Caribbean or Ireland for a Canadian student wanting to be doctor in States

Discussion in 'Caribbean' started by Michael W48, Apr 12, 2004.

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  1. Michael W48

    Michael W48 Junior Member 7+ Year Member

    Mar 5, 2004
    Edmonton, Alberta

    I am a resident of Alberta going to Queen's University in Ontario, Canada. I have applied to premedicine (3rd year of it) at St. Georges and got an interview (This means that to get my MD I would do this third year of pre-med then 4 yrs of med = 5 years total). I also just got accepted into medicine at University College Dublin in Ireland (5 yr. program). I have done two years at Queen's. I am either going to Ireland or St.Georges for sure next year and I don't know which to pick. My final goal is to practice medicine in the States. I realize that SGU teaches the American curriculum and allows you to make contacts while you do rotations in the states - but the Irish school has a 100% success for their their Canadian students recieving residencies in the states after passing the UCLME (which they all do). It also has a good reputation. Cost is not an issue (the difference isn't very much).

    Does anyone know how hard it is to do well and prepare for the UCLME after going through a European curriculum? I don't wan't to make life hard by learning two different curriculums and struggling on the UCLME or possibly not passing.

    Any thoughts on my situation? Thanks for the help

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  3. Megalofyia

    Megalofyia 425 lbs and growing 10+ Year Member

    Oct 13, 2001
    I asked a residency director about this; this was his responce:

    While there is a wide range of opinions regarding foreign or US citizens who graduate from foreign medical schools applying to US residency programs, I think that there is no doubt that these applicants are at a disadvantage (even though the school may have a very good program) I suspect the biggest reason for this is that the program directors generally don?t KNOW the quality of the education in these schools. US citizens generally fare better than foreign nationals because program directors feel a responsibility to offer positions to our own citizens first. Nontheless graduates from foreign schools are accepted on a regular (yearly) basis. As for the difference between Irish and Caribbean schools, I am not sure it makes a lot of difference. Either way, it would be important to have excellent grades and USMLE scores and to do 4th year rotations at prospective programs (1 or 2) in order to demonstrate your abilities firsthand.
  4. Jasminegab

    Jasminegab psych student 7+ Year Member

    Aug 7, 2003
    :thumbup: I agree.

    I would add it's important for you to learn the state requirements for which you want to do residency and some day become licensed. For instance, if you want to do residency in CA and later become licensed in the state of CA, you should call the CA medical board to learn thier requirements for FMG's.

    Keep in mind that the moment you leave your country to go to another country to study medicine your considered an FMG. It doesn't matter which school you go to. Some state have lists of school's they will recognize and some states just have set pre-med/medical school requirement for FMG's. Other states add that the school you attend, you must be able to become licensed in the country for which you graduated. So as you see, there's no one requirement that has to be met to become licensed in all 50 states for FMG's.

    I advise all students going out of their country to call the state which they like to become licensed in and to make sure they have an understanding of the state requirements for licensure no matter if your going to ROSS, AUC, SGU or some other foriegn medical school.

    Congrats on your acceptance, learn well, Pass your boards and don't forget to get strong LOR from your teachers and mentors during your medical education career. You'll do fine.
  5. leorl

    leorl Moderator Emeritus Lifetime Donor 10+ Year Member

    Jan 2, 2001
    Hi, I checked here after reading your post in the Europe forum. The above posters have given excellent advice. We are considered FMGs, and even though we're North American, we still may experience some bias. This generally might not happen so much with the Irish schools because there are quite a lot of Irish graduates practicing in the US, and the programs are pretty highly regarded. However, the same is with certain Caribbean schools although as much as no one wants to acknowledge it, there can be a "stigma" against offshore schools. But yeah, do realize that being an FMG can have disadvantages, and that the real test is from LORs and USMLE scores.

    That said, it does not seem to be difficult to study for the USMLEs and study in Europe. You see, medical education is pretty standard wherever you go. Indian cadavers don't have any special parts different from American cadavers. Everyone learns Anatomy, Phys, Neuroscience, Biochem, etc etc etc in some form or another. The people taking the USMLE will buy USMLE books and practice tests in order to familiarize themselves with what they need to know and to what degree. And, quite a lot of Irish medics (including US and Canadian students) take the USMLE with no problems. As AB quotes, there's a 100 or 95% pass rate. You just do what you've gotta do, you know?
  6. azskeptic

    azskeptic Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Oct 13, 2003
    One can't forget though that Irish schools have been in existence for hundreds of years and have thousands more graduates than the new medical schools. Much more established and appreciated. Perhaps folks in the States don't appreciate that but those in the know know the difference. The weather is cold in Ireland compared to the islands....much more akin to Canada..ha ha
  7. Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Jan 21, 2003
    The advantage of Ireland is that the stigma is less. The disadvantage is that you have only summers to do electives in the US.
    The advantage of the Caribbean is that you can spend a lot more time in US hospitals and some of them even do all their clinical rotations in US hospitals.

