Dental Tourism – Slovenia

Slovenia's Triglav National Park 

Country Profile

Slovenia, officially the Republic of Slovenia, is a nation state located in Central Europe, but is also often placed in Eastern Europe, Southeast Europe, and Southern Europe. The country is located at the crossroads of main European cultural and trade routes. It covers 20,273 square kilometers (7,827 sq. mi) and has a population of 2.06 million. It is a parliamentary republic and the capital and largest city is Ljubljana.

The territory is mostly mountainous with a mainly continental climate, with the exception of the Slovene Littoral that has a sub-Mediterranean climate and the north-western area that has an Alpine climate. Additionally, the Dinaric Alps and the Pannonian Plain meet on the territory of Slovenia. The country, marked by a significant biological diversity, is one of the most water-rich in Europe, with a dense river network, a rich aquifer system, and significant karst underground watercourses. Over half of the territory is covered by forest. The human settlement of Slovenia is dispersed and uneven.

Slovenia has historically been the crossroads of West Slavic, South Slavic, Germanic, Romance, and Hungarian languages and culture. The economy of Slovenia is small, open, and export-oriented and has been strongly influenced by international conditions. The main economic field is services, followed by industry and construction.

National Demographic

Depending on definition, between 65% and 79% of people live in wider urban areas. According to Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) definition of rural areas none of the Slovene statistical regions is mostly urbanized, meaning that 15% or less of the population lives in rural communities.

Although the population is not homogeneous, the majority is Slovene. South Slavic language Slovene is the official language throughout the country, which is a member of the South Slavic language group. In 2002, Slovene was the native language of around 88% of Slovenia's population according to the census, with more than 92% of the Slovenian population speaking it in their home environment. Some of the respective minorities enjoy the status of official languages, some of which are Hungarian and Albanian (0.4%), Italian, Romani and Macedonian (0.2%) and German (0.08%) and Czech.

Regarding the knowledge of foreign languages, Slovenia ranks among the top European countries. The most taught foreign languages are English, German, Italian, French and Spanish. According to the Eurobarometer survey, as of 2005 the majority of Slovenes could speak Croatian (61%), English (56%) and German (42%). Italian is widely spoken on the Slovenian Coast and in some other areas of the Slovene Littoral. Around 15% of Slovenians can speak Italian.

Slovenia is a largely secularized country, but its culture and identity have been significantly influenced by Catholicism as well as Lutheranism. According to the 2002 census, 57.8% of the population is Catholic and a relatively small number of Protestants (less than 1%) there are also 2.4% Islam, 2.2% Orthodox Christianity. The vast majority of Slovenian Catholics belong to the Latin Rite and a small number of Greek Catholics. Besides these two Christian denominations, a small Jewish community has also been historically present mostly living in Ljubljana, site of the sole remaining active synagogue in the country. In the 2002, around 10% of Slovenes declared themselves as atheists, another 10% professed no specific denomination, and around 16% decided not to answer the question about their religious affiliation.


Slovenia has, for a long time, been making considerable investments to develop its telecommunications network. Analogue networks were fully replaced by digital switches and fibre-optic cables by the end of 2000. Today the network has reached a very high technical and commercial level, equivalent to that of the best European counterparts. The modernization of the telecommunications network enables citizens, companies and the Slovenian government to enjoy a high penetration level of new communication tools. The Slovenian population is well equipped in basic ICTs: fixed telephones, mobile phones, PCs and Internet connections.

Slovenia’s fixed-line telecom market is dominated by Telekom Slovenije. The company has suffered from declining revenue since 2009, and so in a bid to diversify business interests and lessen the reliance pure telecom services the company is looking to expand into the electricity and insurance sectors, capitalizing o its extensive customer base. In response to competition the telco has also followed the path of many European incumbents and developed an international presence, focused predominantly on the Balkans region where it is becoming a regional provider of IT and multimedia services.

In the overall telecom market, regulatory intervention has improved market conditions for competitors. LLU (Local-loop unbundling) fees, based on regulated pricing models, continue to trend downwards but despite this there has been a steady reduction in the number of unbundled local loop connections.

Slovenia’s competitive mobile market has four mobile network operators (Telekom SlovenijeTelemach, A1 Slovenija, T-2) and a small number of mobile virtual network operators, operating in a country with a potential market of only two million people. With high mobile penetration, telcos have branched into offering both mobile and fixed-line services so as to offer bundled products. This strategy saw the cableco Telemach acquire Tušmobil and Si.mobil (now A1) merge with Amis Telekom.

