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Hear from Mari ... 

Mari Westad (23) from Stange in Hedmark is now in her fourth year at Charles University, Third Faculty of Medicine. Read about Mari's experiences and experiences about what it is like to study medicine at Charles University, Third Faculty of Medicine and what it is like to be a student in Prague. 

What is it like to study medicine at the 3rd faculty?

The 3rd faculty has a slightly different structure of study than most other universities. In the first years, you have large modules and you start with biochemistry instead of anatomy, which many may be used to. Then you gradually build on your knowledge of anatomy, physiology and pathology over the years before you start with the clinical subjects. In several of the subjects, there are student teachers who are very helpful. You quickly find out which study techniques pay off and you become very independent in your own learning.


What is it like to live in a European city like Prague?

I think Prague is an absolutely perfect city! Fit big enough that there is always something going on, without it getting too big. It's like never more than 20 minutes, whether you walk, take public transport or take uber. You manage to get to know the city well and it is a safe city with lots of fun to find. There are cool restaurants and bars on every street corner and lots of great parks and green areas. Otherwise, the city itself is absolutely beautiful to just look at while walking along the street.


How is the student community in Prague?

The student community is very good. Everyone starting an English curriculum has moved far from home, usually for the first time and does not know many others. Therefore, most people are very open to getting to know each other and making friends, it makes everything a little less scary in the beginning. Both the school through Trimed and ANSA are good at arranging events so you can meet people from your own and other school years. The older students are very good at sharing notes, tips and tricks so you are well known across both school years and nationalities.


How is the teaching at the Third Faculty of Medicine?

The professors usually expect that you are prepared for the lessons and you probably have to take greater responsibility for your own learning than in Norway. For new students it may seem scary at first but then it is just to take advantage of the experiences of older students. During the first year, you have to try and fail a little before you find out your own rhythm. Much of the teaching takes place in classical lectures. They are not mandatory and all of the presentations are available afterwards, so you can decide much of your own everyday life. The seminars are divided into smaller groups and it is often older students who teach. For me, these were the lessons I think were most useful, and it is much easier to ask questions when you are in a small group.


Why should one choose Prague over other cities in Eastern Europe to study medicine in?

The two biggest points for me are the city itself and the student community. The Norwegian student community in particular is very good, much thanks to ANSA. Here I am a bit biased since I have been on the board for a few years myself, but ANSA arranges almost monthly pub quizzes, Christmas dinners and May 17 just to name a few. It's not just for Norwegians and we always bring our international friends and make lots of fun. As I have mentioned, I think the city is absolutely perfect when it comes to size, culture, food and nightlife. There is always something new to check out on the weekends and the map on my phone is full of restaurants, cafes and bars I want to go to. Although I have soon been here for 4 years, I am not halfway on the list once because there is always something new and exciting. Prague is also very well located in Europe which means that most other big cities are only a few hours by train away, perfect if you want to get away for a weekend!

What do you like to spend your free time on?

Food! Whether dinner at home with friends or at a restaurant, I think food is the meaning of life. You get so much good food for far cheaper than in Norway, so even a student can treat himself to a good number of restaurant visits before you have to start worrying about the bank account. Otherwise, I am an addicted animal who loves routine and everyday life, so the (almost) daily training session, coffee rounds and movie nights with the girls I live with and a little party and fun on the weekends are all it takes for me to be happy.


Finally, what is your best tip for new students who want / are going to study medicine in Prague?

Go to all the events in the beginning! I think everyone who can should join Dobronice, a get-to-know-you camp that the school organizes before school starts. Then you get to meet the group you will be with for the next 6 years, older students, Czech students and lots of teachers. It made the first day of school much less scary! The same applies to Freshers week and ANSA events, there is a friend guarantee at all these events. When it comes to studies, one must not be afraid to ask questions or ask for help, neither from teachers nor fellow students. Everyone wants your best but it is a big transition for many and it can help to lean a little on those who have gone through it before you. You must also not be afraid to change study techniques, the more different you try in first grade the faster you will find out what works for you. Finally, buy the iPad and Apple pencil! You can have both textbooks and notes digitally, it is so much easier to share notes with friends, and some nice drawings in all possible colors always help with your study motivation.

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