Mar 21, 2010
8
0
0
Status
I was pretty committed to attending school in Ireland. I was willing to face the challenges of being a Canadian IMG returning back to Canada or the States based on the success of Irish grads on these boards. I was looking around the Caribbean boards to see if those students face similar struggles, and all I can say is "wow."

There is so much negativity about the prospects of coming back. There's testimonials about 99's meaning nothing and personal experiences about not matching. I know that the dropout rates are high in the Caribbean vs. Ireland, and I know that there is a somewhat negative stigma about Caribbean training, but in the end, are we all that different as IMGs? I know school reputations have a bit of an influence in the matter, but if I'm as an IMG who will graduate with a fair bit of debt, should I rethink Ireland and being an IMG based on the struggles of Carribbean'ers?
 

Handsome88

7+ Year Member
May 15, 2009
474
13
151
Status
Medical Student
I was pretty committed to attending school in Ireland. I was willing to face the challenges of being a Canadian IMG returning back to Canada or the States based on the success of Irish grads on these boards. I was looking around the Caribbean boards to see if those students face similar struggles, and all I can say is "wow."

There is so much negativity about the prospects of coming back. There's testimonials about 99's meaning nothing and personal experiences about not matching. I know that the dropout rates are high in the Caribbean vs. Ireland, and I know that there is a somewhat negative stigma about Caribbean training, but in the end, are we all that different as IMGs? I know school reputations have a bit of an influence in the matter, but if I'm as an IMG who will graduate with a fair bit of debt, should I rethink Ireland and being an IMG based on the struggles of Carribbean'ers?
I am also having this dilemma.
First, do not listen to these people. They are usually students that went to the caribbeans because they had a very low GPA. If you are a decent student with 3.5+ then you shouldn't have this problem.
I am still debating which is better, Caribbean vs Ireland, But it seems to me that they are both the same, with Ireland being more expensive. I believe Ireland will put even more pressure on you because you will not have any connections in the US, while Carib grads do.
 
Mar 21, 2010
8
0
0
Status
"First, do not listen to these people."

I know the importance of exercising discretion when reading the Caribbean boards. Some of the rougher posts are from disgruntled students who couldn't hack it. I know that it's just as much about the student as it is the school. I take some comfort in that I have yet to come across a post on these forums from an Irish grad who couldn't get back via one route or another.

Cost wise, Australia seems to be the best bang for your buck with respect to prestige:cost ratio with the assumption that Ireland = Australia > Caribbean. How far that prestige goes when it comes to landing a residency is all that matters though. If Ireland provides a marginal benefit, than it's worth the added $$

Given that a student from SGU has the same board scores, electives and resume than a UCD or RCSI grad, who would a residence director choose? The connections in the US are definitely a plus, but I just can't seem to get over some of the negative stigma of going to school in the Caribbean and graduating with a Caribbean degree. I mean, if for some reason I don't match, something tells me that looking around for a plan B on where to practice with a medical degree from Antigua won't get me very far (but I may be completely wrong on this). Maybe all of the new schools in the Caribbean will make their legitimacy more questionable for residency directors?

Another thing to consider is that laws are changing for IMGs. With all of these health care reforms and new medical schools opening up (both in the States and in the Caribbean), who knows what's going to happen? Anyone have any predictions?
 

jnuts

10+ Year Member
Jun 12, 2007
279
20
251
Toronto/ Dublin
Status
Resident [Any Field]
You're both asking very valid questions to which I'm afraid there are no good answers.

If you are looking for a direct comparison between Ireland and the Carribbean there isn't one. Statistically more of the Canadian IMG student body matches from Ireland than the Carribbean or Australia--according to CaRMS by a significant margin (about 27% of Carribbean grads v. 67% of Irish grads who 'complete the match process'). Outside of rumors, who knows if its the school or the student, the students in Ireland cannot be directly compared to those elsewhere as questions of ability, drop-outs, exposure all crop up. Statistically the populations are not equivallent, and not enough information is published to compensate for these effects.

