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Graduate Entry Medical Program for International Students

Discussion in 'Australasia and Oceania' started by doctor_babe, Mar 27, 2004.

  1. doctor_babe

    doctor_babe Junior Member

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    Hi! I am interested in applying to a Graduate Entry Medical Program in Australia. What are the distinct differences between the programs offered by the UniSydney, UniMelbourne, Flinders Uni, and UnivQueensland? I can't decide between Flinders and UQ. And also, how is it like for international students to live in Adelaide and Brisbane? Thanks!I hope you guys can help me.:clap: :clap:
     
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  3. DrIng

    DrIng Senior Member
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    Both are good programs. I'm an Australian student so i can't comment from an international perspectie. i ahd an interview at boht and found I liked the atmosphere at FLidners better. UQ is one of the biggest medical shools in Australia- a class of nearly 200 I think where as Flidners is half of that, and you ahev the advantage at Flidner that nearly all your clinicals are at the hospital attached to the medical school.
    On the whole Australia is a friendly place and you'd be welcome in either city. brisbane is a bigger city, i hotter and more humid (sub-tropical) climate where as Adelaide is a bit drier and gets comparatively cold in winter. Hope this helps.
     
  4. tl47

    tl47 Member
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    Hi, I'm at flinders and I like it here a lot so far... if that says anything :). I cannot speak for other uni's since I didn't apply to any other.

    They do take good care of foreign students --- at least the school tries to, even if there are other "elements" that do not. The ISSU (international student services unit) is quite on top of things. And the med school itself is trying hard to welcome foreigners as far as I can see... we have special orientations for intl students, and also bbq at the Intl chairman's house, etc... pretty cool. And we were informed of admission almost immediately after the interview. The housing office is probably the only irritating part of the whole process (i sense corruption actually... if you know people, you can get housing, else they will say "full" even though there are units that are empty the whole year!) But the international housing people are helpful after you arrive. (they are hired international students themselves... so...)

    The school is in the same building as the medical center and you get 24/7 access from week 1. Indeed, they have structured the program to wow you... first week: cadaver, ward visit, first PBL case! First half semester: Clinical Skills, labs, GP visit, first year camp, clinical visit. The whole program is very friendly and they are really out to help you. At least that's what I feel so far. The program is great in terms of the structure, but people may have different opinions. PBL is not fixed in stone, so if you have not had PBL before, it might take some getting used to (e.g. realising that your fellow PBL-mates will either make it heaven or hell for you).

    The people... especially the Australians are a funny lot of people. Real fun. But I suspect that's going to be the same for all the other places in Oz. Adelaide is not a very "lively" town for many people. So that might be a negative for some. But I think there's adequate "life" if you are really looking for it. And there are enough students to organise some stuff to keep you busy as well. But again, I might be the wrong person to tell you about this, because I've never enjoyed noisy parties too much. Prefer quiet activities a lot more.

    So, feel free to ask specific questions on the program. I assume you have already seen their website? http://som.flinders.edu.au

    You can also see fun in our first year camp this year:
    1st year camp
     
  5. pitman

    pitman Grasshopper
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    I'm at UQ (Brisbane) and picked here over Flinders as an American. Usyd and I had mutual distaste for each other.

    First, I think Flinders does the best job at being attentive to int'l student needs and the school has the best organized method to get grads back to the US (e.g., electives agreements with good US schools). I also liked the interview and the dean of admissions. It's also 100 students/yr as opposed to 300 here at UQ (but for labs and tutorials we do break down into smaller, or even small, groups, and some see the bigger class size as a social advantage).

    Yet after coming to Australia to do interviews, I chose Brisbane because I don't mind putting a little extra legwork into gaining US residency (plus will be GP and so am not too worried), and environment/weather was that important to me -- spent too many years in a city I hated, and I just couldn't see liking Adelaide. The city shuts down at night and is IMO ugly (flat, grid, straight out of a '50s timewarp). The water's really cold, too, but then again the beaches are an hour away from Brisbane. Fortunately, cost of living is about the same (cheap, even though the US $ is weak), so I rented a house with a pool ;).

