European student wanting a career in the US


May 11, 2012
  1. Resident [Any Field]
    Hello everyone I'm a medical student (having the odd year left until graduation) at a swedish university, and increasingly growing sick of how unappreciated, and taken for granted, medical doctors are here. I've realized that my future as a doctor lies abroad the small confines of this frozen, wet place I was born in. What road leads to a residency at an american hospital for a european graduate? What are the first steps to be taken? How does the american healthcare education system recieve european doctors looking to start a career? So; is there anyone here who has made the same journey I'm hoping to make? Admins; feel free to move this thread if I've put it in the wrong forum
    Last edited:

    general malaise

    Junior Member
    10+ Year Member
    5+ Year Member
    Feb 7, 2006
      process is the same whether you come from europe or some third world country. every medical school graduate outside of US or Canada must become ecfmg certified and then apply to residency programs through the match. first go to and read their guide. its a long process that involves them verifying your medical education credentials including transcripts and diplomas. then you can apply for the usmle exams, step 1 which is basic science and step 2 which is clinical. once youve passed these and and your credentials have been verified you become ecfmg certified. you can then apply to residency programs through an electronic program called ERAS which is basically an expensive but efficient way of sending residency programs your credentials and other documentation. this begins in september of each year. then you sign up for the match which is separate and after depending on your invitations for interviews you create your very own preference or rank list of programs. results are released in march. be warned that about 50% of foreign graduates or IMG's as we are known do not match but you can reapply the following year if you don't match. another thing even though you don't need to have graduated medical school to take exams you cannot become ecfmg certified until you have recieved your diploma, which depending on your country can be immediatly or take years. also you don't have to be ecfmg certified to apply to residency programs but because of the fierce competition nowadays i would advise against doing that and wait instead until you have everything. again you must read the ecfmg certification guide which is a detailed explanation of the entire process
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      Full Member
      Jul 13, 2011
      1. Non-Student
        I dont know in which year of your med education you are, but in general after 2nd year USMLE Step-1 is taken. If you are not a graduate, you may try to have a couple of months of clinical experience in US, which has a serious contribution in residency match after you graduate. During your USCE (US Clinical Experience) you can have some LORs from US MDs as well which is also important for residency match. One more point: USMLE Step-1 score is pretty important to find a place for USCE and for resindency match again. So you need to get prepared very well for that test, and you can do it by purchasing sample tests as many as you like from NBME, the institution which prepares USMLE tests:

        There is a "Sample Assessment" link on the left of the page, its free for a first self assessment.

        About clerkship and electives this may give some idea:

        An old thread, but gives an idea about some elective programs for international med students:

        edit: If you want a place in which doctors are cherished and respected, US may be a wrong place for you. The US MDs too are unhappy with the strict regulations which make them feel a heavy hand over them. You may feel better among rather warm people like Turks(I am a Turk as well) or Poles. Both countries have upward trends in their economies, social developments etc, and its interesting that Poland has good indicators despite the situation in EU. That goes for Turkey as well, despite we are not in EU and cannot export to Europe as much as before the EU crisis, still Turkey has the 2nd highest growth rate after China in 2011.

        Anyway, I was considering to work in US, but I changed my mind, I see that I cant breathe among them. If you want to live among people who knows to value each other, you must pick a society which is conservative in some social values like Turkey, Poland, maybe Japan and Canada. For Canadians too I hear that they are way more humane than Americans. But definitely not USA.
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        New Member
        Nov 20, 2011
        South Africa
        1. Medical Student
          Wow, you don't realize how good you have it. As I understand it, Swedish medical schools are extremely difficult to get into. What I wouldn't give to be able to study in Sweden. In fact I'm hoping that if I'm able to, to immigrate to Sweden or Norway one day.

          And what could possibly possess you to want to live in the US? Is it just the prospect of better pay? I would gladly live on $75k a year in Sweden over 300k in America.
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