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Swiss medical students follow their dream in Romania

It's notoriously difficult to gain university places in medicine and veterinary science in Switzerland, so a growing number of Swiss are going to Romania to study instead. (RTS/ 

This content was published on February 25, 2018 - 11:00

In Cluj, Romania's fourth most populous city in the northwestern part of the country, teaching is in French and English and qualifications are recognised in Switzerland and European Union (EU) countries.

And since Romania became an EU member in 2007, the medical faculty in Cluj has seen an explosion in the number of students attending; it currently has 50 from western Switzerland alone. Students claim the studies themselves are not easier, but entrance requirements are more relaxed.

In Switzerland, a so-called numerus clausus ("closed number" in Latin) limits the number of students who may study medicine at university. Applicants with the relevant academic qualifications must score well in a test that assesses logical and spatial reasoning and textual comprehension skills. This is carried out in all universities in German and Italian-speaking regions of Switzerland, though there are no restrictions at the Universities of Geneva, Lausanne and Neuchâtel; instead, they carry out a selection during the first year of study.

Yet Switzerland does not train enough of its own medics. About a third of doctors here come from other countries. The government tried to improve matters in 2016 by investing CHF100 million ($106.6 million) to fund additional places for students in human medicine. The aim was to turn out up to 1,300 doctors a year by 2025, up from the current 900.

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