There are also many other factors that influence match success. How competitive is the speciality/specialities the candidate is going for? Can the candidate demonstrate a focused interest in the speciality to which he/she is applying? Did the candidate do electives regionally and in that speciality? Do you have any research credentials? Did the candidate have regional flexibilty or did he/she only rank programmes in one area?

In short, personal preparation can matter just as much as board scores in achieving a successful match.

The only advice I can give is that going to school abroad is a gamble. Having an EU citizenship makes Ireland a safer bet as you have a back-up career path in Europe; you likely do not have that in either the Carribbean or Australia. Predicting the future in the residency matching game is very difficult with yearly variations, that appear to be stocastic, often impacting results far more than long-term trends for any given speciality.

Regional successes adhere to a more stable long term trends. I can only mention Ireland and Canada in this context as that is my primary area of interest. In general, opportunities in Ontario, Manitoba, Sask, and the Martimes have increased and will likely continue to increase or plateau for the next few years. Alberta and BC are not as open, though they have stated that they wish to increase access for Irish grads, efforts to do so are often stalled or flatly regressive.

As far as I understand, medical school enrollement has increased in the US without a corresponding increase in residency spots, which has made that route much more competitive in general. An interesting though possibly unrealted stat it that the American population in Irish medical schools has dropped quite a bit recently due which is widely held to be attributable to comparable admissions requirements for the Irish schools and American schools (with a less heavy weighting on MCAT scores in most cases).

In a broader context, there is an aging population throughout the developed world and a large predicted shortage of all medical professionals. That will mean increased opportunities in the future but the wheres/whys/whens/hows are your classic black box scenario.
 
Last edited:

Jocks

Senior Member
10+ Year Member
Feb 21, 2005
153
0
241
Status
You're both asking very valid questions to which I'm afraid there are no good answers.

If you are looking for a direct comparison between Ireland and the Carribean there isn't one. Statistically more of the Canadian IMG student body matches from Ireland than the Carribean or Australia--according to CaRMS by a significant margin (about 45% of Carribean grads v. 67% of Irish grads who 'complete the match process'). Outside of rumors, who knows if its the school or the student, the students in Ireland cannot be directly compared to those elsewhere as questions of ability, drop-outs, exposure all crop up. Statistically the populations are not equivallent, and not enough information is published to compensate for these effects.
We were all curious about the Australia/Ireland comparison as well. Most of us assumed it was fairly equal (while secretly hoping Ireland would have an edge).

Carms then came and told us how the various countries compared.The following is the percentage of successfully matched canadians studying abroad that submitted Rank Ordered Lists broken down according to the country they studied medicine in.

18% of Polish students matched.
25% of Caribbean students matched. (not 45%)
41% of Australian students matched
67% of Irish students matched.

Suddenly the expensive tuition and rainy weather don't seem so bad anymore.

Jocks
 

jnuts

10+ Year Member
Jun 12, 2007
279
20
251
Toronto/ Dublin
Status
Resident [Any Field]
We were all curious about the Australia/Ireland comparison as well. Most of us assumed it was fairly equal (while secretly hoping Ireland would have an edge).

Carms then came and told us how the various countries compared.The following is the percentage of successfully matched canadians studying abroad that submitted Rank Ordered Lists broken down according to the country they studied medicine in.

18% of Polish students matched.
25% of Caribbean students matched. (not 45%)
41% of Australian students matched
67% of Irish students matched.

Suddenly the expensive tuition and rainy weather don't seem so bad anymore.

Jocks
Jocks obviously remembers that presentation better than I do. I stand corrected; I must have confused Aus and Carrib.
 

JPR22

New Member
10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Jun 27, 2005
221
2
141
<1mm from margins
Status
Resident [Any Field]
We were all curious about the Australia/Ireland comparison as well. Most of us assumed it was fairly equal (while secretly hoping Ireland would have an edge).

