Many aspiring medical students struggle on finding the right medical school that will match up to their capabilities, talents, and specializations. Moreover, they would want to find universities that will benefit them the most in terms of academics and experience. Many medical schools around the world have promising offers that will get you a medical degree with several benefits. One place that many medical students consider enrolling in is the Caribbean. Not only does it have many medical schools to choose from but also wide varieties of specializations to get into.
Still, many students, particularly international students, do not have the personal experience of what it is to study medicine in the Caribbean. They have no idea of how they will handle, aside from the medical schools, the environment, the people, and the culture that they are not used to. They will be asking if they would be able to adapt and get used to life in the Caribbean with the active pressure of finishing their medical degrees. Yes, some qualities and benefits can be only offered in the Caribbean but would it be worth the disadvantages that may come with the good stuff?
With that said, to help these students choose and make a decision of whether they would pursue a medical degree in the Caribbean, compiled in this article is the information, pros, and cons of studying medicine in the Caribbeans. This guide will help the students to weigh and consider the advantages as well as the disadvantages of studying and living in the Caribbean while pursuing their medical degrees.
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Pros and Cons of Studying in Caribbean Medical Schools
Good or bad, there must exist a few or so of these qualities when you plan on pursuing medical school in the Caribbean. Of course, this will primarily depend on the student’s perspective, experiences, and wants of what he or she thinks will be suitable for his or her stay in the country for studying for that degree.
Some of the qualities that some students consider are the type of housing, whether the environment or the community will be good for their well-being, the lifestyle and culture of the locals that might shock them, the unusual weather, maybe, the new faces, the unknown path.
These are some of the things that many students, especially non-Caribbean residents will experience every day during their stay in the country. So, with that, here are some pros and cons that other students commonly consider as good or bad for the majority of them.
Pros of Studying Medicine in the Caribbean
1. Easier process of admission
It is not a secret to everyone that the process of admission or getting into medical school in the Caribbean is relatively much easier compared to other countries and continents. There are several reasons for this pro of Caribbean medical schools, especially for those whose skills and luck for entering medical schools are relatively low.
Medical schools in the Caribbean have very low, if not, none at all, Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) score requirement that almost every medical school around the world has. Most of the medical schools in the Caribbean believe that this evaluation before actually getting into medical school makes no sense because what they are evaluating is raw knowledge that does not even have a strong foundation of the studies related to medicine. This is the reason why the majority of medical schools in the Caribbean do not require students to take the MCAT. However, they are still free to do so and submit it with their requirements even though it will not be a factor if you will be accepted or not in medical school.
2. Many US- accredited medical schools
Medical schools in the Caribbean have great and wide connections with the United States’ government and organizations when it comes to medicine, medical research, and medical studies. The US-accreditation is another pro of studying in Caribbean medical schools. This is the reason why many medical schools from the country are accredited by organizations and states from the United States.
These accreditations will be helpful, particularly to the students, because getting into US-accredited medical schools means that you could get a chance to work in the United States because you could meet the academic conditions of working as a medical practitioner in the states.
Moreover, during your later years studying in a Caribbean medical school, you could also get a chance of doing clinical rotations in a chosen state in the US, which will also increase your chances of getting accepted for residency in the United States.
3. Relatively low tuition fees and rolling admissions
Aside from having low up to no MCAT score requirements, one of the pros of studying in a medical school in the Caribbean is that they have relatively much lower tuition fees for a good quality education compared to other medical schools. For as low as 10000 USD tuition fee per semester, medical schools can offer you international quality education that will surely make every penny of your payment worth it. Furthermore, universities in the Caribbean mostly have rolling admissions, which means that you could enroll or apply for admission any time of the year. This is very convenient especially for those students who are from schools that have different academic calendars and curriculum.
Cons of Studying in Caribbean Medical Schools
1. Unusual environment and lifestyle for international students
The Caribbean is known to everyone as a place where the weather could be intensely hot or intensely humid because of its geographical location. Moreover, the current lifestyle in the Caribbean for most of the international students may be hard mostly because entertainment facilities and places in the Caribbean are very limited. This climate and lifestyle is a con of studying at Caribbean medical schools. The medical school could be very tiring and one of the things that students could do to shake off the stress is by enjoying and relaxing through methods of entertainment especially for international students. So, if peace is not your way of coping with stress and responsibilities, the Caribbean is not for you.
2. The variety of choices for residency is narrow
Even though there are many medical schools in the Caribbean, the specializations available for each university is very limited and mostly similar to each other. Yes, the quality of education and the ways of teaching in the starting years of the medical degree programs in the Caribbean are to be complimented on and are quite amazing despite the limitations in facilities and resources.
However, getting into residency in the country is different. Only a few specializations are offered and some only try to match up to their specializations with whatever’s offer in their medical school. This is the reason why most of the students who enrolled here go to the United States to continue their residency there.
3. Competition is tighter because of high student population density
Of course, since there are benefits of studying in the Caribbean such as easier admission and lower tuition fees, the student population tends to increase because of these tempting offers, which is another con of studying in Caribbean medical schools. Students, local or international, will try to enter any of these medical schools because this is where they could only get this kind of offer for good quality education.
However, because of such, as they gradually finish their degrees they would find it hard to get accepted into residency because of the high influx of incoming residency students. Some will try to avoid this by applying for residency in a different country but most do not have this as an option.
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