Dental Tourism – Macedonia

Macedonia's Millennium Cross 

Country Profile

Macedonia, officially the Republic of Macedonia, is a country in the Balkan Peninsula in Southeast Europe. It is one of the successor states of the former Yugoslavia, from which it declared independence in 1991. It became a member of the United Nations in 1993, but, as a result of an ongoing dispute with Greece over the use of the name "Macedonia", was admitted under the provisional description the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (sometimes abbreviated as FYROM and FYR Macedonia), a term that is also used by international organizations such as the European Union, the Council of Europe and NATO.

The country's geography is defined primarily by mountains, valleys, and rivers. The capital and largest city, Skopje, is home to roughly a quarter of the nation's 2.06 million inhabitants. The majority of the residents are ethnic Macedonians, a South Slavic people. Albanians form a significant minority at around 25%, followed by Turks, Romani, Serbs, and others.

Macedonia has a transitional climate from Mediterranean to continental. The summers are hot and dry, and the winters are moderately cold. There are three main climatic zones in the country: temperate Mediterranean, mountainous, and mildly continental. The majority of Macedonia has a moderate continental climate with warm and dry summers and relatively cold and wet winters.

National Demographic

The last official estimate from 2009 population gives a figure of 2,050,671. According to the last census data, the largest groups in the country are the ethnic Macedonians. The second largest groups are the Albanians who dominated much of the northwestern part of the country, and are discriminated against. Following them, Turks are the third biggest ethnic group of the country where official census data put them close to 80,000 and unofficial estimates suggest numbers between 170,000 and 200,000. Some unofficial estimates indicate that in the Republic of Macedonia, there are possibly up to 260,000 Romani.

Eastern Orthodoxy is the majority faith of the Republic of Macedonia, making up 65% of the population, the vast majority of who belong to the Macedonian Orthodox Church. Various other Christian denominations account for 0.4% of the population. Muslims constitute 33.3% of the population. Most Muslims are Albanians, Turks, or Romani, although few are Macedonian Muslims. The remaining 1.4% was determined to be "unaffiliated" by a 2010 Pew Research estimation.


Recently enacted legislation has partially implemented the EU’s regulatory framework for communications, setting the scene for competition although the incumbent still dominates. Internet and broadband penetration are both low but are expected to grow due to increased focus on the sector by the incumbent. The mobile market has experienced strong growth and has recently surpassed 50% penetration. Mobile data services are available and digital terrestrial TV trials have been launched.

The government plans to open free, state owned internet café’s in the major towns across the country by the end of the year. Most Macedonians seem to approve of the decision. Many complain that internet use is still too expensive for them. Statistics put Macedonia on the bottom of the list when it comes to internet use in Europe. Only about 20% of the population is internet users. Sweden, Switzerland, Portugal and other countries on the top of the list have around 70% of Internet penetration.

There are two mobile network operators in Macedonia. founded on Oct. 1, 2015 and headquartered at Skopje, Macedonia. Services provided are GSM (900 MHz), EDGE, UMTS (2100 MHz), HSPA+, LTE (800/1800 MHz). There are 1.161 million subscribers in 2015. 55% of the company share is owned by Telekom Austria and remaining 45% by Telekom Slovenije.

Telekom (Makedonski Telekom AD): founded in 1997 and headquartered at Skopje, Macedonia. Services provided are GSM (900 MHz), GPRS, EDGE, UMTS (2100 MHz), HSDPA, LTE (1800 MHz). There are 1.138 million subscribers in 2015. The company share is owned by Magyar Telekom.

English Literacy

Macedonia is a multi-ethnic and multilingual country determined to be a member of the European family. Internationalization has played a key role in this process, becoming one of the main drivers of the linguistic diversity exerted by the use of English.

A number of foreign languages are spoken in Macedonia including English, French, German, and Serbo-Croatian. English is more popular among the Macedonian youth and is growing in popularity in the country. English classes are offered in the educational institutions of the nation. German and Serbo-Croatian are also spoken by the younger generation of the country. A large section of the Macedonian society also has knowledge of French, German, Serbo-Croatian, and Russian.

School System

The Constitution mandates free and compulsory primary and secondary education in the Republic of Macedonia, and the Law on Primary Education specifies that all children from 6 to 15 years of age attend school for a compulsory 9 years. The Law on High School Education specifies that all adolescents from the ages of 15 - 19 must attend high school for 4 years (or 3 years - depending on the type of school).

Elementary education lasts for eight years leading to the Certificate for Completed Elementary Education. Secondary school education is provided by high schools, technical and other vocational schools, and art secondary schools. In the second half of the fourth year, pupils must write a project (Maturska Tema) and defend it and pass a written examination in their mother tongue and literature and an oral examination in a given subject of the curriculum.

The technical and other vocational schools train for technical and other professions. The final examination in vocational education (four-year and three-year courses) consists in the elaboration of a theme or practical examination and a written examination in the mother tongue and literature. The Certificates of the technical schools give access to the entrance examinations at the relevant faculties and colleges. The certificate of vocational schools gives access to the entrance examinations at the relevant faculties and colleges after passing the different examinations. The Schools of Arts/Music/Ballet offer a four-year course. Students enter these schools by taking an entrance examination. At the end of their studies, they take a final examination and can enroll in universities. The International Baccalaureate gives access to the entrance examinations to all faculties and colleges.

Higher Education

Higher education study lasts from two to six years. Courses for vocational training on a college level are provided and last for two years, whereas courses offered at schools ranging between four and six years are in the domain of higher education.

There are two major universities in the Republic of Macedonia: Sts. Cyril and Methodius University in Skopje and the St. Clement of Ohrid University in Bitola. The third and newest institution of higher learning, University of Tetovo.

