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Rome, Milan and Pavia: comparison of the english med courses

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Re: program comparison

Postby EdoardoTB » Sun Nov 24, 2013 11:18 am

I am wondering whether anybody can give me an in depth comparison between sapienza, milano, and pavia - the pros and cons, as well as the advantages of choosing sapienza over the other 2 in terms of: the city, the university, program structure, exam structure (can u pass the year if you fail an exam), diversity of students in the class, and anything else.


Ok, let me put this way.

If, for any reason, you should think that either Milano or Pavia would be better choices, the very only reason for stating this is that, in the previous years, they made a much better online advertising campaign than Sapienza did (with videos, pictures and so on). In fact, Sapienza didn't focus on this aspect a lot, mainly relying on its worldwide prestige as a mean for attracting international students.
Think about this: the only way you could know about these courses is the internet. If one of them had an higher online visibility (a good website and many people talking about it on the forums), you would immediately assume it is better. However, this is not necessarely true.

On the other hand, I really cannot make you an unbiased comparison, for the simple reason I have never attended a lecture neither in Pavia nor in Milan. And the other way round: I think nobody from neither Pavia nor Milan attended one of our lectures. So nobody really can tell which course might be better.
On top of that: do you really think there's one best course? Even though Sapienza has a good fame internationally, I think all the med courses througout Italy are of good quality. In fact, Italy has got a very long tradition in the field of Medicine. I don't think there's really one best course. In my opinion, what really makes the difference is the student himself. Don't care about the uni rankings: I could show you 3 different stats which have been published, each of them stating that Sapienza, Milan and Pavia, one by one, are the best in Italy. So, which one should you believe to? And which criteria did they use? It doesn't matter. Just don't care about this stats, which by the way, change year by year.

As far as the diversity of the students, we really have students from all around the world: from Brazil and US to Vietnam and Taiwan, speaking one common language: English. It's amazing!

but I am also considering pavia due to its longer standing English program;


Pavia and Milan organized the english medical course just one year before than Sapienza: so there's not relly that big difference.

(can u pass the year if you fail an exam)


To pass to 2nd year, you just need 2 exams from 1st year. To pass to 3rd year, you need all exams from 1st year.

the city


Have you ever been to Rome? :D I think if you came here just for one week, you would immediately make your decision :D especially if you are aged 18-35
I mean: Rome is the capital. You cannot compare a capital to anything else. It's like trying to compare London and Bristol, or Berlin and Cologne. The capital is the capital. Supposing a medical course might be better in Bristol, I would definitely prefer to be spending 6 years in London. This is what I would do, but everyone is different :D
Edoardo, 4th medical student (now spending my 4th year abroad!)

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Re: program comparison

Postby RitaB » Sun Nov 24, 2013 12:01 pm

I don't fully agree with Edoardo, actually.
It's true that nobody of us attended one lesson in Pavia or Milan and the opposite is true as well, but actually Pavia didn't start just one year before sapienza but 2.
And there are things that make the difference in my opinion.
If you think about the programs, Pavia and Rome are very similar, with just minor differences, while Milan has a different organization which is difficult to compare with ours. But you can find the course programs online.
About the city:
Rome and Milan are big cities, also chaotic if I may say this. But in Rome, in my opinion, the size of the city is not coupled with efficiency in the public transport, while my brother in Milan has no problems as far as I know. Pavia is different because it is a little, quiet town which isn't far from Milan, so if you want to spend some time in the big city you can with just 20 minutes by train.
Then there is another thing, and I am sorry to say this and people won't be happy to read it, but Milan and Pavia are in the north of Italy, as you may know, while Rome is in the center (very nearly south in my opinion). This produces a big difference in how people behave, how the city is ruled, how much you have to pay if you need medical assistance and a lot of other things. About people, everyone likes different things so I won't tell you which one is the best choice because I don't think there is one. But about the other things... In the north of Italy things work better.
If, for any reason, you should think that either Milano or Pavia would be better choices, the very only reason for stating this is that, in the previous years, they made a much better online advertising campaign than Sapienza did (with videos, pictures and so on). In fact, Sapienza didn't focus on this aspect a lot, mainly relying on its worldwide prestige as a mean for attracting international students.
Think about this: the only way you could know about these courses is the internet. If one of them had an higher online visibility (a good website and many people talking about it on the forums), you would immediately assume it is better. However, this is not necessarely true.

