Medical studies in times of Corona

MUDr. Amandeep Grewal

MUDr. Amandeep Grewal

Doctor & Co-Founder of futuredoctor

Reading time: 4 Minuten
Last updated: 21 March 2024

📖 Table of contents

"It's getting serious" - with these words, German Chancellor Angela Merkel addressed the population at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. Like many other companies, businesses and individuals, medical students have had to reorganise their everyday lives due to this extraordinary situation surrounding the novel virus - a challenge that will be written in future history books. We spoke to a medical student to find out how medical studies are organised in the midst of a pandemic, what needs to be considered during digital examinations and whether studying medicine abroad is recommended:

Where are you studying medicine and in which semester are you currently?
I study medicine at Comenius University in Bratislava and am currently in my second semester.

What was the situation like for you at the beginning of the semester?
I haven't been to university yet; the first week of my studies, in September 2020, I was unfortunately in quarantine, but by the second week everything was already online.

What are you grateful for?
I am grateful for the recorded lectures, the variable, self-controllable schedule and the new-found friends.

What do you remember most?
What I remember most is partying with friends, the new, valuable experiences and impressions I was able to gather abroad; e.g. my first independent living (pasta is my friend, bread moulds faster than you think) and, of course, studying medicine at Comenius University in Bratislava.

Were you able to make friends during your studies despite the circumstances?
Definitely! Before the studies and before the lockdown, a get-to-know-you and preparation week was organised by the agency futuredoctor, which is supporting me on my journey to study medicine abroad, where we met almost all of our current friends. However, other friends from the year group and the study groups (study groups with the same professors and timetable) joined us.

What are you most looking forward to when your studies return to normal?
When the whole situation around Corona returns to normal, I am most looking forward to the city life in Bratislava, meeting new and unknown people and the stress related to the pandemic being gone. Then, of course, there is attending the practical classes, especially the prep course in anatomy.

What advice would you give to future applicants who are also interested in studying medicine abroad?
By all means, start studying medicine! This is the best step, with or without Corona. Even if the start in online studies can be bumpy, the advantages clearly outweigh the disadvantages. F

How is the summer semester organised for the 2021 medical studies?
Our second semester, just like the first, is completely online. The lectures are recorded and uploaded, the "Practicals" (actually in the lab) are held via MS Teams meetings by the professors in a small group.

What form do the lectures at the university take? Purely digital or also present?
The lectures are purely digital. They are recorded by the professors in advance and usually uploaded to the timetable before the date. A little later, there is the opportunity to ask the professor questions about the topic in an online meeting.

Is attendance compulsory for digital lectures?
Attendance is not compulsory for the digital lectures. However, attendance in the "Practicals", which are held in the "Study Groups" (8-12 students), is monitored.

What has to be considered with digital examinations and how do they work?
The procedure for the exams varies depending on the subject. In anatomy, they are simply posted in an online form and you answer the questions in your browser. Most exams are similar, but you are also in a meeting with a proctor, and the camera and microphone must be on at all times. For the final exams, your identity is also checked using your student ID and the room is filmed so that you cannot cheat or use documents during the exam.

Would you recommend studying medicine abroad?
For most people, studying medicine abroad means having the opportunity to study medicine at all, so yes, definitely. Medical studies are also structured minimally differently, so even if you have a place to study in Germany or Austria, you might like studying abroad better.

Franz Huber's field report on his medical studies abroad