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Medical Student's association for RwandaMEDSAR
Rwanda flag.jpg MEDSAR symbol.jpg
Location Rwafrica.jpg

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Participating cities (LC's) Butare
Languages Kinyarwanda,English,French
Currency (how much is a Bigmac?) Rfrs, 2500
Time zone GMT+2
Number of Doctors and beds per 1000 people 0.05/1000
Member of IFMSA since... 1996
Number of incoming students per year 30
Who are our NEO's Tharcisse NYANDWI
Our official website / Forum / Facebook group
Come for exchange!

Welcome Note

Dear student, We are honored that you are showing interest in doing an international elective in Rwanda. The Standing Committee on Professional Exchange of the Medical Student's Association of Rwanda is in charge of international electives since 1996. Just take a look on our program and I'm sure you'll be excited. please do not hesitate to contact us for any wonders about this.


The Faculty of Medicine at the National University of Rwanda is welcoming you to the International elective Program in its referral Hospitals. This is modulated through the Standing Committee on Professional Exchange(SCOPE) which has been doing this for more than 15 years now. We welcome Students from both Overseas and Regional Universities to do electives. The main Hospital accommodating International students is the Butare university teaching hospital but we are affiliated to many other hospitals around the country including Gihundwe Hospital in the South-western part of the country (Cyangugu) and Ruhengeri Hospital in the North.

Our health care system

Eventhough the Doctor:Patient ratio is still low, The quality of our health care system has known a great improvement for the past 15 years(following the 1994 genocide). More than 90% Rwandans are covered by different health insurance systems.

The hospitals

The NUR is the first University to be created in Rwanda, it is the main State’s University of the whole country. The faculty of medicine and the university teaching hospital are located on their own hill. The Butare university teaching hospital(Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Butare/CHUB) is the Biggest Hospital and the reference Hospital of the Southern Province. The Departments that are Hosting exchange Students are: Surgery Dpt(main language is English) Internal Medicine Dpt( both English and French are spoken) Pediatrics(Main language is English) Gynecology/ obstetrics Dpt. (Main language is still French but they do speak English as well). Most Departments do have their morning report meeting at 7:30 am.

Our medical education

Our medical education has two programs, an undergraduate and a postgraduate program. In the UG program, we do 2 years of preclinical and 4 years of clinical studies. the NUR faculty of Medicine is the only one present in the country, and it has more than a 600 Medical Students.

Cultural differences

The Rwandan culture includes not only the population of Rwanda but people in neighboring states who speak the Kinyarwanda language. All inhabitants speak the same language they are thus widely considered to share a common culture . the country’s intellectual and cultural pulse, the outstanding National Museum houses one of Africa’s finest ethnographic collections. Rwandan traditions are explained through sepia photographs, traditional artefacts, displays outlining early lifestyles, traditional architecture, games and sports, Intore dancers, sophisticated oral poetry and spiritual beliefs. It’s via oral tradition that Rwanda’s literary heritage has flourished. Myths, folk tales, proverbs and poems convey stories, moral lessons and history. The Rwandan court traditionally trained young nobles in the composition and performance of songs and poems celebrating heroism in warfare and the possession of cattle. Will I hear local music while travelling in Rwanda? You won’t be able to avoid it. Popular,religious or traditional tunes fill the air whether you’re at a bus station, a market, in a taxi or near a school before lessons. Dance-floor crowds go wild to Congolese ndombolo (literally “crazy”), in contrast to the controlled, elegant movements of the Rwandan gushayaya (“cow dance”). More formally, the breathtaking Intore dancers are based in Butare and perform nationally, chanting and moving in formation, wearing short skirts and ankle bells, brandishing traditional weapons. Where can I buy the best handicrafts to take home? For woodcarving and traditional instruments, stroll the stalls on Kigali’s Avenue de l’Armée, or visit the Association des Artistes Rwandaise in Rue Kisimbali, which offers crafts from several co-operatives. The woven natural fibre bowls, mats, baskets and storage containers are among Africa’s finest. At Kigali’s CAURWA workshop, the Twa people produce simple, dignified pottery. The city also has Rwanda’s only art school, the Centre for the Formation of Art, where you can view and purchase paintings and sculptures, many expressing feelings about reconciliation and peace. In eastern Rwanda, abstract cow dung paintings are produced by a local co-operative in Nyakarimbi. Are cultural tours of Rwanda available? Local operators can tailor-make trips and arrange tickets for the Intore dancers (also available through Butare’s National Museum). And when I’ve worked up an appetite? Kigali boasts numerous international restaurants, from Italian and French to Indian and Chinese. Most towns have hotels offering western meals with a Belgian influence (Africa’s best chips) and there are innumerable Rwandan restaurants serving local favourites such as goat kebabs, grilled tilapia (lake fish), ugali (stiff maize porridge), matoke (cooked banana), bean or meat stews and chapatti (flat bread). Wash it all down with local lager, banana beer or urwagwa (banana wine). Some befriendly words; Make an effort to acquire some local phrases: muraho – hello; murakoze – thank you; imbabazi – excuse me; amakuru? - how are you? mwiriwe – good evening; yego – yes; oya - no umva-listen • Despite their extraordinary recent history, Rwandans are ordinary people who, like people everywhere, respond positively to courtesy and a smile. • Don’t photograph daily scenes or people unless you have asked permission and perhaps paid a small fee to your intended subject.-->

