If you’re a foreigner looking to go to medical school, one of the biggest concerns is, of course, cost. Going to medical school in places like the United States and Western Europe can cost an arm and a leg. While certain jurisdictions do offer heavily subsidized medical education, to qualify for such programs, you pretty much have to be some sort of rocket scientist or a brain surgeon. I hope you can see the problem with that situation because the reason why you’re in medical school in the first place is you want to become a brain surgeon first. Do you see how this works?
So it’s kind of like a chicken-and-egg problem and, all joking aside, it’s like going through the eye of a needle. Not surprisingly, a lot of Americans have traditionally looked towards going to medical school in the Caribbean or South America, or even parts of Asia so they can go to medical school affordably.
Now, this doesn’t mean that they’re relaxing standards. This doesn’t mean that somehow, some way, just because you go to school overseas, that you no longer have to be a smart person to become a doctor. Brains will always be required. Regardless of where doctors are located on the planet, you can bet that as far as intelligence, drive and ambition are concerned, they are at least in the upper half of society. This fact is never going to go away. So the quality of people is not an issue. The issue involves more practical considerations like costs.
The good news is that many Indian medical schools are extremely affordable when rupees are converted to dollars. In fact, you can pretty much go through medical school and finish your complete degree only for the price of one year or less of American medical school training. Can you imagine that? You’re probably on the floor all blown away by that revelation, but that’s absolutely true. That’s how big the exchange rate is, and that also explains the difference in purchasing power.
Now, with that said, you should not just focus on pricing. This is a common trap that many foreign applicants fall into. They always look for the cheapest school and apply there. Now, this is a problem because the more people apply to a particular program because it’s cheap, the more they drive up the academic requirements of that school. Don’t be surprised that the academic requirements are going to be as tight or even tighter than the medical schools in your particular country.
Now, this doesn’t mean that you should look for any medical school that would take you, but this does indicate the academic rigor and requirements of a particular school. You would not want to go to a school that isn’t very discriminating as far as your academic credentials are concerned. Chances are, the medical degree you get from such an institution wouldn’t be worth much in the real world because hospitals, as well as patient groups and insurance companies, do have a way of figuring these things out.
Also, you might have a tough time passing the medical board exams if you go to a school that just focuses on offering medical education for as cheap as possible. You should focus both on quality, reputation, as well as cost. Don’t make cost your primary driver, otherwise, chances are quite good that you would end up making a seriously bad mistake.