Advice for parents about the career options for their children

What are the benefits of studying Medicine abroad?

Is your child considering studying Medicine abroad? With the highly competitive nature of studying Medicine in the UK, studying overseas, particularly in Europe, is an increasingly popular option for students.

What are the benefits of studying Medicine abroad?

There are many benefits of studying Medicine abroad for your child. Firstly, it can be a great opportunity for them to study in another country, to learn a new language while studying and to gain experience in health services overseas.

Secondly, as your child will know, studying Medicine in the UK is incredibly competitive - only one in ten students are lucky enough to gain a place - and for this reason, many students are considering the more viable option of studying Medicine abroad in Europe.

Tuition fees for Medicine (as well as living costs) in Europe are also considerably lower than elsewhere. For example, students usually pay £9,000 a year to study Medicine in the UK, but at Pleven Medical University in Bulgaria, this is only €7,000 (roughly £5,910).

What do students need to consider before studying abroad?

There are many factors to consider before applying to a university overseas. Encourage your child to research a range of options and programmes before applying to a university - and remind them that it's important to consider the details of the course, not simply the appeal of studying in Milan!

For example: will they enjoy learning a new language - and interacting with patients in that language? Will their degree allow them to practice Medicine in the UK if they choose? Encourage your child to consider what the reality of studying abroad will be like - as a medic, they'll be there for six years, so it's important they consider this carefully.

Will there be a language barrier?

While most European Medicine courses are taught in English, students will be interacting with patients in their native language. This can be ideal for bilingual students, or students currently studying and wishing to pursue another language alongside Medicine. If your child is not familiar with another language, some universities do offer language classes as part of their Medicine courses.

However, if your child is studying outside Europe, there may be other language requirements to consider. For example, if your son or daughter is thinking of studying in Hong Kong, Medicine courses are taught in English but it is compulsory to be fluent in Cantonese.

Can your child return to the UK to practice Medicine?

Another key thing to consider is transferring back to the UK. As a general rule, degrees obtained in Europe are recognised in the UK, so your child will be able to register with the General Medical Council (GMC) without sitting the Professional and Linguistics Assessment Board (PLAB) exam (although this is soon to become the UKMLA). But you will need to check this carefully on a case-by-case basis. If your child is considering studying Medicine outside Europe, they will need to sit examinations before returning to practice in the UK.

What are the costs of studying Medicine abroad?

The costs of studying abroad vary between different countries.

Tuition fees are, generally speaking, much cheaper in Europe than elsewhere. At James Cook University in Australia, tuition fees are $42,000 per year for international students - this is over £24,000. At the University of Hong Kong, tuition fees are HK$146,000, which is over £14,900. However, in Croatia, international fees are €7,000 per year - this is around £5,900.

In addition to tuition fees, encourage your child to consider living costs abroad, such as accommodation, travel and other expenses, such as food. This information can often be found on the International Admissions section of a university's website.

It's also important to note that the government's Student Finance scheme is not available for students studying outside the UK so your child will need to fund their degree using a different route. They can, however, apply for UK government travel grants to help with the some of the expenses of studying abroad. If your child is studying in Europe, they may also be able to undertake part-time work. Some countries do offer financial aid or scholarships to international students, but each country and university will differ in living expenses, fees and funding, so encourage your child to check with each medical school individually.

Where can students study Medicine abroad?

Many universities across the world have international admissions scheme - so advise your son or daughter to check each website for the most up to date information.

If your child is looking to study in Europe, you could encourage them to check this European University Comparison Table for a selected list of medical schools teaching in English. For example, these include Pleven Medical University in Bulgaria, Masaryk University in the Czech Republic, Debrecen University in Hungary and Universita Degli Studi Di Milano in Italy. Applications to European universities can be made through Medical Doorway.

If your son or daughter is looking to study outside of Europe, for example in the Caribbean, Asia or Australia, there are many courses across the world your child could consider. These include the University of Hong Kong and the University of Auckland in Australia, and St. George's University in Grenada. In the US, however, studying Medicine is not available as an undergraduate course - students must study a science degree and then enter Medicine afterwards as a graduate.

There are a wide range of options to explore when considering studying Medicine abroad - support your child by looking at different programmes, universities and living costs to help them select the right option for them.

The information above has been provided by The Medic Portal - a platform created by doctors that engages with 300,000+ aspiring medics and works with hundreds of top schools around the world. It is officially endorsed by the Royal Society of Medicine.

You could also read The Medic Portal's Parents' Guide to Studying Medicine - and take a look at the Studying Abroad section.