Carms then came and told us how the various countries compared.The following is the percentage of successfully matched canadians studying abroad that submitted Rank Ordered Lists broken down according to the country they studied medicine in.

18% of Polish students matched.
25% of Caribbean students matched. (not 45%)
41% of Australian students matched
67% of Irish students matched.

Suddenly the expensive tuition and rainy weather don't seem so bad anymore.

Jocks
Is there a document available to support these numbers? They seem a little high. Granted when the <33% fall, they fall hard. BTW, with TERI gone, how do canadians in ireland afford the tuition?
 

asd979

7+ Year Member
Nov 17, 2009
155
13
151
Status
Medical Student
Is there a document available to support these numbers? They seem a little high. Granted when the <33% fall, they fall hard. BTW, with TERI gone, how do canadians in ireland afford the tuition?

Lines of credit usually, and if you're lucky the Bank of Mom and Dad.
 

Raigon

This is an emergency.
10+ Year Member
Jul 5, 2008
444
3
0
Status
Medical Student
Ireland and Australia have equal prestige, in my opinion. International students going there also have the option of being able to stay back to complete internship, get PR or citizenship, and become a doctor or go back to North America in both Ireland and Australia. And there are many who can score high on the USMLE. In fact, from what I've heard from the internationals I've seen studying abroad is that they go abroad because USUALLY (generally, not universally) have high MCAT and low GPA (of course, there are plenty of exceptions, where both are high or both are low and even some with the other way around, but most of these cats go for the Caribbean route). Thus, they can study for the USMLE on their own and because a lot of medical schools have a pass/fail grading system, GPA doesn't really matter anymore so they can focus on acing the USMLE for decent matching stats.

Ireland has always gotten a higher match rate because the students are more dedicated to returning to the United States or Canada while internationals going to Australia may end up choosing Australia over going back. I really don't think it's because either training or quality is better but rather how similar the curriculums are to the US. Australia focuses less on the sciences so I think Ireland has better preparation. EVEN THOUGH I know it's not geared towards the USMLE, Ireland's science background may help students better.

But we can generally agree that the reputation of Ireland or Australia is better than the Caribbean (it's spelled one r and two b's; sorry, couldn't resist :p). And with equal stats and equally powerful letters of recommendations, Australia or Ireland MAY have BETTER chances of getting into a residency.

HOWEVER, because the Caribbean is actually divided into two polar ends (the best of the Caribbean like SGU or Ross or SABA have up to 88% matching rate even into tough specialties like surgery or emergency medicine WHILE the others like Spartan, etc are not even acknowledged by the US or Canada and are not well acknowledged), they are a bit underestimated in my opinion. Caribbean schools DO train you to take and even ACE the USMLEs and they DO send you to the United States for 2 years for clinical rotations (both essential for a good match), all at the cost of reputation and a bad taste in your mouth for the rest of your life. As for what you want, it depends on your pride and whether you care what's written on a piece of paper.

All I can say is, if you have confidence in your test-taking abilities, you can study alone AND you care a lot about what school to go to, go for Australia or Ireland or England or other famous European schools. If you are horrible at taking tests or need a cram-school style curriculum to take your exams, you really MUST go to America or Canada for residency or bust, and you are willing to sacrifice your reputation for a match, then go for the Caribbean.

Just throwing in my two cents. Feel free to argue.

And now for my own question to you guys: Why do people choose Ireland over England? Do they have better and more reputable medical schools, are they more internationally friendly or is there another reason I don't know of?

Thanks!
 
Last edited:

jnuts

10+ Year Member
Jun 12, 2007
279
20
251
Toronto/ Dublin
Status
Resident [Any Field]
Is there a document available to support these numbers? They seem a little high. Granted when the <33% fall, they fall hard. BTW, with TERI gone, how do canadians in ireland afford the tuition?

These numbers were given to us by the CEO of CaRMS in a presentation given at each of the Irish med schools this winter. As far as I know, they were pre-publication. If they become available they will be on the CaRMS website.
 
