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Studying abroad/ summer missions

Discussion in 'Surgery and Surgical Subspecialties' started by maxim728, Nov 18, 2002.

  1. maxim728

    maxim728 Member
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    Do you think that studying abroad for a few weeks would make an applicant more favorable for residency placement, particularly surgery? I ask this b/c there are many opportunities to study abroad or exchange with a foreign student during medical school and serve underseved areas in countries. Do the people that elect to work overseas for a few weeks during the summer b/w MS1 & MS2 have an advantage over students? I am hesitant to go to a 3rd world country, but am wondering if things like this help out your chances of securing a spot. ? Thanks.
     
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  3. Careofme

    Careofme Senior Member
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    I'm curious about this too....what makes an applicant more "marketable"...a medical mission trip or summer research?

    care
     
  4. SomeFakeName

    SomeFakeName Membership Revoked
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    Don't do it to make yourself more "marketable". Do it only if you really want to help the underserved people. The last thing patients in those areas need is another med student who is there to pad his/her resume. Remember to always look at it from the patient's point of view: would you want a med student treating you who didn't even want to be there but only did it because he/she thought it would help his/her chances at getting a residency?
     
  5. southerndoc

    southerndoc life is good
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    I would say uniqueness.

    I'm sure a former astronaut who is now a medical student is more marketable than someone who did a summer of research. Why? Because he/she is unique among the other applicants.

    Be yourself. Do something that you enjoy. Don't do something that you think will give you a better chance at residency. If you enjoy it, then your enthusiasm will give you a leg up for the spot.
     
  6. gonzo9111

    gonzo9111 Junior Member

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    ...The truth of the matter is that programs will use research experience as a means for a cut-off, therefore I would recommend some kind of research on your CV...having said that a unique experience will seperate you from the rest of the crowd..in short, if you can have both on your resume, it will help...
     
  7. Careofme

    Careofme Senior Member
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    I love how posts on this board are turned around to bite you in the ass...

    Perhaps I mis-spoke about making myself more "marketable," however, what I was really interesed in is what weighs more to residency directors. I'm not going to be doing something over my valued summer that I really have no interest in...that's pathetic. Really, I was just interested in both possibilities and needed help in deciding which to do.

    What did you do your summer after M1?

    Geesh...

    care
     
  8. Celiac Plexus

    Celiac Plexus Senior Member
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    Only do "research" during that critical summer if it will result in a publication. Get the PI who you will work under to *guarantee* this. I considered a number of interesting projects but picked the one where the PI told me that he would not take a med student on if he/she was not going to get a publication. Publications (for various reasons) are more important for resident selection than just "research"... Also, you probably want to steer clear of a basic science research project as those tend to take longer (in my experience)... Sign on to a clinical project that is as narrow in scope as you can possibly get. The simpler, the better. Try to get one in your field of interest, but if not it's no big deal. You can always say that you changed your mind, or that the project had a specific appeal to you for whatever reason. The main thing is that if you're gonna do research, make SURE you get a pub out of it. Otherwise you're better off spending the summer lounging poolside, or at the beach sipping on one of those drinks with an umbrella in it.

    As for the overseas option... if you are interested in it, DEFINTELY do it. I took a year off between college and med school and spent most of it working overseas (in a non-medical capacity)... I have already had 3 interviewers ask me about that time. It shows that you have a sense of adventure, curious about other cultures, and it WILL make you stand out more than the applicant who did not go overseas. Granted, it may not be the one thing that gets you an interview, but it's something to chat about in the interview, and it gives the interviewers something more to remember you by.

    ALSO, don't listen to people who criticize you because you want to make yourself "marketable". There is nothing wrong with doing a few things for the sake of "punching your ticket". Recently I had a conversation with a prominent surgeon who laughingly told me that there are some things she had done in her career just to "punch her ticket". Personally, I think it sucks but the reality is that some things matter to residency selection committees that don't necessarily matter that much to you. It's your choice.

    Peace.
     
  9. Careofme

    Careofme Senior Member
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    Hey Celiac,

    Thanks for your encouraging words and "backup."

    I'd like very much to do some reserach....now I just have to find a PI that will help me crank out a pub.

    Thanks,

    care
     
  10. maxim728

    maxim728 Member
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    Hey SomeFakeName,
    anyone who tells you that they went overseas on a medical mission while they were in b/w MS1 and MS2 and didnt do it for the resume is usually lying. I would say that only 1/10 people do it b/c they like it without ever "chalking it up". Thats like saying that pre meds volunteer b/c they like it, and they do research b/c they like it. No way. Again, maybe 1 out of 10 people. Med students always have to do something to pad their CV. This is a FACT. People applying for surgical specialties almost always have to perform research in their aspiring fields due to the fact that they have to STAND OUT.
    Anyways, thank you to the other posters who answered my question & sorry for going off on a tangent. I have an additional question.
    I have 3 publications(1 peer reviewed in the Journal : Cancer Research, and 2 in books that were abstracts which were presented in Int'l Cancer Conferences). These all came about in the summer prior to me STARTING medical school. I am just finishing my 1st semester and residency interviews are 3 years away. Do Residency Directors say "Oh, that was before you started medical school and no big deal" or "I am still impressed"?
    Thanks
     
  11. Airborne

    Airborne Senior Member
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    As a side note regarding publications - In general, only peer-reviewed publications really matter. Abstracts are considered preliminary communications, and at many conferences, all people who submit are accepted for at least a poster presentation (Mind you this is not the case at the biggies). That is, when you do a pub-med search, the ones where your name comes up are the true "publications" - the rest go under the "Presentations and Conference Proceedings" section of your CV.

    Don't get me wrong, abstracts are great, too. They show that you are able to communicate your findings to a learned society. However, I'd rather one decent publication than 5 conference abstracts that never came to fruition.

    Airborne
     
  12. mattie113

    mattie113 totally awesome
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    wow this is an old thread! i decided to search on the topic before i asked and this was the most relevant post i could come up with.

    anyway, i was hoping that someone could post the names of specific organizations that offer international volunteer opportunities for med students especially in surgical areas. i like to think that i attend a pretty good med school but there doesnt seem to be anyone who has done this speicfically - or if they have they didnt register it in our "log book of summer experiences".
     
  13. Airborne

    Airborne Senior Member
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    mattie113:

    There are several international surgical volunteer organizations - One I have keenly been looking at (albeit to contribute to as a resident and attending when the time comes in a few [read many] years) is related to ENT/facial plastics - Operation Smile http://www.operationsmile.org/photogallery/Before%20&%20After%20Stories/bajeanpaulphilippines.html

    I'm not sure if they take medical students - but if you can find funding (and I know my med school funds all students interested in international experiences for up to $3k, so ask around) - you may be able to convince them to let you tag for awhile. It is great organization and they do some pretty remarkable things.

    Some of the other biggies, such as DWB (MSF) do not take medical students.

    Look around.

    Best of luck,

    Airborne
     
  14. mattie113

    mattie113 totally awesome
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    thanks airborne ill send off an email - it looks like they have a schedule that extends until next summer. anyone else have any great organizations that accomidate medical students specifically?
     

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