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Need advice on where to go for med school: US or Australia?

Discussion in 'Australasia and Oceania' started by stembio, May 11, 2004.

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  1. stembio

    stembio Junior Member

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    I need to make a decision about where to go to med school. I've been accepted to the U of Melbourne in Australia and the U of Minnesota in the USA. My girlfriend is from Australia, so I thought that I'd apply to schools out there on the off chance that I could get in. Well, it worked! Now, I've got to decide between a school which I don't know much about (U of Melb), but which could turn out to be a much more enriching experience, and one which I know a lot about, having received my Bachelor's from there (U of MN).

    I know that both of these schools have a good reputation and will provide me with a good medical education, but what concerns me is that I may not be able to get into a competitive residency in the US afterwards. At the moment, and I know that this will probably change, I am planning on doing a medical subspeciality res. program in the US. However, I could end up changing my speciality or the country in which I do the training for that matter. I've met a few students from the U of Melb, and based on what I've gleened from conversations with them, I think that the training there would be really good, but will this fact be recognized by American residecny selection committees? I've had a look at some of the threads in the other forums concerning US FMGs, and I am definitely put off. Some people seem to think that, when given the choice that I have, I should choose the American school hands down.

    How much weight will these selection committees give to my USMLE scores, MCAT scores, research background, etc. and how much question will be raised by the fact that I went outside of the US to train? This might throw up warning flags and cause them to reject me without bothering to read the covering letter, explaining that I chose U of Melb for personal reasons and that I was offerred a place in America.

    When it comes down to it, if I train in Oz, I'm not sure how successful I will be when looking for residencies and jobs in America given the prejudices that exist towards FMGs. They may be small-minded, but they could affect my future. Should I sacrifice a more pleasant lifestyle in order to ensure that I have secure US prospects? How much will the school that I attended matter? Do I want to work with people who are not open to foreign-trained students? Will I be making life more difficult for myself by becoming a US FMG? I've contacted some residency programs and asked them these questions, but they say that the school I've attended will not matter as long as it has a good reputation. I'm not sure that I believe them. They must have some kind of quota that they have to fill, and when faced with the prospect of giving the position to me or a US grad., they'll probably give it to the US grad.

    I might be a little paranoid, but it's just that, I don't want to limit my options later on down the line. If anyone who has been through this could please offer some advice, it would be very appreciated. Thank you. :)
  2. Purifyer

    Purifyer Dr. Funk

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    I don't know how close you are relationship-wise with your girlfriend, but don't move an entire country just to be with her. My life is littered by the broken shells of friends who have only moved cities for their girlfriends, and dumped days-months later :). If you want to practice in the US go to a US medical school.
  3. dsm-sb

    dsm-sb Junior Member

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    unless you think your aussie women is "the one" and you intend on practicing in australia later on, you should definitely go w/ Minnesota (especially if you a had a good time there as an undergrad). although studying Melbourne would surely be an enlightening experience, going to a non-lcme school inherently (mostly due to stigma) reduces your chances of getting a competitive residency in the us. you should also keep in mind that although medical school in australia have a good reputation in the us and a solid curriculum (i'm in the usyd medical program and i did my undergrad at the university of california, so i can make the comparison), they do not specifically prepare you for the usmle, so there would be a lot of self-directed studying to do (which may or may not be a problem for you).
    that's my two cents on the issue.
    cheers
  4. redshifteffect

    redshifteffect Senior Member

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    I think Purifiyer is right...by going to Australia as a US citizen for your girlfriend you will have to face a lot of hassles to be able to practice there - such as trying to get your Permenant residency. I think if you want to work and live in the US and you've been accepted to a US medical school you should attend it!
  5. stembio

    stembio Junior Member

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    Thanks for the input everybody.

    Truthfully, I'm not sure where I want to end up practicing. That is one of the big questions. I have always imagined that I would practice in the US, but I guess I'm not ready to rule Australia out, yet. Initially, when I got the offer at the U of Melb, I thought that I probably wouldn't take it, and I'd just wait to hear from the US schools I'd applied to. As I've begun to learn that it is possible to get my education there and return to the US for my residency training, which I've been told is more important anyway, I've become more interested in what it would be like to spend some time in Oz. I'm still concerned that I may damage my chances of getting a competitive residency, but I don't think that I have any interest in becoming a surgeon, radiologist, dermatologist, etc. So, it shouldn't matter, right? That could change, though, so...

    Hey dsm-sb, how has your Autralian experience been so far? How much extra preparation have you had to do to feel comfortable with the USMLE? How would it have been different if you were in a US med school? I'd be interested to know what kind of pluses and minuses there has been to the program/living in Oz. Do you know any Americans at the U of Melb?

    Crepitus Fremitus, thanks for playing the flip side advocate! Glad to know that the prospect of studying in Melb might have its advantages. Thanks for the encouragement. What would you say makes the clinical training better? Your advice about residency training is well received. Is it difficult to get internships in Oz after graduation?
  6. seev99

    seev99 Senior Member

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    yo stembio, i'm a pre-med (cornell) studying abroad here at the university of melbourne right now...iz pretty tyte man...it's the most famous medical school in australia in terms of research, and it's one of the best schools overall in Asia according to the rankings...i dont know much about the medical school in particular though...i have some classes in there and the lecture halls are really nice...however, i wouldn't recommend coming to med school out here just for ur girlfriend...for one, you will be spending an extra year cuz the program here is 4.5 years and you will start in semester 2, not semester 1...also, this school is like 90% asian, so you should ask yourself what kind of demographics you want to be around and see if you will realistically make any lasting connections with your classmates...also everything is way too expensive here...you can easily expect to spend about $30 a day on food, which is ridiculous...also jeans that are on "sale" cost about $80, with some going for a regular price of $140...and most importantly, there is no taco bell here...however, if you dont care about all that, this school is pretty good...i dont know how hard the med school is, but these undergrad classes here are easier than junior high...and do they have any agreements with any US schools for rotations? anyways u can pm me if u got any questions or whatever...if you live here, u should stay at college square apartments, where i am at, cuz they are pretty phat and all the study abroad people, over 200 of us, are here...auite...hope this gave a little more insight.

    --$
  7. McEntrye

    McEntrye Senior Member

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    Stembio,
    Hi, I am a MSII in the US. I think the main issue as some have referred to above is your level of comittment to your girlfriend. The second most important issue is finances. Speaking as someone taking out oodles of loans, you need to find out which will be more expensive. Furthermore, U of minnesota probably offers a good financial aid package while the same may not be true in Oz, considering that you will be an international student. You want to minimize your debt coming out of Med school.
    If those two things work out and you still want to go to oz... do it! You will still be able to match, as it is a commonwealth country and therefore not compararble to FMGs from the carribean or anywhere else in the world. You will be well prepared for the us. You may not match into a top program, but that will depend partly on your board score. This is way down the road, but you can always do a 4 week externship at the hospital you want to match into and if you get along well with them(and impress them with your superior clincal skills) you will be fine.

    I dont think it will be a problem to get back into US, the real question is the gf thing and the benjamins.

    Take care,

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