Interview with Oksana, student of Lvov Medical University

Can you please say few words about you ? What do you study and where?

My name is Oksana, 24 years old and actually I’m studying medicine in Ukraine now. Have finished Lviv medical university and now doing my degree in anesthesiology. Can’t imagine my life without medicine and hope we are doing a good job. Love studying, getting new skills and experience. Traveling. Spent an amazing year in Africa as a volunteer and learning Kiswahili now (a local African language). Want to be a great doctor and help people in pure countries around the world.

Why have you decided for this University? Did you consider also other possibilities?

I didn’t try others faculties, just medical because was sure about being a doctor.I’ve sent my documents for few medical schools but according to the recommendations and information what I get I made a conclusion this is the best one for me.

Lviv national medical university is the eldest and one of bigger  in our country.

Another reason is  because Lviv is a big in a comfortable city to live and make a career in future. There are many interesting opportunities for young people to develop and work in some international organisation.

Not far away from Europe so it’s possible to travel there and participate in the medical conferences or courses.

Also for me was important to stay not far from my parents house so I can take care of them in some case.

What are the biggest fears of medical / dentistry students, before they start their classes? Were these doubts relevant and justifiable?

All students have the similar fears I guess. Some of them afraid don’t pass an exam, to get bad marks, to lose a scholarship.

A small government scholarship makes students worried about where find enough money, how to pay school fee, apartment or other things. Many start to work and it’s very difficult to combine study, job and rest.

What special about medical students, when you understand your responsibility as a doctor it’s fear to make a right decision about patient’s life, do your work best, and don’t miss something important or don’t make any damage. All the time we contact with different infection diseases so some students were afraid to get sick from patients.

Fear about future job comes in the last few years at university because it’s pretty hard to find a good one. Last half of year all students with government scholarship so afraid because some of them will be sending to some very small and pure hospitals and rural places many hundred kilometres from the house.

Also often you can’t choose the specialisation like surgery, trauma, gynaecology, anesthesiology, neonatology etc. because of lack free spaces in this fields and many students were disappointed don’t get this residency program. Most of the graduated students get a family doctor specialisation and weren’t so happy.

Can you describe level of education, teachers and professors at your University? Are they experts in their field?

The medical university in Lviv city has the high level of education, a lot of departments, many of them in the hospitals with a large clinical base, few libraries, laboratories, anatomy museum,students hostels and many excellent opportunities. Many doctors, professors who have publications in the medical magazines, doing a scientific work and participate in many conferences working here. During the studying process, I’ve met a lot of excellent teachers, who wanted to make us professionals, explain and teach even overtime. We were also able to have a practice in the hospitals after school, especially at the night shift, assist in the operation or trauma room, help with diagnostic and treatment, what was most exciting .

In the first two years, we studied basic medical and humanitarian disciplines and then started the study different clinical disciplines. Every summer students have a clinical practice in the hospital for one mount.

If someone interested in exact medical find they can join a special amateur group and do a research or publications. Some are a part of Student Science Society and organise students medical conferences and many another projects.

But yes, sometimes we met teachers who are perfect in science but not good practising and teaching, some don’t read English and can’t share with us  new information from worldwide guidelines or articles. Another problem when we started following to Bologna process because now we get less information in the lesson and more handle by ourself. Test system replaced a verbal answer what is not good.

How many international students studying in a foreign language are there at your university? 

Unfortunately, I can’t say an exact number, around five hundred international students from different countries of African and Arabian countries and many others. They can study in English , Russian or Ukrainian languages. That are coming here because of a much cheaper price if compare with their local countries.

What are the most useful and helpful skills that you have already acquired thanks to studying medicine at your University? Where do you wish to work after graduation?

Hard  to say, because for 6 years it’s so many I hope! The first I understood how and where to find right and new information for studying and which books is best. Most important thing how to deal with the patients from the beginning to the end. How to lead the process of examination and treatment, find a contact with patients an relatives. How to help in emergency and war situation. How to understood a pathophysiology of disease  and chose the right medications for treatment.

The hight education make change our life vision at all and we grow up mentally.

After my graduation I wanna get a practice and do a residency in the EU country. Now I’m getting ready for this. Also my purpose after that work in pure countries and help with medicine, open medical clinics and do different projects there. Work in the global organizations like “Doctors Without Boarders” or “International Committee of the Red Cross” (ICRC) if I will be enough good for his job. I think this is a possibility to help people around and improve my medical skills.

Imagine you are a tutor of applicant who are deciding to come to study to your University. What would you recommend him/her to do in order to prepare for an entrance examination?

In Ukraine we have nationals exams in last year in he finally schools and with the result they can apply to the universities . For medical school they should do an accent on biology and chemistry and start preparations not later than one year before exam. Important properly understand all chances and if they weak in some areas to  visit special courses of private teachers. Those students who have good result of national exams can get a government scholarship in medicine. In case if you haven’t enough good result you can study but pay for this pretty expensive.

What do medical / dentistry students do in their free time in your city? 

Unfortunately medical students don’t have so much free time. The lessons finish late, after you have to prepare for next day and read often until midnight,  some people is already working You have to study often until midnight and Also many possibilities to be a part of some students group where they can study for example surgery or. physiology and do a research. There are many social projects where students can participate and help, met new people. Summer  time  we can go to the some exchange program and get good practice.

Sometimes we visit a party or spend time with friends outside. Lviv full of different restaurants with excellent coffee and chocolate so people here really love his places. Cinemas, theatre, museums, clubs and many another interesting places around. We love traveling, hiking in the Karpatian mountains, skiing in the winter there.

Anyway that’s an amazing time and we are trying to make it more interesting.

Would you recommend studying at your University to other applicants?

It depend of the purpose of exact student. If they wanna stay in Ukraine maybe I will recommend my university. But there are also many good universities around and I’ve realized that some of them can give even better knowledges . Also my university is most expensive in Ukraine what is also important point for many people. Ukraine is big country so this also a reason for some student don’t go so far and chose a university closer to the hometown.

My advance for those who is not a student yet to find a chance study in European countries. I know it’s expensive and hard, even with a scholarship. But for me its the best way to be successful not just in you own country. When I’m looking for friends who was studying in different countries I can see a big difference between us. They have really deep knowledges, more practice with using new technolog and the life vision more up to date.

But in some case if the student can study just in Ukraine they still can do post graduation degree in Europe or USA what is a great opportunity. The main thing don’t stop and develop ourself all the time, because it’s the one way to be a good doctor and high educated persone.

Useful links for US students wishing to study in Europe

There are plenty of students from USA, who wish to study in Europe. We summed up the most relevant links which should make your research and decision making easier.

Match rates, and USMLE pass/fail Broken down by region

Medical Board of California  (MBC) Accredited Schools

Schools that are eligible for FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid…ols/types/international#participating-schools (please check a link “International Schools that Participate in Federal Student Loan Programs” to get precise information)

Schools that are eligible for ECFMG; same list applies for GMC accredited universities (World Directory of Medical Schools)

Article explaying Key differences between High School Diploma (USA) and Abitur (DE)

4-years programs of Medicine in Europe

Usually, standard length of program General Medicine is 6-years, but there are also exceptions. If students comply with given criterias, they may apply for 4-years programs, that are taught at various Universities around Europe.

Please find complete list of 4-years programs of General medicine:

University of Lodź – 4-years program of General medicine

Poznan University of Medical Science-4-years program of General Medicine