Study Abroad Before/After Getting into Med School?

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Jul 30, 2015
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Hi everyone! I had a question about studying abroad.

I'm currently a community college student, and am planning to apply to USC (I have pretty good chances of getting in; I have a 4.0 GPA and will have taken most required classes by the time I apply this fall).

Assuming I get in, I'd like to do a study abroad program in Korea sometime (they currently only offer one in Korea, at Yonsei University, but I'm not complete on the details of the whole thing yet.)

It's unlikely that I'd be able to go during the summer, as my parents wouldn't like it if I go to Korea alone during the summer.

Would it be better to do a study abroad program during my senior year at USC? Or should I do study abroad (preferably in Korea) during medical school? Or maybe travel there during gap year? There are lots of possibilities but I'm not sure which one would be the best!


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5+ Year Member
Oct 3, 2015
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You should do your study abroad during your undergraduate years, especially if you are looking to have time to travel and explore. While some medical schools have global health programs you can do that will permit international traveling, if you are looking for a specific program and more time for "fun" aspects, you should do it during undergrad.

You could also travel there during your gap year, but if you are also applying that year it will be difficult to go long term because you will need to come back for interviews. If you only plan to go for a summer or so though, it's definitely doable.

Furthermore, if you're going to study abroad, just be very careful. DO NOT take any science pre-reqs for medical school abroad. Be prepared that the courses you take will be viewed unpredictably in the eyes of adcoms depending on how your home institution transfers things back. The courses may or may not affect your GPA.

I did a great deal of study abroad during my undergrad and am very familiar with it, so feel free to PM me for any help! I absolutely think my experiences were one of the most amazing times of my life, but it just needs to be done wisely so that you don't overly complicate applying to medical school!

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