According to the Erasmus+ agency, healthcare students are the least likely to dive into international mobility. However, despite the brakes, going abroad when you are pursuing medical or paramedic studies is quite possible.
“Students want to go out, but they don’t always know how to do it,” says Mathilde Padilla, president of FNESI (national federation of nursing students). In fact, international mobility still seems relatively little or little known by students and health institutions. The paramedical sectors (nurses, speech therapists, physiotherapists, psychomotorists, etc.), but also obstetrics (midwifery) are not always integrated in universities, which makes access to mobility difficult. So here’s what you need to know.
Various international mobility programs
The best known and most widespread program continues to be the Erasmus+ programme. To access it as a student, the establishment must be a signatory to the Erasmus+ letter. If universities are, some IFSI (nursing training institutes), schools or training centers are among the exceptions and are not linked to them. Educate yourself well. The procedure is the same as for the other students. : choose your destination, your host/internship establishment, manage the administrative part, etc.
In parallel, other programs may also allow you to leave. “Medical students go out more through the International Federation of Medical Student Associations (IFMSA): is a clinical exchange around public health, but with an added cultural aspect“, says Nicolas Lunel, president of ANEMF (the 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 exits through NGOs, in particular to do humanitarian work but student associations warn of the cost of this mobility that is not supervised by the university and is not recognized for graduation.
Choose the right time to leave
Mobility can occur at any time during your schooling. Generally, the end of the course is preferred by the 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 dedicated to mobility – the passage of the internship tests taking place at the beginning of the sixth year from 2024.
For future midwives, the second cycle (fourth and fifth years) should also be favored. “Students have more skills and autonomy : when you go to countries where hygiene is not great, where there are few employees, it is better to have a certain training”, evaluates Laura Faucher, president of ANESF (national association of obstetrics 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 onwards it is possible. I think to go out you really need some basics“, emphasizes Mathilde Padilla.
Internship and study mobility to enrich your professional career
In any case, mobility is a real advantage for future caregivers. Student associations are stepping up to inform and make going abroad accessible without this having any impact on training. “At the moment, there is almost only internship mobility because there is a lack of knowledge about study mobilitybut it has to evolve”, defends the president of FNESI.
Midwifery students are often disadvantaged by an already very demanding training but also for the lack of equivalence in terms of courses in other countries. Mobility, therefore, occurs more in clinics in Africa or Vietnam, because the operation is very different. “Mobility changes the way we look at practice, the way we can exercise after questioning our work”, says Laura Faucher. “They discover another country, another culture and another health system, it is an asset for future health professionals“, confirms Mathilde Padilla, so there is no reason not to start, just be well informed!