OFFSHORE MEDICAL TRAINING
“This year we have students from Ireland, Germany,
Sweden, Nigeria, Pakistan, Hong Kong, Brazil and Spain –
and that’s just in the Czech Republic,” Ambrose tells The PIE
Review during a call from his office in the UK.
Appointed by a global group of universities, Medical
Doorway offers a counselling service to medical school app-licants
and their parents, as well as running entrance exams
for various schools out of London, Manchester, Madrid,
Hong Kong, and soon to be São Paolo.
Ambrose explains that he spends September in the Czech
Republic helping over 100 students settle into their new
home, adapt and integrate into what is often a completely
alien culture to the one with which they’re familiar.
Given the five or six-year long commitment required, stu-dying
medicine abroad is a decision that shouldn’t be taken
lightly, but it’s an option that’s attracting a significant portion
of students away from their home nations every year. In the
“In Botswana, one in
five practising doctors is
a graduate of St George’s
University in Grenada
30 | THE PIE REVIEW | ISSUE #24
southern African country Botswana, for example, one in five
practising doctors is a graduate of St George’s University
in Grenada; SGU can boast the same statistic for doctors
practising in Trinidad and Tobago.
And in Finland, deputy CEO of the Finnish Medical As-sociation,
Hannu Halila, tells The PIE that 1,120 Finns were
studying medicine abroad in the 2018-19 academic year, 75
per cent of whom had tried unsuccessfully to get into medi-cal
schools back home.
“Medicine has always been international, but young
people today are also more open-minded to study abroad,”
explains Halila, adding that Sweden, Latvia, Romania and
Estonia are the most popular countries for the majority of
Finnish medical students.
But returning home to practise is on the cards for the
majority of Finns, he adds, with a recent survey showing just
three per cent of Finnish students at medical schools abroad
are planning not to return.
Ambrose acknowledges: “Studying medicine abroad has
become more of a global thing, so students who perhaps
wouldn’t have considered it before are now actively seeing it
as an option for themselves.
“We are seeing an increasing number of applicants from
Asia – actually quite a few students from Hong Kong are
coming to Europe because the number of seats available in
Hong Kong is so limited.”
He expects that is a trend that will continue into next year
given Hong Kong’s current unrest: “I think many parents
will want to get their kids to study outside of Hong Kong,
to have a globally recognised qualification with exceptional
career opportunities. Medicine 100 per cent offers this”.
Aspiring medical professionals in the UK aren’t immune
to the current political climate either. Despite a 25 per cent
increase in the number of places available at established
schools in the UK, and new institutions such as the Sunder-land
School of Medicine, the knock-on effects from Brexit
are having an impact not only on the number but on the
demographics of medical students studying abroad.
While tuition fees haven’t changed substantially in medical
schools across central and eastern Europe, the weaker
British pound has meant courses in places like the Czech
Republic have become on average one third more expensive.
“It means British students who might have just about af-forded
to study medicine abroad are now being taken out of
the equation somewhat because they are financed by their
families as there’s no finance available,”Ambrose says.
Given the committment needed,
studying medicine abroad is a
decision not to be taken lightly