The transition from Foundation Year to studying Medicine can be an intimidating experience for international students, especially when it involves moving to a new country.
Students who have studied the NCUK International Foundation Year – Health Science programme with DIFC are now studying Medicine in a range of countries form Ireland, UK, Czech Republic, Hungary, Lithuania and further afield.
Although this experience is a little scary, it is also your next step towards becoming a doctor and will open you up to a whole new range of experiences that you will carry with you forever.
One of our Class of 2017 students, Felipe from Brazil, got in touch with us recently to let us know what life is like at a Medical student in University of Debrecen, Hungary.
How are you finding your studies in Medicine?
The studies here are on a whole new level. The teaching and learning process is divided 50/50, you watch the lecture about a certain topic, then two or three days later you have a seminar about it where you can ask questions and the teacher brings past paper questions. After that, the topic is said to be “taught”. Of course, by any means the topic is done, it is part of the medical school to work for yourself and learn every single important detail for the said subject. The exams are really fair on that, nothing that is not on the lecture slides (roughly around 50-60 slides per lecture, 2 lectures per sitting time, which gives us 2 hours of class) is brought up on the exams.
What is great is a lot of things DIFC has taught during the Foundation Year is brought back in the first year here at Debrecen. Thanks to Dr. Lorraine, Joan and Colm – I’ve got it a little, just a little, smooth but still, a lot of the things are taught in depth (by that I mean REALLY in depth).
How are you finding living in Debrecen?
Debrecen is as big as any main city but at the same time small and charming. Here we have 3 big shopping malls, 2 cinemas, International Airport (with direct flights to England, Italy, Austria and Germany), European Train and pretty much everything you can find in Dublin. We even have our own Luas that is called Tram or as they say in Hungarian: “Villamos”.
Most of the people speak enough English to be able to perform main interactions, buying stuff, helping you at the supermarkets, finding directions.
I could say, even though I won the DIFC student award for most likely to come back to Dublin (and in fact, my plans are to come back) I am feeling really comfortable here.
Right now we have the Christmas market going on with a Ferris wheel, warming food and everything you could ask for in a -5oC degree weather.
Is there a good mix of international students?
This place is fuming with different cultures and nationalities. We have EVERYTHING, from Americas to Asia, from Africa to Europe. Everybody respects everyone and we have a really good time here. People tend to think Hungarians are closed and cold but that is easily surpassed by investing time into learning some Hungarian words and being respectful. I personally have friends from all over the world and we are planning to spend our obligatory one-month internship in nursing in each other’s countries.
How are you finding the teaching, are you happy with the quality of English language experience the lectures have ?
I must say I have learned some words I have never heard in my life. The English spoken in the university is beyond good and all the teachers deliver their topics in extreme depth without causing any doubts regarding their “English”. Inside the university complex (which is big), everyone speaks good English – restaurants, bars, lecturers and most of the staff.
Some teachers have boring voices and others are really passionate by their subjects but mostly, all the lectures are interesting as it’s talking about something we want to learn and love.
The first 2 months were on the basics so not much about medicine was taught but now the diseases are coming and the cool medical stuff is starting to kick in.
Have you got a chance to visit hospitals and are you getting to have any hands on experience?
Here we are in the 3rd month of teaching and we haven’t gone to the hospital to do anything. Visiting the hospitals and eventually shadowing doctors is a task designated for yourself. I arranged a shadowing with the Emergency Department directly talking with the chief who happened to be our First Aid and Reanimation Lecturer. You are freely allowed to transit inside the clinics, sit down and watch and if you want a bit more, contacting the department and asking for a shadowing opportunity normally gives you a good night of sitting around and listening to patients and discussing with your assigned resident.
We do have an obligatory month of internship in nursing on the summer. On the first year is nursing, second is given free or if you haven’t done the nursing you shall do it then. The third-year one-month internship on summer is for Internal Medicine and in the Fourth is Surgery. After that, 5th and 6th are mainly at the hospital and you can even do your last year in any country you desire. But again, everything is up to you now so if you want, for example, to spend one more month after your internship doing another one in Dublin for any area you want, that only enhances your curriculum and gives you better opportunities in the future.
By looking the schedules for the upper years and also talking with senior students, direct contact with patients starts at the 3rd year and goes into fully doing shifts on the 4th. But still, there you can spend some time doing volunteer work at the hospital, visiting clinics and shadowing. You never know if a doctor likes you and asks you to come back whenever you want or if he/she eventually start to teaching you things based on the shadowings… All of this just shows that by looking and trying to find something you will eventually get it.
Also, after starting medical school you learn that is not that easy to jump straight to patients as there is a huge load of things you never thought needed to be learnt before going out on the field. Personally I was working, and in fact still working as I plan to come back on summer, with one of the volunteer organisations in Ireland that provides first aid for shows and events and I can tell that even though I have experience dealing with patients, it’s a different thing when you’re a doctor. Different roles in patient care require different skills and responsibilities.
To find out more about how you can follow in Felipe’s footsteps, contact us