Making medicine in Argentina is a real possibility that has already attracted thousands of Brazilians to Argentine public and private universities, both in the capital and in interior cities, such as Rosario, Córdoba and La Plata. But is it really worth dropping everything here in Brazil to live this experience in the land of the brothers ?
To try to answer this question, we went to hear the opinion of a Brazilian who is a student of the Medicine course at the University of Buenos Aires (UBA), the largest in the country. Maria Luiza Ferreira Soares is 20 years old, born in Belo Horizonte, and was in the first year of the program, known as the Common Basic Cycle (CBC), before the start of the pandemic.
Why did you decide to do medicine in Argentina?
I would not be able to afford the high costs of a medical course at a private university in Brazil. In addition, I chose to try ENEM only in my last year of high school, back in 2018, but the competition for a place within a public university was and remains very strong.
Putting it all together, I also always had an interest in studying abroad, and when I started looking for alternatives I ended up discovering UBA, which is a university with great references.
How was the process to enroll at the university?
I will explain a little about the UBA process, but it is important to emphasize that, in order to do Medicine in Argentina, each university has a different process.
The first step is to gather all the necessary documentation. On the internet it is possible to find all the information related to this and search to enter the DNI process (the equivalent to our RG in Argentina). In addition, you must also have a fluency certificate (B2) in Spanish that is accepted by the university. Because of that, before starting the course at UBA, I took a 2 month Spanish language course, also in Buenos Aires.
The Spanish course took place between April and May 2019, and in the second quarter of the same year I was already entering university.
The CBC can be considered the selection process of UBA, since before starting any course in college, it is necessary to obtain approval in the subjects of the basic cycle. But at the same time, this stage is also considered the first year of college and, as a consequence, counts as hours of study in the history and not as a selection process, since it is not really eliminatory. This is because the student has a period of 3 years to get approval in all subjects of the CBC and there is no competition for places, as happens in the Brazilian entrance exam, for example.
Each career has its Common Basic Cycle, with different subjects. In the case of Medicine, the subjects studied are Mathematics, Biophysics, Biology, Chemistry, IPC (Introduction to Scientific Thought) and ICSE (History of Argentina),. These last two are common to all courses.
It is also important to mention that there is the distance and face-to-face CBC modality. I do the distance sport, which is known as UBC XXI.
What are the biggest difficulties of going to college in another country?
In my case, I believe it was learning to deal with a new culture, a language I didn’t speak and the responsibilities of living alone all at once. I went to Argentina right after I graduated from high school, so I still didn’t quite understand what the experience would be of leaving my parents’ house and going to live in another country. And that was something that I gradually assimilated after arriving in Buenos Aires.
Do you think the experience of doing medicine in Argentina is worthwhile?
I think it’s really worth it! Argentina has a lifestyle that I like a lot and the college has a really good academic level.
After graduating, do you intend to return to Brazil or continue in Argentina?
I haven’t thought much about it yet, but I believe that before I try to go back to Brazil and do Revalida, I will live in Spain for a few years, since the Argentina certificate is valid there.
Are there many other Brazilians studying with you? How is the relationship of Brazilian students with Argentine students?
There are many Brazilian students in Argentina, mainly in Buenos Aires. Even in the early years, it is common for our circle of friends to be composed, for the most part, by Brazilians. I haven’t had much contact with Argentine students yet, but everyone I’ve made friends with so far has been very considerate of me.
What are the biggest challenges of living in Argentina?
The biggest challenge is to be alone at first. Sometimes it is necessary to have someone to trust in the first weeks, but the adaptation is fast and soon you already have friends to fill this need.
Do you feel any kind of prejudice towards Brazilian medical students by other students and professors?
I think there is a greater prejudice between Brazilians and Brazilians who study medicine in Argentina than with our classmates and teachers. However, there is also a prejudice on their part and even a thought that we are there to “take” something that belongs to them.
How is the language issue? Do you need to have an advanced level in Spanish to be able to follow the classes?
As I said before, it is necessary to have a Spanish certificate to enroll in the university. But it is possible to follow classes without such an advanced level of fluency. I believe that this question starts to weigh more from the first year after the CBC, when you start to have an oral exam (and in fact use Spanish). However, this time required for the basic cycle is also enough time to develop our language skills.
From your point of view, do you think it is worth leaving Brazil to study medicine in Argentina?
For me it was a very positive experience and sometimes I even say that it was the best decision I have ever made, but I believe that this is a very particular issue.
What advice would you give to those who are still in Brazil and want to do medicine in Argentina?
Don’t be afraid! You will experience difficulties, but in the end it will be worth it. Doing medicine in Argentina is an incredible experience that will certainly help you discover yourself and change your perspective.
How much, on average, do you think it is necessary to spend per month to live in Buenos Aires?
Costs vary a lot according to the region of the city and also to the daily habits and lifestyle of each person. But a good average is between 1500 and 3500 reais, including expenses with rent, transportation, food and leisure.