The regulator has addressed the need of mobile operators for more spectrums, providing additional concessions in 2013 and holding a significant multi-spectrum auction in 2014. An auction for left-over spectrum in the 1800MHz and 2100MHz bands was held in late 2016, with Telemach securing all three blocks on offer. Another auction for fixed-wireless broadband services using spectrum in the 3.5GHz, 10GHz and 12GHz bands is expected to be held in 2017.

Slovenia’s broadband market continues to be dominated by a small number of players, including the incumbent telco Telekom SlovenijeTelemach and T-2. Some market changes may develop in 2017 as a result of T-2 being forced to return to bankruptcy. Despite the launch of competing platforms, DSL remains the most popular access method though its market share is being eroded by the steady development of fibre-based networks, as well as by upgraded cable networks which offer data rates of up to 220Mb/s. The deployment of DOCSIS3.1 technology expected by cablcos from about 2018 will provide data rates of at least 1 GB/s, and so enable the operators to improve the delivery of bundled services.

English Literacy

The English have published the results of an interesting research, which can make Slovene quite proud. According to these results the level of proficiency in English as the first foreign language of Slovenian adult population places on the sixth place in the world.

Only Sweden, the Netherlands, Denmark, Norway and Finland placed ahead of Slovenia, with more than 65% of adult population with fluent knowledge of the English language. Slovenia took the sixth place, with 64.97% of adult population capable of communicating effortlessly in the most widespread language of the world. Behind Slovenia are Estonia, Luxembourg, Poland, Germany, Austria, and Singapore as the first non-European country. Portugal, Malaysia and Argentina complete the first 15.

Slovenes grew up in multicultural environment. It has been established that a great improvement has been made in Slovenia as far as proficiency in English is concerned in the last two years. Slovenians usually achieve better results than inhabitants of other OECD countries at international tests, e.g. TOEFL and PISA.

"Slovenians are among the best English speakers in the world considering it is not their native language. Historically speaking, Slovenia developed on multicultural foundations. The English language, along with the German language, has a special position in the national curriculum, and almost all pupils learn both mentioned languages," stands in the explanation published at the Independent journal website.

The research is based on the English Proficiency Index which compares the number of people learning a certain language with the quality of teaching, and proficiency in English of the participants of the courses. It is based on the results of the general standardized test of proficiency in English (ES Standard English Test), which is equal in all the countries with non-English native languages. 70 countries were included in the research, with 910,000 adults who took courses in English in 2014, or learned the language online.

School System

Slovenia's education ranks as the 12th best in the world and 4th best in the European Union, being significantly higher than the OECD average, according to the Programme for International Student Assessment. According to the 1991 census there is 99.6% literacy in Slovenia. Lifelong learning is also increasing.

Responsibility for education oversight at primary and secondary level in Slovenia lies with the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport. After non-compulsory preschool education, children enter the nine-year primary school at the age of six. Primary school is divided into three periods, each of three years. In the academic year 2006–2007 there were 166,000 pupils enrolled in elementary education and more than 13,225 teachers, giving a ratio of one teacher per 12 pupils and 20 pupils per class.

After completing elementary school, nearly all children (more than 98%) go on to secondary education, either vocational, technical or general secondary programmes (gimnazija). The latter concludes with matura, the final exam that allows the graduates to enter a university. 84% of secondary school graduates go on to tertiary education.

Among several universities in Slovenia, the best ranked is the University of Ljubljana, ranking among the first 500 or the first 3% of the world's best universities according to the Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU). Two other public universities include the University of Maribor in Styria region and the University of Primorska in Slovene Littoral. In addition, there is a private University of Nova Gorica and an international EMUNI University.

Higher Education

In Slovenia, there are several types of higher education institutions, namely universities, faculties, art academies and independent higher education institutions. Today, there are four universities (University of LjubljanaUniversity of MariborUniversity of Primorska and University of Nova Gorica), a public independent institution of higher education (Faculty of information studies Novo Mesto), one International Association of universities (EMUNI-EURO Mediterranean University) and 44 private higher education institutions in Slovenia (the data is from June 2016).  

The traditional higher education study programmes are offered by public or private universities and single higher education institutions. Higher education is governed by special regulations, taking into account the constitutionally guaranteed autonomy of public higher education institutions.

Taking into account European standards and guidelines set by the Ministers responsible for Higher Education adopted in the Bergen Communique in 2005 and confirmed two years later in London in 2009, Slovenia established an independent National Agency for the Quality of Higher Education (NAKVIS), which is responsible for quality assurance in higher education, and for the development and advisory work in this field.

The performance of activities related to higher education is of special public interest; therefore they can only be carried out by those institutions that have been established in accordance with the law. The state shall ensure, via NAKVIS and the relevant authorities, that all the newly established institutions of higher education comply with statutory requirements before they commence operation, in order to provide students with high-quality and uninterrupted study. 

