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Serbia
IFMSA-Serbia
Flag of Serbia1.png Logo IFMSA-Serbia3.png
Location Location Serbia Europe2.png
Participating cities (LC's) Belgrade

Novi Sad

Kragujevac

Nis

Languages Serbian
Currency (how much is a Bigmac?) Serbian dinar (RSD)Big Mac = 240 dinars (2 euros)
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
Member of IFMSA since... 1953
Number of incoming students per year 150
Who is our NEO Nemanja Todoric (neo@ifmsa-serbia.org)
Our official website / Forum / Facebook group www.ifmsa-serbia.org [1]
Come for exchange!
Ifmsalogo.jpg


Welcome Note


Dear exchange students,
Zastava srbije - serbia flag 3b.jpg

It makes me feel proud that you´re browsing this site in order to find more information about Serbia, our little country in the middle of the Balkans. That means that you might want to have your student exchange exactly here. Well, that´s where the story begins….

Behind this program is a whole team of people, starting from your contact persons who will wait for you at the airport/train or bus station to local exchange officers (LEOs) and their assistants who organize your activities and contacts with professors on the city level. Those are people with enthusiasm and a will to make our world a better place. They will all make you get to know our culture better and make you feel at home.

We hope that you will learn and improve your clinical skills and recommend us to your friends and colleagues. It is YOU who make us move the boundaries! We´re eagerly waiting for you!

Should you have any suggestions, critics, impressions…please contact the National Exchange Officer (NEO) of IFMSA-Serbia.

Overview

IFMSA–Serbia is a full member of the International Federation of Medical Students'Associations(IFMSA).It was founded in 1953 and has been a member of IFMSA ever since. Last year (2013) we celebrated 60th anniversary of IFMSA-Serbia

There are 6 committees: SCOPE, SCORE, SCORA, SCORP, SCOPH and SCOME, and additional ones dedicated to Trainings, New Technologies and Projects and over 1000 members of which 150 are active on a daily basis.

IFMSA-Serbia was a host of IFMSA General Assembly twice in 4 years. The first one was in March 2002 on the mountain Kopaonik. The second one was in August 2006 on the mountain Zlatibor, with around 800 participants each. In April 2013 we hosted SRT (SubRegional Training) in the capital-Belgrade.

Exchange program of IFMSA has always been well known in Serbia and many of our eminent professors and members of the Academy of Arts and Science took part in the exchange program during their studies. Every year we host around 150 foreign students in our 4 med school-cities, entitled “local committees”- Belgrade, Novi Sad, Niš and Kragujevac.

Exchange conditions can be found at ifmsa.org [2]

Our health care system

Public: every municipality has a “Health center” (Dom zdravlja, in Serbian) which has GPs, dentists, pediatricians and gynecologists (who run among other things a family planning center and STD info) and corresponding nurses. It’s open from 7am to 7pm,with staff working in two shifts. If there is a need for a specialist check-up, the patient is sent to Clinical Center to continue the treatment. Clinical Center is a complex of institutes of all medical disciplines, starting from Physiology and Anatomy to Surgery and Forensic Medicine. Every Clinical Center has also its ER. The capital, Belgrade, has 5 Clinical Centers, whereas other cities have only one.

Private:Recently the system of private health care system has started to develop and today it covers almost all disciplines, starting from small laboratories to polyclinics. It is up to the patient to decide which doctor to consult – private or public one. Of course, private clinics have their charm because there are no queues and not really that true “hospital feeling”, but it is pricey…

For more information on the health care in Serbia please visit the website of the Ministry of Health [[3]]

The hospitals

Every city where we have international exchange has a Clinical Center which is a complex of hospitals and institutes and is an educational base for medical students in corresponding medical schools.

In Belgrade it is the Clinical Center of Serbia [4] and School of Medicine, University of Belgrade [5]

In Novi Sad, it is the Clinical Center of Vojvodina [6], Institute for Cardiovascular Diseases in Sremska Kamenica [7] and School of Medicine, University of Novi Sad [8]

In Niš it is the Clinical Center of Niš [9] and School of Medicine University of Niš [10]

In Kragujevac, it is the Clinical Center of Kragujevac [11] and School of Medicine University of Kragujevac [12]

Our medical education

Since 2004. we implemented a new curriculum according to the Bologna process of reforms.

