Leaving the U.S. for foreign medical school

Hi all,

I am a freshman in college (Top 30) with intentions to become a doctor. I am not doing academically well at the university I currently attend (3.60 GPA and mediocre science grades - B’s, so like a 3.00 science GPA). I realize my GPA will probably prevent me from applying/getting into a U.S. medical school.

My options are to drop pre-med/science entirely or to attend an international medical school (ex. one in China/Europe). One of my relatives graduated from an international medical school, took the 3-step to get licensed in the US, and is now a practicing physician. He says it will be easier. I disagree with this because science material presented at different universities, domestic or foreign, should be pretty much the same. I can’t see how you can make organic chemistry “easier.” And besides, it would make the 3-Step a lot harder and probably impossible to pass if a student didn’t get a good medical education.

(Pro’s of foreign universities: WAY cheaper than U.S. higher ed (even cheaper than my current undergrad school!), no MCAT.)

As for trying other subjects, I’ve narrowed down my interests to science and music. I tried Economics, International Relations, Sociology, and Psychology, all of which I didn’t really like. Science for me is harder but a lot more engaging and interesting. Music is more of an interest - I decided not to pursue it because of my strong dislike for music theory. So for me to drop pre-med/science…I am not really sure what to do. I visited my university’s medical school during my freshman year and the critical thinking (kind of like solving a puzzle) + helping patients get better appealed to me greatly. It also helps that healthcare/health is very important to me. However, worth noting that my critical thinking and logic need some work.

My parents are pressuring me to make a decision ASAP as they do not want to spend another chunk of money on my sophomore year in the US. I’ve had a rough freshman year, am planning to enter therapy/medication for my anxiety disorder, and I really didn’t think I gave it my all because I was distracted so many times when studying. I proposed to them that they give me another year in the U.S. (or semester) to figure things out, but I don’t think they’re buying it.

Any thoughts?

It sounds like you are an international student. Would you be more comfortable and better off studying in your own country and going to med school that way. Not that I think like you said O Chem is any easier but if you are home with your support system and learning in your native language, the learning might be easier.

@123Mom456 Hi! I am actually not an international student. The foreign medical programs I am looking at all have instruction in English because they have international college divisions.

I’m sorry when you said your parents don’t want to spend any more money on your sophomore year in the US, it sounded like they wanted you to come “home”. I think you need to talk to your parents and deal with your underlying anxiety and issues that are preventing you from succeeding. I can’t see sending you to a foreign country helping you do better. It seems like we are going to extremes. If you are not happy at your top 30 university and find that as a source of your anxiety, maybe consider a transfer in the US. You can get in to med school from many other universities. Freshmen year is hard on everyone. You probably were always a top student in your HS and now you are with everyone who was in the top of their class and it can be overwhelming. Try to work through your anxiety, seek help and then try to figure out the best path for you.

Unless your goal is to be a physician outside the USA, don’t do it. It may be cheaper than a US medical school but given that it’s a coin flip at best as to whether you’ll be able to be a doctor in the USA (in contrast to >95% chance if you go to medical school in the states) I don’t think the savings are worth it.

@iwannabe_Brown Hi! Thanks for the input! I decided I’m staying haha :slight_smile:

Note that there are two ways to being a doctor in the us: MD school and DO school. BOTH result in your being a physician. The difference is that the second type focuses more on holistic well being for the patient and is more appropriate for family medicine, or medicine where there’s a lot of communication between patients and physician (and nor surgery.)
Note that taking orgo as a freshman generally is a bad idea, no matter how strong you were in science. Med school is not a dash race but a marathon, you have to pace yourself to get to the finish line. What happened to you isn’t 'being bad at science ', it’s ‘overloading’ … Finding premed classes hard is NORMAL! :slight_smile:
Many students take orgo sophomore year and thus have a cushion of good grades to withstand the gpa fall caused by their orgo grade. It’s just very very hard, even for sophomores. Since you took it as a freshman you just had fewer good grades to 'cushion ’ your orgo grade. My bet is that in the fall you’ll be doing well and by the end of sophomore year that screams GPA will be up.
A 3.6 GPA and 3.0 sgpa including orgo are actually quite decent and absolutely still med school worthy. I wouldn’t transfer this year for that.
What classes are you scheduled to take in the fall?

I would be interested in knowing where a 3.0 sgpa would be med school worthy. I am not aware of that especially in the U.S. That is quite low. Medicine is a very long and complicated journey. You need a strong personality to be able to handle the stresses that come with a career in a medical field. Many people dream or wish to become a doctor but the class that starts out freshman year is not the same group of students that make it to senior year and apply to med school. Of those that apply not everyone is getting accepted. Medical school is going to be a lot more challenging then the curriculum you are facing in undergrad and it is always good to have a backup plan if your situation doesn’t improve and things don’t work out. You need to be able to multitask and be able to manage stress and anxiety because you will be dealing with life and death situations at times and you need to be able to cope with that. You mentioned that science as a subject is hard for you.