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Posted at: Mar 11, 2015, 12:14 AM; last updated: Mar 10, 2015, 10:39 PM (IST)

Options for studying medicine abroad

Options for studying medicine abroad
As studying medicine in India gets tougher due to limited seats and high capitation fee, a number of medical aspirants check out the options abroad to become qualified doctors. Although taking the overseas route in the healthcare industry has been in prevalence for quite some time, over the past few years there has been an average increase of about 10-15 per cent increase in the number of students going abroad for studying medicine.

While choosing the institutes abroad for medical studies — at undergraduate or post graduate level — there are several factors that a student needs to keep in perspective to enable him/her to choose the option most suitable for them.

Selecting the right destination: It is imperative that the country which the student is exploring for studying medicine, is recognised as a good study abroad destination by the WHO, IMED, European Union, MCI and other international medical boards. This is to ensure that any future employment opportunity is not impaired due to non-recognisation. Secondly, the country should have vast scope for healthcare industry in terms of innovation, technological advancement in hospitals, patient-care management, exposure to different diseases to treat and prevent, etc. so that the student is able to imbibe immense learning from the external environment as well.

In general students would want to pursue medical studies in first world countries like USA, UK, Australia and Canada. However, what many are unaware of is that most of these countries have a highly restricted environment for allowing international students to study medicine. Secondly, if one is able to clear all requisite formalities the education cost easily lies in the bracket of Rs7 crore to Rs10 crore for an undergraduate course. Hence, these options are not feasible mostly for undergraduate (MBBS) studies. For postgraduate studies, there are country-level medical licensure exams to be cleared (in certain countries even state-level exams need to be taken), post which the student can pursue their postgraduate studies.

Thus, the most popular and good study abroad destinations for undergraduate medical studies are Philippines, Ukraine, Caribbean, UAE, Nepal and China.

Finances associated with studying abroad: Before zeroing in on any option, a financial plan must be prepared by the student and the sponsor to understand the financial burden that studying abroad would entail. Students need to understand that after MBBS, they are required to do go for an MD and pursue a super specialty if they want to be successful and earn well in the future. As the healthcare industry is undergoing tremendous reforms and technological changes are redefining it, specialisations are becoming a norm and an area where doctors are getting paid well. Thus, students need to make sure they are not making heavy investments in MBBS. Student should prepare his budget in such a way that PG and higher education in medicine is possible.

Top universities

University of Santo Tomas, Philippines

Description: The University of Santo Tomas is the oldest existing university in Asia, being about 400 years old. Located in the capital, Manila, the university has a highly advanced training methodology, global faculty and a well-equipped campus. Having a profound legacy in education, the university has won several accolades over the years as being country top destination for medicinal studies. However, it has limited seats available for all international students.

Courses: UG courses

USP: Highly competent student ratio, advanced training mechanism, also students are made eligible for USMLE.

Application Deadline: March 31, 2015

Total estimated cost: MBBS programme for 5.5 years, and total estimated cost would be under Rs6 lakh per year.

National Pirogov Memorial Medical University, Vinnytsya, Ukraine

Description: The university is more than 80 years old and has been ranked 14th amongst 410 medical colleges in Europe.

Being on the central western side of Ukraine it remained unfazed by the commotion on the eastern side of the country.

The university has been catering to Indian students for the past 20 years and has the highest percentage of students studying in Ukraine successfully clearling the MCI Screening test in India.

Courses: The University offers undergraduate (MBBS and BDS) and postgraduate courses (MD, PhD). Under the postgraduate wing they offer 53 specialties to choose from.

USP: Being one of the oldest universities and located in a student town, Vinnytsya, the university is known for undergraduate studies. Equipped with advanced training methods, it also has some of the best teaching faculty.

Application deadline: June 30, 2015

Total estimated cost: MBBS programme is of 6 years and the estimated total cost would be under Rs4 lakh per year. For postgraduate programmes the cost varies as per the specialty.

Texila American University, Guyana, Caribbean

Description: The university is known to be one of the best medical schools in Caribbean, with its campus located in Guyana, the only English-speaking country in South America. Their curriculum is structured to prepare the students for licensure exams in the US, Caribbean and India. The university has unique programmes designed for students seeking Doctor of Medicine courses with exposure to clinical facilities right from the first year of medical education.

Courses: Undergraduate (MBBS) and postgraduate programmes (MD/MS) and various online courses for health care professionals

USP: The university offers a fast-track MBBS programme (5.5years) with the option of doing clinical rotations (2 years) in USA besides providing specialised training for clearing USMLE from the onset of the programme. Students can also avail scholarships.

Application deadline: The University has two intake cycles - March 2015 and September 2015. Deadlines for which are February 28 and August 30, 2015.

Total estimated cost: Cost varies depending on the programme chosen.

— With inputs from Nilufer Jain, co-Founder EduCat

Top three countries for studying abroad

Countries such as Philippines, Ukraine, China etc offer cost-effective quality education for MBBS programmes.

Philippines: This country is most popular due to the American format of teaching medicine. Not only are students eligible for taking USMLE, it’s also one of the first countries having the highest ratio of Indians clearing the MCI screening test. English being the main language adds to the advantage of studying there.

Ukraine: The country has some of Europe’s oldest medical universities rendering education for about 50 years plus. The highly economical cost of education along with advanced training methodology has made it a favourite for most Indians since the past few years.

Caribbean: Caribbean has become a popular destination for studying medicine abroad over Russia and China. Primarily because it has English as the main language spoken and secondly due to the various bridge programmes available for doing clinical rotations in the US and the USMLE training being provided.

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