Making The Move: How To Prepare For Medical School Abroad

medical school abroad

There has been a significant increase in the number of students pursuing education abroad. In a 2020 report, China is number one on the top eight list, sending out 928,000 students in 2017. The US also made it to the top eight with 86,566 international students, just above the bottom lister Nigeria. What does this global trend indicate? It’s a reflection of the new generation’s desire for an enriching educational experience that goes beyond their home country’s boundaries.

But why are students opting to study abroad, especially those going to medical schools? There can be several reasons for that. For one, studying in a different country means gaining a global perspective on healthcare. Not only that, but it could also mean access to better facilities and more advanced technologies. Thirdly, being an international medical student could mean a higher chance of being taught by experts in one’s chosen field.

Of course, the unique set of benefits that being an international medical student brings also comes with challenges. So, if you’re considering studying medicine abroad, this post is for you. Below are some useful tips on preparing for the next exciting chapter in your life – attending a medical school abroad! Read on to learn more.

Research To Choose the Right Medical School for You

Preparing for medical school abroad should involve a lot of research. It’s especially true when you’re yet to decide which institution to attend. Note that as of last year, there are already nearly 3,800 international medical schools. So, ensure that your choice aligns with your goals by considering the following:

  • The School’s Accreditation: You’d want to select an accredited institution as it ensures that the school that you’ll be attending actually meets the education quality standards that the country where it operates has set.
  • The Curriculum Offered: What are your learning preferences? What are your career goals? Ensure that the curriculum offered by your preferred school aligns with them.
  • The Faculty and their Expertise: The teaching staff of your preferred school will also play a crucial role in your journey towards earning a medical degree. So, research their backgrounds and ensure that they have the necessary qualifications and experience.
  • The School’s Ranking and Reputation: Rankings provide insights into your prospective school’s standing within the medical community of the country where it’s operating. So, it’s also a good idea to look into it.
  • The Resources and Facilities Available: Does your prospective medical school provide access to the latest medical technologies? How about well-equipped laboratories? Are there research opportunities for you to engage in, too?

Evaluate not only one school but at least three of them regardless of location. Make a list of pros and cons for each of them and then decide from there. Suppose you need more info about your prospective schools. In that case, you can check out a comprehensive guide to Hawaii schools if you’re eyeing that location or guides to institutions in any other country, which are usually readily available online.

Understand the Admission Requirements and Processes

There’s no one-size-fits-all breakdown of the admission requirements and process for international medical schools. However, you can be guided by the following:

  • Academic Prerequisites: Naturally, medical schools abroad will require applicants to have completed a degree. But there’s a little twist; you must have taken up certain subjects, including mathematics, physics, chemistry, and, of course, biology, on your way to getting that degree. Note that some institutions may also have a minimum GPA requirement.
  • Tests or Exams: Medical schools also commonly require applicants to have taken and passed an entrance examination. In the US, for instance, aspiring medical students should take and pass the Medical College Admission Test or MCAT first. These tests typically evaluate an applicant’s knowledge and aptitude in areas relevant to medical studies. And that’s why aspiring medical students really take time to study and prepare for these exams.
  • Necessary Documents: Medical schools will also require the official transcripts from your undergraduate studies. Be sure to have your letter of recommendation ready, too. But who should you ask for insightful recommendations you can include in your letter? You can approach your former professors or your undergraduate school dean or supervisor for that. Finally, you should make a personal statement, which is your opportunity to explain why you deserve a spot in your prospective school.

The abovementioned requirements are just a general guide. Some medical schools may have unique application processes, which could mean additional documents you must submit. That said, visit your preferred institution’s website or their campus itself and talk to the people behind their admission process.

Plan Financially

Studying medicine abroad can be costly. Let’s not deny that. In fact, the median four-year cost can be as high as USD$337,000, according to a 2020 report. Tuition fees, accommodation, and living expenses are only some of the many things you must be prepared for. That’s why it’s crucial to plan financially.

The good news is there are scholarship grants and financial aid usually available for international students. So, be sure to research and explore your options. Combine these opportunities with proper budgeting and other ways to cut costs, you can make studying abroad more manageable.

Adapt and Integrate Culturally

Aside from expenses, cultural differences and language barriers also make attending medical school abroad significantly challenging. But that doesn’t mean you can’t overcome them. Just be willing to learn the local culture and customs. If needed, take language classes before moving to your preferred destination.

Final Thoughts

Studying medicine in a different country sounds interesting, isn’t it? Indeed, it is. But it goes beyond just being interesting and offers tremendous personal and professional growth opportunities in the medical industry. So, if given the chance, don’t hesitate to take the opportunity to broaden your perspective on healthcare, learn from the best, and develop valuable skills that can propel you to success as a future healthcare professional.