Med School or Masters Studies in Romania  

Thrown (Ţâpat) in , ,

While writing about Jihadi Jay Abdo, I had started writing about foreigners who study in Romania and half-way through I realized that this deserves a separate article. I had previously assumed (nature) that the Romanian prime-minister’s (Ponta) many scandals, some centered around his plagiarizing of his doctoral thesis will taint Romanian education and significantly decrease its appeal. Further investigation revealed that many are still interested, although it is hard to determine to what extent the scandals have caused the Romanian tuition fees to be the lowest in Europe, or that is due to other market forces. As usual, the links are listed at the end.

miriam-bourneIn response to increasing interest, numerous “agencies” have sprung up to assist foreign students with registration and accommodation, all for a fee, obviously. Under the signature of Joanna Hughes, one such outfit places Romania 3rd after Israel and Mauritius in a top of “12 Unique Destinations to Study Abroad”; Moldova is 8th (ms-12). The website, in .ca space, feeds traffic via a link to its .com counterpart.

There is even what is most likely a site of the Romanian Education Ministry, seeing that it hosts a Minister’s Message and useful, insightful pearls of wisdom (s-i-r) such as “Room and board are reported to the average expanses of different higher education centers.” The Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs advises foreign students (mae-ro) that they can study in Romania “on their own expenses,” publishes a Foreign Student’s Guide and a site of scholarships for Romanians wishing to study abroad (roburse). Romanian students can also find help at but there they’d have to pay 100 RON in addition to 100 RON language test, unless they can demonstrate with YouTube videos that they planted 3 trees (fo’ shizzle).

According to msa, Romanian  Medical School tuition is €5000 p.a. (i.e., Bucharest, Cluj, Constanta, Craiova, Iasi, Tg Mures), except for Vasile Goldis, Arad - €3200 and Timisoara: €3200 non-EU and €4000 for EU.

One “Dr. Manuel” writes on April 3, 2013, on SMA a summary of the application process: letter of acceptance, entrance exam (possibly) followed, in some cases, by tuition waiver.

After an applicant receives the acceptance letter to study Medicine, Dentistry or Pharmacy in Romania, some medical schools require that the applicants complete entrance exam(s) in either Biology, Chemistry, Physics, English language, Anatomy and/or an interview before they are officially registered at the university (as a medical student). The exam is usually held sometime in September at most universities in Romania. If an applicants fail the exam, they will not be enrolled at the university even if they have the letter of acceptance from the Ministry of Education.

Some universities have a different selection process entirely – without entrance examination. There are 2 or 3 medical schools that assess and select the applicants based on the documents submitted, allocate points to each document; laying emphasis on the academic grades A or B or its equivalents (otherwise the applicant may be rejected), voluntary services in the medical field, motivation letter/reasons why they want to study medicine in Romania and many other criteria. Once selected, the files will be processed in August/September for the issuance of acceptance letter.

Faculty of medicine University of Oradea - for example; organises a compulsory entrance for all EU/EEA students in July (and sometimes also in September) for EU/EEA/Swiss applicants who want to enrol at their university. Before an EU/EEA applicant qualifies to write the exam, they must have obtained the letter of acceptance to study Medicine in Oradea prior to the entrance exam in July. There is a good price for writing the exam though, EU/EEA students that are selected after the entrance exam may study at the medical school in Oradea without payment of tuition or payment of 'half' or the full tuition fee.

[Stinro] is a private operator, but the English on that website is even worse than on the Ministry’s site. Here’s a quote from the FAQ, lucky number 13:

you can travel to other countries  during summer and winter vacations (visa is given easily as son as you are student in European Union).  Note that it is expected that  Romania is going to inter in schengen community by the end of 2011.

