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crackerj

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Hello. This is an international student who is studying in Australia and I may have to make a big decision soon.

Basically I completed my bachelor's degree in the University of Sydney (Usyd) in December 2003. Since I want to study medicine and also do research (and with many other reasons), in last year, I applied to medical schools in Australia and also some MD/PhD programs in the US.

Now my situation is that I have been accepted to med schools in Australia (Usyd, Melbourne and Flinders) and I took an offer from Usyd. But since I'm interested in research as well, I deferred an enrolment for a year to study Honours degree (research degree). Therefore at the moment, I am studying honours in the same university in the area of neuroscience.

At the same time, I have applied to MD/PhD programs in the US. Recently I have got an interview offer from Finch (the Chicago Medical School) and I am waitlisted for an interview from Penn State MD/PhD. I have been rejected from the majority of "top 20 US schools" that I have applied to, and several schools have not given me their decision yet.

If I ever get accepted from US med school(/s) such as Finch or Penn State, and provided that all MD/PhD students in the US (regardless of their nationality) would get full-funding with stipend (depending on schools but when I applied, I only chose MD/PhD programs in the US which provide full-funding to students, regardless of their nationality), should I choose those US schools over Usyd? Indeed I would be able to study MD/PhD in the University of Sydney with funding, if my honours year is successful.

I'm neither an Australian Permanent Resident (PR)/citizen nor a North American PR/citizen, but I'm planning to apply for PR in Australia. I've heard that it is very hard to get PR in the US but if a person has his/her MD/PhD degree from a US med school (which takes 7 years in average) what would be a chance for that person to get PR in the US (Indeed I'm aware of the fact that the university degree is only one of many requirements to get PR in the US)?

Thank you.
 

JoeNamaMD

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You and I have the opposite situations. You're in Sydney and looking to move to Chicago. I'm from Chicago and want to go to Sydney. I want to go to Australia so bad that I would donate my left kidney if that was possible. Personally, you will have a very hard time with US immigration, the INS has been going through a lot of changes since September 11th and there is a huge backlog of people trying to get into the US. If you are really interested in leaving Australia for the US there are some big things that you need to consider, I will list the ups and downs:
Australia
Ups:
1)Good lifestyle for doctors.
2)Less litigation than the US.
3)Excellent living conditions and climate.
4)Less stress and more vacation time( you get 6 weeks in Oz versus only 2 in the US)
5)Free health insurance(this might not seem like a big deal but you should know that I pay ten percent of my income and there is a still a lot of stuff I have to pay for out of pocket)
6)More mutual respect between patients and physicians.
7)Beautiful environment(this may not seem like much but the beauty of Australia is very soothing especially if you're in a stress filled occupation like medicine.)


Downs:
1)Lower pay than in the US(but Australia has a much lower cost of living)
2)Physicians right now are not on the skilled list published by the DIMA
3)Hard to work in Australia if you didn't graduate from an Australian or NZ school.

United States
Ups:
1)Money
2)Money
3)IMG Friendly

Downs:
1)Long stress filled hours and very little vacation time(you get only two weeks a year)
2)Doctors are sued constantly for often stupid reasons(some JERK tried to sue me for $10,000,000 US for pulling off his bandage too fast, that's not a misprint the BASTARD tried to sue me for 10 million dollars)
3)Patients often disrespect doctors( a colleague of mine received a death threat from a patient's family member, as for my own experience, some CRACKHEAD who came into my ER tried to hit me and two nurses with a chair )
4)Low quality of life in many places.(You have obviously have never been to Chicago if you are so eager to move this HELL ON EARTH from a better life in sunny and safe Sydney)
5)High rate of violent crime. (Visit my hospital in Chicago and you will see patients coming in with serious injuries from gunshot wounds or stabbings, I always tell them "Send them to the OR")
6)Insurance company hassles(this is serious, I have lost over 25 percent of my income because insurance companies have decided not to pay me, so in reality an American medical career is not as lucrative as one thinks.
7)Lousy weather in most places.(Unless you find a job in the sunbelt states(California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Georgia, Florida, etc) or in Hawaii, start getting used to our long cold winters, I think one week, no maybe one day in the Windy City of Chicago you will know that Windy City is a very descriptive name.)