The ministry responsible for higher education keeps a public record of all accredited higher education institutions and existing study programmes that provide state-approved education.

Slovenian higher education consists of short-cycle higher vocational education (2-year programmes) and higher education (3 or 4 years of bachelor – first cycle, 1 or 2 years of master – second cycle and 3 years of doctoral programme – third cycle, PhD).

The higher education is offered by the universities, composed of faculties, art academics, and higher professional colleges and by independent higher education institutions. The focus of faculties is on scientific research and educational work in science related disciplines. Faculties offer degrees in at least two cycles of qualification (the first and second, or second and third). Art academies perform artistic and educational activities in a wide range of artistic disciplines. Like faculties, art academies also offer degrees in at least two cycles. Higher professional colleges perform educational activities of one or more related or interlinked trades or occupational fields. They may also perform research or artistic activities if this is specified in its charter and meets all the requirements. Higher professional colleges offer degrees in at least the first cycle qualification. They may also offer Master study programmes if they meet the necessary requirement or can do so in cooperation with faculties or art academies.

Medical Education

University study programmes are offered in faculties and art academies. Study programmes last between 4 and 6 years, plus a year of "absolvent" (graduate) status to give students time to prepare the diploma - a written thesis or a project. The majority of study courses require 4 + 1 years of study, but some (at technical/engineering faculties) require 4.5 (i.e. 9 semesters) + 1; veterinary studies last 5 years and medicine 6 years. Medical and veterinary students do not write a thesis - they follow one- or two-year internships after their studies. Study programmes give students professional knowledge and skills needed for employment as well as for further study at postgraduate level. Upon completion of their studies, students are awarded professional titles: "Diplomirani" (Graduate), "Profesor" (Professor), "Akademski Igralec, Slikar..." (Academic Actor, Paintor...). Graduates of the Faculty of Medicine and the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine are awarded the title "Doktor Medicine" (Doctor of Medicine) and "Doktor Veterinarske Medicine" (Doctor of Veterinary Medicine).

In Slovenia, postgraduate study is organized as part-time and full-time study. General requirements for enrollment into a postgraduate study programme are: a completed university programme in the respective field, 2 years of professional experience and/or high grades at the undergraduate study (GPA above 8) level. Students are usually employed or they receive scholarships (young researchers and assistants) with fees covered by their employers. Postgraduate studies include a 1- to 3-year specialization focusing on professional knowledge, issues and problems; a 2-year master's degree programme. Specialization in medicine is organized by the Ministry of Health in university institutions and clinics. Upon successful completion of Specialist study, students are awarded the title: "Specialist". Master's degree programmes culminate in the public presentation (defense) of a master's thesis (dissertation) before a committee. Students are awarded the academic title of "Magister" (Master) in a respective field.

Based on independent research, studies for doctor's degree are individually designed. The studies take at least 4 years and culminate in the public presentation (defense) of a thesis representing an original contribution to the chosen scientific field. The thesis must be presented before a committee. If preceded by a Master's degree, the duration of study is 2 years. Candidates are awarded the academic title: "Doktor Znanosti" (Doctor of Science) in the academic field.

The Dentistry Profession

To enter the dental school a student needs to be a secondary school graduate - including a school leaving examination, known as matura exam, with a good score. There is no entry examination and no vocational entry, such as from being a qualified dental auxiliary. There is one dental school, which is state-funded. The school is known as Medicinska fakulteta, Odsek za stomatologijo, (Faculty of Medicine, Department of Oral Medicine) of the university.

Whilst 6 years is the target length of the course, 6.5 years is the average length of study. The dental school is inspected for course curriculum quality by the registration authority. The Primary dental qualifications are "Doctor dentalne medicine” (; Diploma, s katero se podjeljuje strokovni naslovdoktor dentalne medicine/doktorica dentalne medicine”.

There is a 12-months’ period of vocational training necessary following graduation. The Ministry of Health is responsible for the supervision of this. The trainees are paid a salary of €1,309 per month (gross income in 2013), from the Health Insurance Institute of Slovenia (Zavod za zdravsteno zavarovanje). This post-qualification training has a practical part (the participant has to fulfill a list of prophylactic, diagnostic and treatment items) and a theoretical part (compulsory attendance on recommended courses and lectures). There is a final examination, which must be passed to work as a dentist. A Slovenian graduate cannot work in Slovenia or abroad until the examination has been passed.