Accommodation & Boarding

We do have accommodations. • In a newly built hostel, same conditions as local students and very close to the Hospital and the campus. i.e. you can walk to the hospital! Accommodation is free on bilateral agreements and an exchange fee is charged for unilateral units, boarding and lodging is included in the unilateral fee.

Social program

a broad range of social Programs!! this is from Welcoming parties, Dinners, House parties, picnics to different lakes and national parks, cooking parties... It is exciting am telling you!!

Local & National transportation

As Butare is a very small town(it's basically mainly the university), you can practically walk to and from anywhere. However buses either local and National do run continuously and you can also use motor bikes. it's pretty easy!Image 2.jpg


Tropical Weather.. not too warm and not too cold all through the year! "weather paradise" in brief.

Social life

We do arrange for you Breakfast and Lunch at the Hospital Restaurant, and you can use whatever restaurant you want for Dinner. Some prices: • A Pizza: 2500rfs(3 euros) • A beer(0,75l): 1000rfs(1,3 euros) • A coke(0,33L): 400rfs(50 euro cents ) • Club: 2000rfs(2,5 euros) • Rwandan food restaurant prices : 1000- 2000rfs(1,3- 2,5 euros) Notice: Students in Rwanda do use Restaurants a lot as they do offer pretty good services at relatively good prices and it is not at all common for them to cook! so if you're tired of running home every evening to cook, just come over!!!

There are lots of shows and Musical performances in the University, your contact persons will let you know about everything going on.

Exchange conditions

The exchange program runs throughout the year.(June,July and August are busy months so not sure deal), months after summer are more sure deal since the hospitals are not busy with students. Boarding and lodging are at the Student restaurant and Hostels respectively. The hostels are near the Hospital and are located on a newly built hostel, very close to the Hospital and the campus. i.e. you can walk to the hospital(no need of taking a bus)! Social programs e.g. small parties, cultural dance lectures, etc are arranged by the LEOs. Some requirements;

- A health Insurance valid for Rwanda. - a photo (needed to be sent by mail before you arrive.) - White coat!, Stethoscope, Reflex Harmer, books that the student may need - a pair of bed sheets!, - Personal hygienic stuff, towels,…

The Applicant should get in contact with the embassy at home before coming since many countries don't require VISA to enter Rwanda. The available city at the moment is Butare(Huye town)only.

City offered for Exchange

Butare - Butare (HUYE now ) was the largest and most important city in Rwanda prior to 1965, when it lost out to the more centrally located Kigali, 135km to its north, as the capital of independent Rwanda. Today the site of several academic institutions, including the country's largest university,Huye ( Butare) is still regarded to be the intellectual and cultural pulse of Rwanda. It is also an attractively compact and sedate town of shady avenues emanating from a main street lined with comfortable small hotels and breezy terrace restaurants.

The most prominent tourist attraction in Huye (Butare) is the superb National Museum, which houses perhaps the finest ethnographic collection in East Africa. Absorbing displays of traditional artifacts are illuminated by a fascinating selection of turn-of-the-century monochrome photographs, providing insight not only into pre-colonial lifestyles, but also into the subsequent development of Rwanda as a modern African state. The cultural significance of the Huye area is further underlined by a visit to nearby Nyabisindu, formerly known as Nyanza, the traditional seat of Rwanda’s feudal monarchy. The impressive Royal Palace at Nyanza, an enormous domed construction made entirely with traditional materials, has been painstakingly restored to its 19th century state and is now maintained as a museum. Inside the Royal Palace

[Huye City]]

Rwanda attractions

Genocide Memorials: There are two memorials south of Kigali, both accessible as a day trip. The church at Nyamata, about 30 km from Kigali, was the scene of a horrific massacre. The interior has been cleared and left empty. There are still some blood stains on the walls, and, in the courtyard outside an underground chamber has been dug in which are stored-and displayed-the skulls and of many hundred victims. A guide will take you round and explain the background-and ask you to sign the visitors’ book, in which you may spot some internationally known names. Ntarama church, about 5 km down a right-hand fork, which branches off the Nyamata road roughly 20 km outside Kigali, has been left empty and just as it was after the bodies had been removed-there are scraps of cloth and personal items still on the floor. Beside it is another building where more people, seeking safety, were slaughtered.

Kabgayi Church Museum: The massive cathedral of Kabgayi, 3 km from Gitarama along the Butare road, is the oldest in the country, dating from 1925; missionaries were already installed in Kabgayi by 1906 and it became the first seat of the Catholic Bishop. The cathedral, with its huge and tranquil interior, is worth a visit, and there is a small museum nearby.

