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International Student: US or UK

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IvanD

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Hey all,

I'm an international student from Hong Kong studying in Carleton College in the States right now. I have been thinking about med school lately and I was unsure about whether it is "easier" to gain admission in UK or US.

I understand that US med schools, a lot of them won't even consider international applicants while UK seems to be pretty generous with accepting international applicants. Cost is also a factor, is it more expensive to go to med school in the UK or US?

So could someone with some insight please enlighten me as to whether UK or US med schools take more international students? And how do their tuition compare?

I'm a Hong Kong citizen if that matters.

Thanks all,
Ivan
 

bambi

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Hey all,

I'm an international student from Hong Kong studying in Carleton College in the States right now. I have been thinking about med school lately and I was unsure about whether it is "easier" to gain admission in UK or US.

I understand that US med schools, a lot of them won't even consider international applicants while UK seems to be pretty generous with accepting international applicants. Cost is also a factor, is it more expensive to go to med school in the UK or US?

So could someone with some insight please enlighten me as to whether UK or US med schools take more international students? And how do their tuition compare?

I'm a Hong Kong citizen if that matters.

Thanks all,
Ivan

Purely based on grades it will be easier to get in somewhere in the US. Their admissions requirements are much more variable than in the UK, for school leavers ours are pretty much straight As your whole life. In terms of other things it is probably easier to get in in the UK purely because we normally go straight from school so things like research etc aren't expected. We require a reasonable amount of work experience and extracurriculars though. As an international student it is easier for you to get into a UK school than it would be for a home student as the schools like your higher fees.

By college do you mean after school? In the UK the word college means something different to what it means in the US.

I would say honestly it might be easier to just stick to the system you are already in. If you want to work in the US definitely stay there. If you ever want to work in the UK pre-consultant/attending level then you would need to train here and even then you would struggle to get a job after a certain level. It also depends what you want from your career in a way. Resources in the US are better and it is far easier to get involved with research and anything medical outside of your general day to day clinical work.

As for fees, in the UK every uni costs the same, or almost, certain things changed very recently. Again, in the US this seems more variable and there are a lot of scholarships which we basically don't have. Overall the UK would probably be cheaper. However, in the US you will be paid maybe 4+ times what you would be in the UK once you are fully trained. Our juniors are paid slightly better than those in the US though.
 

iwantajob

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UK schools are WAYYYYY easier to get into than US schools if you are foreign. If you are a US citizen however the requirements for most states are more lax and you can get in with low grades/GPA as long as you meet the state residency requirements.

If I had to pick between the two schools, I say try getting in to the US schools but use the UK schools as a backup. The American medical schools have the greatest worldwide reputation (reputable in Asia, Europe, Americas) whereas the UK schools are more recognized in the European continent but not worldwide with exception of the top schools in London.
 

bambi

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UK schools are WAYYYYY easier to get into than US schools if you are foreign. If you are a US citizen however the requirements for most states are more lax and you can get in with low grades/GPA as long as you meet the state residency requirements.

If I had to pick between the two schools, I say try getting in to the US schools but use the UK schools as a backup. The American medical schools have the greatest worldwide reputation (reputable in Asia, Europe, Americas) whereas the UK schools are more recognized in the European continent but not worldwide with exception of the top schools in London.

The last paragraph is nonsense. English medical schools are recognised all over the world. With a UK medical degree you can practice anywhere in the EU or Australia, New Zealand etc without doing any extra exams and can practice in places like the US by doing the exams all their students have to do anyway. With a US medical education, you can't really work anywhere else without needing to do a load of extra stuff. Bottom line though, if you want to work in the US, train there.
 

IvanD

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I am a foreign student here. What I'm thinking currently is applying to US schools anyway, with Australia and UK as a backup.

Is it true that it's much easier to get into med school in the UK if you are foreign? What about Australia? I know it's an uphill battle for foreign kids here in the States.
 

bambi

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I am a foreign student here. What I'm thinking currently is applying to US schools anyway, with Australia and UK as a backup.

Is it true that it's much easier to get into med school in the UK if you are foreign? What about Australia? I know it's an uphill battle for foreign kids here in the States.

In the UK it is easier for a foreign student to get in than it is for a home student.
 

Scottish Chap

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The last paragraph is nonsense. English medical schools are recognised all over the world. With a UK medical degree you can practice anywhere in the EU or Australia, New Zealand etc without doing any extra exams and can practice in places like the US by doing the exams all their students have to do anyway. With a US medical education, you can't really work anywhere else without needing to do a load of extra stuff. Bottom line though, if you want to work in the US, train there.
What about all the other medical schools in Wales, Northern Ireland, and Scotland? I was under the impression the poster said UK medical schools....
 