Still, the site provides some good info, explaining what ECTS and DS stand for.
  • Study in Romania is studying in European Union (EU), in European Economic Area (EEA). All diplomas from EU and EEA accredited Universities are automatically recognised in all Europe and beyond.
  • Romanian Higher education and living cost are the cheapest in all European Union. (tuition: 3200-5000/yr vs Bulgaria, 6000-8000/yr)
  • To facilitate and ensure that the quality and transferability of higher education qualifications mean something and are recognised all over the world, a number of instruments have been developed among which: European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS), The Diploma Supplement (DS), The European Quality Charter for Mobility, The European Qualifications Framework for Lifelong Learning (EQF), The ENIC Network (European Network of Information Centres on academic recognition and mobility), The NARIC Network (National Academic Recognition Information Centres).
  • The ECTS was introduced to ensure that period of study abroad were recognised, thereby enhancing the quality and volume of student mobility in Europe. Recently, the ECTS has been developing into an accumulation system and is increasingly becoming a general reference for national credit systems. It supports the objectives of the Bologna Process by making study programmes easy to read and compare for local and foreign students and by facilitating mobility and academic recognition.
  • The Diploma Supplement is a document attached to a higher education diploma that provides a standardised description of the nature, level, context, content and status of the studies that were successfully completed by the graduate. The Diploma Supplement provides transparency and facilitates academic and professional recognition of qualifications (diplomas, degrees, certificates). The DS offers students: a diploma that is more readable and easily comparable abroad; a precise description of their academic career and the competencies acquired during the study period; an objective description of their achievements and competencies; easier access to opportunities for work or further study abroad; improved employability.

Possibly because of the price, as well as its “European” pedigree, Romania is particularly popular with African students.

On the Nairaland forum, Raghilda describes their experience in September 2010.

You are interested in studying in Romania?
Everybody who is interested to study in Romania next year, I want to give you my experiences about the applying process. As it it very complicated because you will not get every information from the embassy or from the university where you want to study.
Important to know, you don`t need any agency for the application, they take only a lot of money and sometimes the Ministry doesn`t want their applications.
First experience: For self sponsored students from Nigeria, you can send your documents only between the March and September otherwise the Ministry doesn`t pay attention to your application.
Second experience: In several documents it it written that Nigerians have to submit their documents exclusively through the embassy. This is not completely right: you have to legalize your documents through the embassy and !very important! be sure that you will receive a stamp also from a person who is from the Ministry of education from Romania (He/She is in the embassy in Nigeria for some time) otherwise your application file will not be accepted at the Ministry in Romania.
Then you have to send your documents to the Ministry of education in Romania. Not to the university or a language school. They are not allowed to take them.
And very important: don`t forget to put the name of the university where you want to study in the application form and the field of studies (It is not very clear in the application form if you have to write it or not) The reason why you need it is because the Ministry will send a copy of your application form to the university.
Then you have to wait till the embassy calls you to invite you for an interview/test to know why you want to study in Romania. Just after the test you will be informed if you have passed it or not. If you are chosen then the process goes on, if not you will not receive any acceptance letter anymore.
The embassy will tell you that you will receive the acceptance letter in 2-3 weeks after the the test but is not right.
The best thing is to call the university after 4 weeks and to ask them if they have received the letter of acceptance (through the Ministry it is sometimes difficult to get somebody but try it nevertheless)
From sending the documents to the Ministry and receiving the acceptance letter, it took 4 months in my case.
If the university doesn`t have your name in their system, then the Ministry hasn`t send your application file to the university already or you haven`t been accepted.
So good luck.

