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Health Studies Around the World

Universities, medical colleges, schools of public health, nursing schools, veterinary schools, and other educational institutions around the world offer degree programs and courses in health on the undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate level. In the global context, the field of medical education is constantly evolving, supported among others by central institutions such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The various degrees offered by institutions of medical education generally fall into two categories: academic or professional. Academic degrees in health are aimed at students with an interest in the scientific basis of healthcare, who wish to have a career in teaching, research, policy analysis, or biotechnology and pharmaceutics development. Professional health degrees, on the other hand, are much more oriented towards practice in various healthcare settings, such as hospitals, private clinics, medical offices, nursing homes, community health centers, ambulatory care centers, and so on. Whatever the case, health studies are among the most popular programs the world over, offering valuable opportunities to make a real difference to people’s lives. The list of specializations within the health-related field is practically endless, with some of the most common ones including medicine, nursing, dentistry, pharmacy, nutrition, healthcare management, public health, and veterinary medicine.

A growing number of students who wish to earn a degree in a health-related field choose to go abroad for their studies. The number of international students continues to grow at all levels of higher education. According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Institute for Statistics (UIS), today more than 4 million students pursue their studies abroad, which is more than double of the 2 million international students in 2000. Some of the most popular destination countries have traditionally been the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Australia, and Germany, and they remain strong magnets for students seeking high-quality education abroad also today. At the same time, new destination countries around the world, especially in East Asia and the Pacific, and in Central and Eastern Europe, are also experiencing a rise in popularity. As for to the country of origin of internationally mobile students, the largest international student flows come from China, India, Republic of Korea, Germany, Saudi Arabia, and France. In addition to international students who study abroad on campus, a growing number of students around the world are enrolled in online or distance learning programs at a foreign university.

There are numerous reasons why students choose to study health sciences abroad, including:

  • The possibility to enroll in one of the world’s top health programs, or in a program with a specialization that is only offered in a certain country or region.
  • The chance to experience a different system of education and to discover a new side of their chosen specialization. Medical professionals with cultural awareness, cross-national understanding, and skill sets from different settings are highly valued, as they are working in a world that is becoming increasingly smaller and interconnected.
  • The opportunity to completely immerse in a new language, if the destination country speaks a language that is different from the mother tongue of the student.
  • Increased employment opportunities. International experience among job candidates is highly valued by employers, and in many cases, students are eligible to apply for positions both in their host country and their home country.

Some of the most important factors to consider when deciding whether to study in your home country or abroad, are the cost of the program, the living expenses, the quality of the education, the required language skills, and whether the study program is offered full-time, part-time, or through distance learning. Remember that studying abroad doesn’t have to leave you penniless, as there are numerous scholarships for international students offered by both governmental bodies and private organizations.

Start your search for the perfect study program by taking a look at the various options of health studies at universities and medical colleges from around the world. If you already know where you wish to study, you can click directly on the country and choose from the educational institutions there. If not, take the time to explore the exciting possibilities for studying health worldwide!