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Choosing Ireland over US

Discussion in 'General International Discussion' started by bridgie, Dec 5, 2002.

  1. bridgie

    bridgie Senior Member
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    Hope no one minds me starting a new thread on this topic but the other one is so full of info I wanted to start fresh.

    I really just wanted to start a conversation about the decision that I am about to face- and I am sure I have company?.

    I have applied to about 20 American schools (my first time applying) and UCD, Trinity and RCSI. I am 24, doing research. I have interviewed at eight schools, waitlisted at 2, on hold at 3, rejected from 3, waiting to hear from 5 post interview, and I was accepted at 1 school so far and I think I might have a few more options in the US based on how things have been going.

    My questions: Are there any other SDNs choosing Irish schools over US schools- because I think that is what I want to do based on quality of life of students, location, and the fact that I have always wanted to study/ live in Ireland.

    When will we know if we are accepted to the Dublin schools? Will I have enough time to really consider my options?
     
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  3. Thewonderer

    Thewonderer Senior Member
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    Some people's response on this board will be a resounding yes!!! :)

    For me, I would have some reservation....

    1) People have said that it is not a problem to get to Ireland and then come back to the US. But it is never going to be 100% guaranteed unless you stay in the US. I just would hate to take a chance since medicine is a heavily regulated field and things/regulation change all the time. It is my future career that is on line.

    2) Some Irish schools are more expensive while some are cheaper than US schools. It depends on your financial situation as to how much expense will come into play.

    3) Quality of life and culture... I personally hated windy, gloomy weather on top of not-so-well-maintained old buildings. After being in England (not Scotland, but the weather should be the same) for one year, I had enough. Some people found the culture fascinating and wanted to go back time and time again. You should take a very very close look at it since you plan to be there for 4 years. This should be a very important factor in your decision-making.

    good luck!
     
  4. lola

    lola Bovine Member
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    hey bridgie,
    i never actually thought i'd really consider going to trinity if i got in, but after going to my first interview in the states i am leaning more toward trinity. the students just seemed so unhappy at my interview, and i do not like the idea of having an exam every other week :( students in ireland seem to have a much better outlook on life/school, and i'm someone who really needs a balance between fun and school.
    i have some major concerns about getting a residency if i go to a foreign school. i know people on here say it's not a big problem if you go to an irish or australian school, but i am definitely going to research it myself if i get into trinity. last weekend i was talking to a doctor in the states, and she was telling me the importance of doing a residency at a university hospital rather than at a community hospital. i began to wonder if fmg's are able to get these resdencies or if they generally are accepted to community hospital programs.
    the weather in ireland would be a bit depressing, but it is not a bitter cold like on the east coast or midwest. i spent a year abroad in london and loved it. i could definitely see myself living in that part of the world again, but 5 years is a long time!!
    as for when we will know about the irish schools, i'm not sure. hopefully they won't ask for a commitment early on, but i kind of think they do :( i'm sure others will be able to answer this question for you.
    -lola
     
  5. Meese

    Meese MS I
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    Hey - don't know how much this helps, but I've been told that the AB applications aren't even looked at by adcoms until after the Christmas holiday....so I wouldn't expect to hear anything til at least mid-January I guess...

    Good luck :D
     
  6. leorl

    Physician Moderator Emeritus Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

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    Hiya Bridgie,

    if you haven't gathered by now, I'm a US student attending Trinity. My situation is a little different - I had absolutely no doubt in my mind that I wanted to attend Trinity for med school, so I didn't even bother applying to US schools. I spent my junior year abroad at TCD and loved it so much, loved the educational system that I found myself in quite a dilemma. I knew if I stayed in the US for med school, I would most possibly be very miserable, wouldn't enjoy the company of my peers, wouldn't be able to continue doing the hobbies that make up my non-academic life. I went to a very pre-med oriented undergrad (CWRU) where 50% of the freshman class is premed. Granted, that percentage drops, but the atmosphere was very stifling for me, although CWRU undergrads are by no means the competitive cutthroat type of people you hear horror stories about.

    1) Did I have qualms about being an FMG? Yes, and I still do. But the prospect of living in Europe, meeting even more fascinating people than I met during my JYA year, being able to have a life outside school, and being back with my Irish friends who grew very dear to me was worth it. I couldn't throw the abroad experience away just in order to make my future certain - that's not living life to its fullest. Thewonderer is right - getting back in the US cannot be taken for granted, but coming from an Irish school is relatively "safe," as long as you ensure that you take the proper steps to get back (score well on the USMLEs, do electives and stuff in the US, etc.) You have to work that little bit harder to get back in, but to me, it's completely worth it. And having an Irish degree also opens up possibilities in the UK, Europe and Australia if living abroad is something you may be interested in the future.

