Photo by Zoe Hu/The Gazelle

Medical School Weekend broadens options beyond U.S.

Photo by Zoe Hu/The Gazelle From the NYU School of Medicine to the American University of Beirut Faculty of Medicine to the Royal College of Surgeons ...

Apr 20, 2013

Photo by Zoe Hu/The Gazelle
From the NYU School of Medicine to the American University of Beirut Faculty of Medicine to the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland: Medical University of Bahrain, representatives of medical schools from around the world were in attendance at NYUAD’s first Medical School Weekend from April 19 to 22 at the Downtown Campus.
Over the course of four days, 10 international medical school representatives came to NYUAD to advise and educate pre-health students about post-graduation opportunities. The Career Development Center organized the event with the sponsorship of the Pre Health Advisory Board Student Interest Group.
While NYUAD offers a comprehensive pre-health program for students interested in applying for medical school post-graduation, international students foresee challenges in applying to U.S.-based medical schools.
Sophomore Israel Desta outlined three major problems for non-American citizen students interested in studying medicine in the U.S.
“The first thing is financial issues: it’s extremely expensive,” Destra said. “The average cost of medical school per year is about 65,000 to 90,000 [U.S. dollars] ... The second big problem is just the mere competitiveness of the positions since the largest school, that I have heard so far, accepts 300 [students] per year. And that includes U.S. citizens as well, so the number of people accepted are really low. And thirdly, not only are the people accepted very low, but also the chances for an international student to get that admission is really, really low.”
Associate Director of the CDC Anthony Ferreria also commented on the acceptance challenge from a higher education specialist perspective.
“International students seeking to gain admission into a medical school in the U.S. face a few challenges,” Ferreria said. “First and foremost is the fact that the majority of U.S. medical schools do not admit international students. For those that do, financial aid is minimal, and loans are not available via U.S. financial institutions.”
For this reason, sophomore Nahla Ibrahim says the CDC has been trying to expand upon opportunities for pre-health students by introducing medical schools outside of the U.S. for herself and her classmates.
“There are only two med schools from the U.S [that attended the Medical School Weekend]: NYU Medical School and Albert Einstein College (NY),” Ibrahim said. Other American universities are represented, but they are not U.S.-based, Ibrahim explained, “there is Duke-NUS, but that is in Singapore. And there is Weill Cornell, but that is in Qatar.”
While the statistics work against international pre-health students interested in studying in the U.S., Ibrahim says the CDC is trying to show students that there are other regions to study medicine.
“We had one workshop about the Middle East, another one was about Australia,” Ibrahim said, describing the different information sessions the CDC hosted for pre-health students. “We are having another one soon about the UK and Canada. So [the CDC is] trying to look at different schools, because there are international students here, so they are trying to show us our different options through this weekend that is coming up. Like I said, there are only two U.S. medical schools that are coming, the rest are all places that we can apply and have a good chance in getting in.”
While pre-health students like Ibrahim look forward to learning more about practical options for where to study medicine, students studying abroad this semester, like sophomore Christy Maksoudian, are relying on friends to obtain the information they have missed from the NYUAD Medical Weekend.
“Fortunately for me, one of my good friends will be attending the workshop in my place and will be collecting brochures from the different medical schools,” Maksoudian said. “As a result, I don't feel that I am subject to much of a disadvantage. Others ... may not find someone to take their place in such an event, could be considered as being at a disadvantage.”
Maksoudian says her preferred place of study for medicine is in the U.S although her status as an international student from Lebanon poses problems.
“Many universities, such as NYUNY, highly discourage foreign students from applying at all,” Maksoudian says.
In fact, Maksoudian makes note of a note on the medical school’s website.
“From the <a href="">criteria of the NYU Medical School Admissions,” she noted. “‘Foreign candidates are not encouraged to apply if they are not permanent residents of the United States. Consequently, my ideal path is definitely not promising, and so, I have begun to shift my attention towards medical schools elsewhere.”
The implications of being an international student and the impact it has on medical school applications is what inspired the creation of the Pre Health Advisory Board SIG, said sophomore Bobby Haynes.
“I was approached by the CDC about starting a SIG to help make students aware of the many opportunities for working in the field of health besides U.S. medical schools,” Haynes said. “One of our core goals is to ensure the no one is discouraged by the daunting admissions numbers of American schools from pursuing their dream of a career in health.”
As an American citizen, Haynes said, “In terms of applying to American schools I clearly have an advantage, because I'm able to apply for financial aid and because schools accept many more Americans than international students. I am, however, considering applying to schools outside of the U.S., which will level the playing field in this sense.”
The SIG, created by Haynes, will provide support to this weekend’s medical school information sessions.
“We are leading the panel discussions with medical school representatives on Saturday and Sunday,” Haynes said, “in addition to leading a tour of the DTC on Saturday.”
The weekend events are open to all students interested in pursuing health-related fields post-graduation. More information regarding the event can be found on NYUAD CareerNet.
Nina Bayatti is managing editor. Email her at
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