Academic Journal of Surgery 2017. 4(1):1.

International Students Seeking Medical Education in Iran; Challenges and Opportunities
Omid Azimaraghi, Ali Movafegh


"Intercultural learning could be a beacon, illuminating a world of cultural differences and a common global humanity, building blocks for a just and peaceful world" (1). The first modern center of medical training in Iran was founded in 1851. It was a part of the Institute of Higher Education (Dar-ol-Fonoon). The School of Medicine was established as a part of University of Tehran in 1934. The Iranian medical education system has trained many physicians over the last decades whom have immigrated to other countries but since a few years ago, plans for attraction of international medical students have become a priority. Many countries around the world have generated comprehensive strategy plans to increase registrations from overseas students (2, 3).

International students provide a boosted and enhanced understanding of the diversity of cultures; at the same time, universities and students face a variety of challenges and opportunities which should be taken into account. Universities cannot basically admit foreign students and anticipate self-adjustment to life in a new country and educational system without suitable support.

Adjustment challenges are principally related to language skills and cultural issues. The fact that registration of international students becomes upfront and ahead of changes made to language and cultural issues may sacrifice educational achievements. Principal university adjustments, which need to be boosted include informative websites with higher education information, funding for programs, educational programs in English with transferable credits and simplified visa and university application processes, some of which have been well adjusted at Tehran University of Medical Sciences with hundreds of international students from over 20 countries around the world (4, 5). It should also be noticed that economic issues are important factor in increasing the motivation of students to continue their studies abroad.

Increasing international students is not all about challenges and changes needed to be made to universities; apart from the apparent positive financial issues, many new opportunities are conveyed for the nation. Engaging globally with the rest of the world helps us be better equipped to tackle our everyday encounters and encourages the crossing of people and ideas. Although universities in Iran are still at the beginning of this long journey to become “internationally friendly” for international medical students who are seeking to continue their education in Iran, the journey has well started.

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