We explored why Middle Eastern and North African students are increasingly heading over to European medical universities to study medicine in English.
There are many prestigious universities in European countries such as Romania, Bulgaria, and Ukraine that are teaching globe-trotting doctors and surgeons. These are students who are avoiding problems with limited accessibility in their country of residence by seeking education abroad.
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Shortage of Doctors in MENA
The MENA area is alarmingly in demand for skilled doctors with no sign of being fixed any time soon. However, the competition for seats in medical schools is fierce. But rather than a student giving up on their dream of studying medicine, an increasing number of hopeful doctors and dentists are directing their attention to English taught medical courses in Europe.
Dr Sam El-mais is the CEO of the award-winning agency Medlink Students. He confirms, “We have had students from Egypt, Lebanon, UAE, SA, Ghana, Kenya and Nigeria seeking admission in prestigious Eastern European Universities rather than UK universities due to the affordability, quality of education and increasing popularity”.
Dr Sam El mais is appointed by a group of universities in Europe to offer consultation and support to medical university applicants.
Considering the six-year commitment required to study medicine abroad it’s a decision that should not be taken quickly or lightly. However, this option is increasingly attracting thousands of students from their countries every year.
As Dr Sam El mais takes a seat in his clinic, he explains to me, “Middle Eastern and African students, alongside their traditional parents, are becoming more open-minded to the idea of going abroad to gain an internationally recognized degree.”
Statistics from businesses such as Medlink Students show that Middle Eastern and African women are also joining the trend of going to study at medical universities abroad. Around 40% of students are female, and 60% male.
We expect that there will be an even more significant increase in traveling to study abroad next year considering the unrest in these developing countries. Cost, safety, and technological advancement are essential issues for families who consider going overseas.
We asked Entrepreneur Dinca Daniela of the popular real estate firm, Interrezidence, about the student-housing situation in Romania. Dinca proclaims, “many of our clients are students from MENA countries who are enjoying their time in Romanian cities such as Craiova and Bucharest. They mainly choose Romania due to the affordability of the country. Students come to us with some anxiety at first due to their limited budget. We are very understanding, and we always find them affordable housing due to the low prices in Romania”.
Physician Job Opportunities Abroad
The Clinical Manager of Medlink Center in Craiova, Dr Ana Maria reviews her interaction with foreign graduate doctors from Romania. She “We have a very well-known private clinic in Romania, so we employ some MENA graduate doctors who tend to have an excellent work ethic due to their background.”
Due to the shortage of doctors in Europe, finding a job as a foreign doctor may be challenging, but it is definitely possible.
The trend of going to study in Europe isn’t likely to abate any time soon. More students will continue flocking to seek education in the most technologically advanced universities abroad, with student numbers expected to double in 2020-2021.