1st year - Anatomy, Histology and Embryology, Human genetics, Basic of Clinical Practice, First Aid, Medicine and Society, English language I level.

2nd year - Medical Biochemistry and Chemistry, Medical Physiology, Microbiology and Immunology, Basic of Clinical Practice, Epidemiology, English language II level

3rd year - Pathology, Pathophysiology, Pharmacology and Toxicology, Radiology and Nuclear Medicine, Clinical Propedeutics, Statistics and Informatics

4th year - Internal Medicine, Clinical Microbiology, Infectious Diseases, Dermatovenerology, Neurology, Psychiatry

5th year - Surgery, Gynaecology and Obstetrics, Paediatrics, Social Medicine

6th year - Ophtalmology, Otorhynolaringology and maxillofacial surgery, Hygyene and Occupational Medicine, Forensic Medicine, Clinical Pharmacology

+ 6-month internship in Internal Medicine, Surgery, Gynaecology and Obstetrics, Paediatrics and General Practice.

Cultural differences

Language:

Official language in Serbia is Serbian. It’s a Slavic language (similar to Russian), but has 2 kinds of alphabet – Latin and Cyrillic. In Latin version, the letters are just like in Western Europe (with a few different letters). In Cyrillic alphabet the letters are just like in Russian (with a few different letters). Both alphabets have 30 letters. Every letter has one sound. The rule goes like this - ``Write as you speak and read as it is written``. Modern Serbian alphabet was created at the beginning of 19th century by Vuk Stefanovic Karadzic.

English | Serbian
Azbuka.jpg

Hello | Zdravo (Dobar dan, politely)

How are you? | Kako si?

What's your name? | Kako se zoveš?

My name is... | Ja se zovem...

Good morning | Dobro jutro

Good night | Dobro vece

Goodbye | Dovidjenja

Thank you | Hvala

Doctor | Doktor/Lekar

Hospital | Bolnica

Therapy | Terapija

Medication | Lek

Pain | Bol

Where is the embassy? | Gde je ambasada?

Passport | Pasoš

More about Serbian language [13] [14]


Religion:

The main religion is Orthodox Christian which has its center – the Serbian Patriarchy in Belgrade with the Patriarch (the equivalent to the Pope in Catholic religion). Serbian Church [15] has been having the autonomy since the year 1219. ranking sixth in order of seniority after Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, Jerusalem, and Bulgaria. It is the second oldest Slavic Orthodox Church in the world, as well as the westernmost predominant Eastern church in Europe. The Serbian church follows the Julian calendar, which is 13 days behind the regular world calendar we all use (called Gregorian). That means that we celebrate Christmas on 7th of January. We also celebrate the Serbian New Year on 13th January, so we are among rare countries in the world that have 2 real New Year’s Eves which are celebrated equally.


Particular celebrations:

Slava: . It´s the Orthodox Christian custom of celebrating a family patron saint. It’s a family feast when all the friends and relatives gather and eat together various local food. It’s really a particular authentic event, dating back from the pagan times. In the countryside it can last for 3 days. It can be “fat” slava - when there’s pork meat, or” “non-fat” slava (a period starting 6 weeks before and ends on Orthodox Christmas, on 7th January) when the main dish is - fish. On 19th December is the biggest slava of all - Sveti Nikola (St. Nicholas). Saying goes that half of Serbia celebrates this slava, and the other half of Serbia is invited.

Food: [16]

Kajmak: – The f at from skimmed milk is left in a wooden receptacle to grow old. It’s kept in wooden lodge where the meat is being smoked so that kajmak can absorb the aroma. Usually it’s put on the bread, but can be eaten separately as an appetizer.

Ajvar: – made of baked and minced red peppers, flavor ed with lots of spices, usually eaten in winter months and on slavas. Can be put on bread, mixed in salad or eaten separately.

