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Why Don't People Consider The U.s. And The Caribbean?

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Im just curious as to why people are so set on med school in Canada? Obviously it's very very competitive in Canada. Theres numerous med schools in the U.S. AND the Caribbean that are proven to match great residences. 

 

It just doesn't make sense as to why med school candidates limit themselves to only wanting to go to med school in Canada. It seems as though there are many med school applicants who are scared to go to the U.S. or the Caribbean. 

 

Lets be honest, if you're not a top academic you will most likely not be accepted into med school in Canada. So why not broaden your horizon and try for international schools? Are people scared to move away from their friends and family? I just don't get it.

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Im just curious as to why people are so set on med school in Canada? Obviously it's very very competitive in Canada. Theres numerous med schools in the U.S. AND the Caribbean that are proven to match great residences. 

 

It just doesn't make sense as to why med school candidates limit themselves to only wanting to go to med school in Canada. It seems as though there are many med school applicants who are scared to go to the U.S. or the Caribbean. 

 

Lets be honest, if you're not a top academic you will most likely not be accepted into med school in Canada. So why not broaden your horizon and try for international schools? Are people scared to move away from their friends and family? I just don't get it.

 

Because people don't want to be a lost statistic......... have you seen some of the CaRMs match reports for the last 5 years for Carribean IMGs? 

 

If you aren't a top student despite reinvention ....... what makes one think they can somehow beat the enormous odds over there in a more challenging environment? 

 

This is setting aside other logistic problems such as $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$...... not everyone can secure funds to go no matter how much they want to. 

 

- G 

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US is a different story than Caribbean, but as someone who got into the Caribbean for med school and chose not to go for now at least and give Canada another round of applications, it has to do with a few things.

 

1) match rates for IMGs and not being able to come back to Canada at all or not for almost a decade. Have a look at CaRMS website for match rates. It is pretty grim for IMGs. It is possible but it is a long much more challenging route to come back. There are also return of service agreements for most provinces if you do manage to match. You are pretty limited in terms of specialties. If you look on CaRMS you can see all of the different programs and how many spots they have for IMGs. It is not too bad for family medicine but is almost impossible for many other specialties to match as an IMG. So unless you are 100 percent sure you want to be a family doctor, it is definitely a risk. 

 

2) Cost! Med school is also insanely expensive. Going abroad is usually 250 to 300 grand for the four years. Yes, you likely make it back if you match, but still that is quite stressful. 

 

3) For me a big part has to do with the added pressure to perform much better as an IMG. Many people don't necessarily realize that Caribbean schools fail many applicants out in the first year or two. At SGU, you need to get 75 percent in everything or it is considered a fail. There are just also SO many more board exams as an IMG. You will have to do the USMLE Step 1, 2 for sure, as well as Canadian equivalency exams. These tests are extremely expensive and really determine whether you match. 

 

That being said, I do have many friends who have gone abroad to med school but they themselves are the first to admit it was a risk. I don't think going abroad is a horrible option, but if you can get into Canada, than it is a much safer and less stressful option in my opinion. 

 

Definitely make sure you do some research before you go abroad for med school so you understand what the prospects are of coming back and what the process is. 

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I understand that cost is a factor, however, most LOC's from the big banks are 250k, no cosigner needed. Then you factor other things like student aid and scholarships. 

With the current exchange rate, $250k won't even cover your tuition, let alone living expenses

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I understand that cost is a factor, however, most LOC's from the big banks are 250k, no cosigner needed. Then you factor other things like student aid and scholarships. 

 

Those LOCs also generally require a cosigner for schools outside of Canada, including US schools.

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First and foremost, getting into the US is not as easy as it seems. You are against top notched international students and local US students who are just as keen to get into med school. There are more options than Canadian schools but most schools for obvious reasons will prefer US nationals or PRs over Canadian or international students. Another point is the tuition. With the high cost, I'm sure it is a deterrent to many Canadian pre-meds who would rather apply here 3-4 times than going down south.

 

Now for the Caribbean, I have two family members who took this route and studied in Dominica and St. Kitts. Like people have mentioned here, it is VERY competitive. These schools have expensive tuition and weed out many med students in the 1st and 2nd year. One of my family members was unfortunately weeded out in 1st year and had to transfer to another Caribbean school to start again from scratch. Another issue with the Caribbean route is that many students don't feel prepared once they come back to write their exams. Both my family members felt they knew less than med students in Canada and the US, primarily due to the rushed and intense atmosphere in the Caribbean. They always hated the fact that they took such a huge risk financially and physically to spend time in the Caribbean and essentially come back to Canada through exams and exams to become a family doctor. There is the odd person from the Caribbean that does get matched in a top notch specialty but the chances of that are extremely slim. At the end of the day, Canadian premeds look at the benefits and risks of going abroad and applying here multiple times is definitely a better option than going down south into a uncertain future. 