Diplomas from other EU countries have been recognized without the need for vocational training since May 2004. The Medical Chamber of Slovenia registers all physicians and dentists. EU/EEA dentists need to contact the Chamber with details of their qualification in order to register. There is no fee payable for registration. Dentists who qualified outside the EU/EEA have to seek the official recognition of their diploma from the Ministry of Education (Faculty of Medicine). After the diploma has been accepted, they can register with the Chamber. It is necessary to know the Slovenian language to be able to practice in Slovenia.

Continuing education is compulsory for all dentists. Every physician and dentist must undergo 75 points (about 10 courses) of continuing education in every 7 year period, provided by the Chamber. The responsibility for the supervision of this lies with the Chamber. If the dentist does not fulfill this 75 points obligation, then he must undertake an examination. Failure to pass the examination leads to a loss of license to practice. Courses taken overseas are estimated by the Medical Chamber and are allowable.

Before entering into specialist training, dentists must have completed their 1 year post-qualification training. The specialist training is undertaken in Stomatology clinics, private and public health institutes which are licensed to provide the following: Oral Surgery, Oral Maxillo-facial Surgery, Orthodontics, Conservative Dentistry & Endodontics, Prosthetic Dentistry, Preventive and Paediatric Dentistry, and Oral Medicine and Periodontology. There are limited numbers who may undertake training, all of which is for 3 years, except Oral Surgery, which is for 4 years and Oral Maxillo-facial Surgery for 6 years. A specialists’ degree is received on completion of training and The Medical Chamber of Slovenia is responsible for the registration of specialists. The title given to the dentist are as follows: Specialist in Oral surgery, Specialist of Maxillofacial surgery, Specialist in Jaw and Dental Orthopaedics (Orthodontics), Specialist of Dental Diseases and Endodontics, Specialist for Stomatological Prosthetics, Specialist for Child and Preventive Dentistry, and Specialist in Oral Medicine and Periodontology.

The Chamber reports that the dental workforce is increasing in 2013, after the decrease reported in 2008. Most of the foreign dentists working in Slovenia are from the countries which previously formed Yugoslavia.

There are 6 classes of specialists in Slovenia. All specialists see patients on referral from a primary dentist, only and they are: Orthodontics, Conservative Dentistry & Endodontics, Preventive and Paediatric Dentistry, Oral Medicine and Periodontology, Prosthetic Dentistry, Oral Surgery. There is also Oral Maxillo-facial Surgery, which is a medical and dental specialty.

Getting There for Dental Care

Slovenia is situated in Central Europe and borders Italy, Austria, Hungary and Croatia. It is only a few-hour drive away from Venice or Vienna. Slovenia is easily accessible from all neighbouring countries, as it has good road and rail connections, with daily flights from many European cities. Since it is a coastal country, you can also get to Slovenia by sea.

By Car: Most of the cars enter Slovenia by motorways, which is also the easiest way to travel around the country. It is easy to travel the Slovenian roads by car, since they are well and clearly signposted. Although some local roads are narrow and winding, a drive along them is nevertheless pleasant and varied. For driving on motorways, it is mandatory for you to have a vignette

By Air: In addition to the daily flights to many European cities, there are two low-cost flight providers flying from the main Slovenian international airport Ljubljana Jože Pučnik Airport (LJU). They are EasyJet and Wizz Air, flying to London and Brussels. Most flights to Ljubljana are made by the only Slovenian airline Adria Airways. You can also fly to one of the foreign airports in the near vicinity, and access Slovenia from there by bus, train or rental car.

By Bus: Buses run to Slovenia from many European cities. In Slovenia, you can also get to most of the towns and the countryside by bus. If they run along local roads, the drivers can stop at a bus stop in any settlement. You can buy a bus ticket directly from the bus driver, while at major bus stops you can also buy a bus ticket for a specific date.

By Train: Trains to Slovenia run daily from many European cities. If travelling by train, it is also possible to ride in a sleeping car. There are only the trains of Slovenian Railways running around Slovenia, with all the timetables and price lists published on the web pages. You can buy a ticket at every railway station as well as on the train. Slovenian trains stick to the timetables.

By Boat or Sailboat: From May to October, there are frequent rides of high-speed power boats from Venice, Trieste, Poreč and Rovinj. Occasionally, large cruise ships arrive to Koper. If you arrive with your own vessel, you should know that the international border crossings are only in Koper and Piran, and from May to October in Izola as well. In Izola, Koper and Portorož, there are modern marinas available for mooring. In several places on the Slovenian coast, you can rent a sailboat.

By Bicycle: Naturally, you can also get to Slovenia by bicycle, whether by riding the roads or by taking a train. By bicycle, you can drive on all roads in Slovenia. The only exceptions are the expressways and motorways. It is also prohibited to ride your bicycle along the forest and mountain trails.

