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The Medical University of Silesia (SUM) is located in Katowice, an emerging metropolitancity in the southern region of Poland. The university has been running its English Division programme since 1996 and educates international students through the graduateentry led 4-year American MD structure. Studying in Poland provides the opportunity tosave on living costs whilst also allowing you to travel and explore Poland. As thedegree is recognised by the GMC, you will be eligible for applying to the UK Foundation Programme should you wish to do so.
Year 1: First year medical students experience avaried and diverse timetable with each week comprising of lectures, seminars and smallgroup-work teaching to help tackle their learning from every perspective. Students havethe opportunity to learn anatomy, physiology, histology and biochemistry in great depthas dissection rooms and teaching labs have extensive opening hours. There areintroductory clinical classes whereby students are exposed to patients and are able toappreciate the basics of clinical management. Polish classes are also provided tostudents to enable them to learn the basics of the language and aid them in settlinginto the country. The first year allows students to become accustomed with Poland andthe foundations of medicine, whilst keeping them on their toes with frequentassessments.
Year 2: Year two strengthens student’sunderstanding of pre-clinical medical sciences whilst aiding the transition to clinicalsciences. Modules such as Pathology, Pharmacology and Pathophysiology allow students toapply their knowledge from basic sciences to understanding key clinical concepts and ingreat depth. More time is spent in hospital in the second year as students begin tograsp key clinical skills during their Physical Examination and Clinical Analysismodules. By the end of the second year, should students wish to sit the USMLE exam forhospital rotations in the US they can then apply for this.
Rotations, or placements, can be carried out in Poland or with an international hospitalwhich is officially affiliated with the university, including several hospitals in theUS.
Year 3: From third year onwards students areexposed to full clinical placement 5 days a week. Placements are carried out in internalmedicine, surgery, paediatrics and obstetrics and gynaecology covering the vast array ofspecialties. Each module is concluded by an examination allowing students to beperiodically tested. The focus of theoretical learning switches from primarilylecture-based to self-directed learning. Although there are lectures almost everyday,the amount of learning students are expected to do on their own does increase from thesecond year.
Year 4: The final year builds upon the knowledgeand skill base acquired from third year as students gain experience in psychiatry,family practice, paediatrics and electives. Students who remained in Poland have theoption to carry out electives in any other hospital - of which many students decide tocarry out in the UK. It is at this point, for students transitioning back to the UK,undergo the application process for the UK Foundation programme and begin to sit examssuch as the SJT.
The entrance exam - an oral examination with set discussion topics from biology,chemistry and physics as well as a discussion of the students’ motives. Presentingoneself as determined but also friendly and empathetic will enable you to succeed in theexamination.
Polish medical universities - before applying, be sure to compare with otheruniversities to make an informed decision as to which university best suits you. It canbe fair to assume that universities have a one-size-fits-all approach, however be sureto research student satisfaction rates and to visit the universities if possible to bestdecide which programmes, campuses and cities are akin to your preferences, budget andstyle of learning.
-by Faraaz, studying medicine in Europe at MUS in Katowice, Poland