UQ Medical School student offers tips for Canadians
If you’re considering Australian medical schools, then you already think outside the box—heck, you think outside the continent! And it’s people like you who blaze their own trail. Have a dream? You go after it! Don’t stop until you’ve achieved everything you believed yourself capable of doing.
OzTREKK serves students like you, and we develop a close relationship with our OzTREKK students before they’ve applied, after they’ve arrived in Australia, and even after they’ve finished their studies. Australian medical school applicants have a long, winding, but adventurous road ahead of them. What better way to help our new Australian medical school applicants than by speaking with former OzTREKK students who are in the thick of it? We feel it’s important to keep in touch with our students even after they’ve begun their studies because their feedback about their programs is just as important to us as when they first started the application process.
This blog serves to inform all of our Australian medical school applicants: If you’ve applied to med school in Australia, or thinking of doing so, here are some tips from a former OzTREKK student who is currently studying at UQ Medical School.
What do you think is important to consider before taking the plunge?
1. How are you going to fund it? Money saved up from previous life, loans, family?
2. Are you flexible? Do you absolutely have to go back to Canada once you graduate or are you willing to keep your options open? Would you go to the United States, New Zealand or stay in Australia once you graduate? Tip: study for the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) to keep your options open. I just read this from an international info event flyer:
“Attention: the AAMC (Association of American Medical Colleges) predicts that by 2015 the US will experience a doctor shortage of over 60,000 physicians.”
3. Do you like beautiful weather? I like to think of Brisbane and South East Queensland as the California of North America. Amazing weather, especially in the winter, beautiful sunny 20 degrees. It gets a little crazy in February, March for cyclone season, but other than that, pretty epic. I’m from Calgary and I don’t miss the weather…at all, and I’m a snowboarder. We surf here.
4. Talking to friends who are in med schools in Canada, UQ Medical School sounds like a lot more self-directed learning. Also, compared to some programs in Canada, you get into clinical learning from day 1 amongst your peers with a clinical teacher, but not as intense as U of C med where from the beginning, you do clinical learning with actual patients. We don’t do that until second year.
5. Are you okay being away from home? Australia is pretty far away from Canada. I like to travel and am away from home a lot and like to make a new life for myself. So this works fine for me. I know some classmates who get more homesick and are close to their families. But we are almost done first year and a lot of those who are homesick are going home for their elective and hanging out over the Canadian winter before starting second year.
6. How long are you willing to wait to get into med school in Canada? A lot of my Canadian classmates have tried two or more times to get into medical school in Canada then decided to go for Australia. Looking back, why? See considerations above. I tried once, then came down here and it’s amazing! Australia and Brisbane are world class. The standard of living is really great and UQ Medical School is probably better than a lot of the med schools that I didn’t get into back home.
7. Do you like to travel? At the end of first year, UQ Medical School sets aside a four-week block to complete an elective in a hospital or clinic anywhere in the world: Canada, Africa, Asia, Australia etc., and the UQ culture is really encouraging to explore somewhere exotic. Classmates of mine are going to Tanzania, Edmonton (not exotic but maybe to some), rural Australia, India, etc. You have to fund it yourself though.
Tip: Go somewhere where the cost of living is cheap such as India. Your big expense will be airfare, then food and accommodations will be so low that if you sublet your place in Australia, it might actually be cheaper to go travel and do your elective.
UQ Medical School Program
Program: Bachelor of Medicine Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS)
Location: Brisbane or Ipswich, Queensland
Semester intake: January
Duration: 4 years
Application deadline: The University of Queensland Medical School applications are assessed on a rolling admissions (first come, first served) basis. OzTREKK recommends that applicants apply early to increase their chances of timely assessment.