Visitor Highlights

Don’t let its size fool you, Slovenia really packs a tourism punch when it comes to diversity and activity. From east to west and north to south, all of Slovenia’s regions offer the tourist something different to discover and enjoy. Pack your bags as your incredible adventure begins here...

Ljubljana...The jewel in Slovenia’s crown is its vibrant and cosmopolitan capital that will entice you and draw you in. Sitting under the watchful eye of the castle, Ljubljana has something for everyone and it is about as laid back and charming as any leading city can get. Visit a museum or just admire the world go by at the many riverside cafes, life here can be as fast or slow as you like. But be warned, Ljubljana may just capture you so that you may not want to leave!

Lake Bled and Lake Bohinj...Slovenia’s number one tourist destination should be your number one destination as well. Lake Bled is simply a magical place. It is postcard perfect and waiting for you. Walk around the perimeter and soak in the beauty from all angles. The view from the castle is jaw dropping and a pletna ride to the island is tres romantique! Down the road, Lake Bohinj is just as scenic and a lot larger than Bled. It sits calm and eerie on the edge of the Alps and the Triglav National Park, calling out to nature lovers the world over. Spectacular. Throw in Mount Vogel, Stara Fuzina, Radovljica and Vintgar Gorge and you’re set for an amazing visit!

Kranjska Gora...Slovenia’s premier ski resort becomes electric when it hosts big World Cup events and the famous Ski Jumping at nearby Planica. During the rest of the ski season, KG welcomes enthusiasts of all ages and levels to hit the slopes and have as much fun as you can handle. In the warmer months KG is a great place to unwind and enjoy the spectacular alpine scenery. The Vršič Pass links KG with the Soča Valley and is a fantastic drive if you have the time.

Soča Valley...stretching from Soča down to Nova Gorica, the emerald green Soča River will captivate you with its amazing colour and beauty. Come to Soča Valley, Slovenia It will come as no surprise to find that the area is the Adventure Sports capital of Slovenia but there is truly something here for everyone. If you can take your eyes away from the Soča, then perhaps you might indulge in white water rafting, kayaking or canyoning? How about paragliding, climbing or ziplining? Those who find the mention of those words too strenuous can simply find the hundreds of kilometres of pristine country walks that surround the region. But its not all outside, Kobarid has some of the finest restaurants in Slovenia and visits to Bovec and Most Na Soči will leave you wanting more...have a great time.

Karst Region...The underground world adds yet another dimension to Slovenia’s geographic landscape and don’t the tourists love it. Postojna Caves is Slovenia’s most popular attraction and thousands come to marvel at the stupendous stalagmites and stalactites. Predjama Castle is no less spectacular and makes a great double bill when visiting Postojna. Purists will claim that the Škocjan Caves are the real deal when compared to Postojna and they might have a point. This amazing cavern is one of the largest in Europe and it is the sheer size that impresses. Equine enthusiasts will make straight for Lipica Stud Farm to see the famous Lippanzer stallions go through their paces. See the farm and stay for the show, another great place to add to the list! The Karst is famous for its Teran Wine and the making of Prsut (prosciutto). Suffice to say you shouldn’t go hungry or thirsty around here!

The Slovene Coast...Short but sweet it is. The Slovene Coast doesn’t take long to cover, but who’s rushing? Piran is a beautiful and quaint town that juts out into the Adriatic as if to meet the sunset. The Venetian style housing and the narrow laneways are a joy to get lost down. If you’re not staying here you’re probably in nearby Portorož. The Port of Roses is Slovenia’s answer to Cannes with a plethora of high rise hotels with large swimming pools and people with large wallets to match. The main street is lined with lots of restaurants and the beach is clean and packed to the rafters in summer. Closer to the Croatian border are the saltpans that used to be the lifeblood of the area. The old towns of Koper and Izola make fantastic diversions and so does the interior where hilltop villages dine on fresh olive oil, wine and seafood.

Maribor and Ptuj...The East is calling you to see yet another side of Slovenia. Maribor is the 2nd largest city and it is a very quiet place when compared to Ljubljana. The claim to fame here is the famous 400 yr. old vine that can be found down by the riverfront also known as the “Lent” area. The wine theme continues as you back into town and visit Vinag, an enormous underground cellar that is quite astounding. For those wanting a stunning view of Maribor and the plains, head for the Pohorje where you can take a gondola to the mountain top. A buzzing ski resort in winter, this is a mountain biker and hikers paradise during the rest of the year. Come to Maribor, Slovenia heading a little south we reach Ptuj, Slovenia’s oldest town with a beautiful castle that describes the rich history of this town throughout the ages. It also has a delightful old town and riverfront views. Come in February for the famous Kurent Festival. If you have time, travel further afield to the wine regions of Jeruzalem and Haloze.

