Medical Courses Abroad : A good option for Indian students?

September 19, 2019
Exam Advice

Every year, there are thousands and thousands of applicants for the medical entrance examinations in the country. There are a lot of students who write the exam with high hopes of getting into the high ranking government medical colleges but the number of seats available is very less compared to the number of applicants. The ratio is about 13 lakhs of applicants competing for approximately 60000 seats in government medical colleges. While students still have the other option of attending private medical colleges, a majority of them cannot afford the elite tuition fees of these colleges. Fishing out about 60-70 lakhs to attend a private medical college is no luxury to a major part of the population and hence, attending a college in another country seems to be a feasible option.

Attending a medical college approved by the MCI which also provides a degree recognised worldwide can prove to be fruitful instead of attending a private college where you will end up spending a huge sum without any proper faculty, infrastructure or opportunities. Now, the eligibility criteria of a student varies from country to country. While US, UK, Australia, Canada, Singapore etc. are common destinations for studying other majors abroad, some of the most popular countries for studying medicine among Indian students are China, Germany, Philippines, Nepal, Russia, Ukraine, Bangladesh and Kyrgyzstan. This is because a compulsory local entrance exam is mandatory for admission into the MBBS courses. In the USA, students are required to have completed a pre-med course (4-years course or honours course) only after which they can enter medical school by applying to the entrance exam.

Eligibility criteria

  • The student must be 17 years old as on 31st December of the year in which the admission is being taken.
  • The student must have completed class 12 with an aggregate of at least 50% in Physics, Chemistry, and Biology and must have English as a compulsory subject if the student is from the General category and at least 40% in Physics, Chemistry, and Biology and must have English as a compulsory subject if the student is from SC/ST/OBC.
  • The student should clear NEET from 2018 onwards for admission in any country abroad.

Some of the colleges in the most popular destinations are listed below with the approximate tuition fees for the entire duration of the program:

China

  • Ningbo University
  • Jiangsu University
  • Wuhan University
  • Jilin Medical University
Approximate fee: INR 20 – 35 Lakhs
Course duration: 5 years

Philippines

  • Angels University Foundation
  • AMA School of Medicine, Manila
  • Bicol Christian College
  • Our Lady of Fatima University
Approximate fee: INR 25 – 40 Lakhs
Course duration: 6 years

Ukraine

  • Sumi state University
  • Bukovinian State Medical University
  • Donetsk National Medical University
  • Ivano-Frankivsk Medical University 
Approximate fee: INR 20 – 38 Lakhs
Course duration: 6 years 

Russia

  • Mordovia State University
  • Northern State University
  • Pirogov Russian National Research Medical University, Moscow
  • Siberian State Medical University 
Approximate fee: INR 15– 35 Lakhs
Course duration: 6 years

Nepal

  • National Medical College
  • Nepal Medical College
  • Janaki Medical College
  • Kathmandu Medical College 
Approximate fee: INR 40 – 60 Lakhs
Course duration: 5 years

Bangladesh

  • East West Medical College
  • Bangladesh Medical College
  • Jahurul Islam Medical College
  • Delta Medical College 
Approximate fee: INR 30 – 60 Lakhs
Course duration: 6 years

Germany

  • University of Münster
  • Lubeck Medical University
  • University of Bonn
  • Humboldt University of Berlin 
Approximate fee: No tuition fee + INR 30000-40000/month for living expenses
Course duration:  6 years

Kyrgyzstan

  • Jalalabad Medical University
  • Asian Medical Institute
  • Kyrgyz-Russian Slavic University
  • International School of Medicine 
Approximate fee: INR 17 – 24 Lakhs
Course duration: 6 years

There are pros and cons to studying abroad and these may affect your decision depending on which of these issues matter to you the most. Some of the pros are listed below:

No entrance exam

Although from 2018 it is mandatory to have cleared the NEET entrance exam for a student to be able to study abroad, the admission to the colleges abroad is far less dependent on the results of the NEET exam as compared to the government colleges in the country. The competition is also not that high for admission into international colleges, as a result, it is easier without the cutthroat competition.

Low tuition cost

The tuition fees in government medical colleges is very low up-to about 4 lakhs for the entire duration of the programme. Compared to this nominal fee, the tuition cost of private medical colleges can rack up to more than a crore. It is not easy for all medical aspirants to secure a seat in the affordable government colleges and it is definitely not a piece of cake to pay such a hefty sum for the private medical colleges. In such cases, the only reasonable option would be to apply to international medical colleges and complete your MBBS at a much lower cost.

Global exposure

Studying abroad is quite the experience, you meet people from all parts of the world and from all walks of life. It proves to be an enhancing experience, develops your cross-cultural skills and helps you in improving your adaptation skills. Being immersed in a brewing pot of different cultures definitely provides a lot of exposure which would otherwise, not be easily possible if you were in an Indian medical college.

Quality education

The colleges abroad recognised by MCI maintain quality standards and provide high-quality education. The faculty are qualified or experienced and ready to help the students with almost everything the student might need guidance in.

World-class infrastructure

One aspect of the colleges abroad that cannot be dismissed is the proper maintenance and quality of the infrastructure. A lot of the colleges which are highly ranked have amazing infrastructure as compared to poorly maintained or constructed infrastructure in some of the colleges in India.

While there are benefits, there can be a few setbacks as well which cannot be neglected:

College Recognition

It is important to double-check whether the college you are aiming for is recognised internationally, in its own country and in India as well. Check if it is recognised by MCI and by WHO. You should research in-depth about the college you are applying to as an unrecognised institute will do more harm than good.

Limited interaction with patients

More often than not, students do not gain enough practical clinical skills during their internships. Institutes do not provide them with proper clinical training and there is very less interaction with the patients. This sets them back from their counterparts back in India who have consistent training and interaction with the patients. It is hence, important to do your research well.

Language barrier

A major setback is the language barrier. In countries where the primary language is not English, Indian students will inevitably find it difficult in the first few weeks or even months, to communicate with locals. They might even have to study the local language as an additional subject to settle down faster. This can also pose as a problem while communicating with patients who are not fluent in English.

Adjustment to a new environment

Moving away from your family for several years to a foreign country can take a huge toll on the mental health of a lot of students. Homesickness is a very common phenomenon, you will start missing everything about your country, food, family, the good and the bad. Adjusting to the new locality you are in, can take some time. 

Practising in India

Students who have completed their MBBS degree abroad and wish to practise in India are required to pass the Foreign Medical Graduate Examination (FMGE) screening test. Only on successful completion of the test, a student will be registered with the MCI and a license will be granted that allows one to practice medicine in India. The test is based on the MBBS curriculum and one has to score at least 50 percent marks to qualify.

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