MBBS (Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery) is the primary medical degree a person can obtain from a medical school in a list of countries worldwide. The vocabulary may indicate that these are two separate degrees. On the contrary, they are combined and awarded together as a single degree. Studying MBBS abroad and choosing a medical school is a big challenge for the students.
The National Eligibility cum Entrance Test is an entrance test for students looking to pursue undergraduate medicine in India. This test has a high number of registered candidates but a comparatively lower number of students that qualify. For context, 1,597,435 students applied for the NEET exam in 2020, while only 771,500 students qualified.
Almost half the people that register for the NEET exam do not qualify for a medical seat. This, coupled with the insufficient number of medical seats available in India, makes it challenging for students to realize their ambition of becoming a doctor. Even when students qualify, very few get into government medical colleges. Others will have to choose private medical colleges.
Why Study MBBS Abroad
Medical education in private colleges in India can cost quite a large sum of money. Some colleges charge exorbitant amounts, almost around 21 to 40 lakh rupees per annum. For this amount of money, there are so many universities around the world that offer equally good or even better undergraduate medical programs.
This is where medical programs abroad come into play.
Going to a foreign nation to study medicine can be an intimidating experience especially to students who have just got out of school. But, trust me, it will be a rewarding experience. Now let us see what studying in a foreign medical college will be like. Below is a short list containing reasons why you should pursue MBBS abroad.
- Reason number one is the excellent infrastructure offered by international medical colleges. The equipment, laboratories, and resources for research and experiments are far superior to India’s ones. Well-equipped laboratories, research centers, etc., are crucial in medical education.
- The cost of medical education in private colleges of India is indeed high, as seen earlier. At such high prices, medical degrees can be obtained from medical colleges abroad. In some nations, the cost is even lower than private medical colleges in India. This is one of the primary reasons students choose to study MBBS abroad.
- Studying MBBS abroad is approved by the Indian government. Foreign medical graduates (FMGs) will have to pass a screening test to practice medicine in India. FMGs are usually well prepared to face these licensing examinations.
In 2019, The Lower house of the Indian Parliament passed a bill that stated that MBBS graduates would have to pass a national-level exit exam. This was named National Exit Test (NEXT for short). Graduates will have to pass the NEXT exam to practice medicine or pursue higher studies.
This means that no matter where you obtain your MBBS degree, you will have to pass an examination in India to practice in India. This makes studying MBBS abroad an attractive option. This bill hasn’t been passed into law yet, but let’s hope for the best.
- MBBS programs of internationally recognized colleges will allow you to obtain a degree that is recognized worldwide. Undergoing an MBBS program in an international college will enable students to interact with people worldwide. This provides the graduates with international exposure making them widely accepted in hospitals around the world.
- There is no separate entrance exam for students that wish to study MBBS abroad. The Health Ministry of India approved a proposal by the Medical Council of India to make passing the NEET exam mandatory for students to obtain the eligibility certificate to pursue MBBS abroad. This makes it easier for students who passed NEET but were not satisfied with the choice of college they got in India. Such students can pursue their dream degree program abroad without having to prepare and pass a separate examination for that.
- The return of investment is better with studying MBBS abroad. As seen above, studying abroad can be easier on the pocket than studying in a private university in India. And when you are a graduate of an international college, you can either return to your home country for practice or work in any nation around the world. If you can land a job in a high-income country, you will make several times the money that is possible in India.
There are some challenges involved when moving to a new country to pursue your college education. The major reasons are listed below.
- The first and foremost challenge would be the language spoken in the country. When you go to countries like China and Russia, they have their local languages. To complete your clinical rotation successfully, you will have to have a clear handle on the local language.
If you are well determined, you will be able to learn the language of the country in the five years you spend there. If learning a new language is not your forte, you can try getting a medical seat in a nation that speaks English, like Guyana and the Philippines.
- The next on the list is the climate of the country. India is a tropical nation that does not see low temperatures like Russia, China, Ukraine, etc. The temperature in those countries can go as low as 0 to -7. Such low temperatures can be very hard on you.
But the good part is, hostels, classrooms, restaurants, and more places in these countries have indoor heating systems that keep people warm and cozy. If you are okay with the change, it might not be a big problem.
Suppose you do not want to put up with an uncomfortable climate. In that case, you can choose a college in countries with climatic conditions similar to India. Guyana is one such option. Guyana is a tropical country that has a substantial English-speaking population.
- The next issue we will talk about affects all students who go abroad for their MBBS degree. The problem is homesickness. You are said to be homesick when you experience a longing for your home when you have been away from it.
