Veterinary studies: “Romania can be a way to become a veterinarian faster”

“Friends told me about Romania, I inquired and applied to the four schools in the country. “After a BTS and a year of preparation in Paris, Timothé, 26, does not obtain the entrance examination to veterinary school. For him, it was out of the question to repeat: “In my preparation, no repeater had the competition, it is a rather demoralizing observation…” So, like more and more aspiring veterinarians, he made the choice to emigrate.

Juliette didn’t even wait to try her luck at the French competitions to go to the other end of Europe. After two years of engineering school, she sends her dossier to Romania. “I was taken to Bucharest. I dropped the idea of ​​taking the exam because I had to wait a year and I wasn’t sure if I would be taken. I didn’t want to waste this opportunity,” says the 25-year-old.

A success rate between 10% and 20%

In France, there are only four veterinary schools which can accommodate around 650 students each year. The various entrance examinations are very selective and the success rate varies between 10% and 20%, according to the statistics of the various preparations. In Romania, university veterinary courses are accessible from the baccalaureate and recruitment is done on file. The diploma issued at the end of six years of study is a European diploma, which therefore allows you to practice in France. “For those who are really sure of themselves, Romania can also be a way to become a veterinarian more quickly, without going through the compulsory preparatory training in France,” says Juliette.

Timothé and Juliette, accepted the same year, joined the English section of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine in Bucharest. But no need to speak English to move to Romania. Faced with the growing demand from French students, French sections have been created in some Romanian veterinary faculties.

In Bucharest, the section opened 6 years ago welcomes around thirty people a year. Léa, in 5th year, was able to study in French 3000 kilometers from her native Poitou. “At the beginning, there were some translation problems on the part of the Romanian teachers, concedes the 25-year-old Niortaise. But over the years it has become more fluid. »

This is just one of the advantages that veterinary studies in Romania offer for the French. Compared to Spain or Belgium, destinations also popular with students in this sector, Romania offers the opportunity for student life at a lower cost. The university year costs around 6,000 euros, compared to 15,000 euros in Spain for example. There are still some promotions, it was even free for the best students.

A student life like nowhere else

“The first days were complicated. My apartment in the suburbs was surrounded by Soviet blocks, I didn’t know the language… There was a real gap,” Timothé recalls about his arrival in Bucharest. But, from the top of his last year, he takes stock of an exceptional student life. “As we were all far from home, we bonded very quickly, faster and stronger than if we had met in France,” he says. “Being abroad pushed us to take trips that we probably wouldn’t have taken otherwise. We went to Istanbul, Hungary, Greece, and obviously we visited Romania a lot”, adds Juliette. The three friends have just returned from a trip to the mountains in the northwest of the country, in the Maramureș region, when we meet them.

From a school point of view, the failure in the French competition left the shadow of an impostor syndrome hanging over their first years of study. “At the beginning, we compared our training a lot to that of schools in France. But ultimately, the courses are the same. And here, we can do as many internships as we want, and we systematically go home to do them,” says Léa. Almost all French veterinary students in Bucharest do at least two months of internship in France per year, which allows them to build a network and reassures them about the strength of their training. “We sometimes use the French courses to revise because they are often clearer. But even if the pedagogy is a little different here, we feel as armed as our friends who studied in France”, assures Juliette.

Proof of this is that she has just succeeded, alongside Timothé, in the boarding school competition. At the end of their studies in Romania, which will end this summer, they will join the clinic of the National Veterinary School of Alfort for an additional year of training. “The boarding school then offers us the possibility of doing a residency, a training course that lasts four years and which allows you to become a specialist,” explains Timothé.

“There is a real shortage in France”

The three students we met are confident in their future and in their possibilities of entering the job market. “In each clinic where I went for an internship, there was a lack of veterinarians. There is a real shortage in France,” says Léa. “We even see more and more clinics struggling on social networks to attract young veterinarians,” notes Timothé. A lack of practitioners which ensures a place and a choice for these expatriates. Because no French veterinary student intends to stay in Romania.

Indeed, the conception of the profession of veterinarian seems different in this Eastern European country. “Here, I have the impression that society does not place as much importance on animal welfare. Consequently, the profession of veterinarian is not as recognized as in France and the salaries are very low. I have seen several people stop working as a veterinarian for economic reasons,” explains Timothé. In fact, the average salary approaches 2300 euros gross in France when it slightly exceeds 800 euros gross in Romania.

Added to this is the language barrier, which must be spoken fluently, or even the distance with their loved ones. While Juliette strongly recommends the experience of studying in Romania and would do it again if it had to be done again, she does not see herself building her life here either: “The whole family we created in Bucharest during our six years of studies is going back to France anyway. »

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