Old-school routes into medicine

Ancient institutions are in rude health for UK students

Whether or not they
choose a history degree, students from the UK will be steeped in the past if
they opt to study in Central and Eastern Europe.

The Jagiellonian University in Kraków, Poland, was founded in 1364 and is Central Europe’s second oldest university (Prague’s was founded in 1348); Lithuania’s University of Vilnius has been educating students since 1579, and Semmelweis University in Budapest, a comparative youngster, opened its doors in 1635.

Beyond the halls of academia the region’s cities have a rich and sometimes troubled past for students to explore from the relative comfort and growing prosperity of the present.

Possibly the best-known city, Prague, has long been a favourite with UK tourists and boasts medieval brewhouses and a bustling nightlife, Baroque architecture and curious contemporary art (which includes babies scaling the gigantic Zizkov TV tower and nude animatronic statues at the Franz Kafka museum).

It’s far from the only city of note, of course. Budapest unleashes ferocious winters on the people of Hungary, who make up for it with warm hospitality, opera and Romani music; Kraków’s Gothic architecture survived the Second World War and the city offers good jazz, classical and clubbing scenes; and Lithuania’s capital, Vilnius, is home to the world’s only statue of Frank Zappa, set amid its dreaming spires.

Add the astonishing range of mountains, valleys, rivers, brooding castles overlooking lush forests and glacier-hewn flatlands that make this part of the world unique and there’s plenty for students to discover, almost without looking. Prague’s most famous son, Franz Kafka, summed up the region with his comment: “He who seeks does not find, but he who does not seek will be found.”

UK students can find a wide variety of courses to fit their academic ambitions, and applications continue to rise. Generally universities operate a similar model to the UK, often with lower entry requirements, and offer three-year and four-year first degrees and one-year or two-year Masters programmes. Technical, engineering and medical subjects are very well represented across many countries.

Courses of all kinds are increasingly popular with international students in Central and Eastern Europe.

Figures from the Czech Institute for Information on Education suggest that almost 38,000 foreign nationals were enrolled in higher education institutions in the 2010/11 academic year on programmes as diverse as physical education and sport and mechanical engineering.

There’s also a highly developed international atmosphere at the Faculty of Business Administration of the Corvinus University of Budapest, which has close to 700 students in its English programmes, according to Doris Keszthelyi, head of office, International Study Programmes.

“The student body within the English language programmes is itself international,” she says. “Each semester it represents close to 50 different countries.”

The English language programmes and courses at Corvinus are taught in English, says Keszthelyi, with – mercifully – no elements relying on students’ Magyar abilities.

While English is generally spoken outside universities in Central and Eastern Europe, it’s not quite as commonplace as in other parts of Europe, and the choice of English-language courses in Romania, Hungary, Poland or the Czech Republic may not be quite as diverse. However, universities are offering more and more programmes taught in English and often offer courses in the national language to help students get along.

But there are many advantages to studying in the region, the experience itself, and also the relative cost of studying. Medicine and dentistry courses are comparable in costs to those in the UK, though fees for other programmes vary widely depending on the country. In Hungary and Romania, tuition fees range from £1,600-£4000 per year; at Lithuania’s Vilnius University, English-language programmes cost from £800-£3200 per semester; the average minimum cost in Poland is £1,600, while courses at Prague’s Charles University weigh in at around £4,800 for BA programmes.

Just as importantly, the cost of living is often up to two-thirds less than in the UK. According to Study in Lithuania (studyinlithuania.com) the capital ranks 166th out of the top 300 expensive cities in the world, with monthly living costs estimated at around £260. In Romania students might spend £200 to £400 depending on their lifestyle, based on calculations from Study in Romania (studyinginromania.com), and Keszthelyi notes that Hungary is also kind to students’ bank balances.

Keszthelyi recommends visiting individual university websites and checking how widely accepted an institution’s degree qualification is outside the country (this is especially important for medical and dental courses), and whether or not the faculty staff is multinational.

But whatever path students choose, their future lives and careers could be every bit as varied as the countries and cultures they’ve called home during their studies.

 

Arts & Entertainment
Madonna in her music video for 'Like A Virgin'
music... and other misheard song lyrics
News
Waitrose will be bringing in more manned tills
newsOverheard in Waitrose: documenting the chatter in 'Britain's poshest supermarket'
News
Russia's President Vladimir Putin gives his annual televised question-and-answer session
peopleBizarre TV claim
News
The energy drink MosKa was banned for containing a heavy dose of the popular erectile dysfunction Levitra
news
VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Sport
Australia's Dylan Tombides competes for the ball with Adal Matar of Kuwait during the AFC U-22 Championship Group C match in January
sportDylan Tombides was diagnosed with testicular cancer in 2011
Arts & Entertainment
Martin Freeman as Lester Nygaard in the TV adaptation of 'Fargo'
tv
News
Posted at the end of March, this tweeted photo was a week off the end of their Broadway shows
people
Arts & Entertainment
tvIt might all be getting a bit much, but this is still the some of the finest TV ever made, says Grace Dent
News
peopleStar to remain in hospital for up to 27 days to get over allergic reaction
Arts & Entertainment
Comedian Lenny Henry is calling for more regulation to support ethnic actors on TV
tvActor and comedian leads campaign against 'lack of diversity' in British television
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Student

Primary Teacher

£85 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: KS1 KS2 Crewe Teacher Perm Ch...

Primary Teacher

£85 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: Randstad Education is the lea...

Primary Teacher

£85 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: KS1 KS2 Teaching Cheshire

Primary Teacher

£85 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: Long term position in large p...

Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe: Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe

Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC
Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'

British Muslims's Happy video attacked as 'sinful'

The four-minute clip by Honesty Policy has had more than 300,000 hits on YouTube
Church of England-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith

Michael Williams: Do as I do, not as I pray

Church of England-raised Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife
Comedian Jenny Collier: 'Sexism I experienced on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

Jenny Collier: 'Sexism on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

The comedian's appearance at a show on the eve of International Women's Day was cancelled because they had "too many women" on the bill
Cannes Film Festival: Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or

Cannes Film Festival

Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
The concept album makes surprise top ten return with neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson

The concept album makes surprise top ten return

Neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson is unexpected success
Lichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines

Lichen is surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus

Emily Jupp discovers how it can give a unique, smoky flavour to our cooking
10 best baking books

10 best baking books

Planning a spot of baking this bank holiday weekend? From old favourites to new releases, here’s ten cookbooks for you
Jury still out on Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini

Jury still out on Pellegrini

Draw with Sunderland raises questions over Manchester City manager's ability to motivate and unify his players
Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

The all-rounder has been hailed as future star after Ashes debut but incident in Caribbean added to doubts about discipline. Jon Culley meets a man looking to control his emotions
Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

The most prize money ever at an All-Weather race day is up for grabs at Lingfield on Friday, and the record-breaking trainer tells Jon Freeman how times have changed
Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

Mad Men returns for a final fling

The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit