It is the night after day one, of six years total, at the International Medical School at the University of Milan.
This first day, we jumped immediately into the academic material. Almost every day, Monday to Friday, we are scheduled to have class from 8:30 – 5:30. Here’s what a little of what this plan looks like.
The academic program is beautifully organized. Every topic of every lecture, for the entire first semester, was handed to us in a complete guide, along with supplementary material like textbook recommendations and biographies of the professors.
Today’s lectures were all excellent. They were conceptually dense and, at times, unique in their scientific insight. They were reminiscent of the teaching at Stanford and the University of Paris.
Our first year is broken down into three basic units of study:
1. Physics and Chemistry – “Fundamentals of Basic Sciences”
2. Biology – “Cells, Molecules, and Genes”
3. Anatomy, Histology, and Embryology – “Human Body”
We are also scheduled to have bi-weekly Italian language courses.
I have called this post “The Promise of Milan”, because the English-language international medical schools at the Italian public universities — and particularly, the University of Milan, the country’s largest research institution — are offering something revolutionary in medical education. They are making it possible for students from anywhere in the world, regardless of income, to attend a Western European-quality medical school, in the language in which most international research is conducted -– that is, English.
In order to get in, all that students need is to rank high enough on the IMAT admission test. A noble philosophy underlies these programs. It is that access to the best medical expertise should be open to any student who can pass the entrance exam; the schools are not in the business of making a profit. Indeed, tuition at these programs is scaled to students’ financial resources, and never exceeds
about 4,500 3938 euros a year. Furthermore, the universities make a large number of merit and need-based scholarships available.
The students in our program come from all around the world: China, south and southeast Asia, the Middle East, the US and Canada, and throughout Europe. The promise is that they will be able to develop an international network of clinicians and researchers, helping to improve the health infrastructure of their home countries. At the same time, they can bring fresh new perspectives on medical research and clinical practice, to Italy, and to the EU.