    Read all the archives on the Australia schools here at SDN, find out all you can on PBL, read about the schools' admissions requirements at:

    http://www.acer.edu.au/tests/university/gamsat/intro_gmac.html

    Keep in mind that you can get an interview at one school that exclusively uses the ACER application (UQ, ANU, Melbourne), along with any schools that have their own app (USyd, Flinders), so 3 interviews total are possible.

    I'd highly recommend coming here to visit the schools -- I did for interviews, and I ended up bumping my 1st choice to 3rd, then swapped the other two, and like where I'm at. Of course, haven't gotten back my first summative exam yet which half the class is certain they failed...

    I am more easily reached via PM and would be happy to answer any other questions.

    -pitman
     
  6. tl47

    tl47 Member
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    Cool, I was just thinking if I should say that pitman was the best person to talk about the different schools since you visited all of them, but I wasn't sure if you still lurk around this corner of the world :).

    Anyway, good to hear from you. I think Adelaide really isn't THAT bad. I think the horror stories like nothing is open at night is only partially true. No "night life" is true, but even that is getting better. Malls are now open 7 days a week (used to close on weekends), and shops in the mall are usually closed at 5pm, but some opens till 9pm every night. Cinema opens late. Flinders is very close to Marion Shoppingtown which is South Australia's biggest shopping mall (not that it is that big :) ). In fact, I live within walking distance from it, and 7-17 minutes bus ride to school. Also, a lot of fun isn't hanging out in the bar, but with people you know, either at a party or with a church group, etc... so it's liveable, but depends on the person. Temperature here is pretty good the last few months, but hmm... maybe winter will be nasty. When did you visit?

    You also do get the hills and the waters. Not many places (not sure about Australia, since this is the only place I've been to so far!) is blessed with such a wonderful selection: <1 hour to beach, hills, city.

    BTW, I know Kim Cox and others dissuaded me and eric in previous threads to compare this place with Cornell. Well, after seeing both now... I really think most people have absolutely no idea how incredibly rural Ithaca is :). It's not even a comparison --- with Flinders being much much less forsaken! But of course, I love nature (hills especially), so Ithaca was great to me too. But maybe the lack of bars is a big thing to some... so do consider that in choosing.

    P.S. On the negative side of things, I think there were some new policies being negotiated about the electives/rotations thing at Flinders. So, it might not be as friendly as it used to be... but of course, I'm not sure how things will work out in the end. Too far away for me to fret about yet ;).
     
  7. pitman

    pitman Grasshopper
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    ok, passed the exam.

    Sorry, didn't mean that *literally* nothing's open at night, but relative to Brisbane. I was there in September, it was wet and cold. But I want to emphasize that I am quirky when it comes to location, and because I spent 10 years in Rochester (NY), location became a priority for me. Others may love Adelaide, particularly if they like Upstate!

    My real point I guess is that anyone wanting to come to Australia should if at all possible visit the schools before choosing one, since you may surprise yourself at what sways you one direction or another.


    -pitman
     
  8. Winged Scapula

    Winged Scapula Cougariffic!
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    Don't you think you might be a tad unkind to Adelaide's winters in comparing it to Upstate NY?! ;)

    It does rain a fair bit of the time, but it was rarely less than 8-9 degrees Cel (even at night) - of course, if you live in a home with only space heaters (as I did), this can be chilly, but hardly Rochester or Ithaca cold.

    BTW, I've been to Ithaca and while yes, it is rural and away from seemingly everything else, it still is more of a college town than Adelaide is in a sense.
     
  9. markdc

    markdc Senior Member
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    I'm a 1st year Canadian student at UQ (in Pitman's class). I didn't visit the other schools but with the dealings I had with Flinders, they did seem to be more professional and helpful when dealing with us international students. UQ seems to fall short of the mark in comparison.

    As for UQ's program it is based heavily on PBL and "self-directed learning". I think that the idea they had was to simulate the real world and make it so nothing is spelled out obviously for you. But it ends up feeling a little disorganized at times as a student. Most of us have good work ethics and will study our butts off if given large amounts of information but many didn't do as well as expected on the first test. If you have no idea what you will be tested on, it makes for somewhat of a frustrating experience when studying because there is so much wasted time. This is a particularly annoying point for me since I like to be efficient as possible in my time management. I feel as though I have to sacrifice the efficiency to stay above average as a student and I think that shouldn't be the case.

