OFFSHORE MEDICAL TRAINING
“It’s a big decision to make a six-year commitment to live
in another country when you’re 18 years old, to learn the
local language for effective clinical practice and to find out
that coming home to visit family at weekends isn’t viable
when you have to study,” sums up Ambrose.
“My job is to effectively filter the students that come
through, to see is medicine right for them and see if studying
it abroad is right for them, because if it isn’t,” he adds,“there
is no point putting a square peg in a round hole.”
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“We have been getting a good amount of international
students from India, Africa and Asia who want to study on
the Northumbria campus – the UK campus is geographi-cally
advantageous to Indo-Pacific Asian families,” he adds.
“Newcastle is a vibrant college town, and SGU students
enjoy a shared campus experience with Northumbria Uni-versity
Not surprisingly, such a high chance of success comes at
a cost, with SGU students paying an average of $75,000 per
year for four-years of tuition before room and board.
“It’s very easy for students to get swept away with an of-fer
for medicine if they’re not thinking about how they’re
going to fund it,” counsels Ambrose at Medical Doorway.
He says that as a result, some students are exploited by
fee-charging agents quoting ridiculously low tuition fees and
guaranteed entry at some less-than-favourable schools.
“Students can be under a lot of pressure to pursue
medicine; it can be from their families, or it can be personal
aspirations. But if a medical school is recruiting that’s a red
flag because medical programs should select – you can’t
recruit to a program that’s oversubscribed.”
“Some schools offer a
more accessible pathway
to studying medicine but
it doesn’t mean it is less
Similarly, he says, students need to be aware that just
because some schools overseas offer a more accessible
pathway to studying medicine, it doesn’t mean the course is
any less challenging.
One person who knows that for sure is maxillofacial sur-geon
and assistant professor Eitan Brizman, who was one of
the first British students to graduate from Prague’s Charles
University First Faculty of Medicine. As well as practising
medicine in the UK, Brizman also studied and graduated as
a dentist from King’s College London.
“I’d always wanted to study abroad. I had many friends
who went on Erasmus and I wanted to have a similar expe-rience,”
he tells The PIE.
Brizman says that while the culture in Prague was very
similar to British culture, the method of education has its
differences. “Although everything is taught in English, when
there’s that little extra difficulty, such as a language barrier,
you grow up quite quickly,” he notes. “In Prague, the lectu-rers
don’t believe in medicine and dentistry having written
essay examinations, which was a big shock to me having
grown up in the UK system.
“All exams in Prague culminated in an oral exam, but this
proved good preparation for life as a doctor because I’ve ne-ver
had a patient come to me and ask for an essay on their
medical problem,” he laughs.
Today, Brizman divides his time between performing sur-gical
duties in London and Prague, along with his teaching
commitments and as an exam invigilator for aspiring med
school students hoping to follow in his footsteps at First
Faculty, Charles University.