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Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by vokey588, Jan 4, 2009.
You'd still probably need US stuff.
if this experience is viewed as inferior to US volunteer experience (90% of which is restocking towels and making beds) i'm not gonna even apply to medical school.
that really sounds like an awesome experience.
OP, you can use it, but I'd still make sure that you have US experience as well.
I am so jealous.
Y'know... a few cycles back there was an amazing applicant who posted on LizzyM's forum (since removed) that had tons of impressive clinical experiences overseas (might've been Singapore).
I think the applicant received the same answer that these people are giving you, that you need something here.
You might want to ask LizzyM or REL or someone else what amount of extra experience you'll need here, though.
During the summer between my sophomore and junior year in undergrad I lived in Peru and Ecuador. While I was down there I spent a couple hours every day actually assisting in surgeries. They let me control scopes, suture people back up, hold intestines, really anything you could imagine. I'm compelled to say that I really believe having these experiences abroad are superior to what undergrads like us can do in the US.
To get to your question though, I absolutely cannot believe that schools will look at your application and say, "well, this applicant had some really extraordinary shadowing experiences, buuuttt... they weren't done in the US." In fact, I've been to 7 interviews and my experiences with shadowing down south have come up in every one of them--and most of them have expressed how interesting and impressive they think that sort of thing is. So, do NOT worry about it. Would it hurt to get some US shadowing in? Definitely not. But, your experiences abroad wont be any less valuable because they happened in a foreign country.
I did essentially the same thing (plus phlebotomy and administered vaccinations) in the U.S. It should look good on your application, but like everyone has already said, probably a good idea to get some domestic exposure.
Any of you kind folks want to help me out and let me know where to find ECs like these? This sounds like incredible stuff. I would much rather have hands-on experience in a foreign country than continue to answer phones and run errands for doctors here in the US
This is what I expected; sometimes the extent to which admissions committees expect you to have a perfect application is discouraging. My next question is: my dad is a surgeon, is it just as acceptable to shadow him for a few days? I personally don't see a problem with it, but again it seems like adcoms are pretty set in what they like. I feel like it would be a wasting a good resource if I couldn't shadow him. I'm actually going in tomorrow to watch him do a surgery. Thanks for your advice!
Not perfection, actually, kiddo.
Yes, then get him to introduce you to one of his buds in another dept and go from there.
perfection was a bit of hyperbole on my part, but from all I've heard it's pretty darn rare to get a US shadowing experience in which you are directly involved in the process of caring for patients, so it seems like no matter what it's a step down. I guess it just seems like it is unnecessary, especially considering I have written confirmation from the doctor of everything I did.
I'll definitely heed everyone's advice though and get some US shadowing experience. Last thing I want is a silly thing like lack of US shadowing to screen me out.
You're not supposed to have care of patients in shadowing. That can be clinical exp, though.
OP, you are lucky you had such a great experience. I would almost certainly include something like that in a personal statement and make it a point to bring it up during your interviews. Use all the tools you have, and this is a great tool. Your excitement for it will shine through and that will help you greatly in this process. GL.
It depends. I, too, had all of my shadowing done in a foreign country. One of my schools asked me to provide more information on my clinical experiences in the US, but when I went to the actual interview, my interviewer just told me that clinical experience is clinical experience, whatever country I did it in, and said he'd give me a strong recommendation to the committee.
Hey Vokey, I was considering doing something similar. I go to a UC and we seem to have a good education abroad program. I was considering going to South Africa or Ghana and I have some questions for you, if you don't mind.
1. What area of Ghana were you in? The UC abroad program goes to Accra.
2. What hospital was this at?
3. Was the area you went to dangerous?
4. If you were there on an education abroad program, do you know of anyone who got sick or injured?
5. Was accessing your money difficult?
6. Did you find it awkward to an American in Ghana?
Interesting volunteering really isn't that hard to find - as long as you're willing to dedicate some time to it and actually search instead of just auto-apply to your local hospital.
After 3 months of restocking cabinets and getting patients water at my undergrad's hospital, I was able to move up to a more interesting position in the Trauma Burn ICU. There I was more able to shadow the providers, and I got to do tons of cool stuff ranging from helping clean gunshot wounds to shaving a guy's face because he couldn't do it himself.
I now volunteer in the clinic at my local Planned Parenthood, and have been with them for 2 years. From the minute I started I was working closely and one-on-one with patients, assisting in procedures and taking vitals. Over time they have taught me to take a history, do counseling on birth control methods and to do several basic procedures on my own. They let me do way more than they let the 3rd year med students who rotate through the clinic do. My interviewers have all been very impressed.
So, you don't have to go to Africa to do something cool - just look around a little and stick with it for some time. Think about what moves you and do that - I'm sure you'll find that your passion will make you learn more and take on more responsibilities. Plus, you will be helping out the underserved in your own backyard, which is an added bonus.
You will need further experience in America, but not because the experience in America will be viewed as better. In fact, I'm willing to bet ADCOMs will view your experiences much more favorably than simple volunteering here. However, medicine in Ghana is completely different than medicine in America. Most ADCOMs will want you to do further clinical volunteering/shadowing/work in the United States because they want to know that you are familiar with how medicine is done here. This would be the case not just in Ghana, but in other highly developed nations as well. The fact is, even if the medicine is the same, how it is done differs between nations.
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