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Applying to a medical school is one of the most difficult as well as responsible choices a prospective student may make. It is of course just the beginning of a long journey full of experiences provoking contradictory feelings, but invariably leading to a final goal that is worth its while!

So the first step along the road of becoming a medical doctor is choosing the best place for you to study! Some of the main points defining what could be the best choice therefore include the type of teaching the medical school provides, the curriculum itself, the practical lessons that are provided and of course the prospects with which a graduate-to-be is faced with.

Bari English Medical Curriculum (BEMC) is Degree Course in Medicine and Surgery provided in English language that that awards 360 CFU distributed over 6 years. Founder and coordinator of the program is Prof. Piero Portincasa. The aim of the program is to provide a high quality medical education through rigorous theoretical training as well as practical knowledge in the international environment of our small but incredibly diverse classes!  “The Medical School is also developing a network of excellence for offering the best teaching facilities to BEMC students. Contacts are in progress with several Universities involved in Erasmus+ mobility programs of students/teachers and extra-EC Universities with exceptional teaching facilities.[…] Universities joining the network so far include Harvard Medical School – Boston, Saint Louis University (USA), LudwigMaximilians-Universität – Munich” and many others. More on the subject you will find in the official brochure of BEMC.

The first year is composed of subjects that provide the basics for deeper and further understanding of medical practice and its application in the everyday activities of a physician. Semester one of year I is composed of the following subjects: Biology and Genetics, Chemistry and Introductory Biochemistry, Cytology, Human sciences (General Psychology, History of Medicine, Bioethics and Doctor-patient Relationship), Medical Physics and Informatics all of which contributing to deeper understanding of subsequent matters and teaching indispensable knowledge on main subjects concerning the way organisms function. Semester II of year I encompasses subjects such as Biochemistry, Cytology, Histology, Embryology, Anatomy, Minor Surgery, Principles of Emergency Medicine, Medical Semiology, Principles of Surgical Semilogy, Semiology of Normal joints I and principles of developmental Ultra Sound imaging.

One interesting aspect of our studies during semester I is also the focus on how technology aids diagnostics, how biology explains various phenomena occurring in the smallest unit of structure and function- the cell, that in turn influence the body as a whole, and the relationship between the medical profession and the ethical code governing it. I can’t fail to mention the importance of us being introduced to the basics of how to approach a patient and their condition in a respectable, human-like and professional manner at the same time: something that we were allowed to see and experience in practice!

Yes, PRACTICAL knowledge apart from strong theoretical background is an integral part of what BEMC can offer. Even in the first days of our studies we were equipped with white coats and infinite enthusiasm as young doctors-to-be in Policlinico di Bari! One example of the intriguing encounter with the practical aspect of medicine, on invitation by professor Vincenzo Palmieri as well as professor Piero Portincasa, was our visit in the internal medicine ward where we could observe echography being performed and of course that was accompanied by an extensive explanation on the condition of the patient- something we were encouraged to write down as a part of future knowledge to be added to the subject.

Another thing would be the seminars we can and actually should attend, where different issues concerning disease and novelty medical practices are discussed. What is more, there are always interesting models: for example a tool with which you can practice stitching like the one in the picture- simple but clever!

One intriguing aspect of being a student in BEMC is the small class and thus the possibility of attending those various extracurricular activities. To exemplify, recently we attended a clinical ward to play with  children patients by invitation of one of our professors- Vito Lavolpe! The words to describe it are “rewarding, wonderful experience”!

Why BEMC- because BEMC provides its students with the opportunity to receive high quality medical education blending theory and practice in an international environment to yield intriguing results!

In my next article I will relate my experience of attending the surgical ward of Policlinico di Bari. Thank you for reading!