With centuries-old medical schools and worldwide-accredited programs for general medicine, dentistry, veterinary and pharmacology studies, Central and Eastern European medical schools are becoming more and more popular among students in North America. According to an article published by the New York Times in August 2013, “The number of foreign university students in Hungary rose 21 percent from 2005 to 2011 — to 16,465 from 13,601”. Many of these students come from the United States and Canada in search for more affordable options for medical studies.
Yet there are several issues with choosing these schools. First, despite the quality of the medical education, the challenge of returning to the U.S. or Canada and practicing medicine is still significant. Students returning from European medical schools must compete with med students and doctors who have studied in the US and Canada in schools which are more known and respected thus leading to an advantage over students who studied in Europe. Moreover, in many cases, med schools in Europe, especially in Eastern Europe are perceived as “second world” schools which do not represent the most modern of medical studies.
Even though European medical schools must adhere to the European Union standards and have long proved to have excellent medical degree programs, often on par with those found in the leading medical schools in North America (such as Harvard, Yale, Cornell, etc.), the perceptions bear great weight on the mobility and ability of new doctors to practice in the leading hospitals and clinics. After all, if we are being honest, would you prefer to see a doctor who studied in Boston or one who studied in Zagreb?