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Israeli schools and aliyah

Discussion in 'Africa and Middle East' started by emunah84, Nov 15, 2005.

  1. emunah84

    emunah84 New Member

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    I would like to attend Sackler or Ben Gurion. I would consider returning to the states for residency but eventually, I am planning on making aliyah. I am graduating from college this spring and would like to enlist in the IDF as a combat medic in July. However, I have heard that applicants who very clearly want to make aliyah are at a big disadvantage when applying because as Israelis, they will make far less money than their American counterparts and are therefore less likely to contribute generously to the school as alums. Do you guys think this is true? I am concerned that by serving in the IDF I may be sabotaging my chances of getting into Sackler or Ben Gurion. Anyone have a sense of how realistic this fear is? Thanks!
     
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  3. dhm2101

    dhm2101 Junior Member
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    I don't think it's that much of a problem honestly. I am currently a first-year at Sackler, and just prior to classes beginning one of our classmates completed his Israeli army requirement. He didn't seem to have any problem with it. Also, one of our other classmates has since made aliyah since coming here, and she seems to have no problems. I would talk to the some of the office staff here in Israel, they are probably much more knowledgeable about that than the NY office (specifically Esti Landau). Also, if you are fluent in hebrew, you could consider the Israeli medical school programs if you plan to make aliyah.

     
  4. punchberry

    punchberry Member
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    I doubt that the school would discriminate against you because you have applicable experience, gained by serving the country that the school is located in. The issues I think you need to research in deciding if Sackler is right for you are:

    1. Money. How are you going to pay for school? If you are planning to take out loans, you will have a hard time paying them back with an Israeli salary.

    2. The Boards. The curriculum is based on the USMLE, not the Israeli boards. I am not sure what the differences are, and what the requirements would be if you plan to make an aliyah after your residency, but I would definitely research this if I were you.

    As mentioned by my esteemed colleague, if you are sure you want to make an aliyah, then you should consider the Israeli program. It is about a tenth of our tuition, and if you plan to practice in Israel, it seems like it would better meet your needs. There are four medical school in Israel, all offering 6 year programs taught in Hebrew, but all of the textbooks used are in English.
     
  5. emunah84

    emunah84 New Member

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    Do you know whether it is much more difficult to gain admission to the Israeli program at Sackler? I volunteered for Magen David Adom and worked with many Israelis on the ambulances who were applying to med school and the impression I got from them is that it is impossibly hard to get into an Israeli program and that many Israelis end up applying to med schools abroad as a result. I also wonder how appropriate the 6 year curriculum would be given that my Israeli counterparts will have not already had 4 years of undergrad. On the other hand, in the long term it would probably save me time because I would probably have to go back to the states for several years in order to make enough money to pay off med school loans and then deal with the beauracracy of getting licensed in Israel. Also, I realize that if I become an Israeli citizen and serve in the army, an Israeli program would be super cheap for me.

    In short, does anyone know a)how hard it would be to get into the Israeli program vs. the American program at Sackler b)how appropriate it would be to do the 6 year program having already completed undergrad and if it's even feasible/permissible. Thanks!
     
  6. punchberry

    punchberry Member
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    The Israeli program at Sackler definitely has a reputation for being much harder to get into, with many Israeli students going abroad because they cannot get into any of the four Israeli med schools, but that does not mean that you should assume that you would not get in. The American program looks at undergrad grades and MCAT scores, while the Israeli program looks at high school grades and different standardized tests. You would be a special case, so you should ask them what the requirements would be.

    I think the 6 year program is 3 years of pre-clinical and 3 years of clinical. I would imagine that you would place out of things like chemistry and physics, but you will find that there is not that much additional overlap with your undergrad. Med students here just don't take that many "distribution requirements".

    My advice for you would be to call as many offices as you can until you figure out what is the best the school can offer you. You should call the regular admission office, the Tel Aviv American Program office, the New York American Program office, etc.

    Good luck!
     