Slatko: – made of whole fruits in a sweet syrup and it literally means “sweet” in Serbian.It is served upon the arrival of guests, and since it’s so sweet only one spoon will load you with glucose for a whole day. It can be made of every fruit, it´s even made of rose petals.

Rakija: – Serbian plum brandy (šljivovica, in Serbian), though it can be made of pear (kruškovaca), apple (jabukovaca), apricot (kajsijevaca) or grapes (lozovaca).It’s served before the meal in a small glass, due to the high percentage of alcohol (up to 50%)


Serbian surnames

Most Serbian surnames have the surname suffix –ić. This is often transcribed as -ic. In history, Serbian names have often been transcribed with a phonetic ending, -ich or –itch. The -ić suffix is a Serbian-Slavic diminutive, originally functioning to create patronymics. It is estimated that some two thirds of all Serbian surnames end in -ovic but that some80% of Serbs carry such a surname with many common names being spread out among tens and even hundreds of non-related extended families. Most Slavic surnames are paternal (father), maternal (mother), occupational, or derived from personal traits, so the surname Nikolic mean descendents of Nikola (Nicholas),Petrovic - descendents of Petar (Peter), Tomic – descendents of Toma (Thomas).


Famous Serbs:


Ivo Andric [17], writer (Nobel Prize laureat in literature in 1961)

Mileva Maric – Eistein [18], scientist

Nikola Tesla [19] , scientist and inventor

Mihajlo Pupin [20], scientist and inventor

Novak Djokovic [21], tennis player

Emir Kusturica [22], movie director, winner of 2 Golden Palms at the Film Festival in Cannes.

Serbia has a royal family Karadjordjevic. To read more about it, visit the site of the Royal family [23]

Accommodation & Boarding

The students are likely to be accommodated in the student dormitories. Serbia has a significant student population, and therefore abundant student lodging in all university cities. Occasionally, when there are no rooms in the dormitories we lodge students in the student host families. This usually happens outside summer months, when the dormitories are full of local students. Boarding is provided in the student restaurants-canteens, in Serbian called ``menza``. Every dormitory has its own restaurant. If the student is lodged in the student host family, the boarding is provided in the house. If the incoming student has a specific diet regimen, allergies to certain food or drinks or due to the religion cannot eat certain food, please let us know in advance. There will be no problem in providing the student suitable boarding according to the health or other indications.

Social program

An important part of Serbian culture is, of course, having fun and socializing, and therefore you won´t miss it during your exchange. But, beside social outings and wild nightlife we´re famous for, we tend to make you get to know our culture better.

Every local committee is organizing its own social program whenever ther e are foreign students around. It is consisted of visits to the city monuments and interesting museums as well as excursions to other cities, national parks, mountains, lakes, monasteries…..which will be organized during the weekends.

Some of the events that we have in our social program that put Serbia on a world map

EXIT Festival in Novi Sad [24], Guca Trumpet Gathering [25], Nisville Jazz Festival [26], Belgrade Beer Fest [27], Belgrade Tango Festival [28], Belgrade Marathon [29], FEST Belgrade International Film Festival [30]

More about Serbia's beauty at National Tourist organization of Serbia's website [31]

Local & National transportation

The capital Belgrade is a major transportation hub of the country, and it is likely that you will first arrive there. However, neighboring countries like Croatia, Bosnia, Hungary, Bulgaria and Romania have direct bus links to the cities other than Belgrade.

You can come to Serbia:


1. BY AIR -Air Serbia, the national carrier, together with numerous foreign airlines, operate regular routes from Belgrade to destinations all over the world. Nikola Tesla Airport - Surcin, 18 km from the centre of Belgrade [32]

Transfers from the airport to the city centre:

-Minibus A1. Price of ticket: 300 din. Journey time: 30 min. Route: Hotel Slavija terminal - Railway Station - Novi Beograd (Fontana shopping centre) - Nikola Tesla Airport. Hours of operation: from 5 am to 2 am (approx. every 30 min.) [33]

-GSP (City public transport) - bus route 72. Price of ticket: 150 din. Journey time: 40 min. Route: Zeleni venac market - Novi Beograd Municipality - Studentski grad - Vojvodjanska ulica - Nikola Tesla Airport. Hours of operation: 04.45-23.40. Frequency: every 30 min.