I don't think this is true. I think here in Rome the university isn't considering our course very much, because we are only at the beginning, and I don't think next year things will change. And this is linked to what I was saying before: it is due to how people behave, I don't see the will to make things better in the people who are responsible for this course and I don't see a good organization. I have a friend who is attending the fourth year in Pavia and he is enthusiastic about it. People are available in you need something and you can contact them whenever you want: they answer very fast. Then the building in which you are going to attend lessons are old here, while Pavia and Milan are new.
Last thing, I don't know how many students are in Milan, but here we are around 35 per year, while in Pavia they are around 100, so there will be more variability there, although also here we have people from a lot of countries (mainly in this year's first year).

So, as you can see, everything depends on what you need and what you want, because I agree with Edoardo that the teachers are at the same level in all three universities so there is not one best course.
If I were to decide again, I would have gone to Pavia instead of Rome.

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Re: program comparison

Postby EdoardoTB » Sun Nov 24, 2013 12:44 pm

Rita, I fully respect your point of view. However, despite coming from the North of Italy (precisely from Modena, 2 hours from Milan, where I spent 19 years), I am incredibly enthusiastic about both my course and the city and would never change my place for anything else.
It's true that Umberto I is an old building, but on the other hand it's one of the biggest university of hospital in Italy and this provides you with unvaluable clinical experience. I would not use the "age" of a building as a criteria for choosing a course, but the dimension and the skills of the doctors instead.
As far as the public transports, it is true that Milan has a better undergorund network, but again is this what really matter? The public transports in Rome are not evenly good throughout the city (some areas are connected better than others), but you may always move to another place, unless the flat is of your own property. In my personal case, I am very well connected to both the Uni and the city center (just takes 20 minutes in both the cases): I may choose up to 3 different lines in both cases.
As far as the number of students, we are regarded as an elite: we are just 45 every year. Our ratio students/professors is really invidiable. This helds both in class and in wards. Sapienza is really investing lots of money for just a couple of students: for the time being, there are around 120 students (all 3 years) and 53 Professors teaching to this course!* *have a look here: http://w3.uniroma1.it/IMS/?s=faculty and I was confirmed that the number of places is NOT gonna increase substantially in the next years.
As far as the "availability" of the students to answer your question: it's exactly the same here and this is the reason why we opened this website.

So, Princess, as you can read, of course it really depends who you ask to. This helds for anything :D So that's why I said nobody can really make you an unbiased comparison. Maybe the best suggestion, even though it would not be practical, is: come here, attend some lectures, explore the cities and see with your eyes.
Edoardo, 4th medical student (now spending my 4th year abroad!)

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Re: program comparison

Postby RitaB » Sun Nov 24, 2013 1:02 pm

I think everything must contribute to her choice, that's why I said what I said.
In addition, Pavia is a city completely founded on the university, and this tells you it must be good. And it really is.

Anyway, I agree that the best thing would be to come here and see for yourself.

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Re: program comparison

Postby MarziaP » Sun Nov 24, 2013 5:35 pm

My opinion in brief:
CITY: nothing compares to Rome. (To Rita: Milan isn't even half the size of Rome, the transportation system is bound to be more efficient in smaller cities)
UNIVERSITY: La Sapienza is the largest university/campus in Europe, and also the university with the highest number of students in Europe. It is up to you to decide whether this is an advantage or not, but as far as I am concerned being part of such a small class in such a large university must be regarded as a great value.
PROGRAM STRUCTURE: more or less the medicine program all across Italy is the same. Differences are not that obvious. I think that to actually compare the quality of these courses is impossible unless you have been a student in both. (If you find yourself in Italy during the academic year, you may want to try to attend some classes in the universities you prefer, to actually see yourself. Classes in public universities are open to anyone, so if you happen to visit, we would be glad to have you as a visiting student ;) )
EXAM STRUCTURE: this is a difficult aspect to compare too. All I can tell you is how it works in our course: each semester you have 3 or 4 subjects, and at the end of each semester you have exams for each subject, usually orals. Exams are held in February, June, July, September and sometimes there is an extraordinary session in December (depending on the professors' choice). If you fail an exam, you can do it again (usually not in the same month, but it depends on the professor) and if you don't like the grade, you can do it again. A few exams are divided into 2 or 3 "esoneri" or ongoing examinations, for huge subjects like anatomy or physiology (usually for courses that last more than a semester); the final exam result will be the average of these "tests".
DIVERSITY: For our year there were 30 places available for EU citizens (the ratio of people taking the exams to those getting in is very high), and 10 places for extra EU citizens (the ratio was lower, so it was easier to get in). The EU places were mostly covered by Italians from all over Italy, but we do have students from England, Portugal, Finland, Germany, Greece etc. So roughly 50% of the class is not from Italy.


