Foreign Medical Study
Foreign Medical Schools
Traveling overseas for several years to develop specialty expertise after one's internship was very popular during the first half of the twentieth century. Thus, many Americans, for example, were trained in surgery in prominent German and Austrian medical centers. In the second half of the same century, there no longer was a need to be trained overseas, since adequate postgraduate programs were established at hospitals throughout the United States.
However, there has been a continuous migration of Americans to overseas medical schools for their education. Most popular were the medical schools in such West European countries as France, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, and Spain. These countries have now become inaccessible to most prospective American premeds (except those with dual citizenship) as they are interested in training their own citizens to meet existing and future healthcare needs.
There are still some overseas schools accepting applicants but one needs to be extremely careful when making a decision to attend an overseas institution. Several of these schools are of higher caliber and are identified by an asterisk.
The following three schools have begun accepting a number of U.S. and Canadian students. They follow the basic curriculum used in this country and utilize the problem-based educational approach.
- *Flinders University, School of Medicine
- G.P.O. Box 2100, Adelaide, Australia 5001
- Tel: 461-8-8204-4162
- Fax: 61-8-8204-5845
- *Sydney University Medical School
- Faculty Office and Medical Program Administration
- Faculty of Medicine
- Edward Ford Building (A27),
- University of Sydney
- NSW 2006, Australia
- Phone: 61-2-9351-3132
- Fax: 61-2-9351-3196
- *Queensland University School of Medicine
- University of Queensland,
- Maine Medical School
- Herston Road, Herston
- QLD, 4066, Australia
- Phone: +61-7-3365-5278
- Fax: +61-7-3365-5433
These medical schools were set up specifically to serve the needs of Americans unable to gain admission to U.S. schools. Some of these schools have disbanded over the past decades, resulting in students being left “high and dry” in the midst of their studies. This has tarnished the reputation of the off-shore schools as a whole, thus, special care needs to be used when considering these schools.
- St. George's University, Grenada
- Office of Admissions, c/o The North American Correspondent
- University Services, Ltd.
- 1 East Main Street
- Bay Shore, NY 11706
- Tel: (from US) (631) 665-8500 or (800) 899-6337
- Grenada (473) 444-4175;
- Ross University, Dominica
- Main US Admission Office
- 499 Thornhall Street, 10th Floor
- Edison, NJ 08837
- Tel: (732) 978-5300, (888) 404-7677
- American University of the Caribbean, St. Martin
- Medical Education Information Office, Inc. (MEOI)
- 901 Ponce de Leon Boulevard, 401, Coral Gables, FL 33134
- Tel: (305) 446-006
The school listed below accepts overseas applicants, and Americans have a good track record of successfully completing their education there. Nevertheless, general obstacles relative to facing an IMG still await them.
- *Royal College of Surgeons, Dublin, Ireland
- Admission Office, 123 St. Stephen's Green, Dublin 2, Ireland
- Tel: (353) 1-403-2451
- Fax:(353) 1-403-2451
- The Atlantic Bridge Program
- 3419 Via Lido, PMB #629, Newport Beach, CA 92663, USA
- Tel: (949) 723-6318
- Fax: (949) 723-4436
The following two schools have medical school programs designed for Americans with English as the language of instruction. While they are superior educational programs, upon graduation IMG obstacles to securing a residency and certification still remain.
- *Sackler School of Medicine, Tel-Aviv, Israel
- Office of Admissions, Sackler School of Medicine
- 17 East 62nd Street
- New York, NY 10021
- Tel: (212) 688-8811
- Fax: (212) 223-0368
- Touro College/Faculty of Medicine of the Technion — Israel
- Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel
- *Touro College School of Health Sciences
- 1700 Union Boulevard, Bay Shore, NY 11706
- Tel: (516) 665-1600
The school listed below also has a program for international students. It has graduated a large number of Americans and thus has proven to be very popular.
- Universidad Autonoma de Guadalajara, Mexico
- San Antonio Office: 4715 Fredericksburg Road, 3rd Floor
- San Antonio, TX 78229
- Tel: (210) 366-1611; (800) 531-5494
- Fax: (210) 377-2975
- Albany Office: 20 Corporate Woods Boulevard, Suite 205,
- Albany, NY 12211
- Tel: (518) 434-7392, (866) 434-7392
- Fax:(518) 434-7393
The two schools below have served as education and training sites for the most successful American students who came to this country. The language of instruction is English and the program extends four years divided into two semesters each.
There are many more medical schools in the Philippines that Americans have attended in smaller numbers. The Philippine consulate can provide names and addresses for these institutions.
- University of the Philippines, Manila
- Chair, Admission Committee, College of Medicine
- University of the Philippines, Manila
- 547 Pedro Gil Street, Ermita, PO Box 593, Manila 1000, Philippines
- Tel: +63-2-526-4170
- Fax: +63-2-526-0371
- University of the East, Quezon City, Santo Thomas
- Office of the Registrar, University of the East,
- Ramon Magsaysay Medical Center
- College of Medicine, Aurora Boulevard, Sta. Mesa,
- Quezon City 1105, Philippines
- Tel: +63-2-715-0861
- • Graduates of foreign medical schools are known as International Medical Graduates (IMG).
- • Attending a foreign medical school is a major challenge, financially, intellectually, culturally, and emotionally.
- • When considering attending a foreign medical school, you need to make a comprehensive assessment of your ability to succeed. This is because many foreign schools accept all applicants who have the minimum requirements for admission, thus, acceptance should not be taken as a vote of confidence in your abilities.
- • The most suitable candidates for attending foreign medical schools are those who are capable of being able to adapt to a different culture and lifestyle, who are determined to succeed, have solid long-term financial support, and are very flexible about their future specialty choice.
- • An important educational asset for every candidate contemplating studying medicine overseas is that they are well qualified to handle multiple-choice tests. This type of test will be the determinant for securing a residency and then passing required licensing examinations. The USMLE Steps 1 and 2 are major obstacles to securing ECFMG certification for about half of the IMGs. An average or better MCAT score in the high 20s is indicative of a likelihood of a favorable outcome on this issue. Those with MCATs in the low 20s are poor candidates for an acceptance at foreign medical schools.
- • There are special rules for an IMG to secure a U.S. residency and in most states to become licensed.
- • It is desirable, if at all possible, to visit the foreign medical school before you commit yourself. This is costly but worthwhile in determining how you will fit into the new milieu. During your visit you should thoroughly evaluate the school's teaching (lecture and lab) and clinical facilities, library, and prospective living conditions. You should come back with a realistic sense of judging your future prospects for success if you enroll. This judgment should materialize from what you see and from conversations with Americans currently enrolled in the school. When you get back you should be able to answer two questions: Will I fit in and can I make it in spite of all prospective obstacles?
- • Before considering a visit, secure information about foreign medical schools from their Web sites and obtain literature from advising offices. All such information should, however, be viewed with the understanding that you are receiving a sales pitch.
- • If you have what it takes, pick the right school and have the perseverance to stick it out — it can be done. Good luck!
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