Three institutions in the Republic of Macedonia are devoted to scientific work: the Macedonian Academy of Sciences and Arts, the Sts. Cyril and Methodius University in Skopje, and St. Clement of Ohrid University in Bitola. The Macedonian Academy of Sciences and Arts, established in 1967, is the highest scholarly institution in the country.

Higher education is provided by colleges and pedagogical academies offering two-year courses, whereas university faculties (univerzitet) and institutes offer four to six-year courses in a range of disciplines. Upon successful completion of higher education courses at faculties/institutes, students are awarded a diploma with professional titles. The exact duration of studies leading to higher level diplomas depends on the type of faculty.

The Ministry of Education and Science is responsible for formal recognition of studies completed and credentials awarded in foreign countries. The ministry questions relating to the recognition of foreign credentials and studies in higher education are addressed.

Medical Education

Postgraduate study courses are organized as specialist studies in the field of medicine, which may last up to 4 years, and as Master's degree study programs, which last 2 years. The duration of postgraduate study courses varies from one year of studies leading to a higher/graduate diploma to two years for a Master's degree.

A doctorate degree is granted upon successful defense of a scientific work. After a Master's degree has been obtained, the law on higher education sets forth the introduction of Doctorate studies, in addition to primary degree courses and postgraduate programs, as a way to obtain a Doctoral degree. The right to admission, (i.e., the registering of a Doctoral dissertation), may be granted to an individual in possession of a Master's degree or a higher/graduate diploma in medicine, provided the Doctoral candidate has publicly defended a thesis at the Master's level.

The Dentistry Profession

In 2010, the number of active dentists registered by the Dental Chamber of Macedonia was 2,240. There are various specialists (Paedodontics and Preventive Dentistry, Orthodontics, Prosthodontics, Oral Surgery, Specialists in General Dentistry, Oral Maxillofacial Surgery, Conservative Dentistry, Endodontics). In addition, in 2005, there were 1,205 dental auxiliaries who were qualified dental technicians, qualified dental chairside assistants (dental nurses), and trainee dental technicians and dental chairside assistants.

There are three government-financed Faculties of Dental Medicine (Dental Schools) in Macedonia; the oldest is in Skopje, the others are in Tetovo and Shtip. In 2010, only the Dental Faculty in Skopje provided clinical education; the other two provided theoretical education. There is also one privately financed Dental Faculty in Skopje. The students who attend all four dental faculties pay fees; the fees for private one are much higher.

The oldest and the biggest is the public Faculty of Dental Medicine in Skopje. Beside undergraduate courses there are also postgraduate and doctoral programmes. Over the years, 3,551 dentists have graduated from the Skopje Dental Faculty, of whom 178 dentists hold a Master of Science degree and 91 a PhD.

About 200 students enter the Dental Faculties each year. The duration of undergraduate study is five years and the curricula have been changed to meet the requirements of credit transfer through the Bologna Process.

Each graduate student is granted a diploma as a “Doctor of Dental Medicine”. Following graduation, there is a 12-month period of vocational training. On completion of this period, there is a final examination, which must be passed for independent practice as a general dental practitioner and in order to obtain a work license. The competent institution for the final state examination is the Dental Chamber of Macedonia.

Continuing professional development is considered obligatory for improving the competence and capabilities of a dentist. The process of compulsory continuing education started a few years ago and many seminars, congresses and courses are organized by the public Faculty of Dental Medicine in Skopje, the Macedonian Dental Association, and other established associations. Participation in continuing professional education is confirmed by the Dental Chamber by awarding points. Dentists should get 20 points each year in order to relicense every seven years. That means attending 2-3 meetings (8-15 points each; lecturers are awarded more points, whereas “passive” attendees earn eight points). Each meeting is usually of 3-4 hours’ duration.

Currently, specialist education takes place only at the public Faculty of Dental Medicine in Skopje. The following specializations are recognized: orthodontics, paediatric and preventive dentistry, prosthodontics, oral surgery, restorative dentistry and endodontics, periodontics, primary oral health care, and maxillofacial surgery.

There are plans to add the specialization of oral medicine in near future. There are three subspecialisations in implantology, maxillofacial and reconstructive prosthodontics, and prosthodontics for children. 

Getting There For Dental Care

Macedonia has two international airports, the main airport in the capital, the Skopje "Alexander the Great Airport" (SKP) and another, the Ohrid "St.Paul the Apostle Airport" (OHD). There are around 150 flights a week from different European cities to Skopje. From the low-cost airlines, only WizzAir flies directly between Skopje and London (Luton Airport (LTN)), Barcelona (Barcelona–El Prat Airport (BCN)), Venice (Treviso Airport (TSF)), and Milan-Bergamo (Orio al Serio International Airport (BGY)) in Italy.

Regular train services used to connect Macedonia to Greece in the South but all international trains to Greece were stopped until further notice in February 2011. Services to Serbia in the North are still running. A cheap way of travelling to or from Macedonia might be the Balkan Flexipass.

If travelling by car, be sure your Green Card has an uncancelled "MK" box. The guards almost always want to see it, unlike those in Serbia and Greece. Try to get a good map of Macedonia and/or try to be able to read Cyrillic letters. Although most street signs are printed in Cyrillic and Latin letters it can be helpful to have a little knowledge of the Cyrillic alphabet, especially in small towns. The border guards often make a big deal about having the original documents for the car (no copies). The enforcement rate about this is 50-50 and if you have a rental car this can be a problem as you usually have a copy. Tourists have been told in the past to drive back several hundred kilometers over this detail by certain power hungry guards.

Eurobus is an international coach operator based in Macedonia that has almost daily tours from Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Italy and Slovenia. Stops in the major cities Skopje, Tetovo, Ohrid, Vienna. Prices from €60 and possible to get student discount. There are also bus connections from Serbia, Kosovo, Bulgaria, Slovenia, Croatia and Turkey to Skopje.

