“Prof. Boris Mravec, PhD, MUDr holds a position of Study Vice Dean for 1st – 3rd year of a General Medicine English language program at the UNIBA Faculty of Medicine. In this interview prof. Mravec offers some useful insights on the faculty’s life and on how to become a part of this noble institution.”
Prof. Mravec, thank you so much for agreeing to answer a couple of questions here. To begin with, would you make a short introduction of the faculty of medicine to the readers?
Faculty of Medicine in the Comenius University is the oldest medical academic institution in Slovakia, and I would argue – the best one. In its present state the faculty was established 98 years ago. Since then we rally the best scientist and practitioners with a complex clinical and theoretical experience from all Slovakia and further. Our diploma has a very high quality and it is far from easy to get here.
We have a very progressive dean and a strong collective of tutors making sure that the faculty is in pair with the “Western style” of medical education. Having ties with many universities in the U.S. also helps in this regard.
Our capabilities create big opportunities for research. Our students may start their scientific work right away. If you would be interested in particularities and the topics we are focusing on, you may find more following this link.
How would you characterize the level of difficulty on the faculty?
Studying medicine at our faculty is hard, and this is something we will not compromise on. I need to say that we have a very strict policy and a very high competition here – students that do not pay sufficient attention to their studies are expelled easily.
Would you say that it is hard to find a job after the graduation from a medical school?
No, absolutely not. I’ll tell you more: a big number of Ukrainian doctors are willing to move to Slovakia now, because here we have a great demand for medical professionals. However, Ukrainian doctors need to pass a very complex examination in order to qualify here.
Is the faculty cooperating with any 3rd parties in order to facilitate employment of the students?
I would like to emphasize on the notion that we are primarily an educational institution and the faculty is not connected to any 3rd parties. With an academic basis that we provide, students rarely face complications with employment.
Of course, some of our employees do hold positions in the governing boards of various enterprises, so the cooperation, although indirectly, may take place this way.
How many foreign students are studying medicine at your faculty? What is their geography?
Our English-led program is well-saturated with students. We have students from many E.U. countries: Poland, Germany, Hungary and so on. Also, there are many students from other regions like the Middle East.
Interestingly, the number of applicants from Germany increases. Our advantage in comparison to German medical schools is that we may offer a higher number of human-beds at our hospitals. Therefore, it is easier for our students to get in touch with patients and get more of a clinical experience.
Nowadays, our faculty is approached by foreign embassies as well as other institutions with purpose of further exploring academic cooperation opportunities. Such institutions provide us with students from abroad. Some of these organizations are devoted specifically to supporting their students, providing them with literature, helping if bureaucratic or financial complications emerge. I would argue that if a similar organization would appear supporting Ukrainians, we would see much more Ukrainian applicants here.
Are there many Ukrainian students studying at the faculty?
On the whole faculty there are only couple Ukrainian students. Quite frankly, I am rather surprised to see such a situation given that Ukraine is close to Slovakia geographically. Studying at our faculty in English is quite expensive – perhaps this is the main factor putting off potential applicants.
Is there a possibility of transferring to the UNIBA’s Faculty of Medicine from other medical universities?
Transfer procedure is problematic in general, that is why I do not support such practice. In exceptional cases, we were accepting transfer requests up to the 2nd year of studies. However, we haven’t approved any requests lately. I believe that if a student is determined to study medicine at our faculty, he/she should apply here right after finishing the secondary school.
One of our students from Ukraine has been transferred to us a few years ago. We’ve accepted her transfer request exceptionally because she managed to provide us with a number of relevant recommendations, proper academic discipline records and proofs of her extracurricular academic activities. Of course, her language knowledge was in pair with our requirements.
What language options are available for the students?
Our students may study in either Slovak or English.
The general rule goes as follows: applicants may apply for studies in Slovak and study for free, but they would face a high competition. Also, the entrants would need to pass a complex examination in Slovak, which would test their knowledge of chemistry and biology.
English-led program still requires an entrance examination, however it would be conducted in English and the level of competition is lower. Students would need to pay a tuition fee for studying in English.
Sir, if you would have a chance to address the Ukrainian students directly, what would you tell?
I would like to encourage applicants from Ukraine. If the students are willing to study they are most welcomed here.