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US schools for international work

Discussion in 'General International Discussion' started by jenag01, May 25, 2000.

  1. jenag01

    jenag01 New Member

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    I'm interested in working internationally. I'm thinking about Emergency Medicine or Internal Medicine. However, I want to go to a US school and was wondering if anyone knew whether or not there are particular programs which help in the preparation for international work. I would like to work in a hospital/clinic atmosphere. I've talked to a doctor in Milan, and he told me to choose Emergency Medicine. Do I simply apply to work overseas? Is there not a program?

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  3. Stephen Ewen

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    To answer better, are you interested in working overseas more as a career, or only as a part-time, month/year endeavour?
     
  4. UHS2002

    UHS2002 Senior Member
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    As Stephen implied, there is a difference between working temporarly overseas (mostly on a volunteer basis, or at the invitation of a foreign hospital or research center) and working permanently overseas.

    I know a couple of physicians who worked in Italy for several years (just on the subject, since you mentioned Milan). They had to have their medical license validated in Italy, which required sitting for an exam (not unlike the USMLE step 2 and 3 and obviously administered in Italian). They had no difficulty obtaining a work permit simply because they both held dual citizenship (in both cases, the parents were Italian, which made them automatically elegible for citizenship). One is back and the other is not practicing medicine anymore, by the way.

    If you are not a citizen of an EC country it is VERY hard to get a "work permit" in one of these countries as many of their own medical graduates are not practicing medicine for lack of avaliable jobs.

    If you plan on going to Eastern Europe (although in places like the former Soviet Union, physicians are a dime a dozen) or Africa things may be a lot easier, although you still need to have your medical license validated, no matter where you go.

    Keep in mind that your income will be nowhere at the level of what you would be earning in the US. If your motivation is altruistic, then this should not be an obstacle. Otherwise, you may find yourself making $30K-50K/year as a board certified subspecialist and much less as a primary care physician (which would be a total bummer if you had student loans to repay).
     
  5. jenag01

    jenag01 New Member

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    Well,
    I was hoping that I would be able to work overseas as a career. I would like to try my hand at international health in the Peace Corp. Obviously, money does not mean as much to me as it does to others. However, you were right. I would have to worry about loans.
    I guess that the idea of international work in a modern country is almost impossible. If you have any more advice, I would be glad to hear it.

     
  6. UHS2002

    UHS2002 Senior Member
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    If you go as part of the Peace Corps or other similar organization, they take care of the paperwork in order to enable you to practice medicine in the specific country you are going to. This carries the implicit agreement that your stay is temporary (although as long as 2-3 years, it is still considered temporary) and that you are not going to "open up shop" so to speak, outside the scopes of the organization you work for. Other kind of medical work that doesn't require the validation of your license and obtaining work permits are the literally "in and out" projects, such as Project Smile or Orbis. Depending on the country, short term medical missions must have the staff working under a local doctor's license but, again, if you go as part of an organized operation this is not your concern as the organization takes care of the details.

    You may want to check out any medical oportunities with the UN, although many times they will use doctors from a variety of organizations such as Medicins sans Frontiers. The CDC may be another possibility, although overseas assignments are short term, epidemiological rather than clinical and a small fraction of your job overall. If you have a strong religious affiliation, you may want to check with your church for any opportunities overseas. All of the above obviously implies that you will NOT be working in a developed country.

    Also keep in mind that there is plenty of positions avaliable in the US if your goal is to practice underserved medicine, check with the National Health Service. And you can still volunteer to go on short overseas missions on occasion.

    Take the people who go overseas for medical school. Most places will not offer them the possibility to stay there if they were unsuccessfull in returning to the US. Even though license revalidation is not an issue in such case, limited work opportunities, visas and work permits are.

    By the way, medical school in Europe is almost free for nationals of each particular country. There usually is a university tax, which may amount to one to 2 thousand dollars a year plus the expenses for your books and equipment, but that is about it. Not even at the cheapest state school in the US you would be paying so little in tuition. So their doctors don't graduate carrying the burden of a huge student loan debt.
     
  7. Carp

    Carp Member
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    If you want to do international/peace corps work, look into an Masters in Public Health (MPH) in International Health, or Community Health. Then you'd be set to do a lot more good than just showing up with an MD degree clutched in your hand.

    OR, if you want to just live elsewhere AND make big bucks, look into the middle east. Countries like Saudi Arabia are willing to pay big for american doctors to come over and work. They pay for housing, kids school, plane tickets home. You live in the American community. The deal is amazing. I know a doc who's going to do it for a few years to pay off his loans. Those are just the upsides though. It would suck if you're female.

    If you want to serve thrid world countries, then that's very admirable, but if you just want to live in France or Italy to be worldly, then you're out of your mind.

    Go to TX A&M? Great school. WHat year are you?
     
  8. UHS2002

    UHS2002 Senior Member
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    If you go to Saudi Arabia, just make sure you are NOT a female physician...
     

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