update: It been 4 years and I can now come back to this post with new insight. I will post my thoughts in case someone else can benefit from this discussion.
Match Results: Entering in a field that is in the Top 5 competitive CaRMS programs. Got my number 1 choice
Verdict: Go to a Canadian school if you want to live and practice in Canada (see my updated insight comments in brackets).
I am in a very blessed situation where I have been accepted to both UBC medicine (OOP) as well as Mayo Medical School. Since I will be moving away from home in both cases, I'd like input on these schools.
1) I will receive a full tuition scholarship for all 4 years. --
( This would have been great, but I would have had to pay for the cost of living. It is really inexpensive in Rochester, but I would have had to deal with converting the CAD to USD. Moreover, the grants, scholarships, and bursaries I received in UBC more than covered my tuition and even covered large parts of my living expenses. I guess I received an equivalent "full ride" going to UBC, WHILE living in a wonderful Canadian city).
2) I'll have a small class size (~50 students only) 13:1 faculty student ratio - it'll be easier to shadow and get more exposure to rare/common medical cases from patients from all over the world. ---
( This is still a benefit that Mayo has, especially if you are one who enjoys the attention you will have from your professors and classmates. The great thing about UBC is that it has distributed site options of classes consisting of 32 people. Go there if you want this experience. But if you want the ability to kinda blend in the crowd, "hide" when you want, then go to Vancouver, where you will have 200 other classmates to chill with).
3) The reputation of the school may help me match back to Canada while also giving me better options in the US.
(LOL silly me. Sure, this may have helped. But your strongest chance of matching into Canada is through a Canadian school. Moreover, I dont know how competitive I would have been to match into my specialty in the US. The competition there is incredibly amazing, and the USMLE step score can frankly shut down certain dreams. I'd likely have decided against the whole field if I just looked at the stats needed to get into this program in the US. Such a blessing to not have that limitation here).
4) Free massages for med students every day? 190 students in the entire med school? TRUE Pass/Fail system (not even internal rankings for the first two years) Yea, they can afford to pamper you ---
( This is still a benefit. I think the mountains, the incredible climate, the diversity in the population/ activities of Vancouver>>>>>> the free massages. The pass/fail system was also in place in UBC, and while they had internal rankings, it only benefited a small percentage of those academically strong enough to receive those forms of scholarships. It made no difference for most people and it was never an issue).
(This is a HUGE negative. I didnt need to write this exam, and if I do in the future, it'll be with the intention to just pass. I won't need to be stressed about learning the minutiae of pathology in order to get into a field that has nothing to do with it, for instance, and have my dreams crushed bc I didnt do well on this test, potentially)
2) I may need a visa for residency. I dont know how keen Mayo is at sponsoring me for a H1B visa. Maybe they are more inclined than other schools? who knows. All i know is that there is more paperwork involved.
(LOOOL imagine being there in such a turbulent political environment? Im sure most med students dont feel the brunt of this... why take the risk if you can avoid it? These visas are apparently harder to come by. Am I wrong? It doesnt matter, I didnt waste time stressing about this.. phew :).
3) I dont mind living in Rochester, and the weather is not much different from Toronto, BUT it's not as good as Vancouver.
(Yep, being in one place for 4 years is a long time. Having great weather and a diverse population with lots to do for young people you can mingle with = great for self-care and wellness is incredibly important in medicine. Don't underestimate this)
4) There was no basketball court in the clinic area. Not even in the gym. WHY!?
(Yep, we played a ton of bball in Van. Wrote about it in my app! Many of my closest med friends play sports in general. This would have been a huge loss for me. You may or may not pick up new hobbies in medicine, but you will likely continue with your old habits. Mine was bball. Figure out what this is for you and dont compromise on it. Dont underestimate this when selecting).
1) Its in Canada. I love living here and I believe our healthcare system is better. I'll have a better chance at practicing medicine here, if I go to UBC.
(Yes, and I believe now it opened doors to a very competitive specialty, without the need of being an uber-competitive applicant and without the need of having an incredibly strong USMLE score. I also had a wonderful experience throughout my electives and the program is very supportive. Other staff across the country loved hearing that one comes from the West Coast, particularly Vancouver because many Canadians go there to vacation/ski/surf etc and visited strategically-located conferences. The patients are amazing and very grateful, and I cant imagine denying countrymen because they cant afford the care. I also didnt need to learn about insurance and issues. All programs are relatively small in Canada and so going from place to place, it is not uncommon to have preceptors who have a connection with your school somehow, and this acts as an instant ice-breaker. This also is very helpful in getting word of mouth to spread for good or for worse about you so be careful!!!)
2) The basic research at UBC is stronger. As an MSc. interested in continuing research, this is a plus.
(Self-explanatory. Was very helpful. Did basic science research throughout med).
3) Vancouver is beautiful. I can see myself living here and moving my entire family over.
4) Line of Credit without a co-signer. Proper.
(Yea, great to not put your family in the hole in the terrible case where you arent able to pay back your loans).
1) 1/288 students (1/192 in VFMP). Massive school so I'll need to work hard at standing out.
(Yes, but if I wanted a smaller program, Id go to the distributed sites which is offered for all students!)
2) "pass/fail" with ranking? Defeats the purpose. The quintiles will make it competitive anyway.
(Doesnt matter, as stated above).
3) The hospital system may be good, but its not Mayo Clinic.
(True, these hospitals are no match to Mayos' hospitals. But the variety in patients from all walks of socio-economic backgrounds and ethnic backgrounds certainly makes you an equally well-rounded physician here).
4) New curriculum. I'll be a guinea pig to this. Who knows, could be good or could be terrible.
(True, we were guinea pigs and there were a lot of admin issues that our class did not like. But because the school was nervous about this, they provided us many opportunities to provide feedback and actively change the way they were doing things which was nice. Our class did very well with the match, so perhaps there was no tangible difference in our training. I guess we will find out in residency!
I know both schools will give me a fine education. That's why I need your input to help me sway to one side.
(I think as a Canadian wanting to practice in Canada, don't be dazzled by the names you may see down south. Stay in Canada, work with Canadians, and if you really want to take part in Mayo's amazing mantra, do a fellowship there. That's where you can make the most of your time with their incredible team).
Thank you to this incredible community! I may not be very active here but message me if you want more deets.