Visitor Highlights

Skopje, the capital of Macedonia, is on the banks of the Vardar River in the historic core of the Balkans. Disasters have historically beset the city, none worse than the earthquake of 1963, which destroyed much of Skopje. But there is still much in the rebuilt city to admire, with its minarets, mosques, and Turkish-style domes in the old town.

All the major sights unfold as you make your way out of the train depot, walking northwesterly toward the old city, with its 15th-century Turkish Baths and other attractions. The ancient Oriental Bazaar is worth an hour of your time, as you shop for regional handicrafts or watch them being made at this atmospheric souk.

Near the Turkish Bridge is Skopje's best museum, the Municipal Art Gallery. The Museum of Macedonia, filled with regional artifacts, is also worth a visit. The Church of Sveti Spas is visited mainly for its impressive collection of icons, many from the 1700's, and there is also a local mosque, Mustafa Pasha Mosque, where you can scale the minaret for the most panoramic view of Skopje. Across the street from this mosque lies Fort Kale, now in ruins but dating from the 10th century.

Outside the capital, the most scenic rail route is a 2-hour trip to the town of Bitola, which is relatively undiscovered and well worth a night or two. You'll definitely feel you're in Turkey here, and there are many relics to explore, including the Roman ruins of Heraclea Lyncestis along with an early Christian palace. Other highlights -- all on Marshal Tito Square (named for Yugoslavia's former dictator) -- are the Mosa Pijade Art Gallery, installed in an old mosque, and the 16th-century Bezistan Bazaar. Wander at your leisure through the district of bazaars known as Stara Charshiya, making your way to the city market.

The greatest attraction of Macedonia is not on a rail line but can be reached by frequent buses from Bitola. The old town of Ohrid is a charmer filled with red-roofed houses, sidewalk cafes, and rustic fish restaurants surrounding the world's second deepest lake after Lake Baikal in Russia. Ohrid is acclaimed as one of the true beauty spots in all of Europe, and UNESCO has declared it a World Heritage Site. Trip time from Bitola to Ohrid is 90 minutes (via bus).

Although you'll want to spend most of your precious time on the lake, you can stroll the streets of Ohrid for hours, taking in such notable churches as Sveti Kilment and Sveti Sofija before heading west to the Amphitheater constructed by the Romans. After a visit, walk over to the walls of the old citadel for a panoramic view of the district before continuing south to the ruins of an ancient basilica whose mosaics can still be seen.





Dental Tourism – Croatia

Croatia's Pula Arena

Country Profile

Croatia, officially the Republic of, is a sovereign state between Central Europe, Southeast Europe, and the Mediterranean. Its capital city is Zagreb, which forms one of the country's primary subdivisions, along with its twenty counties. Croatia covers 56,594 square kilometers (21,851 square miles) and has diverse, mostly continental and Mediterranean climates. Croatia's Adriatic Sea coast contains more than a thousand islands. The country's population is 4.28 million, most of whom are Croats, with the most common religious denomination being Roman Catholicism.

A unitary state, Croatia is a republic governed under a parliamentary system. The International Monetary Fund classified Croatia as an emerging and developing economy, and the World Bank identified it as a high-income economy. 

Since 2000, the Croatian government constantly invests in infrastructure, especially transport routes and facilities along the Pan-European corridors. Internal sources produce a significant portion of energy in Croatia; the rest is imported.

Most of Croatia has a moderately warm and rainy continental climate as defined by the Köppen climate classification. Mean monthly temperature ranges between −3 °C (27 °F) (in January) and 18 °C (64 °F) (in July). Mean annual precipitation ranges between 600 millimeters (24 inches) and 3,500 millimeters (140 inches) depending on geographic region and prevailing climate type. Prevailing winds in the interior are light to moderate northeast or southwest, and in the coastal area prevailing winds are determined by local area features. Higher wind velocities are more often recorded in cooler months along the coast. The sunniest parts of the country are the outer islands, Hvar and Korčula, where more than 2700 hours of sunshine are recorded per year.

National Demographic

Croatia is inhabited mostly by Croats (90.4%) and is ethnically the most homogeneous of the six countries of former Yugoslavia. Minority groups include Serbs (4.4%), Bosniaks, Hungarians, Italians, Slovenes, Germans, Czechs, Romani people and others (5.9%).

Croatia has no official religion. Freedom of religion is a right defined by the Constitution which also defines all religious communities as equal in front of the law and separated from the state. According to the 2011 census, 91.36% of Croatians identify as Christian; of these, Roman Catholics make up the largest group, accounting for 86.28% of the population, after which follows Eastern Orthodoxy (4.44%), Protestantism (0.34%) and other Christianity (0.30%). Second largest religion is Islam (1.47%). 4.57% of the population describes themselves as non-religious.

Croatian is the official language of Croatia, and became the 24th official language of the European Union upon its accession in 2013. Minority languages are in official use in local government units where more than a third of population consists of national minorities or where local legislation defines so. Those languages are Czech, Hungarian, Italian, Ruthenian, Serbian and Slovakian.

Croatia has a universal health care system, whose roots can be traced back to the Hungarian-Croatian Parliament Act of 1891, providing a form of mandatory insurance of all factory workers and craftsmen. The population is covered by a basic health insurance plan provided by statute and optional insurance. There are hundreds of healthcare institutions in Croatia, including 79 hospitals and clinics with 23,967 beds. The hospitals and clinics care for more than 700 thousand patients per year and employ 5,205 medical doctors, including 3,929 specialists. There are 6,379 private practice offices, and a total of 41,271 health workers in the country. There are 63 emergency medical service units, responding to more than a million calls. 