I apologize if I am my post sounds discouraging but I just had a really horrible day. Please don't think that I am trying to insult you, I am just warning you that life in the US can be very difficult for doctors. Anyhow you should definitely weigh the ups and the downs of both places before you make a decision.
 

redshifteffect

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Originally posted by JoeNamaMD
You and I have the opposite situations. You're in Sydney and looking to move to Chicago. I'm from Chicago and want to go to Sydney. I want to go to Australia so bad that I would donate my left kidney if that was possible. Personally, you will have a very hard time with US immigration, the INS has been going through a lot of changes since September 11th and there is a huge backlog of people trying to get into the US. If you are really interested in leaving Australia for the US there are some big things that you need to consider, I will list the ups and downs:
Australia
Ups:
1)Good lifestyle for doctors.
2)Less litigation than the US.
3)Excellent living conditions and climate.
4)Less stress and more vacation time( you get 6 weeks in Oz versus only 2 in the US)
5)Free health insurance(this might not seem like a big deal but you should know that I pay ten percent of my income and there is a still a lot of stuff I have to pay for out of pocket)
6)More mutual respect between patients and physicians.
7)Beautiful environment(this may not seem like much but the beauty of Australia is very soothing especially if you're in a stress filled occupation like medicine.)


Downs:
1)Lower pay than in the US(but Australia has a much lower cost of living)
2)Physicians right now are not on the skilled list published by the DIMA
3)Hard to work in Australia if you didn't graduate from an Australian or NZ school.

United States
Ups:
1)Money
2)Money
3)IMG Friendly

Downs:
1)Long stress filled hours and very little vacation time(you get only two weeks a year)
2)Doctors are sued constantly for often stupid reasons(some JERK tried to sue me for $10,000,000 US for pulling off his bandage too fast, that's not a misprint the BASTARD tried to sue me for 10 million dollars)
3)Patients often disrespect doctors( a colleague of mine received a death threat from a patient's family member, as for my own experience, some CRACKHEAD who came into my ER tried to hit me and two nurses with a chair )
4)Low quality of life in many places.(You have obviously have never been to Chicago if you are so eager to move this HELL ON EARTH from a better life in sunny and safe Sydney)
5)High rate of violent crime. (Visit my hospital in Chicago and you will see patients coming in with serious injuries from gunshot wounds or stabbings, I always tell them "Send them to the OR")
6)Insurance company hassles(this is serious, I have lost over 25 percent of my income because insurance companies have decided not to pay me, so in reality an American medical career is not as lucrative as one thinks.
7)Lousy weather in most places.(Unless you find a job in the sunbelt states(California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Georgia, Florida, etc) or in Hawaii, start getting used to our long cold winters, I think one week, no maybe one day in the Windy City of Chicago you will know that Windy City is a very descriptive name.)

I apologize if I am my post sounds discouraging but I just had a really horrible day. Please don't think that I am trying to insult you, I am just warning you that life in the US can be very difficult for doctors. Anyhow you should definitely weigh the ups and the downs of both places before you make a decision.

Thanks for giving us a picture of the ups and downs of being a US doc.
 
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crackerj

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I really appreciate for your advice JoeNamaMD. Thank you for listing the situation in the US (in Chicago).

I am interested in both academic medicine and clinical medicine, and therefore I would like to study both MD/PhD. According to my knowledge, there are some MD/PhD programs in the US that provide free tuition with stipend to international students who got accepted. Therefore since I completed Bachelor's degree in Australia, I applied MD/PhD programs in the US in this year's admission round.

However I firstly realised that it would be disadvantageous if I obtain Bachelor's degree in a foreign institution outside US/Canada since most schools require international students to study at an accredited college in the US/Canada for at least one year.

Secondly, in Australia, a Bachelor's degree is a three-year degree and if you study an extra year doing research, you will get 'Honours'. I am studying Honours at the moment and therefore it did not count as my qualification in this year's admission round as an honours program formally finishes in this November (but I could choose to finish early before August, provided that I can hand in the thesis early).

Fortunately with my publication record (2 publications, one with the first author) and a decent MCAT (30P) and GPA (3.7), I was able to be offered interviews from Finch and waitlisted in Penn State.

