Become a doctor in Eastern Europe | MDR.DE

Become a doctor in Eastern Europe | MDR.DE

In Eastern Europe, some universities have developed a profitable model from the German admission restrictions for studying medicine: They welcome German students very much - of course for a fee.

When Dominic Schlottmann first saw the gray prefabricated buildings on the outskirts of the Romanian university town of Cluj-Napoca, doubts arose in him. "The sight shocked me," recalls the young man when he arrived in 2015 in the Transylvanian city, which is called Klausenburg in German. That should be his place of study for the next few years, to one day live his dream as a doctor?

But the 22-year-old from Oberhausen had no other option than to go abroad. With a high school diploma of 2.2, he would have had to wait for years to study medicine in Germany. Countless others would have had their turn before him. But grueling waiting is not for Schlottmann. The young man is one of almost 1,600 foreign students at the medical faculty of the Iuliu Hatieganu University in Cluj-Napoca, or UMF for short, where you can also study dentistry or pharmacy - in Romanian, English or French.

The German numerus clausus in medicine can be avoided at many universities in Eastern Europe. There is a large selection: You can train to become a doctor in Sofia, in Prague, in Croatian Split, in Warsaw or in Hungarian Pecs, to name just a few locations. The providers differ in terms of tuition fees or admission requirements. At UMF in Cluj-Napoca, good to moderate grades in biology and chemistry are sufficient. Applicants must also have an internationally recognized language certificate in English or French. There is no guarantee that the candidates will actually be taken. According to Uniangabe, there are four times more foreign applicants for the 350 study places advertised in Cluj-Napoca every year.

In terms of tuition fees, the city of Transylvania is in the middle of Eastern Europe: 6,000 euros have to be paid per academic year in Cluj-Napoca, and the entire medical course costs 36,000 euros for a basic fee.

Anyone who thinks they can make up for the expenses with particularly cheap living expenses is wrong. The city's five state universities are among the best in Romania, with almost 100,000 students making up around a third of all residents. The city is booming, as are rental prices. When Dominic Schlottmann moved to Romania two years ago, he quickly put his prejudices aside: because of an impoverished city where there might not be enough food or hot water. Cluj-Napoca is lively, multicultural and very hip in the center. "A city like any other in Europe, where you need a good 1,000 euros a month to live as a student," says Schlottmann.

The dean of the UMF Faculty of Medicine, Anca Buzoianu, only considers it legitimate that foreign students are strongly asked to pay for the tuition fee. By the way, a German student pays as much as many Romanian university lecturers earn throughout the year. The head of the faculty justifies the costs. It was only last year that five million euros of own funds were invested in a simulation center for the budding doctors.

Some of the foreign students who prefer to remain anonymous, however, complain that despite the high fees, you can still feel the "east charm" at the faculty in many places: with the decade-old seating in the lecture halls, with the schooling taught the strict duty to be present. Those who miss lectures have to pay a penalty of around two euros per hour. Those who are missing too often are not even allowed to take the exam. This would affect German students less, says Dean Buzoianu. They are highly motivated and disciplined and do not come to Cluj-Napoca "to have fun here, but to become good doctors".

Buzoianu likes to advertise the practical relevance of her faculty. Part of the seminar work would take place in small groups right next to the bedside: "We have a tradition in Romania that the students have quick access to the patient and they are happy that they are part of the university."

Indeed, anyone who needs to be treated in a chronically underfunded hospital in Romania is happy about any dignified treatment, especially if you don't have to put a bribe in the doctor's coat for the foreign students. The only hurdle in practice is the language: Romanian students are therefore taught Romanian right from the start.

But why did medical student Dominic Schlottmann go to Romania of all places? He would also have liked to study in the Czech Republic or Poland. The only difference is that the tuition fees there are twice as high as in Romania. No one could tell him whether the training in Prague or Warsaw would have been twice as good.

Schlottmann is not alone in deciding to study in more distant Romania. In 2012 there were only 120 German students at the entire UMF in Cluj-Napoca, now there are just as many in the first year alone. Dean Buzoianu is not surprised by the growing number of people. When she finished her own studies at the UMF in the late 1980s, she already had German colleagues from the GDR and West Germany. "Our training here has been valued for many decades - also in Germany."

With his medical degree in Cluj-Napoca, Dominic Schlottmann can one day work as a medical doctor across the EU. During this summer vacation, the young man completed part of his internship in a German hospital. "Boy, where are you studying?" Asked the medical staff. When he talked about Romania, he got sympathetic looks and felt like a second-class medical student. So stop or doubt the decision? Not at all. Schlottmann says to himself: "It is important what you do with your studies yourself."

The word stands for "limited number". Around 20 percent of study places in Germany are allocated via the NC for medicine. They go to the best high school graduates, who usually have a 1.0 or 1.1 in their school leaving certificate. Another 20 percent of medical study places are allocated after waiting. The universities distribute 60 percent of the places according to their own criteria. However, you must always take the Abitur grade into account.

Events in Cluj napoca