Since 1995 (Heisei 7), Saitama Medical University (SMU) has been conducting a Student Exchange Program with ten medical schools overseas; i.e., University of Liverpool in England, Linköping University in Sweden, Charité-University Medicine Berlin and University of Bochum in Germany, Semmelweis University in Hungary and University of Pecs, Chang Gung University in Taiwan, University of Manitoba in Canada, and Johns Hopkins University and Albert Einstein College of Medicine in USA. Under the Program, SMU sends two students each to the ten medical schools to engage mainly in Bedside Learning for four weeks. Reciprocally, the ten schools overseas send two students each to SMU for four weeks of similar training at SMU.
SMU students participating the Program are mostly 5th year students but sometimes a few 6th year students participate. Because the number of applicants regularly exceeds those accepted each year, selection is based on accounts of interviews and proficiency in English. Successful applicants go through a three-month-period of cram lessons in English conversation and Medical English from April through June.
The subsequent two months of summer vacation, i.e., July and August, are utilized for core activities of the Exchange Program. Namely, the majority of students from overseas visit and stay in the SMU campus for four weeks of July, while all exchange students of SMU visit and stay in medical schools overseas for four weeks of August. This format enables close contact through studying and socializing between SMU and counterpart foreign exchange students for the sum of eight weeks in continuity. During their stay overseas, exchange students not only glean most fruitful clinical training, but enjoy opportunities for direct exposure to foreign culture and various experiences. These include invitations to the homes of host doctors and excursions to places of interest in the host country during weekends.
Ingenuity of the Program helps students to develop human refinement as a physician with a broad view capable of activities in the international arena.
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