Individuals who've set their sights on an international healthcare position may wonder if it's better to obtain a degree from a European university. Careers beyond the bounds of the United States do have special considerations, such as language and other culturally salient points. However, as with all healthcare educational decisions, there are details to consider.
The Universal and the Specific
The fact is that there is no unilaterally applicable answer to the question. Rather, there is a set of criteria to consider, which will help to determine whether a European university is the proper place for study.
- Your Field of Choice – Healthcare is a broad field with many different applications. Where do your interests reside? Do you want to work as a psychologist, a medical doctor, or an epidemiologist? What are your goals in international healthcare
- Academic or Applied – This point assesses the type of work you wish to do. Employment with an academic focus is typically confined to education or research. A global healthcare position in which you'll be working with people will require additional skills. Languages and cultural studies may be a required part of your studies.
- Location – While some European programs may prove ideal, depending on your focus and desired posting, this is not always the case. Conversely, while American degrees have long been thought to hold the upper hand, they aren't always sufficient. A great deal will depend upon where in the world you wish to work, what you desire to do, and how many additional resources you can accrue (e.g. other languages, cultural studies, culture-specific healthcare studies.)
As you can see, the benefit of a degree obtained in the U.S. or Europe depends almost entirely upon a number of considerations that cannot and should not be generalized.
Mysterious Concerns and Unfounded Beliefs
While the above is certainly true, it's important to be open to European programs of study when considering your options. It is true that many American universities offer students a wealth of resources for acquiring the needed skills. However, they are by no means the only paths to a position without borders. Individuals should carefully consider the global standing of particular programs. While many U.S. programs are excellent, they may fall short in specific requirements that are considered essential by the healthcare community.
Another factor of which individuals should take note is the structure of the learning environment. It is often assumed that academic coursework and credit will be unilaterally translated. In many cases, this proves false. Program structure in European institutions can vary quite dramatically in both focus and execution from what students expect from U.S. university coursework. When considering where you'd like to work, take this into account.
Given these considerations, as well as the fact that many global corporations will hire healthcare professionals within the U.S. for work with their employee communities abroad, there can be no truly defined educational dictate. It is important to evaluate programs on a global scale, and not simply restrict your search to U.S. universities with U.S. standards of excellence. If you think deeply about the criteria listed above, you'll be able to determine whether or not a degree from a European university will prove beneficial when it comes to securing an international healthcare position.