On behalf of the whole SloMSA team we gratefully welcome you from all over the world on our Explore page where you can find all important information about Slovakia, SCOPE/SCORE exchanges and SloMSA by itself!
Join our exchange family and spend your best four weeks in the heart of Europe with other exchange students and be a part of the great international group of future doctors.
The SloMSA team is waiting to exCHANGE your life :)
Are you looking for traditions? Slovakia is the right place for you then!
Basic information about SlovakiaThe official name is Slovak Republic (SR) but we simply use Slovakia and please don´t mistake: SLOVAKIA with SLOVENIA :)
From the 1st of January 1993 we are not Czechoslovakia any more and we are an independent country with Bratislava as the capital city.
Population is more than 5,4 milion inhabitants in area over 50,000km2
Slovakia is located exactly in the heart of Europe so we have borders with 5 countries:
North-west: Czech Republic
It's really easy and it doesn't take long to get to any of those countries' capitals.
For more information visit websites: http://www.slovak-republic.org/
Although Slovakia is not a large country, the weather can be quite different in the montainous North and in the plain South. Generally, the climate is relatively continental with almost no extremes below minimal -20°C (-4°F) or above maximal +37°C (+99°F).
Bratislava and Southern Slovakia is the warmest region. In summer, the temperatures may rise up to +30°C in summer, on some sunny and hot days even up to 35-37°C. There may be warm nights with temperatures above 20°C.
The winter in Bratislava is mild. Between November and February it may snow, but it usually does not last for more than a few days. The daily temperatures average in the range of -5°C up to +10°C. At night it may be freezing, but temperatures usually don't drop below -10°C.
Summer in Northern Slovakia is usually mild with temperatures around +25°C. In mountains even less.
Spring and Autumn are something in between. It may rain at any time of the year and at any place.
Although it may be quite windy, there are no tornadoes or hurricanes. Sometimes the trees may fall on some roads in mountains, but these are quickly displaced.
The rain usually does not result in landslides or large floods. Although the level of rivers is sometimes higher than normally.
The healthcare system in Slovakia falls under the competence of the Ministry of Health of the Slovak Republic. In Slovakia there are state and private health care providers. An initial medical examination is provided by state or private general practitioners. Everybody can choose a GP who usually provides basic health care and can refer a patient to an appropriate specialist for further medical examination.
If you need to see a specialist, you have to ask your general practitioner for a referral card first, unless the specialist is a dentist, a gynaecologist, a psychiatrist, a dermatologist or an ophtalmologist, otherwise the specialist will not admit you.
Make sure that you're insured!
General practitioners and specialists have their own consulting rooms in hospitals ("nemocnica") or in health centres ("poliklinika").
In every town there is either a private or state dental practice ("zubár", "stomatológ"). Upon arrival you should ask for details of the chosen dentist. However, even if you have an insurance, part of the treatment is normally not covered and it is charged directly to the patient after the care has been provided. Notice: It is usually essential to book an appointment with a dentist in advance.
If you need emergency services ("záchranná sluzba"), dial telephone number "112" which is an integrated number for all services. The dispatchers should be able to speak English. You may also call telephone number 155 which is used exclusively for medical emergencies.
Ambulances are well staffed and equipped with life sustaining apparatus needed to safely transport patients to hospital. Hospitals provide 24 hour emergency services. If your condition is not apparently life threatening but you still need medical services after working hours of your physician, you can go to "pohotovost", an Accident and Emergency department which can be found in a local hospital or a specialised clinic. It usually opens in the afternoon hours and closes in the evening or remains open overnight. You will be charged a small fee to use this service.
You can buy medicine only in pharmacies ("lekáren"), located in every town and in some villages (they are marked with a green cross). Every town has to have at least one emergency pharmacy ("pohotovostná lekáren") open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Pharmacies sell domestic and foreign medical products. Certain medicine can be obtained only with a prescription from a physician.
The standard course of study lasts six years. Each academic year starts in September and lasts till the end of Jun of the following year. The academic year is divided into winter and summer semester.
From the first to third year all students attend theoretical and pre-clinical lectures, labs and practical classes, next years include diverse clinical experiences. After passing all 4 state examinations (surgery, paediatric, internal medicine and gynecology) students are awarded with "MUDr. - Medicinae universae doctor" degree (Doctor of Medicine).
