Studying in Europe
Osman Abdul encourages students to follow their dream of studying medicine or dentistry in Europe.
Unsuccessful dental school application? Don’t give up, there’s an even more exciting route!
I’ve always dreamt of studying dentistry and becoming a dentist. I applied to study dentistry in the UK multiple times, despite having the right grades I never managed to secure a place. Studying dentistry in the UK is becoming an increasingly difficult feat, with around nine out of 10 students having their hopes crushed every year.
Nothing was going to stop me from following my dream, so I began researching alternatives. I got the idea of going to study dentistry in Europe from seeing the influx of European graduates being employed in the UK. There are many benefits to studying in the EU, such as full accreditation from the General Dental Council (GDC), low tuition fees and living costs, and more flexible entry requirements. Students can make up for their lower A-level grades by excelling in the university’s own biology and chemistry entry tests.
Upon graduation I planned to return to the UK. I phoned the GDC for more information, who informed me that a dental degree from an EU university is fully accredited in the UK. This means that after graduating, I can return to work in the UK. I also enquired about Brexit, but I was rest assured that there are agreements and treaties between the UK and EU, ensuring that any degrees from the EU are of equal value and quality as degrees from the UK. EU dental degrees will be automatically accepted due to the Bologna Treaty and the Treaty of Lisbon.
I researched the countries offering dental courses in English, and their respective universities. I think we are spoilt for choice from many culturally-rich European countries, such as Bulgaria, Romania, Poland and Ukraine, all offering very good dentistry courses.
Fees and details
Tuition fees begin from £3,000 per academic year, and vary depending on the chosen country. Living costs are extremely low with around £250-450 spending money needed per month, depending on the student’s lifestyle. This usually covers accommodation and bills, food costs, entertainment and any other essential expenses. I pay £150 per month for renting a spacious and modern apartment with great proximity to the university. However, cheaper apartments are available, especially if you like house sharing. Dorms are extremely cheap and cost less than £50 per month.
I chose to study dentistry at the Medical University of Varna, a multiple-award winning university located on the Bulgarian Black Sea coast. Varna’s attractive location is popular among students who wish to study with a view! The university has a long history of teaching medicine and dentistry, and takes on around 300 international students per year for their English medical and dental programmes. The doctors and dentists who teach us speak fluent English, as most have practised, lived or specialised in the UK.
The dentistry course is six years long. During the first two years, students are taught the necessary theory, and some Bulgarian language to help you integrate. Thereafter, hands-on clinical training begins. Students are usually taught in small focused groups of 10 or less individuals.
Normally, UK dental graduates must do two years of training as dental practitioners in the NHS. During the sixth year in Europe, students do a full year of training as dental practitioners. Hence, you will have one year of training done and out of the way upon your return to the UK.
Developing connections worldwide
One of the few downsides of studying in the EU is the complexity of the application process and bureaucratic procedures necessary. Doing this alone is confusing and stressful, so students usually seek the advice of student recruitment agents. You should be careful when choosing an agent as they should be accessible to you, to help and support you throughout your six years at university.
Studying in Europe is an amazing experience that will help you grow as a young person, truly open your eyes to the outside world and allow you to develop rich connections worldwide. I know it’s a scary and intense experience to go abroad alone, but I guarantee you’ll love it. If you truly want to pursue a career in dentistry, then don’t let anything get in your way. The British students studying all around Europe will welcome you with open arms, so come and check it out!