Literacy in Croatia stands at 99.2%. A worldwide study about the quality of living in different countries published by Newsweek in August 2010 ranked the Croatian education system at 22nd, to share the position with Austria. Croatia has also produced inventors and two Croatians received the Nobel Prize.


Croatia is well-covered with mobile networks and you will be able to communicate easily in huge majority of its territory. Croatia has three mobile carriers - Hrvatski Telekom (Croatian Telecom), VIPnet and Tele2Hrvatski Telekom and VIPnet each own two operators, while Tele2 owns one operator.

Roaming charges in Croatia went down significantly since accession to the EU in July 2013. Prices for tourists from EU/EEA countries are now capped by European Union, which means they are a few times lower than they used to be. If you plan to stay longer and want to buy a Croatian mobile phone number (SIM card), you can do it in thousands of stores - from operators' and their partners' stores, to technical equipment shops, supermarkets and newsstands. Topping-up an account is even easier, since vouchers can be bought almost everywhere.

If you will need a landline, you shouldn't have a problem with locating one. Most of the households own a fixed-line phone and many hosts won't mind you to use it if you're staying in their property. Of course, one expects you to compensate the cost, especially if you dial a number abroad. If you need to call a number inside of Croatia, some hosts might not charge you anything, since most of the fixed-line packages now have flat-packages, that include a certain (or even 'unlimited') number of free minutes.

In recent years, Croatia got many free public hotspots. Hundreds of public locations in Croatia, especially along the coast, are covered by wireless signal that can be used by anyone for free. Those are mostly central locations, e. g. important squares that can be quite crowded during the season, so don't be surprised if the connection is somewhat sluggish in high-season.

English Literacy

The majority of Croatians speak at least one other language. According to a recent poll, some 80% of Croatians are multilingual and, of that group, 81% are English-speakers. The next most popular language is German at 49% followed by Italian at 24%.

Language ability varies by region. In Slavonia only 51% speak a foreign language while in Istria a full 95% speak another language. English-language speakers are concentrated in Zagreb and the coast which makes sense as much of the coast depends upon tourism for their livelihood.

Of those between 15 and 34, a whopping 95% speak at least one foreign language, with English being the predominant tongue. For the elderly, not so much. The over-65 set is about half monolingual with German the most popular second language.

School System

Primary education in Croatia starts at the age of six or seven and consists of eight grades. In 2007 a law was passed to increase free, non-compulsory education until 18 years of age. Compulsory education consists of eight grades of elementary school. Secondary education is provided by gymnasiums and vocational schools. As of 2014, there are 2,055 elementary schools and 707 schools providing various forms of secondary education. Primary and secondary educations are also available in languages of recognized minorities in Croatia, where classes are held in Czech, Hungarian, Italian, Serbian and German languages.

There are 132 elementary and secondary level music and art schools, as well as 120 schools for disabled children and youth and 74 schools for adults. Nationwide leaving exams (Croatian: državna matura) were introduced for secondary education students in the school year 2009–2010. It comprises three compulsory subjects (Croatian language, mathematics, and a foreign language) and optional subjects and is a prerequisite for university education.

Croatia has 8 public universities, the University of Dubrovnik, University of Osijek, University of Pula, University of Rijeka, University of Split, University of Zadar and University of Zagreb, and 2 private universities, Catholic University of Croatia and Dubrovnik International University. The University of Zadar, the first university in Croatia, was founded in 1396 and remained active until 1807, when other institutions of higher education took over until the foundation of the renewed University of Zadar in 2002. The University of Zagreb, founded in 1669, is the oldest continuously operating university in Southeast Europe. There are also 15 polytechnics, of which 2 are private, and 30 higher education institutions, of which 27 are private. In total, there are 55 institutions of higher education in Croatia, attended by more than 157 thousand students.

There are 205 companies, government or education system institutions and non-profit organisations in Croatia pursuing scientific research and development of technology. Combined, they spent more than 3 billion Kuna (€400 million) and employed 10,191 full-time research staff in 2008. Among the scientific institutes operating in Croatia, the largest is the Ruđer Bošković Institute in Zagreb. The Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts in Zagreb is a learned society promoting language, culture, arts and science from its inception in 1866.

Higher Education

In Croatia, the higher education sector is regulated by the Ministry of Science, Education and Sport. Quality assurance in higher education is regulated by the Croatian Agency for Science and Higher Education.

Croatia has a binary higher education system, meaning that prospective students can choose between two types of higher education studies: University studies - consisting of academic programmes that are conducted solely at universities; Professional studies - consisting of professional programmes conducted at polytechnics or colleges of applied sciences (exceptionally, professional programmes can also be implemented at universities).

Croatia has both public and private higher education institutions.

Most Croatian universities are public institutions. However, private university education has recently started to develop in Croatia with the establishment of three private universities and numerous colleges of applied sciences.

Regarding higher education institutions providing professional studies, the picture is more varied. Almost all polytechnics are public institutions, while most colleges of applied sciences are private institutions. Both polytechnics and colleges of applied sciences provide first and second cycle professional study programmes – these institutions differ only in the number of study programmes they provide, not in the type of programmes.

Medical Education

Croatia joined the Bologna Process and signed the Bologna Declaration in Prague, in May 2001. Implementation of the Bologna Process in higher education started in the academic year 2005/2006. However, the Bologna Declaration was introduced into the Croatian medical education system in 2000, when the European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS) was first to be applied at the University of Zagreb School of Medicine (UZSM).

The Croatian Government decided to implement the Bologna Process in higher educational institutions in Croatia from the academic year 2005/2006. Thus, all four medical schools in Croatia (from the Universities of ZagrebRijekaSplit, and Osijek) decided to work jointly on the improvement of the medical education system, as well as on the implementation of the Bologna Process in the curricula. All four medical schools consented to create together a core curriculum and to evaluate its implementation on the principles of the Bologna Process. Based on the UZSM experience in implementing the ECTS, all medical schools decided to formulate the ECTS as an indicator of student workload, as well as to emphasize the importance of quality assurance, to promote mobility within the Croatian universities, to develop life-long learning skills, to define national competences and qualifications, to work on joint degrees in doctoral studies and to enhance the European cooperation. These joint actions were also decisive for bridging the gap between the academic community and professional societies.