Since the academic year 2001/2002 the credit system has been introduced from the first year of study at our faculty. This credit system is compatible with the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS).
In Slovakia we have 4 medical Faculties -Comenius University- Faculty of medicine in Bratislava
-Faculty of medicine in Martin
-University of P.J.Safarik in Kosice
-Slovak Medical University in Bratislava (SZU)
All 4 medical faculties provide full courses in English therefore students from all over the world come to Slovakia to study not only medicine but also other disciplines in English.
You can get more information on LCs´ own Explore pages :)
Travel by train
Trains in the Slovak Republic are safe and agreeable way to travel.
Slovak Rail company http://www.slovakrail.sk/
Regio Jet company https://www.regiojet.sk/
Leo Express https://www.le.cz/
There exist basically 4 different types of train:
- Os Passenger train (“osobný vlak” )
- R Fast train (“rýchlik” )
- IC InterCity
- EX Express
Travel by bus
While the trains are more comfortable, buses are sometimes more direct and cheaper, they connect most of the towns and villages, and are reliable and satisfactory. The first thing is to check out the website at http://www.eurobus.sk/. Eurolines which provide passage to several European cities https://www.flixbus.sk/ , http://www.interbus.sk/. Another companies are Regio Jet company https://www.regiojet.sk/ , Leo Express https://www.le.cz/
Travel by plane
There are airlines that provide connections within Slovakia and to foreign countries. The biggest airport in Slovakia is in Bratislava (“Letisko M. R. Štefánika, https://www.bts.aero/ ), in Košice (“Medzinárodné letisko v Košiciach” http://www.airportkosice.sk/ ) and in Poprad (“Medzinárodné letisko Poprad Tatry" http://www.airport-poprad.sk/ ).
Vienna's airport is commonly used for international flights. From Bratislava to Vienna's airport it's around 45 minutes by bus.
Travel by car
All foreign national driving licences are recognised in Slovakia. The current traffic regulations are the same as in other European countries. Seat belts are compulsory. The use of a mobile phone is forbidden while driving. All accidents must be reported to the police. It is prohibited to drink any amount of alcohol before or while driving. No level of alcohol in blood is tolerated. A car must have the appropriate lights all day turned on.
For the freeways, your car must have a freeway's sticker (vignette, road tax) valid in the given calendar year. They are available at border crossings, gas stations and post offices. The sticker must be placed on the right hand side of windscreen and you must always have the second part of the sticker with you and show it to a police officer upon request. Any sticker not fixed is not valid. Now you can buy the vignette online as well: https://eznamka.sk/en
Public transport system
The public transport system in towns is quite reliable. Operating hours are from 5:00 to 23:00. After 23:00 there are a few night bus lines. Schedules can be found at every stop. Tickets are not sold on buses in big cities but in smaller cities and villages you can buy tickets only on bus while geting on. Children and students travel for reduced fares but students have to have ISIC card.
Schedule rules can be different in each city, your LEO will inform you about concrete and current schedule.
Bratislava (the capital) http://www.bratislava.sk/
The Tatras and Liptov - are a mountain range along the border of northern Slovakia.
Spiš Castle (Spišský hrad) - one of the largest castle sites in Central Europe, it was included in the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites in 1993.
Slovak Paradise National Park (Slovenský raj).
Bardejov - traditional old city in Eastern Slovakia with spa and typical wooden village.
Wooden churches in Slovak part of Carpathians.
Traditionally, the main meal is lunch but today it is not uncommon for many Slovaks to eat their main meal in the evening.
It is a common custom in Slovakia to bring a bottle of wine or spirits as a gift if you are invited to visit someone's home.
Bryndzové Halušky (in English: Potato dumplings with bryndza sheep cheese and bacon) is one of the national dishes in Slovakia. This hearty meal consists of Halušky (boiled lumps of potato dough similar in appearance to gnocchi and bryndza (a soft sheep cheese), optionally sprinkled with cooked bits of smoked pork fat/bacon. One can especially enjoy bryndzové halušky in a typical Slovak “koliba” restaurant or “salaš”. And what is more, annual competition in cooking and eating of this traditional meal is organised in the little mountain village of Turecká.
Pirohy are boiled, baked or fried dumplings of unleavened dough traditionally stuffed with potato filling, sauerkraut, ground meat, cheese, or fruit.
