10 Myths Debunked: Studying Medicine In Europe

Updated on 21/05/2024 in
facts against myths for medicine study in Europe

Europe offers fantastic opportunities for receiving high-quality medical education and life-changing experiences. That is why the number of students deciding to study abroad increases yearly. However, there are some myths circling regarding European medical education. 

This piece will bust the top 10 myths about studying medicine in Europe.

Affordable costs equal bad education

The myth is that the low costs and tuition fees are due to the low quality of education in Europe. The reality is that the affordable living costs and reasonable tuition fees are only due to general economic factors and have nothing to do with education quality. 

Medical education in Georgia costs about €4000 a year, and the annual tuition fees in Poland are about €11000. Compared to studying in the UK, for example, it is cheaper. But it depends only on the economic state of the country and has nothing to do with the quality of education  

Worldwide, universities teach the same courses with the same materials and equipment, and future doctors study the same subjects in their programmes. Moreover, medical students use the same textbooks and equipment since the same companies supply them. 

To sum it up, European universities provide high-quality education recognised globally, and the cost of your education will vary depending only on the economic state of the country, not the quality.

Most European countries are not safe

Another common myth is that European countries are not safe for international students. The truth is several studies point to Europe as one of the safest destinations in the world for students from abroad. 

Multinational students are more than welcome in countries like Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, Poland, and many more. Even in the capital cities, there is no reason to feel unsafe. However, if you don’t like the buzz of the big city, there are plenty of top-class universities in quiet smaller towns with extremely low crime levels, for example.

Also, most medical schools have sizable international student communities, which means you will be among fellow students with similar backgrounds and similar concerns. 

International students are treated equally to local students at all European universities. If you are dedicated to your studies, you'll be respected by your tutors and fellow students, no matter your background.

Medical education in Europe is not worth your time

The common concern is that European medical education takes too long and isn’t worth investing time in. The fact is that European education is based on universal standards when it comes to studying medicine abroad in English.

To earn an international degree in Europe, you will have to complete a 6-year course of both pre-clinical and clinical modules. Also, the general pace of the university courses isn’t as agitated as in the US and UK. As mentioned, European universities' core medicine curriculums align with international medical education standards.

When considering if studying medicine in Europe is worth your time, remember that in most European universities, you can participate in additional training courses such as research, clinical rotations, practical medical workshops and more. 

Medical education in Europe

Studying abroad is very costly

Another study abroad myth is that it is too expensive in Europe. In all honesty, the costs vary, yet there are plenty of affordable options for medical students. As mentioned, European education costs are based on your chosen country and university. 

Below are some of the best medical schools in Europe that provide English-language medicine programmes at reasonable tuition fees:

  • European University Tbilisi in Georgia - €5,200 per year
  • University Of Novi Sad in Serbia - €7,000 per year
  • Carol Davila University in Romania - €7,500 per year
  • Plovdiv Medical University in Bulgaria - €8,000 per year
  • Medical University Of Bialystok in Poland - €10,000 per year
  • Pavol Jozef Šafárik University in Slovakia - €11,000 per year

The living costs, including accommodation, bills, food, and entertainment, are also quite affordable:

  • Serbia -  approx €550 and €950 per month
  • Romania -  approx €600 and €950 per month
  • Bulgaria - approx €600 - €900/month
  • Poland - approx €1000/month
  • Slovakia - approx €500 and €950 per month 

Knowing the local language is a must

Another misconception is that studying in Europe requires learning the local foreign language. It is seen as one of the biggest challenges of studying abroad at international programmes, but the facts say otherwise! 

The European medicine programmes for international students are entirely taught in English. So, regarding your studies, you won’t need to know the local language. However, all universities offer language classes that you can join. Doing so will help you understand local people and also will help the communication with patients during your clinical practice.

Basic knowledge of a country's native language will provide a far more realistic study abroad experience, allowing you to immerse yourself deeper into the culture and engage more comfortably with the people. But it is not a must. 

Career concern about European medical education

The worry is that doctors with European medical education won’t be able to practise in their home countries, like in the UK, for example. The truth is that in most healthcare institutions, European medical education is considered an advantage.

Medical students that study abroad have expanded their perspectives and been pushed out of their comfort zones. That suggests you've overcome a lot of obstacles. You've figured out how to be adaptable. Few experiences will be as helpful to you as studying abroad.

Moreover, doctors with European medical qualifications can only benefit from their abroad experience, knowledge and practice.

You won't be able to adjust to the new environment

An honest concern for many students is adjusting to a new and unfamiliar environment. In reality, this is an excellent opportunity to break through your comfort zone, meet new people and experience new things. 

Living away from your family and friends in a foreign country can be challenging. However, that doesn’t mean you will have difficulties adjusting. Most international students fear that they won’t fit in or might have difficulties adapting to the new environment, but don’t worry. 

Many European universities host various events to connect international students. Meeting fellow international students helps; your concerns will fade away as long as you stay open to new experiences. You will experience a different culture, language and lifestyle. 

That leads us to the next myth to bust.

You will lack social life and be unable to make friends

Another myth is that as a medical student in Europe, you will lack social life, and you won’t make friends. Well, the truth is making friends abroad will all happen naturally. 

You will have regular meetups with other international students, and that often ends up having lifelong friendships. What's more, local people are friendly, and they quickly accept you, and before you know it, you will make night-out and weekend plans with your new mates. 

Studying in Europe is only suitable for undergrads

A further misconception is that studying abroad is relevant only for people who have just graduated high school. However, getting an MD degree in Europe has nothing to do with age or previous education.

Improving skills, prequalification, or additional learning are all available options in Europe.

No matter your age or if you already have a university degree, you can study medicine in Europe. Numerous European universities offer graduate entry medicine programmes in English for healthcare specialists and biomedical and life science graduates. 

Whatever degree or field of study you are interested in, there are lots of studying abroad possibilities; you just have to find the right one. 

Get in touch with one of our expert student advisors to find out if the accelerated course is recognised in the country you plan to practise. They will examine your case and provide you with options based on your prior credentials and the potential year of entry. 

You won’t be able to work and study at the same time

Another common myth is that you won’t be able to work during your medical studies in Europe. The reality is that It won't be easy to manage work and full-time study. It is entirely up to you. 

If you find yourself in need of financial aid, you can always apply for a job. Even though your studies will need most of your attention, you can try and find a part-time position and support yourself. Being a working student will not only ease the burden of tuition fees, but once you graduate, you will have the experience of already being employed. 

In conclusion, it is possible to find a job while studying medicine, which is entirely your decision. 

Wrap up

Everyone can study abroad, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that helps you develop personally. Many students pursue MD degrees in Europe before returning home to practice medicine as licensed physicians.

Many misconceptions about studying medicine at a European university can hold you from having the adventure of a lifetime. To help you decide if it is right for you, we’ve debunked the most common myths about studying medicine in Europe. 

Article written by Dr Sam El Mais
Dr Sam El Mais, MD, MSc, BSc, graduated from a renowned medical school in Romania in 2019. He uses his professional knowledge and personal experience to guide students on crucial aspects such as university selection, admissions processes, and cultural adjustments.
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