In course of the development and implementation of the new curriculum associated with the Bologna Recommendations, UZSM has also respected the World Federation for Medical Education (WFME) Global Standards for Quality Improvement in Basic Medical Education, particularly in the context of the European educational situation, as well as the WFME and Association for Medical Education in Europe (AMEE) Statement on the Bologna Process and Medical Education.

The Dentistry Profession

To enter dental school a student has to have completed secondary school. There is an entrance examination which consists of scoring from secondary school grades, scoring from a written exam and scoring from a manual skills exam. Quality assurance for the dental schools is provided by the Ministry of Science, Education and Sport. The primary degree which is included in the register is: doktor stomatologije (dr.stom.) or Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD) in English. There is post-qualification Vocational Training (VT) for Croatian graduates.

To register in Croatia, a dentist must have a recognized degree or diploma awarded by the university and have completed one year of mandatory training or “residence,” under the supervision of experienced dentists. At least 6 months of this training must be undertaken in dental school and 6 months in one of the experienced private or contractor dental offices. There is practical and theoretical training. The trainees are salaried as non-dentists, without a license with maximum salaries of €7,000 (gross) a year. After that the trainee dentist must pass the state exam held at the Ministry of Health and organized by the staff of the school of dentistry and Ministry. After this exam has been passed, the dentist obtains a License from the Croatian Dental Chamber. Only then a dentist is licensed to work independently. Dentists who have qualified from outside of Croatia do not need to undertake vocational training if are they from EU countries. Dentists from countries outside the EU/EEA need to pass written exam, as a confirmation of their qualifications. There is a formal need to understand and speak the Croatian language to a basic level, to register.

Continuing education is mandatory and the rules are set in law. The requirement is 7 hours of formal training each year. CE is organized by the Chamber (the number of courses and standards). Courses are given by dental school staff and private organizers.

Specialist training is organized by the dental schools of Zagreb and Rijeka. Training lasts for 3 years and includes a University examination and written specialist thesis. There is also a medical specialty of Oral Maxillo-facial surgery. The specialist title is issued by the competent authority – the Ministry of Health but a list that the public may consult is not kept.

There is an increase in workforce as demand rises. However, the dentist unemployment rate is reported by the Chamber as “high” (132 unemployed and registered at the Croatian employment service in July 2013). There are some overseas qualified dentists working in Croatia. In 2013 there were 5 with a proper license. The Chamber has suggested that there is an increased interest to work in Croatia as a dentist.

Getting There for Dental Care

Croatia has an astonishing seven airports (Brač Airport (BWK), Dubrovnik Airport (DBV), Pula Airport (PUY), Rijeka Airport (RKJ), Split Airport (SPU), Zadar Airport (ZAD), Zagreb Airport (ZAG)) welcoming international flights, but only the three biggest (ZagrebSplit and Dubrovnik ) do so all year round.

Croatia Airlines flies routes between Croatia and Europe’s major hubs, among them Amsterdam, Athens, Belgrade, Berlin, Brussels, Copenhagen, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, London, Munich, Paris, Prague, Rome, Sarajevo, Vienna, and Zurich. Zagreb(ZAG) and Dubrovnik (DUB) are Croatia’s biggest gateways and Lufthansa is the largest international carrier that serves them. Both Lufthansa and Croatia Airlines are members of the Star Alliance, which includes United Airlines. At press time, no U.S. carriers were flying directly into Croatian airports.

The highways that connect Croatia to its neighbors (Slovenia, Hungary, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia, and Montenegro) are good and getting better as miles of new pavement are poured. This is especially true of the span between Ljubljana and Zagreb, a route that now takes just 2 hours to complete. The route from Budapest to Zagreb runs across Croatia’s northern border and is also popular. It takes about 5 hours to reach Zagreb (362km/225 miles) from the Hungarian capital. Visitors coming from Italy and Austria must pass through Slovenia to get to Croatia’s border, but Slovenia’s roads are excellent, too.

Trains connect most major Croatian cities north of Split, but there is no train service to cities between Split and Dubrovnik in southern Dalmatia. Zagreb does have convenient railway links with Austria, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Switzerland, but the links to and from other European countries can be extremely time-consuming. The train ride from Paris to Zagreb, for example, takes 18-plus hours, while a rail trip from Frankfurt to Split will take almost 24 hours. If you must get to Croatia by rail from another European city, check schedules, fares, and details on rail passes at Rail Europe. For trains within Croatia, check Croatia Railways.

There is a year-round regular overnight ferry service from Ancona in Italy to Split in Dalmatia. Other less frequent lines include Bari in Italy to Dubrovnik, and Venice in Italy to several coastal towns in Istria. In the Ancona–Split case, you hop aboard the ferry around 9pm and arrive in Dalmatia just as the sun is rising. Routes, fares, schedules, and booking information are available from the respective companies (Blue Line International, Jadrolinija, SNAV, Venezia Lines).

Visitor Highlights

Tourism dominates the Croatian service sector and accounts for up to 20% of Croatian GDP. Annual tourist industry income for 2014 was estimated at €7.4 billion. Its positive effects are felt throughout the economy of Croatia in terms of increased business volume observed in retail business, processing industry orders and summer seasonal employment. The industry is considered an export business, because it significantly reduces the country's external trade imbalance. Since the conclusion of the Croatian War of Independence, the tourist industry has grown rapidly, recording a fourfold rise in tourist numbers, with more than 11 million tourists each year. The most numerous are tourists from Germany, Slovenia, Austria, Italy and the Czech Republic as well as Croatia itself. Length of a tourist stay in Croatia averages 4.9 days.