A good Slovak dinner consists of a soup - kapustnica (made of cabbage), garlic soup (in some places it is served in a bread loaf), a bean soup.
Traditional desserts are pastries of risen dough filled with marmalade, curd, nuts or poppy seeds. Štedrák is the typical Christmas pastry. From one of the Slovak region comes an interesting pastry called Skalický trdelník in shape of a roll with a hole inside. Wine or beer is usually accompanied by salty cookies (kapustník, pagác)
Domestic soft drinks such as Vinea and Kofola, and a wide choice of fine quality mineral waters now compete with the world trademarks of soft drinks.
Specific Slovak distillate is borovicka or TATRATEA. Popular distillate is the plum brandy- slivovica. Sweet taste has a honey wine medovina. The Demanovka liqueur, which contains an extract of medicinal herbs, is a good choice, for instance.
Apart from distillates, beer is very popular. Slovak beers are of good quality and the brands like Zlatý bazant, Smadný mních or Topvar are comparable to the excellent Czech beers. High quality wines are also produced in Slovakia where vine is grown since the Roman era.
Boarding conditions depend on local committees. You can be provided with dining vouchers, which you could use in many restaurants across the city - one meal per day (3,50 EUR equivalent). Or you will get pocket money. Other possibility is to have pre-paid lunches in hospital or dormitory canteen. There are also shared kitchenettes in the Student Halls. Attention: cutlery & crockery are usually not available there.
There are many restaurants in Slovakia ranging from cheap to expensive. Larger cities usually have restaurants with national and international cuisine. Beer and wine (mainly Sovak) are pretty cheap and really delicious so everybody must try slovak beer and wine! :)
Lunch is the main meal and Slovaks are more used to eating out for lunch than for dinner. Most restaurants in town centres have special lunch offers “denné menu” in slovak, usually consisting of soup and a main course, which are cheaper than other meals served there.
In Slovakia five to ten percent is a standard tip in a normal restaurant with waiter service. Waiters usually give the customer the total of the bill and the customer, as he hands over the money, says how much he is paying inclusive of tip. In restaurants and bars it is usual to round up the price, the tip being roughly 10%.
It's difficult to say what your daily program will be like; it's very much up to you! If you ask questions actively, you'll find more answers, and you'll get a more enriching experience. Incoming students are often surprised by the fact that if you want to do or see something, you always have to ask. That’s the way it works here, you’ll never find a doctor saying ”come, you have to see this or do that”, you’ll have to be the one asking.
Spoken language in hospital is slovak language, but most of the teachers or tutors can speak English.
LanguageSlovak is the official language and belongs to the West Slavic subgroup of the Indo European language family, and uses the Roman script. It does not differ significantly from Czech and comprehension in both languages is rather common.
The most widely spoken foreign languages are English, German, Russian and French.
Some phrases for you practical use:
Hello – ahoj
Yes – áno
No – nie
Thank you – dakujem
My name is… - Volam sa…
Can you show me the way to… - Mohli by ste mi ukázat cestu do…
How can I get to - Ako sa dostanem do...
I have got lost – Stratil som sa.
Ticket – lístok
Hospital – nemocnica
Help – pomoc
I don’t speak Slovak – Nehovorím po slovensky.
I don’t understand – Nerozumiem.
Money – peniaze
Beer – pivo
Wine – víno
Food – jedlo
Bus - autobus
This could be enough for now :)
Other Important Information
Please do not forget to talk to your Embassy regarding your Visa.
Important telephone numbers:
- Fire department 150
- Police department 158
- Ambulance 155
- International Emergency Call 112
If you are planning to come to Slovakia we highly recommned you to bring ISIC.
With this card you get a reduction at cinemas, theatres, transportation etc. With the card, it is advisable to ask for possible reductions for students wherever you go.
In Slovakia it is illegal to take any kind of drugs, including Marihuana. The legal drinking age is 18 for any kind of alcohol. Drinking is NOT allowed outside (in a park, on a street etc...). Smoking is allowed from the age of 18. Note that smoking is not allowed in public buildings, but allowed outside.
How to phone to Slovakia from abroad
- Dial 00 (international call prefix)
- Dial 421 (country code for Slovakia)
- Dial phone number (without the leading “0” if it is provided)