Ireland pros and cons

Discussion in 'Europe' started by r3kapur, Mar 14, 2004.

  1. r3kapur

    r3kapur Member
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    Hi guys,

    Thought I'd start a new thread. I know this info. is probably available but I want to get the most up-to-date since it probably changes frequently.

    I'm Canadian and have been accepted at Trinity. I'm interviewing at one canadian school and trying to weigh the options of turning trinity down to spend another year applying in the US/Canada again after writing the MCAT one more time (ugh).

    Here are my questions:

    1) How much would you say you are spending aside from tuition? (ie. a breakdown of common expenses would be good... things I might not be considering like insurance etc.).

    2) Are electives available in the curriculum or do we just do them in our summers? What are the term dates and do they coincide with common elective opportunities in Canada/states?

    3) Is there anything there (specifically for those at Trinity) that you can say one must be aware of when coming over (maybe some downfalls to the education provided).

    4) I'm confused about licencing. I know that we have to complete a post-grad training somewhere, but someone was telling me that you must complete 1 year of in-house training on top of the 5 years in Ireland. Is this true? Or once we get our degree and have completed all the required tests we are eligible to apply for residency directly?

    5) Any canadians had any issues getting loans for their education in Ireland?

    6) I'm east-Indian... do you find that Ireland is fairly multicultural or would I find some difficulty interacting with patients over there?

    7) Do you have time to study for the USMLE to take step 1/2 in time before graduation? Or is it mainly during the summer that you prep? And would that mean that you wouldn't have time to pursue an elective?

    8) Any other information you think I should know in making my decision?

    I have already read most of the threads on this board and am aware that becoming an IMG is not an easy route. But, I am a person who enjoys travelling... and I want to make sure I get a good education. The thought of taking the risk and seeing where I get in 5 years is an exciting prospect. While I have eyes on the US I can't say that it is my only option and I am ok with the risk of having an uncertain future as long as I'm not in a scenario where I'm unemployed :(

    Sorry for the long post. I guess it's just a really tough decision since I have something in hand here and I want to make sure that the decision to take it/give it up is as informed as possible.

    Cheers.
     
  2. redshifteffect

    redshifteffect Senior Member
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    Hey,

    I can only give u a guide on my experiences...not sure if I have already posted this:

    Pros of Ireland

    - good education
    - well respected in most parts of Canada/US
    - Taught in English

    Cons

    - Very expensive
    - High Cost of living
    - No possibility of getting a residency in Ireland

    I was also accepted to Trinity but turned it down. Basically if you are going to be doing 5 years there anyway, why not look at some undergrad Australian medical schools? You might as well give them a shot because at least if the US doesn't work out for you, you can still attempt to stay there.

    I dont' know what the pass rates of Irish schools are like but putting it all on the line for the USMLE (because canada won't really take u without a residency) is a bit risky.

    Also if you do want to return to Canada, it is now very possible to do so with a pervious residency; i doubt canada will increase the residency positions in the next 5 years, so if you are planning on it that way then it's probably not going to happen.
     
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  3. OP
    OP
    r3kapur

    r3kapur Member
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    THanks RSE,

    My biggest problems with Australia are the distance/expense of travelling there, and the fact that I would be re-applying next year. Here I can just start now. The time itself doesn't matter to me, but the uncertainty of applying again does (I'd have to write the MCAT again for Aussie b/c my verbal score is a 7). I also feel like I'd thrive much better in a more traditional learning environment than in PBL... which I've heard many australian schools focus on.

    I don't have the same attachments to Canada most people do. I am ok with going to the states or even the possibility of practicing somewhere else in the world. You always mention the high possibility of doing residency in Australia... but what about the options for Ireland. Are there Irish grads who are stuck without anything... who have looked at all their options?

    I keep thinking that my education and future will be dependent on how I approach it. If I sit and worry about getting back to North America then things will be tough and tedious. BUt, if I go there and do what I've always dreamed of doing and keep an open mind... I might end up somewhere completely different but still happy nonetheless.
     
  4. redshifteffect

    redshifteffect Senior Member
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    1) you are right you have already missed the boat on Australia for this year

    2) For undergraduate medical schools NO MCAT is req'd. Undergraduate medical schools are variable in length (between 5 and 6 years). Undergrad medical schools are more lecture orientated and not PBL based (though U of Adelaide is an exception). As for course content I compared Trinity to Tas (where I'm at now) and the course is virtually the same. Minus the Physics first year (which they didn't make me take anyway) we even have the KFP (or kids in family program...basically following a baby from birth till 3rd year..). The problem is very few N. American applicants know anything about them - only because of the extra time period. But if you are going to do a 5 year program in Ireland anyway I don't see why you didn't want to apply here.