  7. shadowy onion

    shadowy onion Senior Member
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    Hey Emunah,

    Perhaps I can help.
    I am an Israeli citizen (made aliyah when I was a kid). I went through the whole shtick...army etc..
    I was rejected from Med-school here in Israel when I first applied. I had pretty good grades...both high school and standardized (Psychometry test).
    Understand that Israel currently has around 400 seats for medical students in the "Israeli MD programs." Both Jews and Arabs see medicine as a noble and secure profession, and applicants are in the thousands. The bottleneck is so severe that more students are forced to study abroad than in Israel. The government doesn't wish to change the system because these students in Hungary/Italy/etc.. usually end up returning to Israel. This means that Israel gets doctors for FREE! It costs millions to educate doctors, and the fiscal interests of the country outweigh those of the students.

    I was one of those students who was "forced" abroad. I chose the USA, mainly because I hold dual citizenship. I was extremely fortunate in that I did really well through college and was accepted to a US medical school.
    The Israeli system also took notice and ironically I was accepted to medical school in Israel. However they made it clear that I would have to go through the whole process, excluding perhaps one year.

    I was thrilled with the option to return home to my family. However my joy was shortcoming. You know what they say, "you get what you pay for." Since education in Israel costs next to nothing, there is no abundance of....umm anything. Now I don't mean to generalize, but there are only 4 schools here, so anything I say pretty much goes for the whole system, or at least a quarter of it :)

    American and Israeli schools are VERY different. There is almost no support system in Israel. You are on your own. Some may see the extreme independence as a blessing. I don't. I need a support system. I need a structure. I need someone to talk to (from the administration). I need tests...yup thats right. How can you go through med-school and not be tested :idea: Here they expect you to breeze into class, study whenever..and take the test at the end of the semester (usually 100% of your grade). There is no strive for excellence at all. I was told numerous times by Prof's that I dont really need to come to class. Just pass 75 and you'll be fine. Well, I am sorry, but I am thinking of the patient here, and this approach does not sit well with me.

    Here is my two agurot. If you plan on making Aliyah...truly...you should try to get in to an Israeli program. However they will not cut the corners for you. They don't give a damn if you are a zionist making Aliyah (they should). They will ask you to take the Psychometric test. Whle this test is easier than the MCAT, and can be taken in English, you will need to score very high. It can be done!!
    If you decide to stay in the states, Aliyah will be out of the question for many more years unless you are well off financially. The loans....need I say more?

    I am very unhappy in school now.....can't ya tell :p
    I let the US school that accepted me know that I am interested in accepting their offer afterall.

    I hope that whatever decision you make you will be following your heart.
    If you decide to stay in the US perhaps we'll be on the same flight to Israel in say...10-15 years. It will be your first and my second aliyah.

    good luck
     
  8. secretwave101

    secretwave101 Senior Member
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    I graduated from the BGU American program last year, so I can give you a little perspective from that angle. A couple of our students decided to stay in Israel and it didn't seem to be a problem for them. Yeah, you'll need to take the Israeli version of the USMLE, but medical science is medical science. They were strong students and didn't seem to have too much trouble with either version of the test.

    I don't think BGU will discriminate against you in terms of your potential to contribute to the school in the future. But they WILL be concerned if you intend to finance the whole education on loans and then practice in Israel. Being a doctor in Israel is great in many respects, but the money you make is not enough to pay off the cost of the American program. You'll need to pay for it outright, or work in the US for a few years and then make Aliya. Many doctors who teach in our program left successful practices in the US to make Aliya. So, you could consider the BGU program as a way to spend a few years in Israel on your quest to eventually settle there permanantly.
     
  9. suaysuay

    suaysuay New Member

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    I'm a bit concerned about this, as I'm looking at the BGU international med program. I've seen a system similar to this one before -government-subsidized, no support system, end-of-sem exams (probably most u.k. med schools) and it's definitely not my thing. as you say, no 'strive for excellence'. How is it with the m.d. programs geared towards americans/int'l students (i.e. BGU)? is the system similar?
     
