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  1. #1
    drewshaker is offline Junior Member
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    My First Faculty Experience

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    Had some rage,
    The school ain't that bad. I should've just written it down and "fake-mailed" it like they do in those support groups. No need in bashing a school where I have loads of friends working their tales off! I fricken miss the hell outta Prague.

    Peace,
    A

  2. #2
    neilc is offline Permanently Banned
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    ....

    drew...

    sorry that you are not happy here...there are just a couple things i want to point out.

    about latin: what happened was they did not let students skip latin until after the 1st year. they had let people "carry" it in the past, basically not take it until they wanted. now, you are forced to take it (and all of the rest of your classes) before you can proceed to second year. it was not some scam, or some new thing, they merely stopped an abuse to the system. all the students had the opportunity to take the exam several times, failed to do so, and had to leave. moral of the story: take your exams and don't expect special treatment.

    about the entrance exam: i know several folks that applied, took the exam and failed. so, i don't know what happened in your case....if they really wanted you, and cheated for you, i would be surprised. i personally dealt with some very qualified applicants that failed by a point or two (folks with undergrad degrees, and decent grades) that did not get in.

    about the germans: don't know what happened there. but, i have never seen any german program advertised or talked about. i spoke with the dean, and he said they were considering a german program, but did not have the staff. if they were mislead, that totally sucks.

    tuition: if you think $11,500 is too much, well...there are not many schools that will do it for less. as far as the education, i think after time you will see it is pretty good. i remember being very frustrated for the first year...but, at the end, you will know a lot. it is a very different system and difficult to adapt to. not everyone does.

    second class students: well, i have never had the feeling that the czechs recieved more attention. in fact, i usually felt quite the opposite. we get treated very, very well. consultations whenever you need it, they have ALWAYS gone out of the way to help every student that asks for it. the czechs are often lost in the crowd of hundreds of students...

    the abbey college thing has always been a joke. i don't know the details of it, but it is dodgy. as americans, we are stoked. no agents. brits, if you are out there, do not do the abbey college thing.

    all in all, charles has its pluses (fun city, cheap, decent education) and its negatives (language, different system, nowhere near american administration). it is certainly not for everyone, and every year we lose quite a few folks in the first semester because they expected something else. if you make it through the first year, you begin to adapt. if you can't adapt, there may be a better place for you somewhere else....

    by the way, i am fifth year...and, you are right, i don't know everything. in fact, i know very little....

  3. #3
    bts4202's Avatar
    bts4202 is offline Elite Member 510 points
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    reply

    drewshaker,

    thank you for sharing your experience with us. it is nice to have a truthful account of what Charles Uni is really like.

    I am glad u liked prague, since it is supposed to be an incredible city. I didn't get to visit while i was in europe, but i always wanted to, maybe someday i can come back. My grandfather was from prague and he said it is an amazing city.

    The stories you have of the school are quite shocking. If we believed neilc we would think that Charles is a perfect place with ethics beyond reproach. I guess that image is not entirely true. From your post, it seems as if you are still young in your med school career, are u planning to stay at charles or are you going to the caribbean now? What are your plans?
    BTS4202
    St. Christopher's COM
    4th Year
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    "If there really is a God, He has a lot of explaining to do"
    - Dennis Leary

  4. #4
    neilc is offline Permanently Banned
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    Re: reply

    Quote Originally Posted by bts4202
    The stories you have of the school are quite shocking. If we believed neilc we would think that Charles is a perfect place with ethics beyond reproach. I guess that image is not entirely true.
    hahhahahah! i never said or implied this...

    ethically, i have had no problems...others may have. charles is FAR from perfect...

    the difference here is that we do not actively recruit people using deception. many, many schools do that.

    in fact, the opposite may be the case. the admin here simply does not do much extra for any of the students, english or czech. it takes a lot of extra commitment to get back to the states. and, admin honestly could take us or leave us, as they know the seat we take would be filled by somebody else. in terms of returning to north america, well, it is a largely self taught process.

    bts, i think you are mistaking my dislike for your school as a promotion for my school. not the case. there are many, many schools that do an excellent job of getting folks back to the states. charles does an adequate job, no more...you learn medicine, you have plenty of opportunities, but it is not US based, geared toward the USMLE or toward US residency placement. however, graduating from here will not limit you in any way, as regards to licensability.