    2) The students are absolutely wonderful. Everyone helps each other. You want to borrow somone's notes, no problem. People from higher years pass down their old exams and notes. People from class take the time to make notes and draw out charts and then willingly distribute them to the rest of the class. Everyone is so giving. Even Ireland in general is way more community oriented than the US - there are constant campaigns to help third world countries, etc - I find that for a country so small, that's incredible. And they really encourage us to do an elective in third world countries as well and assist us in completing all the tasks (immunization) needed to do so. In October, 300 TCD med students from all years went out on the streets and collected 44,000 euros in a mere 4 hours to contribute to disadvantaged students and needy hospitals - that is one of the most amazing accomplishments I've ever participated in and it really brings all of us together. The feeling of getting out into the community and world to do something useful is just so incredible, and I am most positive you would not get that back in the US.

    3) The Irish schools are very well known for clinical competence. We go back to the US to do an elective, we are well able to diagnose based on symptoms and important clinical signs - we find our US counterparts rather unsure of themselves and to make up for it, they order a whole bunch of costly tests. We have a really solid base in which to work things out. I'm probably going to get flamed for saying that, but I've heard it time and time again. We go into the clinical setting extremely capable and confident, and really know our stuff. At Trininty this year, they are even phasing out MCQ and essay exams - our exams will now be in clinical vignette (case study) formats. Courses like Anatomy are more drawn out (two years vs. one year in the US), and that just makes us know it a lot better, and the especially important clinical significance of joints/bones/etc is hammered home.

    4) All these things to me make it so worth it not to miss out on this chance to study abroad. I picked Ireland because it's fairly "safe," it's a slightly harder and less-straightforward route but I don't care. The type of education you get here is so well-suited for me, I couldn't imagine it any other way. And the people are great to be around. I'm more friends with the Irish than with the Americans in my class actually, because the Americans tend to be more straight-laced (since we've been innundated with premed culture for so long). Sorry for this long novel of a post, I'm just incredibly happy here and I love any chance I get to share it :).
     
  7. leorl

    Physician Moderator Emeritus Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

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    This is a continuation since the other one was getting so long:

    5) ok, so the weather isn't the greatest. But if you pass up opportunities based on weather, that's being pretty stupid I think. It's getting nippy now, but last week it was still in the 50s. I haven't broken out my winter coat yet. It's not all gloomy and depressing at all. Sure, it rains quite a bit and can turn really windy and sometimes it's just crap so it can be irritating, but I'm from Cleveland so the weather isn't all that different. The thing is, in Cleveland it can stay gray for 3 weeks on end - here, at least the Sun peaks out once in a while. Oh, okay...5 years is a long time...but it's 4 in the states, so one extra year really is nothing. Besides, that extra year is a clinical year, not a pre-clinical one!

    6) Irish schools may not be cheaper than some US schools. Right now, there is a huge debate over fee increases that all the third-level students are fighting. Tuition for me is about 18,000 euros (about equal to to dollar) so that makes it as cheap as my state school. However, fees increases may push it up even more (everyone's doing everything possible to fight it). Living expenses are slightly higher than the US (depending on where you're from), as Dublin is currently the 2nd-most expensive city in Europe. However, Dublin is no where Near as expensive as London/Cambridge/Oxford in terms of living expenses. RCSI is the most expensive school at around 27,000 euros per year.

    7) you will have time. I found out in late March/early April, although it did take me a couple of harassing phone calls. Just keep calling around then until they can tell you something more definite. But that's around the same time as you hear from US schools as well. The problem sometimes is that the Irish schools want a deposit within a week or two to hold your spot.

    8) let me tell you a little about my life: In addition to being a med student, a play rugby and am also doing rowing (a full-time sport). One of the reasons I came here was because I couldn't see myself having to give up rowing, and would have been miserable had I been forced to. Plus, my best friends are the rowers here. So, although it's hard, I'm managing two sports. I'm also one of the editors of the Trinity Student Medical Journal (the only student science journal in Ireland), but heavy work on that won't start til February. In the last two weeks, I have gone out or had parties so many times, I've lost count :) I've overdone the fun bit a little. Your experience in research and science really helps you in 2nd year at least because you've got a bit more knowledge than your Irish counterparts and can skimp on the studying a little. Honestly, I have done very little studying this whole term, so I really need Christmas break to catch up. But the point is, I've got the time and flexibility to do all these activities. And that makes me a very happy person :) .

