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Studying medicine in Russia? Yes. Parents and would be students after SPM need to consider carefully the pros and cons of pursuing medical degrees in Russia. First of all, one needs to consider the fact that Russia or its former member states was once communist countries and their ideologies are still or to a certain extent communism in nature. You cannot change people overnight even though the former USSR has been liquidated. As parents you would be worried wouldn't you to expose your sons or daughters to communism for several years. The worst thing that can can happen is that your children would be indoctrinated by the system or got married to a Russian prince or princess.

Secondly, to study medicine in a foreign country means one has to learn the native language and its culture. In medicine, to learn effectively one has to study the slang of the language, the likes and dislikes of the people, their bed side manners, the tradition and the culture as a whole. To elicit symptoms and signs from patients, a student of medicine has to interview patients, their parents as the case with paediatric patients, their relatives as the case with unconscious patients or aphasic/ dysphasic patients after an attack of stroke.

In other fields of study like engineering or computer, students can excel at the subject just by swotting hard in the libraries, finishing the assignments and attending practical classes in the laboratories. This is not the case with medicines and its related disciplines like obstetrics and gynaecology, community health and general practice etc. In addition to knowing the theories, a student of medicines has to spend at least seventy percent of his or her time in the wards or clinics seeing patients, interviewing and examining them. There is no way one can pass the clinical examination or viva voce if the student cannot interview or get the relevant information from the patients. Of course not every patient can speak English even though the medium of instruction in the medical school is English and the textbooks as well as the references are in English.

Many universities try their best to attract foreign student enrollments as a way to boost their incomes and improve their image overseas and locally. In order to lure the would be students, all the good aspects about the universities are potrayed in their brochures and prospectus. We discussed under the post"TERTIPU HIDUP-HIDUP LAGI" on 7th of May 2008 how to avoid the pitfalls of being conned or cheated by agents purporting to represent established Medical Schools in Russia, India, Indonesia or Latin America.

Medicine in Russia

RUSSIA has for the past few years been gaining recognition as a “preferred choice” for medical education, compared to when medical education in the country first became available to Malaysian students in 1996.

That is also how long Russian Resources has been focusing its efforts to help students with limited income realise their dreams of becoming doctors.

More than 1,550 medical students, both government and privately sponsored, have with the assistance of Russian Resources, gained entry into four world-class medical universities – Moscow Medical Academy (established in 1758), Volgograd State Medical University (1995), Nizhny Novgorod State Medical Academy (1920) and Russian State Medical University (1906).

These institutions are among the top 10 medical universities in Russia. The Moscow Medical Academy is also ranked second in the world by the United Nat-ions Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation and the World Health Organisation.

More than 40 doctors assisted by Russian Resources are serving in national hospitals throughout Malaysia. Affordable fees have been the key attraction.

Conventional medical institutions such as those in the UK and Australia are costly, not only in terms of tuition fees, but also living expenses which amount to not less than RM1 million for the full five to six years. Even local private medical institutions cost more than RM400,000.

The total cost in Russia, inclusive of tuition fee, hostel and living expenses and annual return ticket home varies between RM250,000 and RM300,000 for a six-year degree programme conducted in English.

Russian medical universities strongly emphasise on clinical exposure from the third year onwards, so that students can handle real life medical experiences after graduation.

As a professional agency, Russian Resources provides student counselling and placement services, which include university application and registration, visa processing, travel arrangements, accommodation and assistance in obtaining approval from relevant government departments. It also conducts language training for students prior to departure, with a full-time staff in Moscow coordinating communication and ground transfer arrangements. Parents can be assured of their children being properly settled in, and the agency will act as a liaison between parents, students and the university.

The 2008 September/October intake for both pre-medical and the first year is open for registra-tion. Seats are limited. You can also choose to enrol for a pre-medical course locally, commencing in early January 2009. Students can be admitted based on actual or forecast SPM results.

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