Last edited:

jnuts

10+ Year Member
Jun 12, 2007
279
20
251
Toronto/ Dublin
Status
Resident [Any Field]
Ireland and Australia have equal prestige, in my opinion. International students going there also have the option of being able to stay back to complete internship, get PR or citizenship, and become a doctor or go back to North America in both Ireland and Australia.

Unfortunately, this has changed quite a bit recently. Ireland has definitely decreased access for non-EU citizens to post-graduate training this year and no longer assures foreign (non-EEA/EU) students studying at Irish colleges an intern post.

Though I am not an expert, I have heard rumors that options in Australia have also become much more restricted recently.
 

Raigon

This is an emergency.
10+ Year Member
Jul 5, 2008
444
3
0
Status
Medical Student
Unfortunately, this has changed quite a bit recently. Ireland has definitely decreased access for non-EU citizens to post-graduate training this year and no longer assures foreign (non-EEA/EU) students studying at Irish colleges an intern post.

Though I am not an expert, I have heard rumors that options in Australia have also become much more restricted recently.
Oh about those options becoming more restricted in Australia - there is something now called a medical tsunami in Australia where staying back there is going to be tougher for international students studying at Aussie medical schools.

It means there is a shortage of doctors in Australia. The government acknowledged that and to compensate for that, they created a MASSIVE increase of medical schools and places but have NOT increased the number of internship spots. So there is MORE medical students competing for the SAME amount of internship spots. That is what we call the medical tsunami.

And like the residency matching in the US, they give priority to Australian citizens/PR first and give the next priority to internationals who COMPLETED an Australian medical school and THEN the last for the "others".

Not sure what is happening in Ireland, but I should think it's pretty similar. I'm applying for Australia right now so I'm not too familiar with Ireland, but I would like to keep Ireland open if something goes wrong.

Still that question: Why do people choose Ireland over England for medical schools?
 

jnuts

10+ Year Member
Jun 12, 2007
279
20
251
Toronto/ Dublin
Status
Resident [Any Field]
Still that question: Why do people choose Ireland over England for medical schools?

Its mostly an access issue.

On the application side, there is a more established system for Internationals, especially North Americans, to apply to Irish colleges. The English application system(s) are often opaque, do not accept the MCAT, have issues with grade translations.

After medical school, the English post-graduate training program has been in flux for quite a while and has been cyclically hostile to IMGs. The Irish system has recently become more hostile but no one really saw that coming as it has nothing to do with supply and demand (its just the financial situation in Ireland right now, the ratio of applicants to spots really hasn't changed much).

Fine print stuff, the graduate entry programs have been around for slightly longer in Ireland.

Plus Ireland is much more fun :p
 

Jocks

Senior Member
10+ Year Member
Feb 21, 2005
153
0
241
Status
Still that question: Why do people choose Ireland over England for medical schools?[/B]
75 bucks, a transcript, and a personal statement = Best.Application.Ever.

Meanwhile, the UK doesn't even recognize the MCAT, some schools require GAMSAT, others UKCAT...it gets to be a pain in the ass.

Having said that, I know a few who have gone straight from high school. But the numbers aren't that big.

Jocks
 
Last edited:
Mar 21, 2010
8
0
0
Status
It might also be hard to prep for the USMLE or other qualification exams at UK schools, who focus on their own exams. Irish schools on the other hand, gear their curriculum towards the American/Canadian system making it much easier to do well and come back.

Raigon, you mentioned somewhere that you were from Taiwan. If you have any intention of practicing in HK, going to a commonwealth school (UK) may give you an advantage over Ireland, but I have not looked into the matter.
 

Raigon

This is an emergency.
10+ Year Member
Jul 5, 2008
444
3
0
Status
Medical Student
Ah okay! I guess I understand now. I always thought that when I hear a lot of schools in UK that accept international students and all, I always assumed England had some. I didn't know it was actually Ireland that was the one actually letting in internationals.