    3) As for distance - if you are not so attached to Canada then I don't see the problem, unless you mean it's your family. Realisticaly though even if you were to go home from Ireland it would probably only be once more a year...the cost of travelling is about $600 to Ireland from To right? The cost of a flight to Australia is about $2500 - But the fact that you will save a lot more on cost of living and tutiion more than offsets that cost.

    4) I'm not sure about you, but there is more to this then just going somewhere and doing something. Unfortunately for u (and I) the world isn't that simple. First the question is with US residencies. Neither you or I are US citizens, thus we are pretty much the bottom of the barrel when it comes to residencies. At least US IMGS don't have the same licensing issues we do. It is quite conceivable that you could end up with no residency come match time...and in 5 years any minor thing (ie. reduction in Visas or worse reduction in residency postions) means that effectively you are unemployed and have a $150, 000 loan (or thereabouts) to deal with. If we could at least return to Canada (without a residency) it wouldn't be so bad...but I'm sure you know what the situation is like there. Point is that's it's never bad to be safe. If you have the option of being employed somewhere then at least you dont' have to worry bout that. In these kinds of things I feel it's never a good idea to limit your options.

    5) As for employment opportunities with your Irish degree other than the obvious (US) I know for a fact you can't even stay in Ireland...due to the gross oversupply of docs there. That rules that out. You may be able to go to the UK; but the only advantage that the Irish degree would give u in this case over an Australian one is the exemption from the PLAB which is not that difficult an exam (only one vs. 3 of the USMLE). Other than that there are no other job opportunities (without any residency).

    My advice to you is to reapply to Canadian schools as this is your safest option; if after this round you don't get in and you still choose an Irish school at least you go in there knowing you gave it your best shot.
     
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  5. Kaptain Krunch

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    With the Working Time Directive which will limit junior doctor hours to a max of 58 per week, Ireland will soon need to ship in a lot more junior doctors. What this will mean in the short term, I don't know.
     
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  6. roo

    roo Voice From The Wilderness
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    2) Are electives available in the curriculum or do we just do them in our summers?
    What are the term dates and do they coincide with common elective opportunities in Canada/states?

    You have big long breaks in summer and ~1month christmas vacation esp first couple years. This is when you are able to do electives in US/Canada, since the normal med school students at the place are on holiday.

    3) Is there anything there (specifically for those at Trinity) that you can say one must be aware of when coming over (maybe some downfalls to the education provided).

    Disappointingly high amount of racism outside the ivory tower of university tolerance. Housing is expensive in Dublin (not quite as bad as LA/Manhattan, but close). Your classmates are young.

    4) I'm confused about licencing. I know that we have to complete a post-grad training somewhere, but someone was telling me that you must complete 1 year of in-house training on top of the 5 years in Ireland. Is this true? Or once we get our degree and have completed all the required tests we are eligible to apply for residency directly?

    Straight to residency after 5 years. The 1 year of in-house training is useless, in my opinion if going to US/Canada. But contrary to what you hear, it is not impossible to get an Irish 1-year postgrad (Intern year). By EU law, EU citizens get first crack though if there is a crunch on positions. Actually, Trinity was sued (and lost the suit) by a Malaysian grad who didn't get a position based on his merit in the class. 95+% of US/Canada people don't bother with any 1 year postgrad in Ireland since no residency credit in US/Canada anyways. Climbing the ranks to the end of the line job (consultant) in Ireland is slow vs. US/Canada, and you will be at a disadvantage being non-Irish looking for the top posts in things other than desparate-need disciplines like anesth, psyche, etc. If you realistically want to work in Ireland at some point, the postgrad year in Ireland is needed for you to work in Ireland later. There are thus some Irish citizens who thus do a postgrad year, write the USMLE in that postgrad year, do a US residency/fellowship and return to Ireland, but the consultancy stuff is very old-boys-club so being outside the island, not making connections, for a few years puts one at a disadvantage.

    5) Any canadians had any issues getting loans for their education in Ireland?

    Not really. Irish medical school is a good credit risk once you are accepted. It is the going rate for interest rates though. Can get a few interest free K from gov't, but rest is from the the 3rd party private lenders.

    6) I'm east-Indian... do you find that Ireland is fairly multicultural or would I find some difficulty interacting with patients over there?

    Disappointly high number of patients, and day-to-day people outside the hospital. Irish for centuries was where people emigrated from, making it a wonderbread majority race/religion, but is now a land of golden opportunity and rise of the middle class, making lots of immigrants needed to come in to take the lower SEC jobs. Ireland has a history of non-Irish people invading their country, kicking them out their houses, and making the Irish people serfs. Tensions ensue.

    7) Do you have time to study for the USMLE to take step 1/2 in time before graduation? Or is it mainly during the summer that you prep? And would that mean that you wouldn't have time to pursue an elective?

