Undergraduate and graduate (integrated) study of medicine in English (hereinafter referred to as Integrated study of medicine in English – MSE)
The University of Zagreb School of Medicine always had a proactive approach to internationalization; thus, this concept has been embedded in the foundations of the ZSM long before the term itself has become one of the buzz words of the globalization process. The founders of the ZSM have studied medicine in various international medical centers in Europe between the two wars, and the first year of the School of Medicine in Zagreb was characterized by the work of international faculty who have very successfully integrated into the existing educational space (Mayerhofer, Saltykow, Prašek, etc.) and significantly improved medical education and practice in the territory of the former state. During the thirties of last century, a significant number of foreign nationals from the area of South Eastern Europe were studying, and the noticeable expansion of foreign students took place in the period between the beginning of the seventies and late eighties of the last century when their number increased to nearly 400 students. Among them were a significant number of students from the Croatian diaspora, the USA, Canada, Australia and Europe, and a significant number of students from the Middle East and Africa.
Based on positive experiences and traditions of training foreign doctors in Croatia in postgraduate clinical and public health studies, in early 2002, the initiative for the establishment of a medical school in the English language originated. With the help of international partners, a proposal for the study was developed, which was adopted by the University Senate in Zagreb in 2002. It was the first accepted proposal of a teaching program of study as a comprehensive study in English at the University of Zagreb and the first medical studies in English in Croatia. The University of Zagreb School of Medicine obtained the permit for the study in 2005 as full time study for personal use. The total class obligation of students has been harmonized with the EU requirements, and the study bears 360 ECTS credits.
In the first years of the introduction of the studies in the English language, the majority of students who enrolled were students from Canada and the United States, mainly representatives of the Croatian diaspora, students from France, Sweden and Germany, students with dual citizenship and Croatian citizens (about 10%). Today, there is a growing interest in this study, in which 50 students enroll annually. They come from different countries in the world which is described in detail in chapter of the self‐evaluation that relates to students. Therefore, the entrance exam is organized not only in Zagreb, but also in Israel, Sweden and Germany.
The rules of study are the same as for the study of medicine in the Croatian language. Although there are similarities, in its conception, the integrated program of medical studies in English is not a replica of the national program (national program translated into English), but has been modernized with certain content, methodological approaches and educational strategies that characterize a reformed medical schools in Europe and around the world. In teaching, contemporary and innovative methodological approaches are applied: student‐oriented teaching, problem‐based learning (PBL) and teaching in small groups. At the final year of study, too, the horizontal and vertical integration of knowledge, skills and attitudes is performed through the subject “Clinical Rotations” when the student has the possibility to stay in health institutions/hospitals in the Republic of Croatia or go abroad, e.g. to the country where they plan to work after graduation. In this way, students are able to learn about other health systems and to adjust to the location of a possible future employment. Since 2009, the hourly rate for the course “Croatian Language” has been increased, which improved the clinical part of the study that involves communication with the patient, but also the integration of students of English studies into the Croatian society.