However I also realised that if I want to pursue getting into MD/PhD programs, the reputation of the MD/PhD institution is important for my future career.

Therefore provided that I am able to get into an MD/PhD program at Finch or Penn State in this year, should I go to the US? or should I study an MBBS/PhD program in the University of Sydney? Acedemic medicine in Australia is good, but generally people in the area of scientific research do not want to take a high-risk research.

My heart is in the top universities in the US and I am willing to re-apply for the next year's admission round. I will retake MCAT to increase my numbers and also put heaps of effort in Honours for my publication. However I have a feeling that I have to apply to a US institution to study for a year and it would be very appreciated if anyone could advise me in this matter.

Thank you.
 

JoeNamaMD

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If you really have your heart set on studying in the US, then you are better off following a career in academic medicine, it is definitely a better path than clinical practice. As an academic your focus is more on research than on working in a clinical setting. However academic medicine is not easy to get into and more preference is given to those who graduated from Ivy League and other highly prestigious medical schools. Even if you get into one of the top US medical schools, you will not be guaranteed a position as a professor during your career.
 

JoeNamaMD

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You mentioned that your MCAT score is 30, this is probably the reason why you were turned away from some US medical schools. You need at least a minimum of 32 on your MCAT to get into a mid-tier US program. The top 25 programs will look at students with even higher MCATs.
 

crackerj

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I already acknowledged that I'll take MCAT this August, so I know that my low MCAT is one of the factors that I didn't get an offer from MD/PhD.

But I know there should be one more factor that I was not successful and it is the fact that I have not studied in the US before.

Would it be worthwhile to go to the US for one-year masters program (research-based) and apply for MD/PhD programs (with my new MCAT score)?

I did get an interview from Finch and Penn State MD/PhD (I think it is partly because I have got 2 year research experience with publications with first author) but I am hesitating to go there at the moment.

Your advice would be greatly appreciated.
 

pitman

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I can't speak for most programs, but I was familiar with a couple (URochester and Cornell), and I really don't think studying in the States first will matter much if at all. For the above two, they were looking for mid-30's+ a few years ago to even consider you for an MD/PhD AND assume you have some publications AND an awesome GPA (3.6+/4.0), all else (e.g., extracurricular, charm) being equal.

Not sure why you're not jumping at Finch or Penn State -- if you get into ANY combined program, you really can't go wrong, and you're not in a position to be picky (yet). When you come out, from what EVERYONE will tell you, what matters is how you do on the USMLE (assuming you'll be going for US res). If you're looking instead at a future career in hell as a researcher/professor playing the grant game w/ no tenure, etc., I pity you, but your alma will in that case mean more to start you out. But it's not like your choice will be Finch vs. Hopkins!

-pitman
 

tl47

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Originally posted by JoeNamaMD
You and I have the opposite situations. You're in Sydney and looking to move to Chicago. I'm from Chicago and want to go to Sydney. I want to go to Australia so bad that I would donate my left kidney if that was possible.

(snip)

Sorry, just read this post. Really funny post btw :). I think you are probably right about Chicago compared to Australia. But then again, I have no idea about Sydney. Heard their housing is going sky-high, comparable or exceed Chicago now. (That's part of the reason for the high interest rates here, and the crazy currency-exchange).

BTW, I heard from someone that "windy city" refers to the politicians there, not the weather. :D

Crackerj, I think you need to figure out the decision yourself in the end. What is it that you really want? Meaning: why US? And why Australia? From what you have posted, I think it is not clear. It sounds like you *already* want to go to US, but only if they accept you. If so, the decision is already made up. Otherwise, I think their acceptance shouldn't be part of the decision of whether you prefer US or Australia --- it only becomes a determining factor later (especially since you do not know).

And from what I see, your immediate problem is: should I spend the money and fly there for the interview? (Decision should be based on: Should I bother with US? Are the schools interviewing me good enough for me?, The amount of money/can I afford it? etc.) And then, if you get accepted later (since you have deferred Sydney for 1 year), you can worry about choosing between US/Aust. If you are rejected, then you can decide if you want to skip Sydney and wait another year for US (which means you have decided your heart belongs to US).

