“Friends told me about Romania, I found out and applied to the four schools in the country. » After a BTS and a year of preparation in Paris, Timothé, 26, did not obtain the entrance exam to veterinary school. For him, repeating a year is out of the question: “In my prep, no repeater passed the competitive exam, it’s a rather demoralizing observation…” So, like more and more aspiring veterinarians, he made the choice to expatriate.
Juliette didn’t even wait to try her luck in the French competitions before leaving for the other side of Europe. After two years of engineering school, she sent her application to Romania. “I was taken in Bucharest. I gave up on the idea of taking the exam because I had to wait a year and I wasn’t sure if I would be accepted. I didn’t want to waste this opportunity,” says the 25-year-old young woman.
A success rate between 10% and 20%
In France, there are only four veterinary schools which can accommodate around 650 students each year. The different entrance exams are very selective and the success rate varies between 10% and 20%, depending on the statistics of the different preparation courses. In Romania, veterinary courses at universities are accessible from the baccalaureate level and recruitment is based on application. The diploma awarded at the end of six years of study is a European diploma, which therefore allows you to practice the profession of veterinarian in France. “For those who are really sure of themselves, Romania can also be a way to become a veterinarian more quickly, without going through the compulsory preparation in France,” believes Juliette.
Timothé and Juliette, accepted the same year, joined the English section of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine in Bucharest. But you don’t need to speak English to move to Romania. Faced with growing demand from French students, French sections have been created in certain Romanian veterinary faculties.
In Bucharest, the section opened 6 years ago welcomes around thirty people per year. Léa, in 5th year, was able to study in French 3000 kilometers from her native Poitou. “At the beginning, there were some translation concerns on the part of the Romanian teachers,” concedes the 25-year-old from Niort. But over the years it has become more fluid. »
This is just one of the advantages that veterinary studies in Romania offer for French people. Compared to Spain or Belgium, destinations also popular with students in this sector, Romania offers the opportunity for student life at a lower cost. The academic year costs around 6,000 euros, compared to 15,000 euros in Spain for example. There are still some promotions, it was even free for the best students.
A student life like nowhere else
“The first days were complicated. My apartment in the suburbs was surrounded by Soviet blocs, I didn’t know the language… There was a real divide,” Timothé recalls about his arrival in Bucharest. But, from the top of his final year, he takes stock of an exceptional student life. “As we were all far from home, we bonded very quickly, faster and stronger than if we had met in France,” he says. “Being abroad pushed us to take trips that we probably wouldn’t have done otherwise. We went to Istanbul, Hungary, Greece, and we obviously visited Romania a lot,” adds Juliette. The three friends have just returned from a trip to the mountains in the northwest of the country, in the Maramureș region, when we meet them.
From an academic point of view, the failure in the French competitive exam left the shadow of imposter syndrome lingering during their first years of study. “At the beginning, we compared our training a lot to that of schools in France. But ultimately, the lessons are the same. And here, we can do as many internships as we want, and we systematically come back to do them,” says Léa. Almost all French veterinary students in Bucharest do at least two months of internship in France per year, which allows them to build a network and reassures them about the strength of their training. “We sometimes use French courses to revise because they are often clearer. But even if the teaching is a little different here, we feel as armed as our friends who studied in France,” assures Juliette.
Proof of this is that, alongside Timothé, she has just passed the boarding school exam. At the end of their studies in Romania, which will end this summer, they will join the clinic of the National Veterinary School of Alfort for an additional year of training. “The internship then offers us the possibility of doing a residency, a training course which lasts four years and which allows us to become a specialist,” explains Timothé.
“There is a real shortage in France”
The three students we met are confident in their future and their possibilities of entering the job market. “In every clinic I went to for training, there was a shortage of veterinarians. There is a real shortage in France,” says Léa. “We are even seeing more and more clinics working hard on social networks to attract young veterinarians,” notes Timothé. A lack of practitioners which ensures a place and a choice for these expatriates. Because no French veterinary student plans to stay in Romania.
Indeed, the conception of the veterinary profession seems different in this Eastern European country. “Here, I have the impression that society does not give as much importance to the well-being of the animal. Consequently, the profession of veterinarian is not as recognized as in France and salaries are very low. I have seen several people stop working as veterinarians for economic reasons,” explains Timothé. In fact, the average salary approaches 2,300 euros gross in France while it slightly exceeds 800 euros gross in Romania.
Added to this is the language barrier, which requires speaking fluently, or the distance from loved ones. If Juliette strongly recommends the experience of studying in Romania and would do it again if she had to do it again, she also does not see herself building her life here: “The whole family that we created in Bucharest during our six years of study goes back to France anyway. »
This news article has been translated from the original language to English by WorldsNewsNow.com.
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