The bulk of the tourist industry is concentrated along the Adriatic Sea coast. Opatija was the first holiday resort since the middle of the 19th century. By the 1890's, it became one of the most significant European health resorts. Later a number of resorts sprang up along the coast and islands, offering services ranging from mass tourism to catering and various niche markets, the most significant being nautical tourism, as there are numerous marinas with more than 16 thousand berths, cultural tourism relying on appeal of medieval coastal cities and numerous cultural events taking place during the summer. Inland areas offer mountain resorts, agrotourism and spas. Zagreb is also a significant tourist destination, rivaling major coastal cities and resorts.

Croatia has unpolluted marine areas reflected through numerous nature reserves and 116 Blue Flag beaches. Croatia is ranked as the 18th most popular tourist destination in the world. About 15% of these visitors (over one million per year) are involved with naturism, an industry for which Croatia is world famous. It was also the first European country to develop commercial naturist resorts.





Dental Tourism – Romania

Romania's Bigar Waterfalls 

Country Profile

Romania is a sovereign state located in Southeastern Europe. It has an area of 238,397 square kilometers (92,046 sq. mi) and a temperate-continental climate.  Bucharest is the capital and the largest city in Romania.

Following rapid economic growth in the early 2000s, Romania has an economy predominantly based on services, and is a producer and net exporter of machines and electric energy, featuring companies like Automobile Dacia and OMV Petrom. It has been a member of NATO since 2004, and part of the European Union since 2007. Strong majority of the population identify themselves as Eastern Orthodox Christians and are native speakers of Romanian, a Romance language. The cultural history of Romania is often referred to when dealing with Influential artists, musicians, inventors and sportspeople.

National Demographic

According to the 2011 census, Romania's population is 20,121,641. In October 2011, Romanians made up 88.9% of the population. The largest ethnic minorities are the Hungarians and the Roma. Other minorities include Ukrainians, Germans, Turks, Lipovans, Aromanians, Tatars, and Serbs.

The official language is Romanian, an Eastern Romance language similar to Aromanian, Megleno-Romanian, and Istro-Romanian, but sharing many features with other Romance languages such as Italian, French, Spanish and Portuguese. Romanian is spoken as a first language by 85% of the population, while Hungarian and Vlax Romani are spoken by 6.2% and 1.2% of the population, respectively. There are also native German speakers, Turkish speakers, as well as almost speakers of Ukrainian. English and French are the main foreign languages taught in schools. According to the 2012 Eurobarometer, English is spoken by 31% of Romanians, French is spoken by 17%, and Italian by 7%.

Romania is a secular state and has no state religion. An overwhelming majority of the population identify themselves as Christians. At the country's 2011 census, 81.0% of respondents identified as Orthodox Christians belonging to the Romanian Orthodox Church. Other denominations include Protestantism, Roman Catholicism, and Greek Catholicism. From the remaining population, 195,569 people belong to other Christian denominations or have another religion, which includes 64,337 Muslims (mostly of Turkish and Tatar ethnicity) and 3,519 Jewish. Moreover, 39,660 people have no religion or are atheist, whilst the religion of the rest is unknown.

Romania has a universal health care system, and total health expenditures by the government are roughly 5% of the GDP. It covers medical examinations, any surgical interventions, and any post-operator medical care, and provides free or subsidized medicine for a range of diseases. The state is obliged to fund public hospitals and clinics. The most common causes of death are cardiovascular diseases and cancer. Transmissible diseases, such as tuberculosis, syphilis or viral hepatitis, are quite common by European standards. In 2010, Romania had 428 state and 25 private hospitals, with 6.2 hospital beds per 1,000 people, and over 200,000 medical staff, including over 52,000 doctors. As of 2013, the emigration rate of doctors was 9%, higher than the European average of 2.5%.


58% of Romanians use the internet. According to Acamai’s Q42015 State of the Internet Report, the average peak connection speed for Romania is 73.6 Mbps, placing the country in 10th place in the world and 1st in EMEA. Broadband Internet service features a slight decline of 6.8%, while Wi-Fi and cellphone data plans are widely available and sometimes free of charge.

Romania has a modern telephone network of landlines and mobile (cell) phones. It's possible to receive and make direct international calls from anywhere in the country. Romania's country code is +40.

All Romanian landline numbers have 10 digits, consisting of a zero, plus a city code and the number. The formula differs slightly depending on whether the number is in Bucharest or outside of Bucharest. Bucharest numbers take the form: 0 + two-digit city code (21 or 31) + seven-digit number. Outside of Bucharest, numbers take the form: 0 + three-digit city code + six-digit number. Mobile phone numbers can be identified by a three-digit prefix starting with 7. All mobile numbers have 10 digits: 0 + three-digit prefix (7xx) + six-digit number.

Orange Romania is Romania's largest GSM network operator, the subsidiary of Orange SA. It is now fully owned by the France Télécom Group (who owns Orange SA), the biggest initial investor, who gradually increased its ownership.

Vodafone Romania is a Romanian mobile phone network operator. It launched in April 1997 as the first GSM network in Romania (although not the first mobile phone network). Until October 2005 (shortly after acquisition by Vodafone), it was known as Connex, after which it was rebranded Connex-Vodafone and in April 2006, the Connex name was dropped, the operator being simply known as Vodafone Romania, aligning itself with the global Vodafone brand.

Cosmote Romania, now known as Telekom Romania, is a Romanian mobile phone operator. It is the third largest mobile phone operator in the country, following Orange Romania and Vodafone Romania after surpassing Zapp Mobile. It has 6.6 million subscribers as of March 2011.