-Taxi: The staff of the TOB Tourist Information Centre, located at the exit from the Airport building, will call a taxi on request by travellers.

2. BY RAIL -An extensive rail network connects Belgrade with all corners of Europe with both day and night services. Serbian Railways recognize the following discount schemes : InterRail, EuroDomino,Rail Plus, Balkan Flexipas

3. BY COACH -Regular coach routes connect Belgrade with all parts of Serbia. International coach routes service neighbouring countries and most European countries.

4. BY BOAT -Belgrade is a city lying on two rivers, the Danube and the Sava. The number of foreign tourists coming to Belgrade by boat is increasing by the day, as is the number of European companies organizing Danube cruises to Belgrade. The Port of Belgrade on the Danube is an important transport, loading and cargo centre in central Europe and is located at the crossroads of two Pan-European transport corridors (7 and 10). The Port of Belgrade boasts a well-equipped passenger dock on the Sava River, with all the necessary facilities.

Weather

In a nutshell - a warm summer, a severe winter and short enough the semi-seasons. This is the summary of the climate. The average temperature in Serbia is around 2 centigrade in January and 30 centigrade in July. The summer time is the ideal season to travel, with the exception that the month of August is to be avoided for the stuff y heat. The months of May and June are agreeable with a permanent brilliant light a sensation of warmth surrounding you. The fields and the mountains are most beautiful in September and October here where you take your long walks. But the winter time has got its charm in Serbia. This is the moment of the year when the “Slav spirit” reveals itself. The month of February is the ideal time for skiing on the Kopaonik or Zlatibor. The walks in the mountain will be magnificent with the high valleys covered often by two meters snow. One should better take a bus. The vehicle tyres would otherwise obligatory be chained. But the stay at this time of the year will be a treat, and not merely for the landscape. As if this dry and pretty great cold refreshed them, the Serbs have more vivacity. One should see these noisy streets crowded by the enthusiastic families and live an evening of songs at the corner of a fire to know better this country.

Social life

Serbia is a land of warmhearted people, where hospitality is the dearest obligation of every host, where courtesy dictates that the guest should be offered more than he can eat or drink and where everything will be done to make the guest feel at home. It is particularly so in the rural areas where the code of hospitality is treated with seriousness. Sometimes the hospitality of the overenthusiastic hosts may threaten to overwhelm, but, since it is done with best intentions, you will have to adapt and enjoy it.


Greeting people


When people meet for the first time they say their first name, shake hands (try to do it sturdily with men) and say "Drago mi je" (Nice to meet you). If you meet the people you're already acquainted with, you will just shake hands and ask "Kako ste?" (more formal) or "Kako si?" (informal, with friends) (both mean "How are you?"). The usual "Hello/Hi" is "Zdravo" or "Chao" among younger people and "Dobro jutro" in the morning, "Dobar dan" during the day and "Dobro vece" in the evening for everyone else.

If you are seated, rise when you meet people, especially women and elder men. When meeting after a longer time or upon some celebration such as a birthday, it is customary to kiss three times on alternating cheeks while shaking hands, or, more familiarly, embrace. The same procedure comes also at saying goodbye ("Dovidjenja"). Women, especially younger, will kiss friends lightly on the cheek just once instead of a handshake. Eye contact is valued and you may expect more physical contact with the people you meet with, but that just means that they consider you a friend. Since Serbs are, in general, open, friendly and direct, personal questions showing interest in stranger's life, politics, like and dislikes are often basis of conversations so don't be offended if you're most openly asked about an unusual theme. When asking for something politely, use the phrease "Molim vas" (please). Always say "Hvala" for "Thank you".


