One Student Review of Pirogov Russian National Research Medical University
I have always wanted to study Medicine and be a doctor when I grew up. I had to start preparing to go to med school from a young age, and being from Malaysia that meant always doing well on your state examinations in order to get into the science stream studies and finish the national examination when I was 17 with flying colours. After high school I had to finish pre-med in Malaysia before attending university. I had 3 options for med school when I was 18, it was either in Indonesian , India or Russia. I have always wanted to travel far and maybe visit Europe one day so I chose Russia. In order to apply for Russian State Medical University, I had to go through an agent here in Malaysia. The agent is responsible for all the transactions with the school including the tuition fee and providing all the necessary documents. For any foreign student, they are required to apply only through an agent and not by themselves. The agent fee + the first year tuition fee + the hostel fee came up to approximately 25,000 USD.
The first day I landed in Russia, I hoped it was going to be an exciting day. However it turned out to be a disaster. The entire country only speaks Russian. There are not many people who know English but even if they did you cannot depend on the fact that they will help you. When I arrived in the hostel it was a very old and was a washed out building and nothing like what I had expected. All the hostels provided to students by the university are old and living outside on your own can be very expensive. All the foreign students were placed in one hostel and the Russian students got another building. The university is 10 minutes walk away from the hostels so that was plus. Everyone working in the hostels only spoke Russian and during the first few months it was very difficult for me to communicate with anyone there or even buy basic things from the grocery store with ease.
The university itself was huge. It was a big campus with different buildings and departments. In the first year students have to take 7-8 different subjects and of course you have to attend Russian language lessons 3 times a week. You have to be prepared to learn Russian on your own,as the lectures who teach Russian do not speak a word of English. They teach Russian with Russian. However, the other Lectures for different subjects were friendly and thought in English. The education system in Russia is different, I actually was fond of the way the examinations worked as they focus on the oral examinations more. At the end of the semester you need to have the required points in order to continue the next semester. If you fail an exam you are give 3 opportunities to pass it, which I think is pretty good and the dates to do the exam are flexible.
The office for student affairs in the university is horrible. You need to be prepared to Que up for hours to get your visa done or to even get a signature. The only have a tiny office for the foreign students, where 1000 over students need to get their documents done. The dean of the foreign students is actually pretty nice although he doesn’t speak much English. The tuition fees department is actually in another city where you need to travel for an hour to get there in order to make any payments regarding university or the hostel.
After the first year, you will slowly start to get the hang of how things work, however it took me almost 3 years to fully communicate Russian to the Russians. That being said, I think its a good thing that I can now speak,write and read Russian. In the 2nd year on wards, you will also need to attend the hospitals for lessons after university hours. This is where it gets more difficult as the university hospitals are located in various different city’s around Moscow. For example if this week you have pathology cycle you need to travel for 1 hour to reach the hospital that the lessons are conducted in. Every cycle last for 2 weeks. On your next cycle,maybe for pediatrics, you need to travel almost 3 times a week for maybe 2.5 hours in order to get to lessons. There is a lot of travelling involved if you want to study in Russian, you got to take the buses to get to the subways then be prepared to walk for an hour to reach your destination. It is not a very pleasant feeling to get lost in Russia, as its not easy to get anyone to help you. Its worse when you don’t speak the language. It is necessary to learn Russian as fast as possible in order to survive.
Winter is the most horrible in Russia. The temperature gets to below -30 in January and can last for a few weeks. In the hostels there is no proper heating and you might be required to purchase additional heating If you cannot withstand the cold. You definitely will still need to travel to lessons in university or hospitals in the winter. Only when the temperature hits -40 you don’t have to go to the university. It was very difficult for me to go through the Russian winter,especially coming from a tropical country, and never really experiencing winter before. The only way to get through the winter is by wearing layers of clothing and thick boots,because you will still need to walk long distances to get anywhere.
The upside of studying in Russian State Medical university is that, the lectures are extremely knowledgeable, if you put enough effort in trying to learn from them, you can learn a lot. The hospitals are filled with patients for you to examine,so there is not much sharing patients in Russia. In university there are tons of corps to practice with unlike most other university where you get 1 corps per 10 people. You need to sit for a test probably once a week for every subject, that will keep you on your toes and keep you studying hard. There is absolutely no night life to look forward to, leaving you only to your books.
If you are up for an adventure, looking for a total different scene or you are Russian then I will suggest Russian State Medical University. When it comes to studying M.B.B.S or M.D there are plenty of options to go for, so make sure you choose accordingly and find out what you are up against with the students before enrolling.
Overall Score: (1.81/5.00)
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