    I would strongly discourage anyone from going abroad anywhere for med school unless attending a US or Canadian medical school is definately not an option. I view going abroad myself as a huge mistake and am active in this forum to try to discourage others from making the same mistake.
  8. Flankstripe

    Flankstripe Junior Member 7+ Year Member

    Jan 24, 2004
    I would agree with this. Especially if you are planning on a competitive US residency, and definitely will have visa issues (as a Canadian), it makes no sense to head off-shore when you have as strong a chance as you do to get into a Canadian or US med school.

    Here's another thread with more thoughts on that:
  9. JasonEMD

    JasonEMD New Member

    Jun 2, 2004
    I'm not sure what an 85% GPA is on a 4.0 scale, but I applied to many US medical schools with a 3.7 gpa and a 37S MCAT and was not accepted. I'm still on two wait lists, but it does not look good at this point. If I don't get accepted soon, I am thinking about applying offshore because my gpa has gone down since I first applied, so I don't expect to have any better luck if I were to try again in the States.
  10. JBA

    JBA Junior Member 5+ Year Member

    Apr 16, 2004
    I'm probably going to get grilled for saying this but I really think that Ireland is a much better choice over the Caribbean. My reasons are as follows:

    1) As said before Irish medical schools are known throughout the world for producing competent physicians. They have been doing so for well over 200 years and will likely be doing so for 200 more. The same cannot be said for off-shore schools.

    2) Irish schools educate Irish students to become doctors in Ireland and international students are not the sole reason for the existence of the school. Off-shore schools...even respected and established ones are essentially only in operation to offer foreign students (mainly US & Canada) the chance to study medicine they could not get in their home country.

    3) Stigma....regardless of what people say there is far less 'IMG Stigma' associated with studying medicine as an international student in Ireland than in the Caribbean. This is especially true when you want to practice in the US/Canada. Unfortunately, and I'm not saying it's true, going to med school in the Caribbean is associated with students who had absolutely no other option.

    4) Lifestyle....let's be honest if you are going to studying med you might as well study in a place that you will be happy. The Caribbean is a great place to visit.....for a week. But from what I have been told the island lifestyle gets old fast. Dublin is a great place to live...just lived there for a while....spending 5 years there would be a great time.

    I don't mean to say that Ireland produces more competent physicians than the Caribbean schools. Or that either is a superior path to gain a solid residency. To ensure that your best bet is DO NOT GO INTERNATIONAL! I just feel that the Caribbean schools are essentially extended USMLE prep classes and if for whatever reason the USMLE doesn't work out for you there is not much substance to fall back on. Ireland on the other hand has an established track record of educating physicians and good marks and good LOR will offset a mediocore USMLE.

    Michael W48 I went to Queen's too, and graduated in 2003 from LifeSci. I'm currently studying internationally and take my advice...don't rush into going international. Stay at Queen's get a good GPA and give Canada and the US a shot. The extra 2 years of undergrad now will definitely offset the uphill battle you will have when trying to return to the US/Canada. And keep in mind that despite the fact lots of Irish and Caribbean grads get residencies every year, all spots are not created equal and the residency you ultimately choose will without a doubt impact your future career. Good luck with everything man.....And you will miss Kingston when you leave!
  11. umasskid

