allinblue

5+ Year Member
Dec 9, 2009
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Pre-Medical
Hey guys,

I'm a current sophomore who's planning on doing study abroad for the upcoming fall semester (of my junior year). The program is at Tsinghua University in China, so all the coursework will be in Chinese. I probably won't get any course credit counted towards my major but I will have the opportunity to take some humanities classes (Chinese politics, literature, etc).

By the end of soph year I will have finished with all my premed classes (orgo, bio, chem, phys, and labs), but if I study abroad I won't have the chance to take many higher level bio courses such as biochem before I start applying to medical school. In addition, I would also be interrupting many of the research and volunteering things I'm involved with on campus right now for a semester.

Would it still be a good idea to study abroad? Apart it from being a unique experience to talk about, what are some potential benefits or drawbacks to going abroad for a semester?
 
May 27, 2009
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Medical Student
I say go for it under two conditions: you have the funds and it won't mess with your graduation requirements, aka when you graduate. Not studying abroad is my #1 regret of college. You've taken your pre-reqs and you can always take those extra bio classes your senior year after you've applied. You should be able to pick up volunteering when you get back. Is your PI ok with you leaving for a semester?
 

chrisski

10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Feb 17, 2009
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It will do nothing but help you, assuming you get good grades. Applicants with upper level science courses are a dime a dozen. Applicatns with abroad experience are like a precious jewel in the ad coms eyes. Trust me. Think about it this way, when you are 80 years old and talking to your grandchildren, how would you like to describe your junior year. As an exciting aborad adventure:) or a monontous journey into cellular Biology:(
 

mwalker394

Person
Feb 8, 2010
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Medical Student
Do it!
I did it for a year in France-- no Bio, no Chem, no Physics. It was just French, History, Latin, Philosophy, etc. Because all the classes were taught in a foreign language, my interviewers were just impressed and found it really interesting.
It can ONLY help you; also, it will give you something wonderful to talk about in your personal statement. That's not to mention how freaking amazing it will be for you to experience. Have fun!
 

d1ony5u5

10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Feb 11, 2009
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Medical Student
I say do it, too. Studying abroad is a unique opportunity, and probably the best thing I did in undergrad. Taking biochem on a timely manner is nowhere near as exciting as talking about your experiences abroad. Seriously, I doubt AdComs will even realize you took the class before applying. On the other hand, they will certainly notice the interesting classes you took in China.

It's also really good conversation material for interviews. There was not a single interviewer that did not want to talk to me about my year abroad. The rest of my coursework was not mentioned even once...