    The world champion (gold medalist) lightweight single sculler (rower) is in the year above me. A Canadian gold medalist at the Barcelona Olympics is in 5th year. These people have the time/management skills/smarts to be able to handle really heavy training along with their school work. If that isn't life, I don't know what is :).
     
  8. leorl

    Physician Moderator Emeritus Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

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    One last thing. AB quotes a 95% USMLE pass rate and a 100% match rate (of those who enter the match). That's pretty outstanding, and incorporates US/Canadian, Irish and other internationals who are applying for US residency. Lola, I'm not sure about your academic vs community hospital thing, but students from here have gone on to Mayo Clinic and Columbia, probably Cleveland Clinic too, just to name a few. So it can be done and I'd say pretty frequently as well. Some people find that they actually love it here so much, they stay in Ireland/Dublin to do their internship and residency. It's one of those things that come up when the time comes.
     
  9. lola

    lola Bovine Member
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    thanks for your posts, leorl :) very helpful as always!
     
  10. bridgie

    bridgie Senior Member
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    Wow, leorl thank you so much taking the time to write that reply. I was on the crew team in high school and college so I know the amount of time you need to continue the sport throughout med school. You sound very happy, which is your strongest argument, really. I am planning a trip in the next few months to solidify my decision. Thanks again for all posts.
     
  11. leorl

    Physician Moderator Emeritus Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

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    If ya need anything re: your visit, just ask :) . Might as well milk the SDN connection :).
     
  12. JMD

    JMD Senior Member
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    I don't have a ton of time to post right now, but just wanted to say that I am in a similar sitution as bridgie. I have been accepted to a U.S. school, and have yet to hear from a bunch of other ones. I applied to UCD, TCD, and UCC. If I get accepted to an Irish school, I am going to have a really tough time deciding what to do. The opportunity to live in Europe and study in that environment would be absolutely amazing. I view the 4 months I spent abroad in college as the best time of my life thus far. On the other hand, it would be much more practical to go to my state school and come out with alot less debt...but how boring is that. I am pretty sure I will go to Ireland if I have the opportunity, but there is definitely a small part of me that thinks staying in the states would be the "smarter" thing to do. I guess we'll see...
     
  13. Some random girl

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    Just a quick question. Are applicants judged by pretty much the same standards as they are here? Also, do the Irish schools require that you follow all of the pre-med class requirements, or is there some leeway?
    Thanks!
     
  14. leorl

    Physician Moderator Emeritus Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

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    The standards are pretty much the same, but for the North american contingent, I think a little more weight is given to research, extracurricular activities and letters of recommendation (and personal essay) than grades & scores - at Trinity, anyway. I'm not sure exactly what criteria they use, but most of the americans/canadians I've met here have led very enriched lives - some of my classmates have done amazing things, and it's more to do with their life experiences than with their grades. Most of us had great grades and good mcat scores during college, but there are a few who didn't. I think it had to do more with us being able to really offer a diverse array of experiences.

    i'll give you an example. there's a canadian a few years ahead of me who won an Olympic gold medal in Barcelona. One of my friends did a whole bunch of medical missionary work in west africa for a rather prolonged time, plus he sings with the Boston Pops. Another guy is a Californian surfer who's held a really wide array of jobs (including a stint in a psychiatry ward or something). and it goes on.

    You don't have to have done the pre-med requisites, but then you won't get placed in the 5 year program. You'll have to do the full 6-year program. the five-year program pretty much requires you to have earned a science degree (thus probably incorporating the premed prerequisites along with that major). If you don't have a science degree, but have done premed prereqs, then you might have to still go into 1st year but may get exempt from physics/chemistry, etc. You should try to do ochem though, because the Irish school system is such that they cover a bit of ochem in high school or for A-levels. Try to do physics as well - it'd probably just make your life easier.
     
  15. Just a point to note about the exemptions in 1st Med in Trinity - you can only be exempt lectures/labs/exams in ONE of either physics, chemistry or biology. There's other components to the 1st Med course too AFAIK.
     
  16. transposon

    transposon Junior Member
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    Hello, I am also a US citizen just now considering applying to an international school (so glad I found SDN, did not know there would be so many routes/possibilities to becoming a doctor :) ).

    Could someone perhaps provide me some links to application info for these Irish schools?
     
  17. leorl

    Physician Moderator Emeritus Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

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    www.atlanticbridge.com (this is the main route through which north american applicants apply)

    www.tcd.ie - Trinity
    www.ucd.ie - UCD
    www.ucc.ie - UCC
    www.rcsi.ie - RCSI

    Just click on Departments and then find the respective faculties of medicine, and links from there should give you an idea of what requirements they want, what the course of study is like, and tuition.