    It is however early in the course to fully recommend or criticize it.
    I can't comment on Flinders or U. Syd regarding their course content but maybe some current students can.

    When I applied to the schools in Aus I also chose UQ due to it's location and reputation. I would have applied to Melbourne but the extra 6 months is not at all appealing as an international student (hint UM). One thing you may want to watch out for is the huge class size at UQ. There are over 300 students in our class and this is much higher than in the past. I believe Flinders is around 60 people or so and U.Syd just around 150.

    Hope that helps.

    -Mark
     
  10. doctor_babe

    doctor_babe Junior Member

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    Hi guys! Thanks for all the replies.. i really appreciate your help. I was just wondering though if it's really really difficult to get into med schools in australia. I come from asia and not many people from my country go abroad to study med and i heard that it's so hard to get into australian programs. They said that they don't give much attention to schools that are not as popular as the ones in the United States. You see, even the best schools in my country are unheard of unlike the schools in first world countries. This discourages me because for us, it's really expensive to study in australia. Even taking the MCAT is not possible in our country so I still have to go to Singapore to take it and go to Australia for the interviews (hopefully!!) So, just applying will cost me so much and that doesn't include my tuition yet!=) One more thing, if you apply through ACER, you're given three choices of school right? Does this guarantee you that at least one school will accept you or does it happen that all three will not accept you? Thanks again for your help!!! :)
     
  11. DrIng

    DrIng Senior Member
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    Ok, you apply through ACER and list your preferences, however there's no guarentee that any of the school swill accept you.

    As for Adelaide weather it's true that it doesn't snow here in winter but then the houses aren't built for the cold. UI've been more regularly cold in Adelaide than I was when living in Ottawa. My house is about 100 years old and doesn't haev a single straight line in it anywhere, gales blow under my backdoor. But then I do also live abotu 100metre from the beach. On my first day of med school I got home, and went for a swim at the beach...
     
  12. misosoup

    misosoup Junior Member

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    Hi, with regards to interview, if the schools are unable to go to your country to conduct interviews, I think it's not 'a must' for you to fly down to Oz. Instead they will conduct interviews by phone.

    As for the Acer, if I'm not wrong, what happens is that if the first school accepts your application (or at least retain it with the intention of shortlisting you for an interview), then it will not get passed on to your second choice. However if the first school rejects you, then the application will get passed to your second choice.
    Only one school will accept you... but you may be rejected from all three schools. Also bear in mind that schools like Flinders and USyd can be applied using their own application forms and so you can shortlist other schools on the Acer form.
     
  13. pitman

    pitman Grasshopper
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    To echo misosoup, ACER allows you to specify preferences to get up to one interview/acceptance, but USyd and Flinders have their own int'l applications, thus allowing up to three total interviews. Maximize your odds by applying to USyd, Flinders, and one of UQ, Melbourne, or ANU.

    I also agree that if at all possible, visit the country and the schools you're applying to. I would recommend the alternative of visiting once/only if you get into more than one school, however you won't have enough time after notifications to make that sort of trip.

    Kimberli -- as to weather in Adelaide, I didn't mean to imply the weather was the *same*, but rather my experience in Upstate caused me to place a lot of weight on general environment, and I did not like Adelaide (for its weather, CBD layout, shops, etc.).

    -pitman
     
  14. doctor_babe

    doctor_babe Junior Member

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    Hi!Once again, thanks for all the replies. I was just wondering what the highlights of each Grad Entry Medical Program are. When I visited their websites, they all seem to have the same goals and focus. Maybe you, the current students from different schools, can tell me more about the strengths and weaknesses of the different med schools. I can't afford to visit all of the schools so maybe you guys can help me! By the way, Pitman, you're so lucky you got to visit all the schools. Did you also apply for the Grad Entry or the 6-year program?
    Thanks!! :)

    By the way, I read from the ACER wesbite that 3 new schools are offering Grad Entry (Uni of Notre Dame, Griffith Uni, and Uni of WEst. Australia? ) What can you say about these schools?
     