Nyungwe Forest: Nyungwe protects the largest single tract of montane forest remaining anywhere in East or Central Africa. The forest takes on a liberating primal presence even before you enter. Thus it is a remarkably rich center of biodiversity, harboring, among other things, 75 mammal species, 275 birds, 120 butterflies, and more than 100 varieties of orchid. The main attraction of Nyungwe Forest is its primates. Chimp tracking can be arranged at short notice and relatively minor expense. Several other monkeys are readily seen, including the acrobatic Rwenzori colobus in troops of up to 400 strong (the largest arboreal primate troops in Africa) and the beautiful and highly localized I’Hoest’s monkey. Nyungwe is also alluring to the birders, botanists, and keen walkers. One of the joys of Nyungwe is its accessibility. Not only is the forest bisected by the surfaced trunk road between Butare and Cyangungu, but it is serviced by an excellent and inexpensive resthouse and campsite, and easily explored along a well maintained network of walking trails.

The Gorillas and Birds: Interestingly the three countries of Rwanda, Uganda and the Republic of Congo commonly have a share of the rare mountain gorilla whose main sanctuary is the Virunga. The Virunga Conservation Area, on the upper slopes of the Virunga volcanoes form three neighboring national parks namely, Parc National des Volcans in Rwanda, Mgahinga National Park in Uganda, and Parc des Virungas in DR Congo. Over 350 mountain gorillas (half of the world population) live in this region. However, Uganda has habituated one family of mountain gorillas where as Rwanda has habituated four gorilla families in Parc National des Volcans. Gorillas aside, some 76 mammal species have been recorded in Uganda’s neighboring Mgahinga National Park, and it seems reasonable to assume that most of these animals also occur in the larger Rwanda section of the Virungas. The following animals do exist in this area: the golden monkey, silver monkey, elephants, buffaloes, Giant forest hog, bushpig, bushbuck, black-fronted duiker, spotted-hyena, yellow-backed duiker and leopard among others. Over 180 bird species have been recorded in this park. A local specialty is the vulnerable Grauer’s swamp warbler, while at least 13 Albertine Rift endemics are present, including handsome francolin, Rwenzori Turaco, Rwenzori batis, strange weaver, dusky crimson-wing, Shelly’s crimson-wing and Archer’s ground robin.

Akagera National Park: Akagera national park is named after the Akagera River which runs along its eastern boundary. It is relatively warm and low-lying, and its undulating plains support a cover of dense, broad-leafed woodland interspersed with lighter acacia woodland and patches of rolling grassland. The eastern part of the park is characterized with an extensive network of wetlands and a complex of a dozen lakes linked by extensive papyrus swamps and winding water channels fed by the mighty Akagera River. Over 20 mammal species present in this Park range from buffaloes and elephants to the tiny elephant-shrew and bushbaby. The lakes support some of the highest concentration of hippos in Africa, as well as numerous large crocodiles, while lion, leopard, and possibly black rhino are still present in small numbers. And the birdlife is phenomenal: not only the sort of rarities that will have ardent birdwatchers in raptures, but also some of Africa’s most impressive concentration of big waterbirds. The park has had its Gabiro accommodation facility improved greatly. Boat trips are available on Lake Ihema giving you an opportunity to view outsized crocodiles and large pods of hippo. You will also meet substantial breeding colonies of birds such as the African darter, cormorant and open-bill stork. Other waterbirds present include, the delicate and colourful African Jacana, fish eagles, jewel-like malachite kingfishers hawk, pied kingfisher, blue-eyed coucal and marsh flycatcher.

Musanze Cave: Musanze cave lies in Ruhengeri 2 km off the Gisenyi road. The main cave reportedly 2 km long, has an entrance the size of a cathedral and is home to an impressive bat colony. The large ditch out of which the cave opens is littered with marked black volcanic rubble, and at the opposite end there is a natural bridge which was formed by a lava flow from one of the Virunga volcanoes. Legend has it that Musanze was constructed by a local king, and that it has been used as a refuge on several occasions in history. More recently, the cave was reportedly the site of a massacre during the genocide, and until recently it was still littered with human remains.File:Image 4.jpg

Rwesero Art Museum Rwesero Art Museum is a museum in Nyanza(southern province where the University is localed), Rwanda. It is under the responsibility of the Institute of National Museums of Rwanda. It was built as a palace for King Mutara III Rudahigwa, but he never had time to move in it he died before occupying it and was converted into an art Museum. It is located at the top of the Rwesero hill in the city of Nyanza. The Art Museum is linked to the Olympic Academy, the Cultural Center, the Sport Museum, and the stadiums of diverse sports.

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Incase of any question, please contact us on or write to us on FACULTY OF MEDICINE NATIONAL UNIVERSITY OF RWANDA PO BOX 531 HUYE SOUTHERN PROVINCE

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