With the cost of US medical schools constantly rising and ever increasing competition for slots in each medical school class, more and more students are turning their sites to foreign medical schools. While there does exist a stigma of being a degree mill with many of these institutions, we are also seeing many of their alumni going on to become extremely successful physicians in the United States. More and more of these medical colleges are basing their curriculums on those of their United States’ counterparts and even forming affiliations with US instistutions where students can start abroad and eventually transfer and get their degree from an American program.
So what are the various advantages of foreign medical schools?
If you are looking to start internationally and then switch to an American institution, the Canadian, British, and Australian medical schools are the most efficient in that regard. They run their programs very closely to the American ones and are held in high regards within their nations in their own rights. While transfers between medical schools are never the easiest of tasks, these nations have institutions which have shown some success in the process. Of course, these nations also offer the medical schools where price and competition are closest to the colleges of the United States.
When price is a major factor, Caribbean medical schools are proving to be a more viable option. Once thought of as a joke because of poor equipment and easy programs, schools some of these schools have taken great steps and modeled their programs after US institutions and have built state of the art facilties to lure students from the mainland. Their main purpose is for their students to become doctors in America. While the degree from the Caribbean will not hold the same weight in the US as one from Harvard, many of these schools have shown strong abilities at placing their graduates into US match programs. These are all typical available at much lower prices than the United States’ universities charge.
Asian medical schools enjoy a strong reputation, but offer various challenges. For example, their programs are typically tailored for their own countries standards, not as a transfer mechanism to the United States. Also, unlike most of the other programs mentioned, there is more likely to be a language barrier if you do not know the local dialect. On the other hand, depending on which school you choose, they enjoy good reputations and the quality of education is considered excellent. Many of these graduates do eventually migrate and practice in the United States.
At the end of the day, it is all about doing your homework before you even step foot on a campus. Make sure to do the research necessary to find out who is legitimate and who is just trying to take your money in what essentially amounts to a tuition scandal. Make sure to find alumni of your targeted schools and ask them about their experiences and how it prepared them for their work in the medical industry. If you go in prepared, you do not have to worry about some of the horror stories that you may read about elsewhere.