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4 Little Known Perks of Attending an International Medical School

by Belinda Breeze

In the ever-expanding landscape of global education, an increasing number of aspiring medical students are venturing abroad to study medicine. For example, Saudi Arabia is the most significant exporter of students from the MENA region for overseas education.

In 2016, about 16,000 Saudi students were studying overseas. While the driving factors behind this trend are diverse, the often overlooked are the hidden advantages of attending international medical schools. Beyond the conventional academic considerations, these institutions offer distinctive benefits that can enrich the educational journey and lay a strong foundation for a holistic medical career.

In this article, Corrine Vish, Director, International Admissions at St. George’s University School of Medicine, located in the Caribbean, delves into four lesser-known advantages of attending an international medical school, shedding light on the enriching experiences and unique opportunities that await aspiring medical professionals who embark on their educational journey abroad.

Seeing a wider variety of Illnesses

Attending a medical school abroad can help students become more familiar with health concerns that may be significantly different from the ones they’re used to seeing. Browsing different country profiles on the World Health Organisation’s website reveals some stark differences and therefore, becoming familiar with treating a wide variety of diseases can help prepare students for future endeavours.

Learning about different health care systems

There are significant variances even between the different healthcare systems in the world. Learning about them can be beneficial and enable students to get a unique insight into how different models of healthcare function, and their advantages and disadvantages. Working and learning in different healthcare systems gives students a unique perspective on conventional challenges that practitioners face.

Having more flexibility with application submission

There’s often more flexibility with international medical schools. Many have rolling admissions and different commencement dates. For example, SGU offers three start dates per year: January, April, and August. This allows potential students the flexibility to start their medical school program when it makes the most sense for them and each term offers different benefits.

For international applicants from non-English speaking countries, it is important to remember that an English language test score, such as International English Language Testing System (IELTS) should be part of the application.

Getting to experience a different culture

Attending an international medical school provides students with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to become acquainted with different cultures. Some of this is due to experiences outside the classroom, but they also learn a lot about their classmates and the people in their surrounding community.

Students develop respect for other cultures, religions, beliefs by learning about different points of view. Students interested in pursuing a career in global health or just want to step outside their comfort zone, studying medicine abroad could be the perfect fit. The diverse learning environment, exposure to global healthcare practices, cultural immersion, and networking opportunities offer students a well-rounded education that extends far beyond the classroom. Choosing an international path for medical studies not only equips students with a comprehensive skill set but also shapes compassionate and culturally aware healthcare professionals ready to make a meaningful impact on a global scale.