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iwantajob

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The last paragraph is nonsense. English medical schools are recognised all over the world. With a UK medical degree you can practice anywhere in the EU or Australia, New Zealand etc without doing any extra exams and can practice in places like the US by doing the exams all their students have to do anyway. With a US medical education, you can't really work anywhere else without needing to do a load of extra stuff. Bottom line though, if you want to work in the US, train there.

Yes but Australia, NZ are part of the Commonwealth which is not the entire world. The English medical degree isn't recognized as it should in the US which is why you have to go through the endless exams that any foreign medical graduates have to go through whether it be from Britain, Poland, or even Mexico where the education is subpar. If the English degree was truly recognized they wouldn't make you sit through exams that measly 2nd year US medical students write even if you have over 20 years of clinical experience in a British hospital.

Being in a European medical school, I'd have to say that most of the profs gloat about having done internships or experience in US hospitals. Theres a certain reputation that goes with being American trained and its not fair but its just the way it works. I know the Americans also view their medical education as most superior worldwide therefore they don't necessarily view European degrees the same way the Europeans perceive theirs.
 

bambi

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Yes but Australia, NZ are part of the Commonwealth which is not the entire world. The English medical degree isn't recognized as it should in the US which is why you have to go through the endless exams that any foreign medical graduates have to go through whether it be from Britain, Poland, or even Mexico where the education is subpar. If the English degree was truly recognized they wouldn't make you sit through exams that measly 2nd year US medical students write even if you have over 20 years of clinical experience in a British hospital.

Being in a European medical school, I'd have to say that most of the profs gloat about having done internships or experience in US hospitals. Theres a certain reputation that goes with being American trained and its not fair but its just the way it works. I know the Americans also view their medical education as most superior worldwide therefore they don't necessarily view European degrees the same way the Europeans perceive theirs.

Very few people work in the UK for 20 years and then move to the US. I think it's perfectly reasonable to make anyone wanting to work in the US take the same exams as the US folks do. It's not saying other degrees are lesser. We don't really recognise US degrees either. If you are an attending and go through a very long process of crap we will accept your training if you are board certified but not otherwise. Also I have heard of plenty of UK grads going to the UK and essentially skipping the majority of residency, they do a year or so for the legal stuff but that's it.

The reputation of being British trained is just as good as that of being American trained. Maybe it isn't the same for the rest of Europe which is probably to do with the language to be honest, it's difficult to know how good something/where is if you can't speak the language. Bottom line is it is easier for British grads to work around the world than it is US grads. That generally isn't an issue though as US grads tend to stay at home. The NHS is ridiculously frustrating so a lot of UK folks leave.

I have been a med student in the US and the UK and although the training is very different the end result is the same. UK trained doctors are much, much better generalists because of the way the training works but in terms of specialty knowledge at consultant/attending level things are equal.

The US is better for research, mostly because of money, that is why people boast about having worked in the US not because of the medical degree itself. Those that talk about having been to the US have been to the top hospitals/schools etc, the ones known for research, it's not just about going to the US in general!
 

Scottish Chap

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Very few people work in the UK for 20 years and then move to the US. I think it's perfectly reasonable to make anyone wanting to work in the US take the same exams as the US folks do. It's not saying other degrees are lesser. We don't really recognise US degrees either. If you are an attending and go through a very long process of crap we will accept your training if you are board certified but not otherwise. Also I have heard of plenty of UK grads going to the UK and essentially skipping the majority of residency, they do a year or so for the legal stuff but that's it.

The reputation of being British trained is just as good as that of being American trained. Maybe it isn't the same for the rest of Europe which is probably to do with the language to be honest, it's difficult to know how good something/where is if you can't speak the language. Bottom line is it is easier for British grads to work around the world than it is US grads. That generally isn't an issue though as US grads tend to stay at home. The NHS is ridiculously frustrating so a lot of UK folks leave.

I have been a med student in the US and the UK
and although the training is very different the end result is the same. UK trained doctors are much, much better generalists because of the way the training works but in terms of specialty knowledge at consultant/attending level things are equal.

The US is better for research, mostly because of money, that is why people boast about having worked in the US not because of the medical degree itself. Those that talk about having been to the US have been to the top hospitals/schools etc, the ones known for research, it's not just about going to the US in general!
Inaccurate at best. Quite possible to work in the U.K. with an American medical degree, and can even be accomplished without extra exams. The converse....not so much. Unfair, yes, but reality.
 

bambi

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Inaccurate at best. Quite possible to work in the U.K. with an American medical degree, and can even be accomplished without extra exams. The converse....not so much. Unfair, yes, but reality.

Maybe I should have phrased it differently, we recognise US degrees about as much as the US recognises ours. You don't have to take an exam to work here because neither do we. You have to take an exam to work at home so why should we be exempt from that?

