Comparison of Domestic and International Medical Programs

by Katrina Maddela

With the increasing globalization of our world, there has been a trend in education in the same direction; the field of medicine is no different.  Due to a variety of reasons, many students are choosing to go to foreign medical schools.  Here is an overview of different medical school systems around the world.

In Europe, the medical school system is different from country to country.  However, there are some similarities between the medical schools there.  In addition to four-year institutions after getting a bachelor’s degree, many countries offer medical degrees through a Bachelor/Master’s program, which usually ranges from 5-6 years.  Students then start medical school after graduating high school.  Also, many of the medical schools there are considerably cheaper than those in America, and can even possibly be free for students in some countries.  However, depending on the country, access to clinical rounds and interactions with patients may be limited.

Like in Europe, Indian medical school students often start right after high school.  They are five year programs, with the fifth year being a compulsory internship.  That fifth year is the time when clinical rotations are done.  Most medical school institutions are either public- and thus subsidized by the government- or private, with most of the fees being paid by the students.  In order to get in, one must take an Entrance Exam after 12th grade in the subjects of Math, Physics, Chemistry and Biology (Botany and Zoology).  A score of 198 out of 200 is needed in order to get into the top medical schools, as students with higher scores get first pick of the medical schools and spots quickly run out.  If a student does not get into the medical school that they wish to, there is always the option of paying a fee to a private school for entrance.  Fees can also be contingent on the grades that a student gets; the better the grades, the lesser the tuition costs.

The Caribbean is a rather popular spot for students to go for medical school right now, as several medical schools there have associations and agreements with US medical schools.  In fact, the first four to five semesters resemble that of medical schools in the United States, and many Caribbean medical schools promise clinical rotations in cities in the United States.  However, there have been reports that these rotations have been crowded and that students have to compete for patients, leaving less time to learn.  In terms of lifestyle, the amenities there do not resemble that of a metropolitan city, however many students enjoy the local culture and holidays, such as Carnivale.

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