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Health studies and international mobility, it’s possible!

According to the Erasmus+ agency, health students are the least likely to take the plunge into international mobility. However, despite the brakes, going abroad when you follow medical or paramedical studies is quite possible.

“Students want to leave but they don’t always know how to go about it,” says Mathilde Padilla, president of the FNESI (national federation of nursing students). Indeed, international mobility still seems relatively little or poorly known to health students and institutions. The paramedical sectors (nurse, speech therapist, physiotherapist, psychomotrician, etc.) but also midwifery (midwifery) are not always integrated into universities, which hinders access to mobility. So here’s what you need to know.

Various international mobility programs

The best known and most widespread program remains the Erasmus+ programme. To access it as a student, the establishment must be a signatory of the Erasmus+ charter. If universities are, some IFSI (nursing training institutes), schools or training centers are among the exceptions and are not attached to them. Educate yourself well. The procedure is then the same as for the other students. : choose your destination, your host establishment/internship, manage the administrative part, etc.

In parallel, other programs may also allow you to leave. “Medical students leave more via the organization International federation of medical students associations (IFMSA): it is a clinical exchange around public health but with an additional cultural aspect“, says Nicolas Lunel, president of the ANEMF (national association of medical students in France). An asset for future doctors who have direct access to hospitals for their internship.

Other students also favor departures via the NGOs, in particular to do humanitarian work but student associations warn about the cost of this mobility which is not supervised by the university and not recognized for graduation.

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Choose the right time to leave

Mobility can take place at any time during your schooling. Generally, the end of the course is preferred by students. In medicine, the third, fourth and fifth years seem to be the best times to start. With the implementation of the day school reform, student associations hope that the sixth year can be more devoted to mobility – the passage of the boarding school tests taking place at the start of the sixth year from 2024.

For future midwives, the second cycle (fourth and fifth years) is also to be favored. “Students have more skills and autonomy : when you go to countries where hygiene is not optimal, where there are few staff, it is better to have a certain background”, estimates Laura Faucher, president of the ANESF (national association of midwifery students).

Same observation for nursing students: “Today, they leave more in the sixth semester, therefore at the end of the third year, but from the second year it is possible. I think that to leave, you do indeed need some basics“, emphasizes Mathilde Padilla.

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Internship and study mobility to enrich your professional career

In any case, mobility is a real plus for future caregivers. Student associations are stepping up to inform and make departures abroad accessible without this having any impact on training. “For the moment, there are almost only internship mobility because there is a lack of knowledge of study mobilitybut it has to evolve”, pleads the president of the FNESI.

Midwifery students are often hampered by an already very demanding training but also by the lack of equivalence in terms of courses in other countries. Mobility therefore takes place more in clinics in Africa or Vietnam because the operation is very different. “Mobility changes the way we look at practice, on the way we can exercise later by questioning our work,” says Laura Faucher. “They discover another country, another culture and another health system, it is an added value for future health professionals“, confirms Mathilde Padilla. So there is no reason not to get started, you just need to be well informed!

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