  15. redshifteffect

    redshifteffect Senior Member
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    If i were you i would stay away from the new schools are they still aren't established...any chances of staying in Australia will pretty much be wasted if you do decide to attend one of these schools.
     
  16. Winged Scapula

    Winged Scapula Cougariffic!
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    So true...my house, an otherwise nice 3 bedroom Tudor had no heating or A/C. I survived the winter with a space heater (but often dreaded leaving my bedroom for the cool confines of the tiled bathroom or the kitchen) but the summers were a bit unbearable...hint: dampen your sheets, freeze them then apply to the bed and hope to fall asleep before they dry. :D
     
  17. Winged Scapula

    Winged Scapula Cougariffic!
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    Ahh...I rather liked the weather, as it was very similar to that back home in central Cali (albeit without A/C and heating). But the area around the school does rather lack for resources and without a car it makes for a tad more inconvenience. Environment is important (the message we echo in lots of posts about "which school/residency, etc. should I go to?")
     
  18. DrIng

    DrIng Senior Member
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    I'd say look at each of the schools and see which matches you best. I personally had an interview with a school to the north of Adelaide, which I will leave nameless, and hated the place with a passion. The interviewers were rude, the climate unbelievable muggy and the people generally unfriendly. But that may have been only me. Go see them all and then make up your mind.
    For my mind
    Sydney has the best (read most moderate) climate, but the highest cost of living
    MElbourne has cooler weather and it still expensive to live
    Adelaide is cold in winter and hot (drippingly, unable to move hot) in summer but is cheap to live.
    Brisbane is subtropical and reasonably cheap to live.
    But I think they're all reasonable schools. The others I'm nto really familar with.
     
  19. bagofmonkeys

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    I love Adelaide so much!! :love:
    OK... I may be biased, but we've got it all.
    If you don't want it because the shops shut at 5:30 then you don't need a new city, you need better organisational skills. :idea:
    Just kidding, but seriously, I love this place.
    I go to Adelaide Uni, but if I didn't get in (undergrad) there, I was absolutely going to do a biomed sc degree and go to flinders.
    Go for it!!!
     
  20. doctor_babe

    doctor_babe Junior Member

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    Thanks guys for your help! Now, I have a better picture of what Australia is like. Do all schools that offer Grad Entry have a Pass/Fail grading system? And what's the profile of the classes? I mean, average age of the students, nationalities, etc? And what's a typical day for you guys? Once again, thanks!
     
  21. moondance26

    moondance26 Junior Member
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    Adelaide is FANTASTIC! Don't knock it :love:

    Granted, I have been brainwashed, having been here for 6 years and looking to do my internship here as well. But still, at least Adelaide now has a sunday shopping!

    By the way, I'm post-take on a surgical rotation, so don't mind my ramblings... ;)

    I'm at Adelaide Uni (undergrad) and don't really know much about the post-grad programs except from what I've managed to glean from the Flinders students that come to our hospitals. They seem to enjoy what they're doing and, from what I can gather, are well taken care of.
     
  22. tl47

    tl47 Member
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    On the other hand, at least two of them are supposedly filthy rich and attracting lots of "investments" by pharmaceutical companies (hmm... ethical problem?). They have brand new resources with probably very, very nice resources. So, yeh, things to think about.

    Also note that intake of foreign students might have changed a lot because of new plans (I believe from the government, although they don't publicise them... evil) for schools to start accepting full-fee locals in place of full-fee foreign students.

    As for Adelaide weather... it is... grrrr.... cold :). 6-8 celsius at night without central heating is... cold! :) On the other hand, for the amount you are saving studying here... if you want, you can buy yourself a nice heater that actually functions like those old central heaters... (works same principle... they used heated water in the pipes, and slowly let it heat up the room; I rented a fully furnished place that has this block of metal... which gets heated up electrically, and slowly heats up the whole room). Yup, you will pay lots for electricity eventually though.
     

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