Come to Logarska, Slovenia Logarska Dolina...with the soaring Alps as a backdrop, the Logarska Valley is one of the most beautiful places you will ever see! The location is quite remote and a car is needed, but if you want to get away from it all, breathe in the fresh air and go for long glorious walks followed by traditionally cooked dinners, this is a great place to come.

Come to Spa resorts, Slovenia Spa Resorts...Slovenia has many great spa resorts all over the country so we cannot pinpoint them to any particular region. People come for medicinal purposes, to relax and of course, to pamper themselves. While the parents are enjoying a deep tissue massage, the kids will no doubt be having the times of their lives at the pools or engaging in the other activities on offer.

If you have time or plan to return again, these are other places we highly recommend you investigate: Skofja Loka, Kranj, Kropa, Goriska Brda, Idrija, Cerkno, Vipava Valley, Stanjel, Socerb, Hrastovlje, Lake Cerknica, Sneznik Castle, Rakov Skocjan, Ljubljana Marshes, Kamnik, Velika Planina, Volcji Potok, Slovenske Konjice, Rogla, Celje, Lasko, Brezice, Podcrtrtek, Rogaska Slatina, Koroskem, Jeruzalem, Goricko Park.

The beauty of Slovenia’s attractions, plus the discoveries you make yourself along the way, will make for an unforgettable holiday. Slovenia is for you!





Dental Tourism – Georgia

Georgia's Narikala Fortress 

Country Profile

Georgia is a country in the Caucasus region. The country's capital and a largest city is Tbilisi. Georgia covers a territory of 69,700 square kilometers (26,911 sq. mi), and its 2016 population is about 3.72 million. Georgia is a unitary, semi-presidential republic, with the government elected through a representative democracy.

The climate of Georgia is extremely diverse, considering the nation's small size. There are two main climatic zones, roughly corresponding to the eastern and western parts of the country. The Greater Caucasus Mountain Range plays an important role in moderating Georgia's climate and protects the nation from the penetration of colder air masses from the north. The Lesser Caucasus Mountains partially protect the region from the influence of dry and hot air masses from the south. The wettest periods generally occur during spring and autumn, while winter and summer months tend to be the driest. Much of eastern Georgia experiences hot summers (especially in the low-lying areas) and relatively cold winters.

National Demographic

Like most native Caucasian peoples, the Georgians do not fit into any of the main ethnic categories of Europe or Asia. The present day Georgian or Kartvelian nation is thought to have resulted from the fusion of aboriginal, autochthonous inhabitants with immigrants who moved into South Caucasus from the direction of Anatolia in remote antiquity.

Ethnic Georgians form about 86.8% of Georgia's current population. Other ethnic groups include Abkhazians, Armenians, Assyrians, Azerbaijanis, Greeks, Jews, Kists, Ossetians, Russians, Ukrainians, Yezidis and others. The Georgian Jews are one of the oldest Jewish communities in the world. The official languages of Georgia are Georgian, with Abkhaz having official status within the autonomous region of Abkhazia. Georgian is the primary language followed by Azerbaijani, Armenian, Russian, and other languages.

Today 83.4% of the population practices Eastern Orthodox Christianity, with the majority of these adhering to the national Georgian Orthodox Church. The Georgian Orthodox Church is one of the world's most ancient Christian Churches, and claims apostolic foundation by Saint Andrew. Religious minorities of Georgia include Muslims, Armenian Christians and Roman Catholics. 


Most telephone lines are analogue with few digital lines and teledensity is very low in rural areas. Georgia’s telecommunications sector is in need of significant investments in order to develop international communications and particularly the local network. The economic chaos that followed independence resulted in negative economic growth rates until 1995.

At the present moment the telephone traffic of Georgia is distributed between the basic five telephone companies. Three of them using a traditional platform of switching are operators of local and regional networks and three companies with other services operate on CDMA standard. Rapid expansion of the mobile service has significantly eased the access issue for urban as well as rural areas of Georgia. The growth of the cellular telecommunication segment is one of the highest parameters of the Georgian telecommunication sector. Three dominant companies “MagtiCom”, “Geocell” and “Beeline” covering 95% of the populated area. The density of cellular service users reached 71.6%. Two companies (MagtiCom and Geocell) have already developed 3.5G systems in Georgia.

English Literacy

English is spoken, but I wouldn't say "widely". It's spoken by people aged in their 20s and younger, more so if they're in a big city and more so depending on their level of education.

