My daughter is keen to study medicine. We are considering Europe, but will there be a language barrier?

Demand for medicine seats has always outstripped supply. This impediment has to a certain extent been eased with Europe now offering medicine. Not only is the programme taught in English, studying in Europe opens new vistas for students previously not available. That said, even while you will be taught in English you will be communicating, by year three, with patients and this will need to be in the native language, making it necessary to learn the language by then. Considering you are totally immersed in a foreign country, I am confident you will be fairly proficient in a few years.

Many European universities have a long history of medical education and are at the forefront of research, with graduates working in medical posts around the world. Most universities are attached to hospitals, providing valuable opportunities for the student to practise clinical medicine. Unlike the US and UK where the demand for medicine far outstrips supply, the number of seats available for international students in Europe is surprisingly generous. Universities such as the Debrecen University, Hungary; Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic, Humanitas University, and Degli Studi Di Milano, Italy teach medicine in English. Taking into consideration the prominence of English as a world language, many universities in Germany have embraced English too.

In Europe the integrated medical programme is usually for 5-6 years before you graduate as a qualified doctor. On qualification you are eligible to complete your residency in any European country. Most universities also prepare you for the USMLE — an exam taken by both US and international medical graduates to practise medicine in the US.

In addition to the shorter duration and extremely attractive post qualification benefits, admission to European universities tends to be less challenging than applying for medicine in the US or UK. Most European universities tend to have their own entrance exam, which while comprehensive, is relatively less demanding. In the UK you would need to appear for the BMAT or UKCAT, in the US it would be the MCAT and in Italy it is IMAT.

The fees charged by European universities are more reasonable than what you would pay in any of the traditional study destinations. As against a median fee of GBP 30,000 (about Dh145,500) per annum in UK, top-tier universities in Italy charge between 15,000 euros and 20,000 euros (Dh62,820 to Dh83,770) per year. Other countries like Latvia, Hungry and Georgia are even cheaper. That said, lower fees does not equate to lower quality. The schools in Italy, Switzerland and Germany have been around for decades and enjoy enviable reputation.

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Sanjeev Verma is an international education counsellor. Got a problem? Our fantastic panel of renowned experts is available to answer all your questions related to fashion, well-being, nutrition, finance and hypnotherapy. Email your queries to