And yes, I'm from Taiwan, but only recently. I'm actually from America but moved there recently for part of high school and college due to family reasons. I do plan to move to the United States, but I don't plan to stay there indefinitely.

I just have a dream of traveling around the world to study and work and I actually want to be an international doctor without borders who will go around to different countries. I've always been a cosmopolitan person and I want to embrace different cultures and see medicine from a different perspective. But it's going to be extremely difficult mainly because there are many types of training accepted in one place but not the other and moving from one job to another will be a headache. But it's a dream. I may be stupid for it, but it's still a dream.

So I'm not sure whether the going to a medical school from a commonwealth system or the American system is better suited for my dream =P.
 
Last edited:

med2UCC

Relentlessly Optimistic
10+ Year Member
May 30, 2005
479
3
241
At the back of the North wind
Status
Attending Physician
It might also be hard to prep for the USMLE or other qualification exams at UK schools, who focus on their own exams. Irish schools on the other hand, gear their curriculum towards the American/Canadian system making it much easier to do well and come back.

Raigon, you mentioned somewhere that you were from Taiwan. If you have any intention of practicing in HK, going to a commonwealth school (UK) may give you an advantage over Ireland, but I have not looked into the matter.
The Irish schools, with the possible exception of RCSI, do not gear their programs towards the Canadian/American system. They gear their system towards preparing doctors to practice medicine in Ireland and to pass the Irish qualifying exams.
However, what they do is hold 1/2 the seats for international students, and specifically designate 15-20 seats per year, per school, for North Americans. It is much easier to apply to the Irish schools and there are more spots for "foreigners" so we apply there instead of to the UK.
Cheers,
M
 

tarmogorf

10+ Year Member
May 18, 2008
29
0
0
Status
All I can say is, if you have confidence in your test-taking abilities, you can study alone AND you care a lot about what school to go to, go for Australia or Ireland or England or other famous European schools. If you are horrible at taking tests or need a cram-school style curriculum to take your exams, you really MUST go to America or Canada for residency or bust, and you are willing to sacrifice your reputation for a match, then go for the Caribbean.
A paragraph that sums it all up, probably, aside from price problems. tbh, my "bitter taste" hasn't been nearly as bad after going through the actual education system SGU offers. Secondly, the prospect of having a second backup in US residencies outweight that "stuck-up" attitude. Heck, it was that attitude that landed me into a non-US school in the first place.

In essence, the statistics as to why Caribbean students having lower match rates have a lot to do with the fact that quite a few of the Canadian population here have no interest in going back anyway. That would, of course, drop match rates as well.
 

skatertudoroga

Removed
Apr 23, 2010
316
0
0
Status
How come france or germany aren't as popular? If you can speak their language, then you can attend their schools for free. Then you will refine a foreign language and if you don't match in usa, they will let you stay in germany/france (which is much more realistic if you did not pay $300k for school)?
 

jnuts

10+ Year Member
Jun 12, 2007
279
20
251
Toronto/ Dublin
Status
Resident [Any Field]
How come france or germany aren't as popular? If you can speak their language, then you can attend their schools for free. Then you will refine a foreign language and if you don't match in usa, they will let you stay in germany/france (which is much more realistic if you did not pay $300k for school)?
Language is a huge barrier. I speak french, even lived in France for a couple of years. I'd have no problem applying for a non-technical francophone job. But I'm not sure I could hack medical french well enough to get through their brutal barrier exams. I have no idea how reliable this is but I'd heard that there are exams where they only pass a given percentage so they can control the student numbers in the subsequent year.

Ease of application is also a problem. There is very little available if you're coming from abroad to assist you in applying, or to determine what chance you'd have of being admitted or even considered. i also have no idea which schools have good programs or what the training proccess would be post-grad.

France or Germany might be great options, but it will require a few brave pioneers to map everything out for the general pool.