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Ireland or France? that's the question...

Discussion in 'General International Discussion' started by Jony, Aug 11, 2001.

  1. Jony

    Jony New Member

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    Hi all!

    Ok, I need some help here. I'm stuck in a terrible dilemma. I have the choice between studying Medicine in Ireland (Trinity College) or in France (University of Bordeaux). I have already secured a place in both universities but can't decide which one to attend. Keeping in mind the following facts, which of the two countries would you recommend me:

    1. Trinity college costs big $$$ while Bordeaux in France is practically free
    2. However, at Bordeaux only the best 15% of the 1st yr students are allowed to continue into 2nd year (based on the results of a competitive exam). It is extremely tough and requires very high motivation to pass that 1st year. Only two attempts are allowed.
    3. The undergraduate medical program at Trinity College takes 5 years to complete and that at Bordeaux at least 6 yrs . After specialisation I would have spent 8-9 yrs in Ireland and 10-11 years in France i.e french system takes 2-3 years longer to complete before one is able to practice and start earning money.
    4. Bordeaux is arguably the best medical school in France.
    5. I'm equally fluent in French as in English
    6. My parents would be making relatively important sacrifices to finance my studies at Trinity College. (they won't be able to buy a new car and will be in debt)
    7. I graduated from an international Secondary School.

    So, this is it. Any comment is welcomed. Also, how do you compare the quality of medical education in these two countries relative to that in the US? Do I have any chance of getting into residency in the US after graduating from a French school?

    Thanks a lot.
     
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  3. leorl

    Physician Moderator Emeritus Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

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    Very interesting background you've got. I can't give you much info. about France, only that France currently holds the #1 spot in terms of medical systems/satisfaction. However, it's competitiveness seems to be a bear...but it's free...

    I just finished a year abroad at Trinity College and met a lot of med. students. Trinity College also has a rigorous program, and the students are very hard-working, studious and serious (but also very fun). Trinity being a school which only top leaving cert. scorers receive acceptance, you would be among the best and brightest of the irish and british. There are a large number of international med. students there - primarily from asian countries, canada, and the US. I'm not sure about the French, but in general, quite a few French natives attend Trinity as well, and Dublin has an amazingly large French community. As I've heard, you will not have too much trouble entering a US residency after graduating from an Irish school (especially RCSI and trinity). Actually, Trinity is known for it's great paediatric work and has ties to the US paediatrician's association. Irish education is considered on-par with US education. I'm not too sure how French graduates would fair in obtaining US residency, but I would suspect that if you have good scores on the boards, you probably wouldn't have a problem either.

    Hang on...if you want to attend Trinity as an undergraduate med. student, it is a 6 yr. program as well. Only for international students who have already earned a Bachelor's degree in a science major is it a 5 yr. program. If you do your residency in the US, then you'll live in either country for 6 years, unless you want to do residency/internship in ireland or france.

    About cost...Trinity is fairly high, especially compared to a free french school. However, Trinity is not expensive in comparison to US tuition rates - I think it ends up being roughly the same. However, living expenses in Dublin are a bit pricey now and it takes a lot of searching to find a decent, affordable place. It's not too bad, though. I really loved my experiences at Trinity and am definitely considering it for medical school. Each class becomes rather bonded and they take trips together around ireland or elsewhere, and often members of the same class choose to do an elective together in places such as australia or trinidad, indonesia even. They also have med-only parties/balls.

    You can also sit schols your 2nd year (or it could be 3rd year for meds) - you'd have to study very hard for the schols exams, but if you win them, they give you free room and board and maybe some money, and if you don't win, at least you get end-of-year exemptions.

    Bordeaux sounds good too..but considering that most people who enter med. school from secondary school are usually among the brightest and most diligent in the first place, you'll have to weigh your chances of getting into the top 15% of those. do you want a life, or do you just want to study 24/7 ?

    Being an international secondary school graduate, are you eligible for EU scholarships or funding? Maybe you can check out scholarhips/grant venues and take some of the burden off. If you are a US citizen, why don't you try for a rotary scholarship as well?

    You could also work while attending school. In Dublin, US citizens are usually not allowed to work unless in an academic setting...however, there is an abundance of under-the-table jobs which don't enforce this. EU citizens don't have job restrictions. I'm not sure what employment laws exist in France.

    heavy decision to weigh. I can only tell you the good things about Trinity :).
     
  4. Jony

    Jony New Member

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    Hi Leorl!
    Thanks for the advice. I want you to know that I have been educated in a British-based education system and have thus been offered a seat in the 2nd year of the 6 yr program at Trinity.i.e I'll graduate at 24 yrs old, I'm currently 19. And yeah, I've checked each and every scholarship/grant scheme, I'm eligible for none. And right now I am more positive about Trinity than Bordeaux.
     
  5. leorl

    Physician Moderator Emeritus Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

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    Hi,

    that's great to know...if you do decide on Trinity, you'll have a wonderful time. There are lots of Brits there too (although why the English go to Ireland to study english is beyond me...). Top notch education too. Congrats on getting in, btw.

    If I go there...I'll graduate at age 27. *sigh* but not that different from getting a US med education. I'm sure you'll love Dublin...because everyone always does!

    Hmm...maybe study your arse off for your 1st year (their 2nd year) and sit schols. Not too many meds (if any) get schols, but who knows?

    Best of luck~!
     
  6. Jony

    Jony New Member

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    Hey Leorl, what's that "schols" you're talkin' about? Do you mind explaining what it is?
     
  7. leorl

    Physician Moderator Emeritus Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

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    "schols" is just short-hand for scholarship. But it confused me the first time people were having a discussion about sitting schols, too :)

    OKay, so everyone has end-of-year examinations (finals). Most your classes have finals, regardless of what term you took the class in. For meds it could be slightly different, but not for the 1st 3 years anyway. When you sit schols, you're entering a competition for Foundation Scholarships which give you room and board, and some money. Essentially, you're sitting your finals in March. If you do well, (a II.1 on your exams), you get exemptions from your final exams which is helpful because you can pretty much skip the rest of school if you want and start working :). If you do extremely well and win Foundation schols, you get rooms (fabulous rooms) and maybe $$$. However, it's very hard of course. You have to do TONS of extra outside reading and pretty much self-teach yourself everything you could possibly know about the subject. Not too many science/med/health science peopel get them, I'm not sure why. Most students have to cram for it over the 3-week easter holiday, and many people start studying for it in November. That's how intense it is.

    Lots of people do it just for exemptions without having in mind to win. If I went back to trinity, I might consider it because exemptions at least would be really nice :)
     

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