (This matters. English abilities among professors at E-EU medical schools can range from better-than-yours to manageable to scarcely intelligible. Trust me on this, it matters.) I would recommend the Irish schools, frankly, and wish that I had studied there. You can apply directly from high school to their 6-year programs (Atlantic Bridge | Study in Ireland (http://www.atlanticbridge.com) is the application service for all of the Irish medical schools for North American applicants). Again, not cheap, but well worth the investment, as you get an EU diploma and it looks good on the CV for later. Malta also offers medical school in English, but I know very little about their programs and do not know whether they allow non-EU applicants. Google is your friend, in that regard.

The rest of the non-English speaking countries with English medical school programs vary dramatically in quality, as mentioned previously. E-EU is a crapshoot, honestly. There are some decent schools but they are in no way worth turning down a position in Ireland, UK, or Germany, if you can get one.

12-29-2014, 04:41 PM
Thanks a lot. I'll look into Ireland and start taking some German lessons. Have a nice day.

EDIT: Feel free not to answer if you are stressed for time or whatever reason, but are there any German medical schools that have 6 year English programs?

12-29-2014, 05:40 PM
No. German medical schools teach only in German.

Have a good one, yourself. :)

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