In 2010 the Georgian government made a big push for the country to learn English and has been recruiting thousands of native English speakers, mostly from USA, with the goal of having at least one English teacher in every village.

The result is that young kids speak Georgian, a few English words and phrases they've learned at school, and a few Russian words and phrases they've picked up from friends and relatives. People in their teens and twenties are pretty fluent in both Russian and English with just a Georgian accent in both. People in their forties or older rarely speak any English at all but will speak fluent Russian with an accent. (People in their thirties seem to be a bit of a grey zone between the 20s and 40s age groups).

School System

Education in Georgia is mandatory for all children aged 6–14. The school system is divided into elementary (six years; age level 6–12), basic (three years; age level 12–15), and secondary (three years; age level 15–18), or alternatively vocational studies (two years). Students with a secondary school certificate have access to higher education. Only the students who have passed the Unified National Examinations may enroll in a state-accredited higher education institution, based on ranking of the scores received at the exams.

Most of these institutions offer three levels of study: a Bachelor's Program (three to four years); a Master's Program (two years), and a Doctoral Program (three years). There is also a Certified Specialist's Program that represents a single-level higher education program lasting from three to six years. As of 2016, 75 higher education institutions are accredited by the Ministry of Education and Science of Georgia. Gross primary enrollment ratio was 117% for the period of 2012–2014, the 2nd highest in Europe after Sweden.

Tbilisi has become the main artery of the Georgian educational system, particularly since the creation of the First Georgian Republic in 1918 permitted the establishment of modern, Georgian-language educational institutions. Tbilisi is the home to several major institutions of higher education in Georgia, notably the Tbilisi State Medical University, which was founded as Tbilisi Medical Institute in 1918, and the Tbilisi State University (TSU), which was established in 1918 and remains the oldest university in the entire Caucasus region. With enrollment of over 35,000 students, the number of faculty and staff (collaborators) at TSU is approximately 5,000. Georgia's main and largest technical university, Georgian Technical University, as well as The University of Georgia (Tbilisi), Caucasus University and Free University of Tbilisi are also in Tbilisi.

Higher Education

There are twenty-four state higher education institutions and their fourteen branches in Georgia. In addition, 81 private higher education institutions have passed the accreditation process. Studies in some 300 different specialities are offered in higher education institutions. They include fields which are highly specialized, such as the study of Kartvelian languages (related to Georgian) and Caucasian languages, as well as traditional Science and Technology subjects. Technical and specialized institutes offer studies in Metallurgy, Cableway and Railway Transport, Chemical and Food Technology, and Wine Making, Silkworm Breeding, the growing of tea and citrus fruits. Courses in Fine Arts (Theatre, Cinematography, Painting, and Sculpture) are provided by specialized higher education institutions.

The colleges in the country can conduct just Bachelor or professional education programmes. The teaching universities provide Bachelor and Masters Programmes but do not offer doctoral programmes. And, finally there are universities that offer Bachelor, Master’s and doctoral programmes.

The higher education institutes in the country offer quality education today, as the country has an external quality assurance system in place which is carried out through an accreditation process. This accreditation is conducted by the National Center For Educational Quality Enhancement

Georgia’s willingness to initiate reform actions and provide a credit option for the “Strengthening and Realignment of Secondary Education Sector in Georgia” was acknowledged by the World Bank. Secondary school graduates are the most important capital of any higher education system. Thus, the foundation for reforming the Georgian system of higher education is already being built.

Medical Education

Medicine has become one of the greatest and the most sort after courses of study in the whole world. However, there are very few available spaces in the few accredited (WHO) Universities. Georgia is one of the world's fastest growing countries and the educational system has remained top class. The medical Universities are enjoying a very high world ranking, even higher than most medical Universities in Ukraine and Russia.

Study Medicine in Georgia in English, Russian and Georgian one the best option to study medicine abroad. It has the best medical University in Caucasus Region (Russia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, and Armenia), one of which is Tbilisi State Medical University (TSMU).

In according to Georgian legislation for Medical Activity, medical practice is: “the professional activity of a person with medical background, professional skills and practical experience the aim of which is to protect, maintain and restore the health or ease suffering of a human being in accordance with medical and ethical standards and medical traditions recognized in Georgia”.

Quality of basic medical education appears as a predictor for successful medical practice. Its matching to international standards is a crucial for providing the optimal functioning of the national health care system. It is necessary to obtain not only theoretical knowledge in fundamental humanitarian and clinical sciences, but also to achieve high level of clinical skills in medical practice.

Ethic values and formation of specific relations are also the highly important factors. All these are reflected in the competency standards for general and medical practice in medical education in Georgia.

