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Foreign Medical Study

Admission, Transfer To U.s. Schools, Internship And Residency, Fifth Pathway Opportunities


Transfer to U.S. schools

Internship and residency

Fifth pathway opportunities

Requirements for residency and/or practice

Selecting a foreign medical school

Foreign medical schools

During the early decades of this century it was relatively common to find Americans going to Europe for postgraduate medical training. Since World War II, significant numbers of Americans have gone overseas for their undergraduate medical education. At the peak of this trend, it was roughly estimated that as many as 10,000 were enrolled in foreign medical schools. Approximately 1,000 new students are thought to matriculate each year and this figure is only an estimate.

The fact that a significant number of Americans are studying medicine abroad should not be taken to mean that if you fail to gain acceptance in the United States, you should automatically seek admission to a foreign school. You should first determine if rejection by American schools means that you genuinely lack the ability to complete your medical studies. You should realize that only well qualified and highly motivated students stand a good chance of overcoming the many obstacles of studying medicine in a foreign medical school. They then face the difficulties of securing suitable postgraduate training and a license to practice in the United States. The obstacles to be faced in overseas medical study are reflected by the findings of a study that indicates that, of all the American students entering foreign medical schools, one-third will complete their studies after many years but cannot qualify to practice in the United States, and one-third will finish their studies within the standard period (five to eight years) and eventually enter the U.S. physician manpower pool (although they may not end up practicing in the state of their choice).

Current estimates are that several hundred foreign-trained American physicians become practitioners each year; that is, less than half of those who have gone overseas. If you are contemplating overseas study you should ask yourself if you really want to become a physician so much that you are willing to do so by this long and very arduous means, if you have a chance of gaining acceptance to a U.S. school if you reapply, and if you could be happy in some health science career other than medicine.

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