Leaving Cert 2023: Poland popular choice for students interested in … – Independent.ie

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Last year, a record number of Irish students applied to study in Europe. Picture posed
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Donnchadh O’Mahony

Throughout my time as a guidance counsellor, I have met a lot of students from around the country whose dream it is to study and work in the area of health science. For most of these students, attaining the necessary grades to study medicine, dentistry, veterinary, physiotherapy, pharmacy and nursing in Ireland is just out of reach.
School-leavers often look to Europe as an alternative. There are more than 1,100 courses taught entirely through English in Europe. Last year, a record number of Irish students applied to study in Europe.
Poland, including the cites of Poznan, Wroclaw and Gdansk, has become a popular choice for students interested in the health sciences. Student accommodation can range from €100-€200 per month depending on the type. The standard of living is also very low compared with Ireland. However, tuition fees are considerably higher than the contribution fee in Ireland. For example, an undergraduate degree in medicine can range from €9,500 per year to €13,700.
Polish universities do not use CAO points. Their entry requirements are a lot different from Irish universities and significantly lower. Poznan University requires applicants applying to medicine to have a minimum of two H5s and four O6s, including biology, plus one of chemistry, physics and maths. They will also have a test on biology, physics and chemistry as part of their entrance exam.
While on the course students will be required to study Polish for their placements in hospitals. Each university provides modules in Polish.
The medical degrees in Poland that are taught in English are recognised by the General Medical Council & Irish Medical Council. Graduates can then return to Ireland and apply to do their intern training.
Veterinary medicine courses also attract a huge Irish contingent. Currently, there are more Irish students in first year of veterinary medicine in Poland than there are in first year veterinary in Ireland.
Fees for veterinary science are lower than in medicine. Irish students can expect to pay between €7,500 and €8,400 per year in Poland. Entry requirements are similar to medicine courses, with students needing biology plus one of chemistry, physics or maths. There is an entrance exam for the universities that offer veterinary courses.
Importantly, these programmes are recognised by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons and the Veterinary Council of Ireland for registration to practice as a vet in the UK and Ireland.
The study.gov.pl website has an excellent search engine for students who want to research courses that are offered through English in Poland. Applications are made directly to the universities. They will require some information and transcripts from students and possibly invite applicants for an interview. and each university has different deadline dates when applying.
Donnchadh O’Mahony is a guidance counsellor at Loreto College, St Stephen’s Green, Dublin
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