Digi.Mobil RCS&RDS is the largest Romanian cable and internet provider, offering nationwide satellite television, cable television, cable internet, VOIP, and 3G services. The company, which is based in Bucharest, Romania, was formed in April 2005 by the de jure merging of Romania Cable Systems (RCS) and Romania Data Systems (RDS) (the companies were under the same ownership from the very beginning and operating de facto as a single unit long before that).

English Literacy

Romania is 16th in a 70-nation global table, and 13th in a 27-nation European table, when it comes to English proficiency skills and the way its citizens manage to put them into practice in their social and professional relations. The data was included in the EF English Proficiency Index 2015, a survey that involved 910,000 persons from 70 countries and that proves the existence of a real correlation between English language proficiency and various indicators such as higher income or better quality of life.

Specialists from Qdays Educational Holidays, the survey’s partner in Romania, state that the value of the common linguistic system is essential in the educational and professional environment of the immediate future, and large international educational centres are showing growing interest in young Romanians because of the ease with which they manage to put into practice their English language skills.

In this context, Qdays Educational Holidays Romania  launches, starting in 2016, the “Romanian Children Act in English” international project that will feature 7 two-week international English language holidays in English language schools located in 7 cities from 4 countries, and educational programmes adapted to various age groups.

For the proper progress of its programmes, Qdays helps parents throughout the signing up and visa granting procedure and accompanies the pupils at their destination, having well-trained group leaders, in order for the whole experience to be as useful as possible. Registrations for the programmes have to be made in time, each group being limited in size. All the schools pupils can enroll in, visit the website for the details.

School System

Children start to attend kindergarten as early as three years old and can stay until they are six or seven years old. Unlike public kindergartens, many private kindergartens offer special programs such as foreign languages (especially English, French or German), sports, and dance programs. Children need to attend one year of kindergarten before entering public schooling. In kindergarten, minority students can start learning in their own maternal language. Public kindergartens are free, while private kindergartens are quite expensive for average families. Usually, children spend three to four hours a day in kindergarten. There are some public kindergartens which provide food (which must to be paid for), and after-lunch sleeping periods. Few kindergartens have all-day programmes; if they do most of these are private institutions.

Education in Romania is compulsory until the age of 16. In practice, given that most Romanians start school at the age of 6, the first ten years have been made compulsory by the ministry. Aside from the official schooling system, and the recently-added private equivalents, there exists a semi-legal, informal, fully-private tutoring system. Tutoring is mostly used as a supplement to help prepare for various examinations, which are notoriously difficult. Tutoring is wide-spread, and it can be considered a part of the education system.

This is the final step before enrolling to university. During high school, students choose a speciality: arts (philology, foreign languages), science (mathematics, informatics, and physics), military college, economic college or professional school.

Higher Education

There are 49 state Universities and 7 military universities controlled by the Ministry of National Education and 26 private universities. Accredited private universities may receive some state funding. There is a high level of autonomy in Romanian Universities, with curriculum, content, teaching methods and textbooks normally being set by individual departments or individual instructors. A number of Romanian Universities offer programmes taught entirely in English or French. These programmes include Medicine, Dentistry and Pharmacy. These are open to foreign students or Romanians who can demonstrate fluency in the appropriate language. These programmes are accredited and Romania has a good international reputation in Medical and Dental training.

There are six types of Higher Education Institutes (HEIs) in Romania, distributed between state institutions and private institutions. Romania has re-organized its tertiary education system to conform to the European Bologna Process and all students since 2005 have been studying in programmes that conform to the Bologna standards, which means three years length for most of university majors followed by another two years for master’s degree and three years for the doctorate degree (Ph.D.).

University (Universitate) - These are the largest HEIs, offering a wide range of programmes, giving higher degrees in sciences and the professions, and carrying out both teaching and research activities; Academy (Academie) - Academies offer specialist training, usually in a single broad field such as Music; Polytechnical University (Universitate Politehnică) - Polytechnic training emphasizes training in technical and practical fields; Institute (Institut) - Institutes offer professional degrees in limited specializations. Training is usually a combination of study and practical experience; University College (Colegiu Universitar) - Colleges offer two or three year diplomas which cannot be used to enter higher levels of tertiary education. They may be autonomous institutions or sections of Universities; Postgraduate Schools - Some postgraduate programmes are offered in one of six Graduate Schools which are independent of the Universities.

Medical Education

Romanian higher academic institutions enjoy a well-deserved international reputation for providing high quality medical education and research programmes. The programmes of Medicine, Dentistry or Veterinary studies of Romanian Universities, with which Study Medicine Europe is affiliated, are part of Europe's most celebrated Medical Colleges and Universities. Besides lectures, taught courses and research assignments taught by renowned professors, students have the opportunity to work in teams with internationally acclaimed scientists, either in laboratories or at clinics and university-affiliated hospitals. What is more, Romanian University professors, be they tenured, adjunct or associates, rank among the best in the Balkans, if not in Europe, the vast majority of whom have a massive list of publications in international journals under their belt and are the recipients of numerous scientific awards. In tandem with regular courses, there are also distant-learning programs, as well as part-time study courses and internships. In addition, there also is a Student Exchange program for those wishing to continue their studies in Romania, whereby credits are counted cumulatively towards their Degree, in conjunction with the university registrar and academic calendar regulations. Finally, the quality of education is guaranteed through the national and EU system of regulation and guidelines, and all schools are internationally accredited.

It is not surprising therefore, in line with such an erudite spirit of academia that Romanian University libraries are massive, containing voluminous copies of nearly all notable international medical journals, periodicals and books, as well as copious references to key papers and limitless numbers of scientific volumes, never mind on-line sources made available to students. Better yet, tuition fees for Medical Schools range between £2,920-3,650 per annum.