The Dentistry Profession

Dentists can work in public or private clinics, hospitals, and sometimes public institutions. Most dentists work as general practitioners, while others are specialized in a certain area in dentistry.

In most countries, dentistry studies are very similar to studying medicine and require many years of preparation and training. You can apply for a dentistry degree in colleges, universities, or in the U.S. in dental schools – which represent a different faculty within a university.

Dentistry is a professional career dedicated to the evaluation, diagnosis, prevention and treatment of diseases, disorders and conditions of the oral cavity, maxillofacial area (upper and lower jaws), associated structures next to these areas and their impact on the human body. Oral health is widely considered necessary for complete general health. As a dentist, you are a member of the healthcare team providing advice to the public about oral healthcare. Your job will also include restoring function to badly decayed, broken or infected teeth, replacing missing teeth with dentures, bridges or implant-supported prostheses, treatment of oral diseases such as inflammatory diseases of gum and supporting tissues, destructive diseases such as cancer of the oral tissues, the aligning and straightening of teeth.

Dentists’ work is not confined to filling and pulling out teeth. The care that dentists are trained to provide greatly improves the quality of their patients’ lives. Oral diseases like tooth decay, gum diseases and oral cancer, malocclusion (when teeth in the upper and lower jaws do not fit properly), genetic deformities and anomalies affecting the oro-facial complex, and other oral problems can cause a great deal of discomfort, pain and adversely affect oral functions such as chewing food, talking or playing of musical instruments. A patient’s appearance, self-esteem and confidence can also be greatly enhanced through various types of dental procedures.

Getting There for Dental Care

Travelling to Georgia are getting easier and cheaper thanks to a surge in low-cost airlines entering the Georgian market. International visitors are being given an opportunity to fly to Georgia while locals can venture abroad without having to pay sky-high fees that are usually associated with air travel.

As of today seven budget airlines fly in and out of Georgia, making air travel more affordable for Georgians travelling abroad and for foreigners willing to discover Georgia. The budget airlines that now fly in and out of Georgia are Wiz-Air, Pegasus, Air Arabia, Fly Dubai, Atlas Jet and Air Cairo.

As of today 25 airline companies fly in and out of Tbilisi Shota Rustaveli International Airport, located in Georgia’s capital Tbilisi, and these are Aegean Airlines, Air Astana, Airzena, SCAT Airlines, Fly Baghdad, Azerbaijan Airlines, Qatar Airways, flydubai, Ural Airlines, Polish Airlines, ATA Airlines, Ukraine International Airlines, Yanair, Belavia, Lufthansa, Aeroflot, Siberia Airlines, Air Baltic, Alin Air, Turkish Airlines, AtlasJet, Pegasus, China Southern Airlines, Air Cairo and Air Arabia.

Five airlines fly to Batumi International Airport and these are Airzena, Arkia, Yanair, Belavia and Turkish Airlines.

Several Turkish bus companies connect Turkey to Georgia, running from Istanbul, Ankara, Trabzon and other Turkish cities to Batumi, Kutaisi and Tbilisi.

For those travellers looking for something a little different, ferry trips may be possible to the ports of Batumi or Poti from some countries in the Black Sea region.

Visitor Highlights

Tourist attractions include more than 2,000 mineral springs, over 12,000 historical and cultural monuments, four of which are recognized as UNESCO World Heritage Sites (Bagrati Cathedral and Gelati Monastery in Kutaisi, Historical Monuments of Mtskheta, and Upper Svaneti).

Unmatched in its mountain scenery, undeterred by its tumultuous past, the nation of Georgia is now seriously on the up, attracting travelers from both Europe and Asia (continents it straddles neatly on the Caucasus Mountains) and touting everything from the snow-tipped peaks of Svaneti to shimmering beaches on the Black Sea. 

Here are some of the few spots every visitor to Georgia should be sure to have on their bucket list. Tusheti National Park a historic home of the eponymous Tush peoples located at the northern edges of the Greater Caucasus Mountains.Tbilisi is the nerve centre of Georgia’s drive towards modernity, a town steeped in history, making it a great place to explore the republic’s fine balance of the old and the new. Borjomi best known as the source of its namesake mineral water, the city of today has plenty more to offer than just its sulphuric, volcanic springs. Vardzia remains without question one of the most dramatic sights to behold in the country. Gudauri has risen and risen in recent years to establish itself as the country’s prime winter sports destination and also a fine alternative to the bustling ski fields of the Alps. Lake Ritsa and the surrounding forests are great for hikers looking to delve into one of the less-trodden natural reaches here, while boating and wild swimming in the icy waters are also favourite pastimes. If you would like to know more, you can visit Georgian Tourism Association.





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 – 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 – 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.