    Why am I posting so much? because it's Christmas break and I'm bored :)
     
  18. transposon

    transposon Junior Member
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    Thank you leorl :)

    I may have missed it but I can't seem to find any deadlines for application.. are there rolling-admissions?

    Also, how competitive is it for North American applicants?

    Hope you're enjoying your break!
     
  19. transposon

    transposon Junior Member
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    Never mind, each school has their individual deadlines... 7am, I need my coffee!!
     
  20. lola

    lola Bovine Member
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    you missed the atlantic bridge application deadline, but i think you can apply to each school individually.
     
  21. DesOMalley

    DesOMalley Member
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    My sister is submitting a late application through The Atlantic Bridge Program. She contacted all the Irish schools for applications but it was a total waste of time. They referred her right back to Atlantic Bridge. I would contact their office if I were you.

    Des
     
  22. transposon

    transposon Junior Member
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    Thank you, but I have not decided on applying yet. Still tossing around a lot of options :)
     
  23. HanSolo

    HanSolo Member
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    Leorl:
    Leorl, while there's nothing wrong with taking pride in the school you are attending, what is up with the need for putting down others' training, esp. US?? :rolleyes: I'm not sure you are fully aware of the reason so many "costly" tests are ordered. It mostly has something to do with insurance liability, rather than lack of clinical competence. So, please refrain from sounding off "my training here is better than your training there." Thanks!
     
  24. leorl

    Physician Moderator Emeritus Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

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    Sorry, it wasn't meant to be one of those mine vs. yours things, didn't meant to make it appear as such. I was pointing out a difference in training, as we are taught to spot things more from a knowledge of a symptomatic basis rather than technology, whereas US students have access to more advanced technology and therefore rely more heavily on that end of things. Because of that, there is a tendency on our end to think our training goes more into depth, which is perpetuated by the profs and the americans studying in Ireland that go back to the US to do their electives. But you're right, the systems are pretty different even though the information is the same, so they shouldn't be compared.
     
  25. student.ie

    student.ie Senior Member
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    Hi leorl. Do you have any specific information about where Irish grads have gotten residencies and in what specialties? I've heard of people going to Clev Clinic, Mayo Clinic, Wash U, Arizona, etc., but I've never heard about the specialties or how long ago they went. If you have any info I'd appreciate hearing about it. Cheers.
     
  26. DesOMalley

    DesOMalley Member
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    I graduated from RCSI five years ago and did my residency in Internal Medicine at Johns Hopkins. There was a Trinity graduate doing Radiology while I was there and a UCD graduate who was also doing Radiology. Two of my friends (RCSI graduates) got Opthalmology at Yale and Neurosurgery at Brown. None of us went through the match.

    Other classmates of mine got Internal Medicine at Duke and Dartmouth, OB/GYN at Boston Univ. and Univ. of Virginia, Otolaryngology at Univ. of South Florida, Family Practice at (I think) Univ. of Washington and Psychiatry at Boston Univ.

    Hope this helps.
     
  27. goooooober

    goooooober Senior Member
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    For the answer follow me or yee lucky charms:p
     
  28. leorl

    Physician Moderator Emeritus Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

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    LOL goober! Tourist season is underway, and I have to say, American tourists are so annoying. So are spanish tourists cuz they don't seem to understand that a whole group of people can't just stand on the sidewalk and block pedestrian paths.

    Anyway, thanks Des, that's uplifting! student.ie, I've also heard the same as you, but don't know specifics. I can try to find out. I'm still of the mind that we might not get the most competitive specialties, but sometimes my profs say "If you're a north american and want to get into orthopedic surgery, you have to know such and such or do this and that." I know Trinity has graduated people who go into Mayo, Clev Clinic and Columbia, to name a few but I don't know their specialties.

    It'll be very interesting to see if the going outside the Match thing will be disallowed and what it'll do to acceptance / matching rates.
     
  29. catchmehere44

    catchmehere44 Member
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    Hey everyone
    I was reading the messages very closely and i have a question. I have applied to the 6 year program in Ireland (UCD and RCSI). I am currently studying at the University of Texas at Dallas. I am an international student, so getting loans from the US will not be possible. I was wondering if any of you may know of people in similar situations and how they went about it. I think the fact that I am a foreign student will also make it much harder for me to re-enter the US, won't it.
    Will greatly appreciate any advice.
    -Jo
     

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