    so, if you think that by pointing out flaws in your school, i am trying to hide the flaws in mine, you are again mistaken. i invite anyone who wishes to learn about this school to post questions, and i am happy to answer based on my experience. drew can and will do the same, as well as the other occasional posters from first faculty. my opinion is certainly not the opinion of everyone here, it does not in any way reflect the school's official stance. i am having a decent experience. some like it better, many like it worse.

    another thing i find amusing is that you immediately imagine that drew's description is the truthful one, and i am FOS. well, to be honest, the truth is likely somewhere in the middle...these are our interpretations, based on the limited info and experience that we have. neither of us is the oracle of charles university, telling it how it is, much like you are not the oracle of st chris...

  5. #5
    drewshaker is offline Junior Member
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    Re: ....

    Quote Originally Posted by neilc
    by the way, i am fifth year...and, you are right, i don't know everything. in fact, i know very little....
    Dude, none of that. You're a wicked cool guy and you know it. I was just saying people shouldn't get their impression from one guy only. Prague is a kind of school where quality is there if you take advantage of it. In other words, students need to do the extra work to get the quality. I will admit I am a lazy student. I like to be spoon fed. That's all.

    Quote Originally Posted by bts4202
    thank you for sharing your experience with us. it is nice to have a truthful account of what Charles Uni is really like.
    Dude, none of that. Charles Uni is really like Neil says for the most part. I mean come on. I have no right to judge but you seem a bit overspoken coming from St. Chris. Remember, modesty is cool. Be cool.


    Word to your moms!,
    Andrew

  6. #6
    neilc is offline Permanently Banned
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    Re: ....

    Quote Originally Posted by drewshaker
    Quote Originally Posted by neilc
    by the way, i am fifth year...and, you are right, i don't know everything. in fact, i know very little....
    Dude, none of that. You're a wicked cool guy and you know it. I was just saying people shouldn't get their impression from one guy only. Prague is a kind of school where quality is there if you take advantage of it. In other words, students need to do the extra work to get the quality. I will admit I am a lazy student. I like to be spoon fed. That's all.

    Quote Originally Posted by bts4202
    thank you for sharing your experience with us. it is nice to have a truthful account of what Charles Uni is really like.
    Dude, none of that. Charles Uni is really like Neil says for the most part. I mean come on. I have no right to judge but you seem a bit overspoken coming from St. Chris. Remember, modesty is cool. Be cool.


    Word to your moms!,
    Andrew
    thanks for the kind words, my man....and i know what you mean about the school and it's style. i have a feeling that you will adapt to the change in style just fine...i was po'd for a good part of first year myself. now, it is hard for me to imagine how life was as a US student.

    and, don't mind bts and me...we simply cannot get along. well, once we agreed, a few years back. but, it must have been a mistake or something! i don't see that ever happening again!

  7. #7
    euromd is offline Member
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    first year, first fac

    I am a first year student at first fac as well and am from north america too. However, I have a very different opinion on the education I am getting. I will attempt to keep this short.

    For one, an EE education IS NOT a north american education. Please stop comparing apples and oranges! If you want an american education, stay in the USA.

    Andrew, please get your facts straight - the founding date is 1348. Now, YOU are misleading people.

    Your opinion is just as biased as anyone else's here simply because it is an opinion. You didn't like your experience and you left, and that's what you'll share. Neil likes it here so that's what he talks about. No one here claims it's heaven on earth! It's medical school!

    Much is in how you perceive your surroundings. The faster you intergrate, the easier life becomes. If you miss home and all the american stuff, you will enjoy your time here much less, or worse, hate it. If you view this as an opportunity to live in Prague for six years, which you most likely never do again, then things will be much cooler.

    Despite the facutly here not being paid american salaries but merely a fraction thereof, they are always willing to give extra help. They can go home and spend time with their families, or give the "stupid kid who couldn't get into medical school back home who's a just a dollar sign" extra help!! Please, that's hardly how we are viewed. Many chose to come here and aren't home rejects.

    Is this school perfect? No. Is any medical school perfect? No. (check out massive ******ing on other fora).

    I strongly suggest you read every post on this forum with a large grain of salt. I, along with others, have liked much of my experience here so far. Others haven't. This doesn't make it a good or bad school - it's if/how you fit in. This is why people suggest visiting the school BEFORE you sign up for 6 years. I did. I liked the city, the people and am happy with the decision I have made. I also visited other schools, other cities, was accepted elswhere and chose this one.