House visits


Upon arriving at someone's home you will be treated to a coffee (almost always black coffee, called "Turska kafa" or "Crna kafa"), juice and rakija, usually a home-made one in which every master of the house takes great pride (it's a topic they'll love to talk about). Don't miss trying the delicious sweet preserves "slatko" of which you should take just a spoon or two accompanied by a glass of water. Upon your first entry in a household it is customary to bring a symbolic present, a bottle of an alcoholic drink, an assortment of chocolates, flowers or similar. In saying cheers, "Ziveli", touch glasses and pay attention that you look to the eyes of all the people you toast with while touching glasses. Note that your glass will be replenished as soon as you've emptied it, so if you don't want to continue drinking leave some at the bottom. During meals there are not many rules to obey. Tr y to follow the pace of your host but don't hesitate even one moment to take more if you like the food. The courses (starters,soup, main dish, dessert) are accompanied by saying " Prijatno" (Bon Appetite) and answering "Hvala, takodje" (Thank you, same to you).


Visiting for Slava

The greatest honor for ever y guest is to be invited to a "slava", a celebration of a family's saint day. Don't forget to bring a symbolic gift, such as a bottle of wine. The most conventional greeting is "Srecna slava", followed by kissing three times on alternating cheeks while shaking hands. Upon entering the house, you will be offered "zito", a ceremonial sweet made of wheat, honey and nuts; you are required to make a sign of cross (if you're a Christian), take one spoon and leave it in a glass of water. All that you have to do afterwards is to enjoy the hospitality and eagerly answer all the toasts.


Foreign Languages

Language skills of locals depend on education and age: younger people even in smaller places tend to have good to fair knowledge of English. Amongst the middle age and elderly people only those with better education will know the language. Other languages that are often spoken are German, Fr ench, Russian and Italian. Knowledge of any Slavic language will prove useful since many of the common words are the same.


Visiting Churches and Monasteries

Upon visiting churches and monasteries you are required to act politely, not to laugh or raise your voice too loud. The dress code doesn't allow shorts or mini-skirts, which could be a problem in summertime. When entering, take your hat off. If your visit coincides with a service, you can enter, but stand in one place and don't walk around. On all occasions women are not allowed in the altar space behind the iconostasis. Ask for permission if you want to take pictures with a flash, especially in the church.

Exchange conditions

In database [34] you can find everything about our exchange conditions. We do accept both preclinical and clinical students. And prefer all scanned documents (sent by ifmsa.org database).

Feedback

Here you can read what your fellow colleagues think about their exchange in Serbia.


"It could not have been better!! Everyone should go to Serbia for this exchange cause its 4 weeks that will last forever in your mind and in your heart. I was the first one to be in the Nuclear Medicine and the doctors were really nice and they explained me every little details, in English, of course! hehehe. The language is not a problem if you speak English. The country is beautiful but the best thing there is the people: warm, friendly,worried about you. Don´t be surprised if you make a Serbian friend and his/her family invites you to their home! So pack your bags and enjoy this wonderful time! Volim te, Serbia!"

Fernando Zillo, Curitiba- Brazil


"I am very happy with my stay in Belgrade. Since I came out of the main exchange season, I had the opportunity to stay with the Serbian student in her apartment. This, I suppose, makes it a lot easier to experience the Serbian culture.Since I’m not yet a clinical student the practice at the hospital did not offer me as much as I have, perhaps, had expected. But it has, nevertheless, been interesting to see how the doctors in a foreign country work and I’m sure that I have learnt some useful things for my clinical practice in Sweden.The things I will remember from my month in Belgrade are: the hospitality of Serbian people, the beauty of the city under the October sun, dancing kolo (=Serbian folk dance) at a Serbian wedding, gaining weight from all the food I tried, witnessing Serbia and Montenegro quality for the World Cup in football and of course, the great variety of the nightlife in Belgrade."

Emma Berg, Lund - Sweden


"My practice in the hospital was really good! The doctors are very friendly and they explain me very well all the things they do. The city is very nice because you have fun and nightlife every day. And you have a lot of beautiful places to visit where you can walk and relax. Thank you so much!"

Mario Enrique Garza, Monterrey -Mexico


"Thank you for this experience…I don’t want to go back home! I didn’t think that my exchange in Serbia could be so amazing…I met a lot of wonderful people and now I have a lot of new friends…So, do vidjenja Serbia!!!"

Federica Furfaro, Messina - Italy



Cities offered for exchange

Belgrade


Novi Sad


Nis


Kragujevac