Student Visa Romania

Those who want to study in Romania, I give u the information about the rquired documents and the costs for the whole procedure (after my own experience cause it is not very easy to get the information in advance)
Standard information you find here:
Good to know: actually the visa is guaranteed if you have the documents and the required money
Documents what you need to obtain the visa:
* letter of acceptance issued by the Ministry of Education, Research, Youth and Sports in Bucharest
* passport
* copy of the filled form to apply for the letter of acceptance and copy of the school certificate with the stamp from the Romanian embassy (they will ask you for that when you ask for the visa so make a copy of all the documents before you send them to The Ministry in Romania)   see above
* proof of payment of the tuition fee for at least one year of studies  ( between 2000 – 4000 Euros depending on what you want to study)
*  proof of the means of support in amount of at least the minimum net wage at country level per month, for the entire period specified in the visa
which means: statement of bank account (showing approx 4000 $)
additionally if u have a sponsor (family, friends, organisation):
Confirmation letter of the financing of the studies including the period of financial support and the monthly amount (minimum net wage ~ 200 €/month)
if ur sponsor is from a foreign country you need the confirmation letter
has to be notarized by a solicitor and legalised with the Hague Apostille
* high school Diploma with the transcript of records
* a criminal record certificate or another document of the same legal value;
* medical insurance for the entire period of the visa validity; (you need it for the first 3   
months )
* Birth certificate
* if the applicant is a minor: approval of the parents or foster parents as to the stay on the Romanian territory for study purposes;
Important! The documents written in purple have to be translated in Romanian language; in English is not enough for the visa
you need also:
* reservation of a flight ticket (actually Turkish Airlines are the cheapest ones where u don`t need
a transit visa, for the European airlines you need a transit visa which means u have apply for it
after receiving your student visa for Romania and that means to wait again some weeks)
* reservation of an accommodation at the place of studies (Hotel, Hostel) , 3 nights is enough
(universities write in their documents that they offer accommodation for students but they are not for self-sponsored students only for them with scholarship, self-sponsored students have to organise it by themselves)
important! Possibility to cancel the reservation cause it is sure that won’ t obtain the visa in the time what the embassy says.
* visa fees (actual) 385,- € (have to be paid in euros)
Also important to know:
* date when you can apply for the visa at the embassy, actual it`s Monday but inform you before especially when you are living far.
* Bring a lot of patience! You can sometimes wait till in the evening
When you have presented all the documents you have to wait, they will tell you it takes 2 weeks but it`s not true (i`m still waiting for I`ve given my documents end of October)
Also it is good to call them after 3 weeks cause they change sometimes the procedure and u have to show other documents additionally.
Like in my case, when they call u now, u have to show a flight ticket for Romania (reservation is not enough, !be sure that u can change the date of the flight cause u will not get the visa immediately) and the prove of money written in the acceptance letter (actual at least 2.500 $ ) in cash. (that' s the money what u have to present in Romania when u apply for the residence visa of 1 year, the visa from the embassy is only valid for some weeks)
If u cannot show the both ur visa will be cancelled and the effort was for nothing.
If u have shown them the two things then u will get another appointment where u can pick the visa.
Costs for the whole procedure:without any agent
(including transport from Lagos)
Letter of acceptance: 1.160 $
Visa: 1.620 $
+ student fees 1 year : ~ 2830 $ (economics)
+ flight ticket:    ~ 1600 $  (actual with Turkish airlines)
+ cash money: 2.500 $  actual
Everybody who is courageous to start the procedure and has the money, I wish good luck.

December 18, 2010: just want to inform u about the actual situation, I take back that the visa is guaranteed" cause it isn't. 
My visa has been cancelled in the last moment but not only for me. For all the Africans who were applying for a student visa through the embassy in abuja, the visa has been cancelled. Reason is a new ambassador and the changement of rules in Romania.

The notorious Romanian government indecisiveness is thus affecting even paying foreign students.