    Sorry, this was long.

    -S

  8. #8
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    Don't knock my school!

    I was disappointed to hear that Drewshaker left. I didn’t realize how unhappy or frustrated he was here.

    I’ve responded to some of his comments below.

    “The City: Prague:
    I agree, Prague is a great city.

    :The Education :: First Faculty of Medicine”
    I think the teachers give us plenty of attention. Every teacher I asked has been more than happy to meet with me outside of class to go over material I was struggling with. They will also translate anything you ask them to, English, German, French – many languages are spoken here. But, learning is up to you. I think most people know this as a universal truth. The teachers are too busy here to spoon feed anyone, plus it really isn’t in their culture. They look down upon students who complain a lot and aren’t very resourceful. Their attitude is that if you can’t take care of yourself and your education, how can you be a good doctor and responsible for someone else’s life?
    “The Administration and Scams:”
    I stated that I prefer going to a public not-for-profit school where my tuition, by law, goes to the school to pay the bills. I’m very leery of private schools that turn a profit, be it ITT Technical Institute or a for-profit medical school.
    Tuition is going up to $11,500 starting next year because the dollar keeps losing value against the Czech crown. However, enrolled students keep paying the same tuition as when they started. My tuition for six years is $10,500/year. If you start next year you’ll pay $11,500/year for six years. US universities don’t do this, when they raise tuition, everyone pays the increased amount. Not a bad deal here if you ask me and certainly not a scam.
    “The German students:”
    The school tried to add a German parallel program and didn’t have enough German-speaking teachers to support it - they screwed up. They still intend to start a German parallel in the future.
    “Latin Scam:”
    Students have until the middle of September to pass their final exams. In the past, the school has let some students who can’t pass Latin, test again after this deadline. This year they said they wouldn’t do it again and many students didn’t pass the test (keep in mind you can retake the test two times). Not really a scam, maybe a raw deal in some peoples eyes. Honestly, I don’t feel that sorry for them.
    :: Abbey College Scam
    I don’t know much about this, but I read in the school’s annual report that they started this program to help students who aren’t very strong academically pass the entrance exam and be better prepared for medical school. I don’t think 1000 pounds is an unreasonable amount to have a professor fly to another country and teach you full-time for two weeks. Maybe it is too much. Does the fee include room and board? Regardless, no one is required to go to the prep course. It is simple to apply to the First Faculty; pick up the phone and call them or send them an email and they will mail you an application packet.
    “:: My Test“
    Like Neil, I know people that failed the test and didn’t get in. I’ve also heard stories from other people saying they saw people crying after failing the test and being denied admission. I don’t know why they would cheat for you.
    “:: Anatomy Scam”
    I read in the school’s annual report that all the Czech medical schools are changing to 1.5 years for anatomy and the First Faculty is changing to be inline with the other schools. However, I don’t believe all of the schools are changing at the same time. I would really doubt it has something to do with them getting more money out of you. If that were true, why would they fail half of last year’s class because of Latin? Why not just let them test again? There is no logic to your argument.
    "The Organization of Class :: And "Xerox Captains"
    This is really quibbling. Most things are in English. If they aren’t the teachers translate it. They translated the histology slide titles over and over again. If you didn’t get it, you should have raised your hand.
    ":: The Dorms "
    There are about 14 dorms at Charles U. and they are supposed to be for Czech students. Czech’s pay very little for their room and they are not high quality US type college dorms. The school made every effort to find rooms for foreign students, forcing some Czech students to travel from outside Prague to attend classes. Yes, they raised the fee for foreign students, but you don’t have to live there! Rent a flat – I did.

    I think it all comes down to attitude. If you don’t want to be here you can find fault in everything. It is easy to do this because it’s a very different place from a North American university…different, not worse.

    I really like it here. No one is paying me to say that. There are many, many very good things about this program. You do many more clinical hours than at a four-year program. You can ask to be assigned a “doctor mentor” and work with him/her at the university hospital for several months or years even. There are opportunities to do research, etc. Really, if you show initiative you have many opportunities at the First Faculty. Also, this isn’t simply a $40,000/year USMLE prep course. Most of the students are EU not US. Out of 100ish first year students we have six Americans and two Canadians.

    I’ve said enough.

