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Doing a medical residency overseas

Discussion in 'General Residency Issues' started by davidsomsen, Oct 23, 2009.

  1. davidsomsen

    davidsomsen 2+ Year Member

    Jul 21, 2009
    Sioux Falls, SD
    Hey everyone-

    I don't know...I did some searching on SDN, and I honestly couldn't find much on this topic. I have wanted to move to the EU for quite some time, but I think completing my pre-residency schooling in the US is a good idea, so I'm applying (and hopefully will get in) this year to US schools. After I get my degree, however, I want to move to Europe. I don't care about less money or not being able to come back to the be quite honest I'm sick of hearing about those two things when it comes to being a doctor.

    I simply want to move to Europe. Does anyone know how possible this is and what kind of chance I would get about getting the residency of my choice (is it EU-biased over there)? Also, just in case I ever DID want to come back to the States, for whatever reason, does anyone have any real information on what the process would be? If I lived in Europe for 15 years and wanted to come back, would I have to re-do a full residency in the States to practice here?

    Or does anyone have a link that would be helpful with this topic? Thanks!!!
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  3. aProgDirector

    aProgDirector Pastafarians Unite! Moderator SDN Advisor 10+ Year Member

    Oct 11, 2006
    Much of what I have read suggests that to do a residency in the EU, you must be an EU citizen. Without citizenship it is much harder to get a spot. But I have no direct knowledge, and perhaps this is wrong.

    This I know the answer to, at least for IM. You will almost certainly need to complete an entire residency to practice in the US. In some specialties, if a PD or chair of a US program is willing to sponsor your application you can try to get an exemption, but these are very rare and are usually reserved for world famous physicians, so I really wouldn't count on it.

    There is no guarantee that 15 years out that you would get a residency spot. You might be able to get 1 year of credit, again specialty specific. Also, they could completely change the rules in the next 15 years.
  4. sam1999

    sam1999 5+ Year Member

    Aug 7, 2009
    Many Europeans come to USA to do their residency, fellowship and then go back to practice medicine as most of these countries accept US training to practice in their home country. It is not true other way around as to do training in EU and come back to US. Even doctors from English speaking countries like England and Ireland have to do their residency in USA if they want to be in medicine in USA.
  5. Frugal Traveler

    Frugal Traveler MS4

    Sep 10, 2009
    United States
    Maybe you could join the military and eventually live in Germany or something like that.

    I don't think it is a good idea to get an American MD degree and then go Europe. It would much cheaper to travel there occasionally and you can do it quite frugally if you plan.

    Is there something that you are trying to escape here or just want a new start? Typically moving somewhere else doesn't work or help if that it is the underlying reason.
  6. EtOHWithdrawal

    EtOHWithdrawal 2+ Year Member

    Sep 27, 2006
    This may not be entirely accurate. It seems that some form of testing or additional training will be required in some if not most cases. In fact, I couldn't name one country in Europe that accepts US training without any further qualification...

    If somebody knows of one, let me know. Perhaps Ireland?
  7. davidsomsen

    davidsomsen 2+ Year Member

    Jul 21, 2009
    Sioux Falls, SD
    I would just like to work in a country with a health care system that allows everyone proper medical care. I think England's system is a good example. I've lived there for 6 months in the past, and I love it. But yes, I do want to escape the US...or at least escape for a while...maybe I'd retire in the US or something. And why don't you think it's a good idea to get an American MD and go to Europe? Is it just personal opinion, or do you have some other reason?
  8. karatekid


    Apr 23, 2009
    In Sweden, the only qualification you need for being eligable for practising medicin is a language test, if you are American Board Certified( goes for surgical spec. for sure, I don't think its any diffrent for the other spec.).
    But I advice against the idea of doing pre-med and medschool in US and then comming over for a residency for 2 reasons:
    1) we have 2 totaly diffrent educational systems, and
    2) you will be in debt for the rest of your life, since paying back the tuition fees for attending a US medschool can ONLY be payed by the salaries that Drs make in US.

  9. Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Jan 21, 2003
    They don't have 'residency' in the EU countries I'm familiar with. They have jobs with increasing levels of responsibility, pay, etc., but it doesn't correlate well with residency.

    I'm most familiar with the UK and Ireland which is probably most relevant to you since I doubt you speak Swedish or Croatian or whatever. Even if you speak a foreign language, I doubt you speak at the level that you could practice medicine in that language. If you do then good for you, add that country to your list.

    Back to my point- After medical school in the US, you are a resident, usually for 3-5 years depending on specialty, and then you are an attending. In the UK and Ireland, this is not the case. You could work your entire life without ever becoming a consultant. If you could even get an intern job in the EU which is unlikely since they are required by law to give preference to EU citizens, it is likely that you would never become a consultant because they would continue to be biased against foreigners (you) when it comes time to give out coveted consultant jobs. It's not like you reach some level of training and become an attending/consultant like we do here. You have to wait for a spot to be created or for a consultant to retire or die. These spots are hard to come by and you wouldn't get one.

    If you were somehow able to get a job in medicine in the EU and wanted to come back, you would have to do your training over starting with the intern year. I can't imagine doing my internship at 40 and after working for 15 years, sounds terrible, but some people do it I guess.

    Not to rain on your parade, but I'm just trying to give it to you straight. If you really want to work in the EU, your realistic choices are:
    a) join the Army and get stationed in Europe.
    b) go to medical school in Europe, marry a European, and stay there forever.

    A word of warning to you though, for everything that's better in Europe than the US, there is something that is better in the US than in Europe. Right now you are focused on the negatives here, but if you move there the negatives of the EU will become apparent. I'm not trying to say one place is absolutely better than the other, but you might not find that it's as great as you imagine right now. You might, but you never know.

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