Curaçao is part of the ABC islands in the Caribbean and a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Because of this, the education system is largely similar with the Dutch and American system. In Curaçao there are 10 institutions of higher education, out of which 4 are medical schools: University of Curaçao, Caribbean Medical University, Caribbean International University, St. Martinus University, Avalon University School of Medicine, John F. Kennedy University School of Medicine, SAE Creative Media Institute, Almirante Luis Brion University, Bircham International University, Global Humanistic University. All institutions hold a charter issued by the Government of Curaçao. For further information about the higher education system and living in Curaçao, the website of the Government of Curaçao is available at https://gobiernu.cw/.
The University of Curaçao is the largest on the island. It is internationally accredited by the Dutch-Flemish Accreditation Organization (NVAO) and has partnerships with both local and international universities. It offers usual exchange, Bachelor’s and Master’s programmes in different subjects. Applications to the university are based on evidence of secondary school education through a SBO-4, HAVO, VWO or MTS diploma, depending on the course. For those who cannot immediately be granted admission, they will have to take an entrance exam. The application period is during the month of July and students need to apply directly to the university.
The medical schools on the island offer pre-medical and medical courses (MD) which last between four to five years. Requirements for admission include a high school diploma or equivalents and 2 letters of recommendation. The institutions are praised for their high-quality teaching are some have been included in the International Medical Education Directory of the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates and World Directory of Medical Schools.
The remaining institutions offers courses at all three cycles, but are more orientated towards international appraisal and, therefore, follow the usual length and the ECTS credit system (however, PhD are only available at the Bircham International University and Global Humanistic University). The application framework is similar to the ones previously mentioned, so applicants need relevant evidence of previous studies, but there are also courses that require work experience in the subject for postgraduate studies. Most importantly, mature students have the opportunity to study at distance and part-time in order to manage work alongside higher education. Students can apply at any time. In general courses are taught in Papiamentu, the island’s official language, Dutch or English. The academic year begins in September.
In terms of tuition fees, students need to pay about $2,800 per year for undergraduate courses and about $4,000 per year for a Master’s, excluding other expenses such as books or exams, at the University of Curaçao. Tuition fees for programmes at the medical schools range between $4,500 and $9,000 per semester, depending on a number of circumstances. For this reason, it is better to check that beforehand. The remaining ones have tuition fees here ranging between $25,000 for a PhD programme to $9,000 for a Master’s and to $8,700 for a Bachelor’s, again varying quite a lot between institutions.
Information for International Students
Because it is an island, it is slightly expensive in terms of living costs. Nevertheless, universities do offer accommodation and financial support throughout the year. On average, renting a 1-bedroom apartment in the city centre is roughly $600 per month.