  10. Antiviral22

    Antiviral22 Member
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    I'd like to interject for a moment and reinforce some important issues. The Ben Gurion University Medical School for International Health is a special program for students who have a serious and committed interest in serving the indigent and underrepresented of the world. Now, you don't have to sign up to live a life in the jungles of the Congo, but most students are the type that understand the value of primary care and are acutely aware of the sociocultural/social justice problems in medicine - and thus wish to rectify them. I think making aliyah is a wonderful thing (if you truly desire to become an Israeli citizen), but applying to BGU MISH only as a transition to full Israeli residency is, in my opinion, a poor choice. I highly discourage application to BGU unless you are committed to the ideals of this school and are committed to making a positive impact on the world. BGU MSIH does have a decent support system, particularly through peers because of our relatively small size (this is in stark contrast to most US medical schools, and quite frankly a welcomed attribute). Please consider my thoughts.

    If you decide to apply to Israeli medcial schools ... good luck ... it's more competitive than the US I believe. Plus I'm pretty sure you'll need to score VERY high on the Psychometry Test (pronounced "sikometrrrie" in Hebrew) which is an SAT-like test that would have to be done in Hebrew. I don't know about all Israeli medical schools, but Ben Gurion only accepts 60 top students out of thousands of applicants.

    Good luck with your decisions.
     
  11. Antiviral22

    Antiviral22 Member
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    I'd like to interject for a moment and reinforce some important issues. The Ben Gurion University Medical School for International Health is a special program for students who have a serious and committed interest in serving the indigent and underrepresented of the world. Now, you don't have to sign up to live a life in the jungles of the Congo, but most students are the type that understand the value of primary care and are acutely aware of the sociocultural/social justice problems in medicine - and thus wish to rectify them. I think making aliyah is a wonderful thing (if you truly desire to become an Israeli citizen), but applying to BGU MISH only as a transition to full Israeli residency is, in my opinion, a poor choice. I highly discourage application to BGU unless you are committed to the ideals of this school and are committed to making a positive impact on the world. BGU MSIH does have a decent support system, particularly through peers because of our relatively small size (this is in stark contrast to most US medical schools, and quite frankly a welcomed attribute). Please consider my thoughts.

    If you decide to apply to Israeli medical schools ... good luck ... it's more competitive than the US I believe. Plus I'm pretty sure you'll need to score VERY high on the Psychometry Test (pronounced "sikometrrrie" in Hebrew) which is an SAT-like test that would have to be done in Hebrew. I don't know about all Israeli medical schools, but Ben Gurion only accepts 60 top students out of thousands of applicants.

    Good luck with your decisions.
     
  12. secretwave101

    secretwave101 Senior Member
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    Well said, excellent point...agree totally.

    That being said, you still need to get a residency somewhere, and you really do get support from the program. Specifically, you can go through a process of identifying your top residency programs, and if the MSIH people think you have a shot at the position, they will get one of the Columbia people to call for you...usually the director of the program on that side (Dr. Deckelbaum). The Dean of the school also works the phones for you if he actually knows you (getting to know him is not difficult) and he thinks you have a shot at the program. So, if you've attempted the USMLE five times and you're applying for derm...you'll not get much support. If you've got a good shot at a program - they'll hook you up.

    I've read about how some other schools treat their students, and it was amazing to see how little support they got. There's quite a bit at MSIH, I think.

    Cavieat: Others in my class (2005) would probably disagree with my rosy assessment, just so you know.
     
  13. RinatJoy

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    I am a Pre-Medical Student in the US and I have been planning on applying to medical school in Israel (Sackler and the Technion and maybe Ben Gurion as well). I too have plans to stay in Israel afterwards, make aliyah and work as a Dr. in Israel. I was wondering if anyone knew if it is harder to get into these American schools in Israel as opposed to an American school in America? What does it take to get in to Sackler, Ben Gurion, or the Technion?
     

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