    umasskid Member 7+ Year Member

    Feb 25, 2002
    What everyone said here is true; IMGs will face discrimination in some fashion, whether it be in subtle or not-so-subtle form. However, SGU was, and still is, a school catered to people who typically cannot, for whatever reason, gain admission to US medical schools. We all know this says nothing about the quality of the school, and also doesn't indicate that you are a dumba*s for having to go there. At the end of the day, people will still carry their stereotypes. HOWEVER, I feel the advantage lies with he Irish schools. Number one, if a patient asks you about your medical degree (I know, which they never, never do), but lets just IF they do: "I went to Trinity College Dublin" or "I attended the Royal College of Surgeons." This sounds like a valid education to almost anyone; it sounds impressive to an unknowing heathen and it also is impressive to anyone who knows anything about acedemia, as these schools are worldclass institutions. On the other hand, carribean always arises suspicions, even many everyday people understand what the carrib. schools are known for. Second, the Irish schools ARE just as highly regraded to the international medical community as most US schools. Maybe the US thinks it's the best, but it's actually not in the eyes of the rest of the world. Anyone who doesn't belive me can go check the WHO ranking of healthcare systems. US does not come close to number one ( I don't think Ireland does either, but thats not the point). The point is, Irish medical education is as respected as US medical education to the rest of the world. So, how could one ever feel bad with a world class institution diploma on their office wall. In essence, you'll never have to hide your degree or feel ashamed. Third, Ireland, especially Dublin, is an unbelievable place to be. The historical richness, culture, architecture, and general atmosphere is really only matched by Cambridge, Ma., Greenwich Village, NY., and a samll handful of other U.S. places. I don't believe that anyplace in the U.S is better to live in than anyplace in Europe, or another place for that matter. Yes, Yale is a wonderful medical college with a wonderful reputation, but its in New Haven, Ct.. No offense to anyone from New Haven, but the prospect of spending four years there makes me cringe to think about it. SO, if you get into a US school, I think you should go because that's always better career wise, but if you have to go foreign, I'd go Irish. BUT, that's just me and I am just a lowly pre MS1-DO student :)
  12. stephew

    stephew SDN Super Moderator Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    Jun 7, 2001
    as you can see people have stronger feelings about some topics than the debate deserves. I think both are great and you should check residency placements of folks from irish schools (keeping in mind that most students there dont want to come to the us as they're irish) and compare with some carib schools. I think the irish schools are top notch with excellent placement in the few cases of folks Ive known (one is at duke in IM).
  13. McGillGrad

    McGillGrad Building Mind and Body 10+ Year Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    I will take this opportunity to dodge the question and remind us all of the fact that the same standardised tests are necessary for all doctors doing their residency in the US. Therefore, stigma aside, we are all on even footing during residency (generally speaking).

    Also, as a few have already mentioned, doing your electives in the US gives you a palpable advantage.
  14. umasskid

    umasskid Member 7+ Year Member

    Feb 25, 2002
    I'm not sure if you were referring to me with the "stronger opinion than the debate deserved" line--I wasn't even really trying to argue, I was just adding my opinion, which is what these boards are for. I even said I thought SGU was an excellent school, but that the general public has formed opinions about it. I even said people who go there are not stupid for having to do so. I also know people do very well from there, as in your case. I will be a D.O. myself, and I know people have their opinions about that also. It doesn't matter very much in the end I know, I was just sharing one opinion. I hope I didn't offend you.
  15. king@queens

    [email protected] Junior Member 10+ Year Member

    Oct 14, 2003
    wow! lots of queen's grads here. I graduated from queen's too and am coming back to queen's for meds in kingston.
  16. awdc

    awdc Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Jul 13, 2002
    IMHO, going to med school in Ireland does sound better. I did briefly consider this but having to spend five years instead of four and not being able to do all my rotations in the U.S. were two big marks against it. Oh, and the cost probably would have been prohibitive for me considering that I didn't apply to SGU based on that reason. I'm sure for most, 5 instead of 4 years isn't much. For me, it did matter... partly because I am an "older" student. Point is, see what you'll be happier with. I agree with the above posters that in the end, it doesn't really matter in the eyes of residency PD's... an FMG from SGU or UCD is still an FMG. I would hazard a guess that PD's know enough that both schools produce very capable physicians.
  17. Howard Roark

    Howard Roark Senior Member 5+ Year Member

    Jul 16, 2004

    wow - 37S (mcat) and 3.7 (GPA)?
    did any schools give you a reason for not accepting you?
    volunteer work?
    essay quality?

    good luck :luck:

  18. Luck

    Luck Banned Banned

    May 31, 2004
    I would recommend going to Ireland. They are more established, more respected than Caribbean grads, and your opportunities to come back to the US will probably be better compared to caribbean grads.
  19. awdc

    awdc Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Jul 13, 2002
    I don't think coming back to the US will be significantly better either way. Actually, going to SGU will most likely give someone a better chance in securing a residency in the U.S. Why? All (or, nearly all) the rotations will be done at ACGME programs. And all your letters are coming from attendings at those institutions. This is not to discount the match rate of students from UCD, obviously it sounds just as impressive. I think the argument of whether one will have better opportunities coming back to the U.S. within the context of the two schools the OP is deciding on, need not be discussed. The fact is, not having US citizenship or perm. resident status is probably a greater hindrance than the choice of med school in this case.

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