More specifically, medical education in Romania, whether it concerns Bachelor's, Master's or PhD studies, is both offered by public (state-run) and private Universities. Medical Universities in Romania offer English and Romanian instructed programs in Medicine, Dentistry, Veterinary Medicine and Pharmacy. French instructed courses are offered in Medicine and Dentistry. Other programs in Romanian are: Nursing, Midwifery, Radiology and Medical Imaging, Clinical Laboratory, Physiotherapy and Rehabilitation, Dental Technique, Nutrition and Dietetics, Health Management and Pharmaceutical Assistants.

The Dentistry Profession

Dentistry is a 6-year English- or French-taught programme, leading to a Master's Degree in dental medicine. The curriculum aims to afford students with an optimal balance between theoretical and practical training. As such, Courses are grouped into two categories, each with a well-established focus on overall student preparation and professional stream: 62% stomatological courses and 38% medical, surgical and fundamental theory.

Moreover, from the 1st until the 5th year of studies, students are obliged to work in university affiliated hospitals, clinics or dentistry offices as part of their summer practice training for a minimum of 4 weeks (20 days, 8 hours/day = 160 hrs.), amounting to at least 800 hours over the span of five years. During their 6th year, students must take a number of integrated courses on complex oral treatment training and practical study and some that are pertinent to special and rare cases, besides the writing of a dissertation on a topic chosen with their instructor. Subjects in the curricula are structured in such a way so that their sequence is incremental, building on previous knowledge.

Dentistry skills and expertise is strictly aligned to EU requirements for dentistry qualifications. At the end of the programme, the student is evaluated by an exam, upon successful completion of which, he or she is awarded with title of Dentist (DMD). The exam consists of the following steps: two theoretical exams (Fundamental Medical subjects and Dentistry subjects), an examination of the clinical practice procedures and the Dissertation defense. Optional specialization may take place either in Romania or abroad.

Getting There for Dental Care

By Plane: Delta is the only carrier offering nonstop flights from the U.S. to Romania; the flight from New York to Bucharest is under 9 hours. A good choice for flights from North America is Austrian Airlines, which has flights from several U.S. and Canadian hubs, and onward connections to Bucharest, Sibiu, Timisoara, Baia Mare, Cluj, and Iasi. Many national airlines, including Romania's official carrier, Tarom, have direct flights from London and other major western European centers, including Amsterdam (KLM only), Athens, Bologna (Alitalia only), Düsseldorf (Lufthansa only), Frankfurt, Madrid, Milan, Munich, Paris, Rome, Vienna, and Zurich; most flights are under 2 hours. European capitals are connected by air include Budapest, Ljuljana, Prague, Sofia, and Warsaw. Where possible, if you're traveling from North America, Australia, or New Zealand, you should shop around for an airline that offers direct connections from your country of origin through one of the European capitals; many of the bigger airlines have code-share agreements with Tarom, which means that times between connecting flights are reduced. If you're traveling from New York or Sydney, you are able to book your entire journey through Tarom, but departure dates are limited by the availability of partner airlines. If you're shopping around for a low-cost flight from within Western Europe or the U.K., try Blue Air. Another option is Wizz Air, a growing airline specializing in Eastern European destinations.

Most international flights arrive at Bucharest's Henri Coandă International Airport (still known by its pre-2006 name, Otopeni (OTP)); however, Romania has several other international airports receiving flights from a growing number of European airlines. These airports are small and hassle-free and often their proximity to tourist-friendly destinations makes them a viable alternative for anyone wishing to avoid the capital altogether.

By Train: Trains are viable, but not necessarily cheap or speedy. Romania's National Railway Service links with various international services, many of which include overnight sleepers in first- and second-class carriages. This will usually cost more than flying into the country, but works well as part of a larger Europe-wide trip using a pass or point-to-point ticket options offered by the rail contacts listed, including InterRail (for European residents) and Eurail (for non-European residents).  You can visit Rail Europe for details of schedules and reservations, but you'll have a much easier time simply making inquiries at a booking office in person.

By Bus: Nevertheless, Romania's principal cities are connected by bus services to most important European centers, including London, Paris, Rome, Frankfurt, Berlin, Budapest, Sofia, Vienna, Milan, Istanbul, and Athens.

By Car: If you drive a rental car into Romania, you will require a RoVinieta road toll license; these are available at border crossings, and can also be purchased at many gas stations. You will require proof that you have insurance for the car and you must carry all the vehicle registration documentation with you. Your existing driver's license should be acceptable for driving in Romania. Note that Romanian roads are often in a very dismal condition and driving is not recommended unless you have off-road capability.

Visitor Highlights

Tourism is a significant contributor to the Romanian economy, generating around 5% of GDP. According to the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), Romania was estimated to have the fourth-fastest-growing travel and tourism total demand in the world, with an estimated potential growth of 8% per year from 2007 to 2016. The number of tourists has been steadily rising, reaching 3.5 million in the first half of 2014. Tourism in Romania attracted €400 million in investments in 2005.

More than 60% of the foreign visitors in 2007 were from other EU countries. The popular summer attractions of Mamaia and other Resorts attracted 1.3 million tourists in 2009. Most popular skiing resorts are along the Valea Prahovei and in Poiana Brașov. Castles in Transylvanian cities such as Sibiu, Brașov, and Sighișoara also attract a large number of tourists. Bran Castle, near Brașov, is one of the most famous attractions in Romania, drawing hundreds of thousands of tourists every year as it is often advertised as being Dracula's Castle.

Rural tourism, focusing on folklore and traditions, has become an important alternative, and is targeted to promote such sites as Bran and its Dracula's Castle, the Painted churches of Northern Moldavia, and the Wooden churches of Maramureș. Other attractions include the Danube Delta, and the Sculptural Ensemble of Constantin Brâncuși at Târgu Jiu.





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