There’s a lot of talk about Caribbean medical schools, but what’s the beef?
A friend of mine has an older sister studying medicine in Grenada who wouldn’t trade it for the world. She said she loves the beach, wildlife, and natural botanical diversity. The weather keeps her happy, and she can study in the most comfortable settings. I volunteered in a hospital in NY state for a summer and 3 of the ER doctors studied medicine outside the US, and they didn’t speak against it. They didn’t argue for it either, though.
The problem with getting your Doctorate of Medicine (MD) in the Caribbean or South America is not that you will never find a job. There is almost always a need for physicians. What is a problem, however, is that statistics show you are very unlikely to get the residency of your choice. Studies have been done to compare the success of getting first-choice residencies for MDs who studied in the US, MDs who got their degree off-shore, and DOs who studied in the US. The results in order of those who get their first choice more often to least often: US MDs, DOs, off-shore MDs.
When one doesn’t get the first or even second residency of his or her choice, that person may become unfulfilled due to pursuing something without passion to back it, or due to working hard in a place or environment that isn’t conducive to that person’s goals or satisfaction. In addition, because it’s much easier to get accepted into Caribbean or off-shore medical schools, a degree from these schools is simply not respected. Many people admire and even prefer DOs over MDs due to the philosophy of holistic care backing the degree. These people don’t mind that DOs generally have slightly lower MCAT scores and GPAs. However, learning that a doctor got his or her degree just outside the US often unsettles patients.
Going to a medical school in the Caribbean is a last option, but it is an option nonetheless. When you can’t get into any medical schools in America after 2 or 3 MCATs or years of trying, and a graduate degree is not an option for you, hopefully the lax environment in the Caribbean will ease your stress. Not only are they easier to get accepted into, but they are usually cheaper, and that is always a plus! For everyone’s sake, take a different approach to studying for the MCAT and applying to medical schools in the US before settling with those just outside the US. This website is here to help. Be confident! 🙂
For those interested, here is a list of Caribbean medical schools by country.