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I understand that cost is a factor, however, most LOC's from the big banks are 250k, no cosigner needed. Then you factor other things like student aid and scholarships. 

 

Oh yeah dude........... $250 K + debt?????? no problem I'll shoulder that since I lift              /s

 

Do you even comprehend how devastating that number can be?????? especially if you pay that and can't match back.......... 

 

- G 

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First and foremost, getting into the US is not as easy as it seems. You are against top notched international students and local US students who are just as keen to get into med school. There are more options than Canadian schools but most schools for obvious reasons will prefer US nationals or PRs over Canadian or international students. Another point is the tuition. With the high cost, I'm sure it is a deterrent to many Canadian pre-meds who would rather apply here 3-4 times than going down south.

 

Now for the Caribbean, I have two family members who took this route and studied in Dominica and St. Kitts. Like people have mentioned here, it is VERY competitive. These schools have expensive tuition and weed out many med students in the 1st and 2nd year. One of my family members was unfortunately weeded out in 1st year and had to transfer to another Caribbean school to start again from scratch. Another issue with the Caribbean route is that many students don't feel prepared once they come back to write their exams. Both my family members felt they knew less than med students in Canada and the US, primarily due to the rushed and intense atmosphere in the Caribbean. They always hated the fact that they took such a huge risk financially and physically to spend time in the Caribbean and essentially come back to Canada through exams and exams to become a family doctor. There is the odd person from the Caribbean that does get matched in a top notch specialty but the chances of that are extremely slim. At the end of the day, Canadian premeds look at the benefits and risks of going abroad and applying here multiple times is definitely a better option than going down south into a uncertain future. 

 

 

An interesting counterpoint to these routes is the "What They Don't Tell You Before Getting Into Medicine" thread. I don't agree with all the sentiment of the OP there (to say the least), but it raises the good point that (1) medicine isn't for everyone and (2) it's not for everyone because not only are not all people cut out for it academically, but because some people don't have the exact right match of personality and inner motivation to enjoy it as a career. That goes for people who go into family medicine and others in "top notch" specialties. 

 

As for the bolded part above, I'd worry about that family member. Failing out of a Caribbean school is a giant waving red flag that will make obtaining a residency in the US (to say nothing of Canada) very difficult. 

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Oh yeah dude........... $250 K + debt?????? no problem I'll shoulder that since I lift              /s

 

Do you even comprehend how devastating that number can be?????? especially if you pay that and can't match back.......... 

 

- G 

 

250k is a small price to pay if you match successfully match and go into a good specialty. Example, plastics. They make what? A median of 250k/year. Thats paid off very quickly if you manage your money well. Obviously if you don't match then you're shit out of luck. But I believe if you work hard you will be successful. 

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Sorry, you are asking a serious question.

 

1st off, plastic surgeons make closer to seven figures that is why there is something like <20 spots a year in Canada and it is the top or second choice for CaRMS each year.

 

People don't go to the Carb or the US because if they want to return to Canada then they are IMGs meaning they can only match in teh second round. As people have mentioned there aren't a lot of good spots left come second round and if they are it is usually a very tight race. 

 

The Carb is a trap, its a money pit, its where suckers go to get fleeced. You didn't stumble onto some well kept secret back door to medicine, it is a perilous journey that few survive.

 

If you want to be a doctor in this country, your best bet is to go to a Canadian medical school, anything else is a spectacular gamble.

 

As people have also mentioned standard professional line of credit does not extend to US and Carb programs because the banks know that this is a disaster. Meaning you need someone who can cosign (so put up a house) or who has that cash, which is why it is always doctors kids who fall for this trap. Also with the exchange rate it is unlikely you will be able to borrow enough to finish needless to say way trouble you are in if the dollar tanks. 

 

DONT DO IT!!!!!

Edited by Fresh fry

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If you just miss the cut in Canada, IMG can be a just fine option with risk of course, but likely work out..expensive and risky but not unfathomable if you are a strong student.

 

The people that really need to worry are the weak students whom aren't even close to being at the interview stage in Canada. I'd say for Canadians its a 50:50 mix. Half are fully qualified and just got unlucky with Canada, and the others that were busy way off the mark of competitiveness. Admittedly, even a decent amount of these make it thru med school and match too.

 

But times change and things are tough.

 

Please take some time and actually do some research, and you would understand more. More than just people telling you things here. You can read up yourself and learn

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250k is a small price to pay if you match successfully match and go into a good specialty. Example, plastics. They make what? A median of 250k/year. Thats paid off very quickly if you manage your money well. Obviously if you don't match then you're shit out of luck. But I believe if you work hard you will be successful. 

 

as other have pointed out the odds of getting plastics from those Caribbean are extremely poor. More realistic specialties have correspondingly reduced incomes (look at those debits with now a family doctors salary - and then do that and assume the possibility that interest rates rise to closer to historic norms).

