There are a few things that I really wanted to address for anyone who is deciding on whether to go to a Caribbean medical school or not.
- Make sure that this is really what you want to do. Medicine isn’t something that you can do half-heartedly; it requires dedication, discipline, good work habits, patience, and of course a strong will. It’s easy to feel very motivated one day and say that this is exactly what you want to do; after seeing it on Grey’s Anatomy or to impress one’s friends and family. But the truth is that when you start medical school, you always have this overwhelming feeling that can consume you. You will be filled with doubts as to whether you can actually handle the stress of being responsible for other people’s lives and countless other things. But at end of the day even with these feelings of doubt and frustration, you feel this sense of accomplishment and happiness. I personally feel this because I know every morning I wake up, I am one day closer to being a doctor. This feeling is what has gotten me through my first year and hopefully, I can maintain this outlook until I get my MD!
- When picking the school, PLEASE don’t cut any corners. It is so important to make sure that you pick a school that is correct for you (financially, and academically). Some schools have different teaching styles and others encourage more self-studying and so on. Ross University, for example, has podcasts and therefore students can watch all these podcasts at the comfort of their homes (I wish we had this in our school; because I learn really well with videos).
- Once you decide which school you want to attend, speak to some alumni and present students to get a student’s perspective on the school and to also to see what they did to be successful. I must have added and messaged a few dozen students from each school through Facebook to get an actual and accurate representation.
- With Caribbean medical schools, it’s very important to make sure that it is a legit school. GUYS! I cannot emphasize this enough! There are many schools that claim to offer this and that; but do your research, talk to students, check their match list and ensure that the school has proper accreditation. The most important thing is their match list. The top four medical school in the Caribbean are St. George University, Ross, American University of the Caribbean, and SABA. If you attend these universities you are able to do your clinical rotations anywhere in the US and Canada. When going to other Caribbean medical schools, unfortunately, you cannot do your rotations in California, New York, Texas, New Jersey, and Florida; which is a HUGE bummer because New York is the most IMG-friendly state.I initially chose to attend SABA and I was very excited! I paid my deposit and packed my bags but unfortunately on the week I was meant to leave and start school, I found out that my loans didn’t go through. This was a big setback for me, I was very disappointed because it really felt like the end of the world. I dreamt about being a doctor all my life and to know that the reason I couldn’t was because of finances was frustrating, to say the least. In 2015, the Canadian dollar took a hit. This meant that the CAD to USD conversation rates were high. I needed a co-signer in order to go get loans, and since my parents just bought a new house they were not strong co-signers to be eligible for a $150,000 loan. So long story short, I cried for months, worked for a bit and used my savings and chose a medical school that was about 1/3th the price. It was actually recommended to me by a friend but even then, I did a LOT of research. This was pretty much the only chance I had to pursue medicine. So I prayed like crazy, quit my nursing job, and took a huge leap of faith! Personally speaking, betting on myself was the BEST decision I have ever made (I’ll elaborate on this in another post).
- One thing I’ve learned in my first year of medical school is that, as cliché as it sounds, is that you just have to take medical school one day at a time. It seems endless and unbearable but when you work hard, smart, and consistently, you can move mountains.
I tried to keep my first post light; but as you can tell I kind of like to blab. When I was looking for Caribbean medical schools I wasn’t able to find a lot of information. So I figured my blog would be a good outlet for me and hopefully, help some people who are confused about Caribbean medical schools. Either way, I hope you enjoyed my blog and I invite you all to continue to partake in my medical journey! Thank you for visiting my page!