Hope that helps. I'm happy for you btw. I think you are making a choice between very good choices anyway. (It's a good "problem" to have.)
 

ginseng

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Another thing to consider about the top medical schools in the U.S. is whether they accept international students period. There are way too many qualified American citizens as is. I have a good friend, who has a green card and received his bachelor's at a top university, and then applied to MD/PhD programs throughout the country. Those programs that were interested in him immediately rejected him once they found out that he was not an American citizen. Luckily he was offered a spot at our current medical school (a top 15 school), but that's because he went here for undergrad and they found out about his citizenship status after offering him a place. So if you're really desiring to attend one of the top schools, I'd check their international student policies. We only have one international student in our class, and she's from Canada.
With regards to Finch...I'd runaway. It's in Waukegan, an hour away from Chicago, and let me tell you it's a hell hole. I decided to interview there thinking that it would actually be in Chicago, but it's not. I'd shoot myself if I had to spend seven or more years at that school. Just kidding. But think about location as well.
 

Surgery2Do

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I have been told that there is a shortage of family practice docs in Austrailia and they pay as much as $300,000 USD a year.

Any truth to this?
 

Purifyer

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Surgery2Do said:
I have been told that there is a shortage of family practice docs in Austrailia and they pay as much as $300,000 USD a year.

Any truth to this?

If such positions exist, they must be very rare and extremely undesirable, in my opinion. I think some GPs may be making 300k+ a year in Australia, but of course that's before expenses.
 

redshifteffect

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Purifyer said:
If such positions exist, they must be very rare and extremely undesirable, in my opinion. I think some GPs may be making 300k+ a year in Australia, but of course that's before expenses.

300 000 USD Is an overestimate...realistically speaking there are places like the gold coast or hobart where you could make 300 000 AUD but definitely not 300 000 USD.
 

DrIng

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There is a lot to be said either way but it must also be rememebered that you're going to have to pay a significant amount of money more to study in the US than Australia. And of course there's teh safety issue- in many palces in the US the average murder rate per 100,000 people is approximately between 30-40 from what I can find- in Australia it's around 4! Things like that can make a significant difference to your quality of life. And have you ever lived overseas before. I must say I'm thining about going to the US from Australia but if you've grown up in Australia you have to remember that you'll be leaving all your family and friends and going a logn way a way wherethere is actually a different culture. having moved back and forth between the US/Canada and Australia I can say that the numebr of cultural differences might surprise you. Hope it all goes well.

JoeNamaMD? Why not the right kidney? Sorry just being silly, I hope you get to Australia. Your post highlights some of the issues I've been wrestlign with lately. If you want to come here that badly I'm sure you'll find a way. You might want to look at plaes like New Zealand as well?
 

jayK

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Hi

I was wondering if you all could please help me with this dilemma ive been facing

Im a US citizen who happened to have done my medical training (my mbbs ) from India and , now that im done, i have a choice of either staying here (which i dont want to ), or returning to the US which im not sure that i should, cuz, ive been hearing that getting into a residency is getting really hard and that, the USMLE exams have been getting even harder, which is to control the sudden influx of so many IMG's and also, Obama just passed a law that those students with pending student loans from American banks should be prefered before the others (meaning imgs) is making it hard to land a residency there, apart from that i wouldn't mind returning, and im also considering Australia for a residency which im not sure is a good idea
please help should i go back the US or should i go to Aussie ?

thank you
 

jayK

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Strong 10 year thread bump haha.

It will be much harder for you to secure a residency in Australia than the US at this point. To get an internship position in Aus, they are allocated using a ranking system that automatically gives Australian/NZ citizens first priority, and then IMGs who have graduated from Australian schools second priority, followed by IMGs from international schools as last priority. Considering that there is even a shortage of internship positions available for IMGs graduating from Australian schools, the chances of an IMG from an international school securing an internship here is pretty close to zero. Although competition is stiffening in the US also, it is at least partially a merit based system, meaning you have some control over your residency chances based off of your board scores and references, etc.

Overall, your chances of getting a US residency are quite tangible, depending on how good of a candidate you are... Whereas your chances of getting an Australian residency are virtually zero, no matter how good of a candidate you are.


thank you i appreciate your reply it was helpful
 
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