It is easier to work around the world with a UK than a US degree. I'm not saying that there are places you can't work with a US degree but there is more administrative stuff needed, that is all I meant. With a UK degree you don't need to do anything at all other than apply for a job for a lot of countries.
 

ozzidoc

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The last paragraph is nonsense. English medical schools are recognised all over the world. With a UK medical degree you can practice anywhere in the EU or Australia, New Zealand etc without doing any extra exams and can practice in places like the US by doing the exams all their students have to do anyway. With a US medical education, you can't really work anywhere else without needing to do a load of extra stuff. Bottom line though, if you want to work in the US, train there.

Australia can require an additional exam, depending on the circumstances. Also, there are more new-grads from Australian med schools than there are PGY1 places. Those places are prioritised for Aussies.
 

bambi

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Australia can require an additional exam, depending on the circumstances. Also, there are more new-grads from Australian med schools than there are PGY1 places. Those places are prioritised for Aussies.

And they should be.

I know a lot of UK doctors that have moved to Australia and New Zealand and they haven't done any extra exams, I think that was part of the appeal!
 

iwantajob

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Maybe I should have phrased it differently, we recognise US degrees about as much as the US recognises ours. You don't have to take an exam to work here because neither do we. You have to take an exam to work at home so why should we be exempt from that?

It is easier to work around the world with a UK than a US degree. I'm not saying that there are places you can't work with a US degree but there is more administrative stuff needed, that is all I meant. With a UK degree you don't need to do anything at all other than apply for a job for a lot of countries.

Well, I guess we're going to have to disagree here. As Scottish Chap just said, its a one way street. Americans have no problems working in the UK and I have never met an American who complained about it being challenging, foreigners (except Canadian med grads) have problems and even if they get matched they almost never get their first choices. You might as well graduate from the Carribbean Islands or UK, it doesn't matter they're considered equal in the eyes of Americans. Thats why they make a well qualified 40 year old international medical graduates sit through the same exams as an inexperienced 21 year old medical graduate.

"You have to take an exam to work at home so why should we be exempt from that?"
Well Canadian medical graduates are exempt from them in some states because their quality of education is recognized. UK? Not so much. I think its demeaning for a British doctor with years of experience, clinical practice, excellent surgical skills, sit through every USMLE exam series, as well as government state licensing exams. Mind you, the first few USMLE exams are written by 22 or 23 year old junior medical students that may not even have set foot in a hospital or not yet know how to take a simple blood pressure measurement. The state licensing exams for residents is fair, but its a challenge if you have to pay and sit for every single one of these exams which only happen a few times and theres a waiting period in between each one. This means it might take you a few years just to qualify to practice in the US not including the time you have to put in studying for these exams (and there will be a LOT of studying). I have never met one international medical graduate mention that these exams were easy even if they graduated with honours back home. There will be a lot of preparation involved.
 

bambi

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You seem to be under the impression that a US grad can just walk into a UK job. That's just not the case. Without an EU passport you basically can't train here at all anymore. Also although we may make it a bit easier than you do, your specialist training isn't recognised unless you are board certified so we would treat junior attendings the same as first year specialist trainees at best until they have sat the exams. I agree that making British doctors with years and years of experience redo residency is out of line but I don't think it's as much of a problem as you are making out. People just don't go that late on, partly for that reason I imagine. If they go they do it after the first or second post grad year here so they are fully registered in case they ever want to go back. I have seen doctors from other countries go to the US much later on and have to repeat everything but UK doctors just don't do that.

Well, I guess we're going to have to disagree here. As Scottish Chap just said, its a one way street. Americans have no problems working in the UK and I have never met an American who complained about it being challenging, foreigners (except Canadian med grads) have problems and even if they get matched they almost never get their first choices. You might as well graduate from the Carribbean Islands or UK, it doesn't matter they're considered equal in the eyes of Americans. Thats why they make a well qualified 40 year old international medical graduates sit through the same exams as an inexperienced 21 year old medical graduate.

"You have to take an exam to work at home so why should we be exempt from that?"
Well Canadian medical graduates are exempt from them in some states because their quality of education is recognized. UK? Not so much. I think its demeaning for a British doctor with years of experience, clinical practice, excellent surgical skills, sit through every USMLE exam series, as well as government state licensing exams. Mind you, the first few USMLE exams are written by 22 or 23 year old junior medical students that may not even have set foot in a hospital or not yet know how to take a simple blood pressure measurement. The state licensing exams for residents is fair, but its a challenge if you have to pay and sit for every single one of these exams which only happen a few times and theres a waiting period in between each one. This means it might take you a few years just to qualify to practice in the US not including the time you have to put in studying for these exams (and there will be a LOT of studying). I have never met one international medical graduate mention that these exams were easy even if they graduated with honours back home. There will be a lot of preparation involved.
 
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