 

Plus the cost is something like 300K-400K which is well beyond the limits of the LOC, and those schools don't often offer bursaries or scholarships as the entire point of the schools are to be money making operations. As the US has opened more medical schools there is even more competition from them to enter the US match - it is a tough road no doubt, and a stressful one. You are far away from friends and family with a ton of money on the line that is often co-signed by your parents so they do are on the line. 

 

No everyone can do that. Not all parents are able or willing to either.

 

Can you make it work - yes. Don't get the false impression that it is easy though.

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Shh....let them be.

 

They can come back in a few years and tell us first-hand accounts of the IMG graveyard that is the residency match.

 

https://milliondollarmistake.wordpress.com

 

some of his numbers are stretched but worthy of consideration none the less (the true cost is the difference between the US and the Caribbean school in tuition/living expenses - I mean you are going to have some debit going to the US as well very likely,  that 50K a year salary is not net take home etc that would be less, and the drop in salary later on due to a less desirable specialty should also factor in the difference in training time from say family medicine vs the other specialty - I mean that doesn't at all mean the overall point isn't valid :) )

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Im just curious as to why people are so set on med school in Canada? Obviously it's very very competitive in Canada. Theres numerous med schools in the U.S. AND the Caribbean that are proven to match great residences. 

 

It just doesn't make sense as to why med school candidates limit themselves to only wanting to go to med school in Canada. It seems as though there are many med school applicants who are scared to go to the U.S. or the Caribbean. 

 

Lets be honest, if you're not a top academic you will most likely not be accepted into med school in Canada. So why not broaden your horizon and try for international schools? Are people scared to move away from their friends and family? I just don't get it.

Schooling in America is way more expensive. Many can't afford the expense of going to med school overseas.

 

There are plenty of personal situations/reasons which would dissuade people from going to med schools overseas.

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First off

 

Please check the IMG/American schools forum. There has been plenty discussions why one should not pursue US/carib route as mentioned above. Dont be lazy.

 

Second, if you goto a non Canadian med school. You DO need a cosigner for a LOC. I should know because I went to a US Med school.

 

Thirdly, read the million dollar mistake. It does cast a bleak picture but after going through the process myself. I can tell you that it is not the norm but definitely not the exception. As a Canadian IMG, it is reasonable to expect a fate worse than this guy because you need a visa, which eliminates you from a good portion of programs that will take you. Especially with recent changes to Health Canada and J1 visa, this will restrict you even more into primary care. Granted, he still had an AMG mind set and did not apply broadly (if I was in his shoes I would apply to 50+ internal med programs plus all the ortho programs out there). But as you can see even stellar scores wont make up the IMG stain. This is probably worse if you want to match back in Canada. Since you need to divide the precious 4-6 weeks you have (unless you don't get shafted by the lottery first) among US and Canadian schools for electives. You do run  a serious risk of not having electives to convince both CARMS and ERAS that you are a competitive candidate. From the Canadian IMGs I met on the tour, many from St.George/ROSS (etc big 4s) got into residency, but its in family medicine (the only specialty I applied to), and undesriable location/programs that I ranked really low on my ERAS rank list (my top 3 have at most 1 IMG in their first year class). In Canada, the scenario is similar. Most IMG who get into carms are from Australia/Ireland. Caribs do get in but most get into undesirable locations like North Battleford family or Ontario Northern Remote family. So if you are gunning for ortho/plastic surgery, chances are it won't happen for you (unless you have mad connections of-course).

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That blog has a lot of good info for sure.  I have a couple of friends who have gone the Caribbean route and been successful (one is actually an orthopedic surgeon in the US, the other is in peds at Mac).  I had to make the call of Carrib vs continuing to work on my Canadian application 2 years ago. I decided not to go the Carrib route due to the reasons others have mentioned - mostly, the thought of going through 4 years at school with the crushing fear that I might not be able to get a match was nauseating.  Despite the fact that I know a few people who have done the Carrib route successfully, they had both graduated 2-5 years ago and both felt extremely stressed about it through medical school, while the statistics show that prospects for IMGs are looking more and more bleak by the year.

 

I am so glad I made the decision I did, especially after reading a blog like this. I did a bunch of stuff that and I enjoyed and would improve my app (PM me if you want details), and how bout that, it improved me as a person too! I finally got a few interviews this year, both in Canada and the US, so sticking with it and "trusting the process" (as almost impossible as that sounds even as I type it) worked out for me.

 

Overall based on all the research I did and everyone I talked to, going the Caribbean route is very risky.  If you're in that kind of situation, you should look much more seriously at getting your DO (http://www.studentdo.ca).

 

P.S. Dude that wrote that blog was really down on family med eh?

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Read this thread and the Million $ blog.

 

 

What is the perspective of doing mainland USMD or DO as a Canadian? Of course less bleak, but how much so? Is there also potential for such a situation to occur as a Canadian trying to match to a specialized program? Are there any similar blogs by Canadians that trash USMD/USDO routes?

 

Thanks!

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