How to Navigate Your Way Through Medical School Abroad

Are you looking for medical education abroad? Read this guide for those who are looking for studying medicine in foreign countries.

You have scored straight A's in high school and have won a scholarship to pursue further studies in a med school abroad. Congratulations! But there is one more thing that makes you anxious; how to survive in medical school abroad. You start wondering how you will juggle between your studies and the culture shock, especially if you are from India. You do not have to worry; you are not the first to be anxious about your life abroad.

Medical courses are tedious and it only takes hard work and dedication to pursue your dreams. Now that you have proven beyond a reasonable doubt that you are bright in academics, it is typical of you to become overconfident. However, you may not be prepared for what awaits you in medical school. If you expect it to be a smooth sailing process, you are in for a shock. Fortunately, we will provide you with tips to help you acclimatize and survive med school abroad.

Set realistic expectations

You may be the type of student that thrives better in study groups, while others find USMLE preparation courses more productive. Do not make the hasty decision of going with the crowd, hoping you will thrive. Have realistic expectations. If you plan on completing your assignments before the due date for submitting, plan your way around it. It would be absurd to spend your time doing other things only to attend to your intellectual obligations at the last minute. If you are about to sit your exams in a month, spend your time crafting a realistic timeline to get you prepared. If you feel exhausted after reading all day, get a good night's sleep to help your brain relax.

Establish a good relationship with your colleagues and instructors

Like any other college, med school is filled with people from diverse backgrounds. If you expect to meet your fellow countrymen, you are in for a rude shock. Program your mind in such a way that it can accommodate all types of people regardless of their race, gender, ethnic background, or religious affiliations. You will be amazed at how people are willing to interact with you. If you feel the need to vie for specific leadership positions, go for it. You never know how it can impact your resume as you pursue your career path.

Do not take life too seriously

Even though med school is a field with budding professionals looking to make the world a better place, it does not mean you should take life too seriously. It is normal to make mistakes and learn from them. That does not mean you are a failure. Instead, it proves that you are human. However, this should not deter you from focusing on what took you there in the first place. Even as you rack your brain so that you can earn a good title after med school, you need to loosen up a little bit.

Embrace the culture shock

You may have gotten used to living in a specific lifestyle back in India. But since you are in a foreign country, it is typical of you to get a culture shock. Countries such as the US and Canada have the best med schools in the world. As a result, they receive tons of requests from students from other countries. Think of it as your stepping stone to learning more about other people's cultures and backgrounds. By all means, find time to sample the delicacies, tour the local area, and engage in conversations with the locals. You will be surprised at how welcoming they are, especially if you do not know your way around the local town.

Live within your budget

You are in a foreign county. That means the currency you will be using will be different from what you are used to. The last thing you need as a foreigner is to languish in debt because you failed to stick to a budget. Do not succumb to peer pressure just to fit it. Prior to your flight date, research the cost of living, budget-friendly stores that stock learning materials and the most affordable accommodation facilities if you plan to stay outside the school. That way, you will not have to deal with borrowing from friends or being uncomfortable just because you cannot afford a specific item.

Surround yourself with focused individuals

Qualifying to join a med school is not only a satisfying experience, but it also prepares you for what will happen in the future. You will meet with people who are either focused or are finding their way around the college. But that does not mean you should look the other way. Even if you do not emerge as the best student in your class, that does not deter you from putting your best foot forward. Therefore, it is essential to surround yourself with students who can help you achieve your goals because it is highly likely that you will bump into them in the corridors of hospitals and other healthcare institutions.

Engage in outside interests

Throughout your college life, you will receive dozens of assignments and attending sessions that are bound to overwhelm your brain. Do not get worked up over it. Create time to engage in outside interests to keep you rejuvenated and focused. If you are a fan of swimming, picnicking or kayaking, go for it. Plan your week in such a way that it accommodates outside interests. If you have other talents, this would be the best time to impact the lives of others. Remember, any outside interest that makes you lose focus on your goals is not worth your time.

Adopt healthy lifestyle habits

A good doctor can only impact their patients when they set a good example. Engaging in unhealthy lifestyle habits such as alcohol and substance abuse, poor nutrition, and criminal activities can come in the way of your success. Eating pizza or a hamburger once in a while is not a bad thing. However, you should do it in moderation so that you can be an excellent example to other budding med students and patients. Also, create time to engage in physical exercises to stay in shape.

Keep in touch with your loved ones back at home

Just because you are studying in a foreign country does not mean that you stay out of touch. Your family and friends back at home need to know how you are progressing. No matter how tight your learning schedule is, always find time to keep them updated via social media platforms, Skype, or Zoom. That way, they can cheer you on or find ways of coming to your rescue if you run into any problems.

Navigating your way through med school while abroad is not as daunting as you may think. As long as you have the skills to juggle between your intellectual and social obligations, then you will not have a hard time adjusting to the system. The trick is to plan your time well and get used to their way of doing things. If making friends, finding outside interests, and acclimatizing to the environment is what will help you cope with the tedious nature of the med school, go for it. After all, it is only a matter of time before you finish your studies and become a productive person in the future.

Article by Tony John
Tony John is a professional blogger from India, who started his first Weblog in 1998 at Tony switched to blogging as a passion blended business in the year 2000 and currently operates several popular web properties including,, and many more.

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Author: Neeru Bhatt20 Nov 2020 Member Level: Diamond   Points : 2

Many students who can even afford the costly medical education in the country are not getting admission through the NEET route and then they try to get admission overseas to achieve their ambitions. Once they get admission there then they have to accommodate to the new surroundings and ways of life there. This article is a useful guide for them as how to manage in the alien place for completing the educational pursuit in medical field.

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