On Oana Baraian’s blog, an [Arabic?-]Swedish student as well as another Nigerian student explain at length their motives and experiences.
  • About 12 000 foreign students are studying in Romania. The ones who are not from the European Union have to pay a fee of 2 500 euro per year for the Bachelor’s degree and 2 650 for Master and Post-Graduate studies. Students who are coming from UE have to pay regular fees, of 650 euro, just like any other Romanian student.
  • “The main reason for studying in Romania are the low fees and also the admission system, which doesn’t implies any written or oral exam, only a written application. The main options for foreign students are the two universities of Cluj-Napoca: UBB and UMF. Over 70% percent of the total number of people who have chosen to study medicine at UMF Med School. The fees of 5000 euro are higher than at others universities, but still, the application doesn’t admission by exam. Only the Romanian students have to pass two written exams in chemistry and biology, but in this way they have the opportunity to study at med school for free”, says Corina Todea who is in charge of the department of international cooperation.
  • “I’m in my four year of medicine and so far I’ve liked it very much. I’m from Sweden but it’s a good thing that all of us, the foreign students, we’re studying in English. We have a class of Romanian language study, but it’s not easy for us to learn it. Luckily, I’ve made some Romanian friends who I can practice with in my free time. I don’t have much free time because I’ve got to study a lot. The library it’s always full of students, all year long. I could have lived in a hostel for students, but I’m accustomed to have my own private space, so I rented a flat with two rooms, together with another student for 250 euro per month. The bad part of studying in Romania is the post-graduate studies. Here, you are the one who has to pay for them, while in other countries, like Germany, for example, the got to pay you for choosing to study there. So, I guess I’ll leave Romania after I take my bachelor’s degree. But I’ll miss it for sure”, says Mahir, a Swedish student.
  • Damagum Babaisa has just finished his last year at University of Informatics at “Tibicus” in Timisoara, after five difficult years. In the first two years he studied in Cluj-Napoca at UBB university of informatics but due to the high level of study required and the low level of study from Nigeria, he decided for a transfer in Timisoara: “When I was in Nigeria I didn’t know much about Romania, than the football players such as Hagi and Adrian Mutu and the legend connected to Dracula Castle from Transylvania. But my uncle works here, at the Nigerian embassy in Romania, so he advised me to choose this country. At the beginning my father was against this idea. Because we are Muslims and, in his opinion, the Europeans drank to much and there were also a lot of girls and it wouldn’t have been a good choice for me to come. But, in the end, he gave up and let me come.”
  • When he has chosen this university didn’t know what to expect. In Nigeria he didn’t study informatics in high school and the mathematics was of a lower level of difficulty. One of the main reasons of the poor education from Nigeria it’s the presence of corruption, at almost every level, every field: “Our teachers are not like the ones from here. The students are corrupt and the parents as well. You can’t learn anything. You have to pay in order to pass the exams. Also, it is known that many of our Nigerian teachers didn’t even get their jobs through a fare skills and knowledge contest, but by giving bribe. They pay with money for their jobs. So how is possible for those people to teach something when they don’t even know their own field.”
  • “Sometimes I even forget that I’m a Nigerian. I feel like a local. The best part of Romania is its people. They are the coolest, seriously! Sociable, open and ready to help you.”
  • Neither has he eaten Romanian soups until a year ago: “In Nigeria we eat soups but they are creamy, thick. When I got to Romania and I saw that the soups are liquid, just like water with some veggies I said I wouldn’t eat that thing. But after I tried the chicken soup, the potato soup I began cocking them myself.” – well, that’s understandable, considering how Romanian girls are and how Vice is overflowing in raves and how Ramadan was fast approaching.
  • Nigerians are happy. It doesn’t matter if they have problems or not, they are always smiling. They all say “Hi” on the street even if they don’t know each other.” In contrast, “Romanians complain about the corruption from their country, but believe me: they know nothing about it. Comparison to Nigeria on what’s going on here is insignificant. I would like to turn back to do something good for my country. At least, for the well being of the future ages”.

I hope “cocking” Romanian goes well for our Nigerian Muslim friend. (I corrected a few misspellings from the original, except this one, which may have been deliberate.)

There are numerous other people searching for info on Romania – for instance on an expat forum, an American searches for answers on Computer Science studies. As early as 2004, on the stdr forum, someone was asking for guidance on med school in Romania and gets tons of answers from organizations trying to goad him to their country, even several years later (aiming simply for exposure rather than providing individual answers).

To place everything in perspective, you might want to peruse an article penned by L.C. in the Economist – Do Romanian schools produce idiots? (ec-lc). As I have explained in the “educatie” and “discriminare-PC” categories on this blog, most Romanians, as poor people do, think of educational achievement in “genetic-determinist” terms. As such, there is a strong emphasis on the “gifted” students, while letting the general / average level slide – see PISA results. On the other hand, such achievements on the international scene, obtained through less ethical means, could serve as advertising for paid university degrees for those who are even poorer and more biased.

Sources / More info: mae-ro, roburse, fo’ shizzle, s-i-r, stinro, ms-12, sma, msa, nairaland (also: finland, scholarship), oana-nigerian, eds, stdr, ec-lc

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