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Any non-traditional med students?

  1. Nov 20, 2011 #1
    Any "non-traditional" med students?

    Hello Everyone!

    In the near future I'm looking to move somewhere with no distractions to do (finish) my pre-med, and then Cuba for Med School.

    Has anyone had experience with a: being an "old" student and/or b: getting licensed in the U.S. after attending school in another country?

    The med students I work with have given me part of the picture, but I don't get a chance to ask them about all the practical realities.

    Thank you in advance for your thoughts and input.
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 20, 2011 #2


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    Re: Any "non-traditional" med students?

    As a Canadian, I think that if you're an American citizen, and you wish to return to the US to practice, you're probably going to have a few problems with this plan... If you are American, are there reasons that you don't want to attend an American medical school (or at least, a country which isn't embargoed and which you're allowed to travel to without a specialized permit)?

    Even if you have a medical degree from a foreign university (say, from Bermuda, the Ukraine, or Ireland--places that certain of my fellow Canadians with wealthier parents and a desire to absolutely, positively, no substitutions accepted become a physician), you're probably going to have to go for various licensing exams to prove your competence.

    However, according to some numbers found at Foreign Policy, 25% of practicing US Physicians come from overseas:
  4. Nov 20, 2011 #3
    Re: Any "non-traditional" med students?

    i dont think it's a "want" to go to a non-american med school, but that he will choose that over not getting into an american med school, and therefore not being able to study medicine. american med schools can be very difficult to get into. not everyone has a 44 mcat and perfect grades.
  5. Nov 20, 2011 #4
    Re: Any "non-traditional" med students?

    There's no problem with the plan--I just don't know the hoops to jump through, and would like to do as much to make this work as i can in advance.

    One of the med students I worked with told me he went to Ireland, the care was substandard; had to do rotations here. That was it. Other countries vary as to what there/what here. Just wanted to know more about where to go from there.

    Americans can go to school in just about any other nation for a fraction of what America costs, and in many cases get a far superior experience.

    Cuba is, on the high end, 7k a year. America is, on the low end, 50k a year. No brainer. And they are happy to take Americans; just not sure about the very specifics, and how to get around the fact that I'm 34. Thankfully, a childless and unmarried 34; that will help a lot. Just not sure how much, how to discuss things, etc. Was hoping someone on here had done the same.

    Thanks for responding.
  6. Nov 21, 2011 #5
    Re: Any "non-traditional" med students?

    im not really sure what age has to do with anything. . . i didn't finish undergrad until i was 28, so i dont think that kind of thing is a big deal. . .
  7. Nov 21, 2011 #6
    Re: Any "non-traditional" med students?

    I'm starting at 34 and still have to finish pre-med. Any M.D. school in the U.S. won't take me. I talked to one of the Deans at CWRU about it. D.O. school will, and I'd prefer the D.O. model anyway. For loan purposes, people past the age of 25 at start (of pre-med) are considered a "bad investment." Which is why I'm probably going to have to go to school in another country. As long as I'm not depending on the government to loan me money for med school, the U.S. won't have an issue with me getting a degree elsewhere; they just won't loan me the money after my B.S.
  8. Nov 21, 2011 #7
    Re: Any "non-traditional" med students?

    Strange. Sounds like age discrimination which is illegal. We have non-trads in the med school I'm taking courses in.
  9. Nov 21, 2011 #8


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    Re: Any "non-traditional" med students?

    Have you found http://forums.studentdoctor.net/forumdisplay.php?f=110"?1 They have a "non-trad" section with some helpful people and informative posts. I'm not saying you won't find good advice here, but you're more likely to find members of that forum who've actually done what you're proposing.

    1 That link will take you directly to the Non-trad section.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 26, 2017
  10. Nov 21, 2011 #9
    Re: Any "non-traditional" med students?

    I first did my BA in Musicology, then received a M.M. in Trumpet performance when I was around 23-24ish. I did some work with a few operas and symphonies but was unable to land a steady gig. When I was 25 or so, I studied for my MCATs, got amazing scores on them (43-Q I believe), and was easily able to enter a U.S. medical school ... I applied to Hopkins, Hershey, Yale, Harvard, Temple, FSU, and Columbia ... I was only rejected from Yale.

    At the end of my first year (top of my class), my father and grandfather both passed away within a couple months of each other. I had to take a year off to manage everything with estates, finances, insurance, medical bills, etc... so when I was ready to come back (after studying hard-core the entire time I was on leave), I was unable to secure loans, because being 25+, having outstanding student loans from undergrad, masters, and my first year of medical school, as well as now having no cosigners, I couldn't obtain loans for school and my medical school would not finance me themselves.

    I did consider leaving the U.S. in order to finish medical school, as well as enlisting in the military to attend the USUHS and become a physician through the military ... but alas, none of these seemed a pragmatic decision given where I was in my life and that I had no savings to relocate. After bouncing around for a year or two between employment as well as in and out of homelessness, I eventually met my fiancee and started studying math and physics again.

    I'm now looking at getting back into a fully funded PhD program (in 2012-2013) for mathematical neurology or biophysics to do work with neurological systems modeling and disease research ... in lieu of what I would have ended up doing: clinical neurologist ... so it's close enough to make me happy, I think.

    I say good luck and just stay focused, I'm sure there's a way for you to get where you want. It may be a pragmatic move to go outside the U.S. for medical school considering it is very true that you have profound difficulty getting med school loans after 25 especially if you have any other debt.
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2011
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