    Good luck Drew.

    Cau! -B

  9. #9
    neilc is offline Permanently Banned
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    drew left

    i didn't realize that drew had already left! that sucks....i would say reconsider, as it takes a while to adapt...but, if you are/were truly unhappy, than perhaps somewhere else has a better fit for you.

    all the best, and feel free to post here, and keep in touch. sorry to see you go.

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    sigh

    Wow.

    That is such a bummer the guy didn't stick it out. Likely it was just problems with integration which can, for some people, take up to 2 years. I found the first year here a real change from my degrees I obtained in Canada. But that is not equivalent to saying it is a 'bad' education. I have profs here that would blend right in at Western, U of T or Queen's - they are really very very good teachers with publications in major journals in their fields. Others are old commies and can lecture in English but sometimes you need to repeat a question.

    I also find it a bit strange that anyone would listen to others' tales of woe. I'm not saying they aren't true, but actually there are always two sides to a story. Sometimes (at the Dean's discretion) you can carry a 'smaller' course forward. But some students plan on that happening. That is a different approach to the issue. If you are a good student and had some issues then the dean has the flexibility to permit a term extension, but really when a group of people just decide that they don't want to do a 'stupid' exam on time. Well, really... like I said, there are 2 sides to every story.

    At Comenius which I get the feeling is similar to Prague - if you are keen to learn, the opportunities really are limitless. If you are lazy, then of course, the profs have no interest in you. Here, we have many Greek students in the 1st and 2nd year - they usually transfer back to Greece but now they must stay so it has changed the dynamic of our class. I love the Greeks - they love life. However, I wouldn't call them the most serious students.

    Re: opportunities. Profs. here are really approachable. You can walk up to any professor and say: 'hey, I need to get some research done and put out some papers while I'm here. I'm interested in what you're doing, can I help?' I've never heard of anyone not being welcomed to join in. But the people who want to do that are few and far between. These guys do publish in the journal of hypertension etc. They work on joint EU projects. I'm involved with one with McMaster and U of Ottawa now. I'm quite sure Charles' profs would be just as welcoming and are likely more published than our guys.

    Anyhow, back to the points that drew made. I think that self-discipline and motivation is needed and if you are keen to learn, the tools, knowledge etc. are here. No, there are no page number readings assigned. But the oral format of exams is very comprehensive (but can be subjective). I've had overhead slides in slovak, but that has really been less than 2% of all slides I've seen here.

    Re: xerox chief. Yep, we have it to. Prof. gives out 1 copy of handouts and we must make copies ourselves. If that's the biggest problem I have, I'd be a pretty happy girl.

    Re: being treated as a dollar sign. I've never felt that. We do get priority access to facilities, labs, cadavers, corpses for necropsy etc. Our prof just asked us if we minded just doing the theory of the necropsy for once as the slovaks have not had 1 'fresh' body to dissect this year - we've done 1 a week - sometimes 2. They get our leftovers. Our class size permits more flexbility than the slovaks. I once went to anatomy lab (to compensate for 1 I missed) - how can you learn with 50-70 people crowded around in a room. Our class is far far better for all the reasons that small class sizes are more optimal for learning.

    Last point. I think one of the key differences in this system is that each department is it's own kingdom, institute, whatever. Although each is affiliated with the school of medicine, they also do their own work, research etc. What this means is that each has their own authority about most things and greater autonomity than at home. This leads to greater diverstiy.

    One problem we are starting to see is that some of the younger, keener guys are leaving for Vienna, Germany etc. - this is really hurting some ares, but you can't keep them here if you can't pay them. The prices here are EU prices and the salaries are very very outdated. Still, what most people are doing is working a few days in Vienna and then teaching here. This year (my 3rd), most of my profs have this kind of arrangement.

    Re: other schools. No-one can really compare because most of us haven't attended more than 1 school. No place is perfect and everyplace has it's pluses and minuses. I'm grateful for being provided with the opportunity to learn medicine. It is entirely up to me to translate my education here into a successful practice and peer respect back home.

    Really last last point. Although I've been here a while, sometimes I post more often than others. I think Neil's comments have always been fair and balanced. He certainly doesn't seem to want to 'suck' innocents into the black hole of Prague. I think just the opposite, he has been informative, helpful and positive. It takes a strong person to live abroad & study medicine. I think we will make fine physicians.

    S-

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