    Yes. US students have a few weeks to prep. You have a few months, plus 3 years of preclinical training vs. 2 years in US. Irish USMLE Step 1 scores are usually pretty high above average among recent grads who are planning US/Canadian residency, and pass rate from first hand is about 95% or so. Some Irish citizens who are kind of fuzzily considering US at some point write the USMLE in year 3 with little more than 5 or so days of flipping through "First Aid for the USMLE" and about 50% just pass on that alone.

    8) Any other information you think I should know in making my decision?

    Go there and look for yourself. The few hundred for a ticket and hotel room stay is nothing compared to 250K in tuition/living.

    Best wishes,
    roo
     
  7. Megalofyia

    Megalofyia 425 lbs and growing
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    Wow! That is great in comparison to the 80hrs/week for American residents.

    What does Ireland use to determine residencies? Like in the states they use Step 1 and 2? Ie. what would I have to do to be a neurosurgeon in EU? Assume I am already an EU citizen.
     
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  8. In Ireland/UK...after your internship you'd apply for the BST (Basic Surgical Training) which lasts 2 years during which time you'd sit the MRCS exams and then enter HST (Higher Surgical Training) in whatever surgical specialty you're interested in and sit the FRCS exams.

    To get into BST, they look at your grades (ie- how many honours in pre-clinical subjects you got and how many in clinical subjects), did you graduate with honours in medicine and surgery, what research you have done, papers/abstracts published, recommendations from consultants you've worked for etc. Getting into BST is relatively easy but a bottleneck exists getting into HST (in Ireland anyways)...many people complete a higher degree by research such as an MD, MCh, PhD etc in order to improve their chances of getting into a HST scheme.
     
  9. TheEyesHaveIt

    TheEyesHaveIt Junior Member
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    hey there,
    I'm a canadian graduating from an Irish School this year. At this point, looking back I'm pretty happy that I came here. Im heading to the US next to begin my residency at a pretty well respected hospital, as are many of my classmates (canadian and american). I wonder if i had stayed in canada would i still be applying now for admission to med school. One option that perhaps you haven't thought of is to begin here and apply during your first year for admission to canadian school (ie - begin again). You won't lose any time (as it is a 5 or 6 year program here compared to a 4 year program in canada). In the past couple of years a few people have gone back after completing a year here. Just an idea.
    Also, the racism isn't that bad at all. It happens from time to time, but its no big deal - for the most part irish people all over the country are friendly and welcoming (sweeping generalization i know).
    Loans are not a problem at all, but they do add up as its pretty expensive to live here.
    Scheduling for USMLE's and MCCEE is not a problem, and there is enough time to do electives in canada/us in my opinion.
    If you have and other questions feel free to ask.
     
  10. leorl

    Physician Moderator Emeritus Lifetime Donor Verified Account 10+ Year Member

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    I know you've declined Trinity's offer, but thought I might add my own views on these points. Downfalls to Trinity aren't over and above what the other universities are facing. A lack of funding caused by Governmental cutbacks to third-level education means services are being heavily stressed. In some departments (especially Anatomy), this leads to staffing problems as a freeze has been put on hiring new staff or replacing those who have left/deceased. However, their committment to the students is very admirable, and they are always consulting with the class reps to find ways that work.

    Other problems are ones dealing with Ireland in general. Much as I enjoy it here, this is not an efficient country. It's sort of like being in the US when you hear/see something on the news and you're like "That's the stupidest thing I've ever heard!" There's a lot of paper-pushing bureacracy, and people get paid for sitting on their asses without actually accomplishing anything. That plus the lack of resources here (they have resources, just not laid out or in as plentiful supply as what we're used to in the US) can be very frustrating, but at the same time it teaches you to rely on your own resourcefulness so can be a blessing in disguise. In the hospitals I've heard students becoming frustrated with time-wasting and inefficiency regarding scheduling of classes/lecturers, but medicine is not a subject to be spoon-fed. An individual has to be motivated enough to self-study, ask questions, and play a part in his own education.

    Regarding racism: I really have not experienced it to a damaging degree at all (I'm Asian-American). There was once incident regarding one of my friend's drunk parents that upset me a bit, but for the most part I find the Irish to be rather welcoming, especially among our age group. Dealing with public hospitals, you might get a different view since a lot of the population we're dealing with are more of the uneducated, poorer socioeconomic classes - but it doesn't cause problems because you are providing a service for them. There are quite a few foreign (and Indian) doctors in the Trinity hospitals, as I'm sure there are in the other hospitals as well. You have to remember that in the long scheme of things, the massive influx of foreigners into Ireland in a relatively short period of time has forced the country to change very quickly, and so people might not be so PC over here.
     

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