Extra-comments that might be helpful to you:
ENGLISH LANGUAGE:
Most professors are Italians, but i heard that to be able to teach our course they must have worked abroad for some time. The accent of the professors is okay, i mean some of them have a good pronounciation, whereas for others you can tell they are italians (they are all comprehensible though)...
PROFESSORS/STUDENT RATIO:
I don't know what kind of background you have, but for Italy, the quality of education given by the International Medical School is VERY good.. I mean, there are 40 students or so, which is a great advantage in so many aspects (in italy, university classes usually consist of 100+ students). This allows us to ask questions whenever we like, have more laboratory experiences, have a direct relationship with the professors, who are generally available via email/phone/office-hours.
CLINICAL EXPERIENCES:
Clinical experiences start at the second semester of second year. This is because in Italy first year is used to provide the required knowledge to be able to understand future subjects, so we take basic subjects (chemistry, physics etc) which are the bases to understand physiology, pharmacology and so on.

Hope this was helpful ;) BYE

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Re: ROME, MILAN and PAVIA: comparison of the english med cou

Postby Germano Sardella » Tue Nov 26, 2013 5:12 pm

Hello Princess.
Can you tell us where you come from? It could be that we have a student of your same language, maybe also city and you could directly speak to her/him.

I cannot tell you what it looks like in the courses of Milan or Pavia since I've never been there but I can tell you about Rome.

What concerns the city:
Cit. Marzia. Nothing compares to Rome. I've been traveling all over Europe and for longer periods in the major cities. Rome is fantastic the whole year long. Both speaking of places you can visit as well as people you can encounter. So really, from this point of view you don't have to fear ANYTHING.
It is true that trafic may be a problem once every 2/3 weeks if you use public transport.( I live 40 km away from the university and I'm never late. It just takes me 45min with my sooter). It is also true that if you live outside Rome and take the train you have to consider in taking the one earlier than the one that is considered to come at just the right time for lectures. But these problems are releated to the fact that the city is huge and there isn't the possibility to dig wherever you want since there are ruins of the roman empire (which btw you can see in the center almost everywhere).
But please remember that around the university you have LOTS of houses that offer a space for students. By "around" I mean max. 15min by foot.

The IMS course has the GREAT ADVANTAGE of having only 30-40 students/year. There's a really good mood. Friendly between the students and respectful with the teachers. It's like beeing at school. One thing I've noticed is that some teachers remember your name, which in the courses I was before wasn't even to be thought about. In our class we have like 20 italians and the remaining 20 are from all over the world. Thing are different in the first year now. There are more foreigners than italians, although they are waiting for the last free places to be allocated.

The english level is always good or better. There are some teachers that have an italian accent but you can understand everything. If you have questions you can always go and ask, write them an email or use our internet forum to contact them.

University is great and it gives you many benefits. One advantage is. eg: with about 95€ you can go to the "CUS" for the whole year. The "CUS" is like a sportcenter. There are two of them. One really close to the university where you can go to the gym. Or the other one which is like 20min farther and where you can practice almost everything. From archery to rugby.
Moreover there are also other great advantages like paying the annual subscription for the public transport less and many other things. We are thinking of doing a topic specially for these kind of things for newcomers.

ALL the courses, as well as the exames are held in english.
If you fail, or even if you don't like your score, you can refuse the exam and repeat it on another date, which is fixed from the beginning of the year, or in "extra sessions" that the professors may decide to open.
This is not true for the esoneri (please guys corret me if I'm wrong) as far as I know. Esoneri are like intermediate exams that give you the possibility to have the stuff asked that you did up until the test and that, in case you scored well, won't be asked again at the final oral exam. If you get a poor result obviously things are going to be repeated at the end. But esoneri are not mandatory.
Some exams are only Oral, some are both oral and written and someother(the minority) are only written (eg. MSM-Medical-Scientific-Methods: history+metodology+statistics). Although this is only partially true because you HAVE the RIGHT to ask for an oral examination to raise your score in case you failed/gone wrong at the written exam.

If you have other questions please ask. We will asnwer for sure.
Hope to have been of help. Bye!
Germano, tneduts lacidem

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Re: ROME, MILAN and PAVIA: comparison of the english med cou

Postby Germano Sardella » Tue Nov 26, 2013 9:00 pm

Indeed we have some students from N.A. We will ask them to get in contact with you so that you can have direct experience. Have a nice day.
Germano, tneduts lacidem

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