This cannot be prevented entirely. But one neat solution for this is to go to a nation that makes you feel the most at home.
One such nation that would make Indians feel right at home is, you guessed it right, Guyana. Guyana has a substantial Indian population, descendants from the indentured laborers brought to work in the country’s sugar plantation in the 1800s. These people still have their culture intact. You would feel right at home in Guyana.
If you want to become a doctor, these are not the most significant challenges you will have to handle. Doctors go through intensive training to be able to handle the pressure of the clinical environment. The above issues are pretty minor compared to what doctors take in the hospital.
Now, let us compare various parameters concerning studying MBBS in India and abroad.
|Parameter||MBBS in India||MBBS Abroad|
|What are the entry requirements for medicine||12th from a recognized board with Biology, Chemistry, and Physics as the mandatory subjects.|
|Entrance Test||Only NEET UG||NEET UG & Language Test|
|Course Duration||5.5 Years (Academics of 4.5 years + Internship of 1 year)||5/ 5.5/ 6 years (including internship) Varies country wise.|
|Fees||INR 200,000–800,000 (private college)||INR 150,000–600,000|
Why Caribbean Medical Schools
In the last four decades, the Caribbean region has developed into a medical education center for international students. Most students that go there for medical education are from the USA, Canada, India, and European countries. The primary reason for such inflow of medical students to this region is the American Education system followed here. Most medical universities in this region follow the US medical curriculum.
Studying in a US curriculum-based university will allow you to continue your education or practice in the USA. The United States of America is the most lucrative market for any medical professional. Many students studying in medical colleges in this region have been successfully placed in residency programs in the US. Texila American University of Guyana, for example, has a program where you can continue your clinical courses in the USA.
Why should I study medicine in the Caribbean region?
Below are some reasons you should choose the Caribbean region.
- Strict adherence to the US medical curriculum and education system.
- Provides the opportunity to continue your clinical rotations in a US teaching hospital.
- Most Caribbean medical universities do not require a TOEFL/IELTS score.
- Integrated and dedicated training for the USMLE examination during the course of the program.
- Shorter course duration.
- Caribbean medical universities are recognized and approved by major organizations around the world.
How to Choose a Caribbean Medical School
Let us look into the top factors you should consider while choosing a medical school in the Caribbean region.
- Please make sure to check the accreditations the Caribbean medical school possesses. Recognition from the ECFMG (Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates) is crucial. Also, make sure the medical school is listed in the World Directory of Medical Schools (WDMS). One other important accreditation is the Caribbean Accreditation Authority for Education in Medicine and other Health Professions (CAAM-HP).
- Make sure that your home country recognizes the university you have chosen. This is important if you are planning on practicing in your homeland after graduation.
- Take the fee structure into consideration. Most Caribbean medical universities only cost half that of US medical schools. This can be easier on your pocket. You get the same quality of education at almost half the price.
- Enquire about the eligibility required to join the university you are considering for your MBBS abroad. Universities would require scores from secondary school, entrance tests like NEET, and more. These scores are required to maintain the quality of students they take into the university.
- Talk to the alumni of the university before deciding. You will have to research about the university online and consult with the alumni to have a clear idea of the medical university’s pros and cons.
- Learn about the USMLE performance of the medical school. You are required to pass the USMLE examination if you look forward to practicing in the US. The performance of the students of a university in the USMLE can be an explicit parameter to judge the quality of education provided by the university. Texila American University has a USMLE pass rate of an astonishing 96%.
- Check the university’s match rate for residency programs. This is required to practice medicine in the USA.
- Enquire if the university provides accommodation. This can be a lifesaver for foreign medical students like you since finding a place to stay can be challenging. When you are provided a place to stay and good food to consume, you will concentrate better on your education.
- Consider the challenges involved in moving to a new country to pursue your education. We have already discussed the challenges in this article.
- One last word, please make sure you check the Caribbean medical school ranking before you finalize the medical school for your MBBS courses.
Guyana and Texila American University
Guyana is a nation in the Caribbean region. English is the official language here, and Indians make up almost 39 percent of the population. It makes it a great option for students from India who are looking to study MBBS abroad.
Texila American University (TAU) is one of the best Caribbean medical schools accredited and recognized by international organizations. TAU has a USMLE pass rate of 96%. TAU was also ranked as the best medical school in Guyana by Uni Ranking.
They have the best infrastructure and a low student-to-faculty ratio. Take a look at the medical program offered by TAU.