One of the most challenging fields of study MBBS abroad requires future health practitioners to undertake intensive academic courses followed by residency programs. With the ultimate goal of curing and saving lives, the effort is worth it.

Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) is India’s premier undergraduate medical program, mainly to practice allopathic medicine. Students have a choice to pursue a specialization of their choice.

But there are only a limited number of seats available to prospective students. And there is an entrance exam to qualify.

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What happens to students who dont secure a seat? Or Students looking for better facilities than native country i.e. India?

Well, each year, thousands of students from all around the world move out from their native countries in pursuit of better education and prospects. India and the entire African continent especially are huge players in this chain. For example, as of 2018, nearly 7,52,728 Indians and 5,666 African students are studying abroad.

What drives students to study MBBS abroad?

Ask each student the reasoning will be varied, but there are some common reasons. Here are a few of the familiar ones:

  • Infrastructure: It is often contended that the infrastructure is better in off-shore colleges. There would be modern laboratories including equipment backed by research. The faculty is expected to be more knowledgeable and use recent teaching techniques. The curriculum also reflects this, and some colleges may provide more hands-on experience, changes to attending live procedures, seminars, etc. These make overseas courses an attractive option for the prospective candidate.
  • Cost of Study: Fees of always a huge consideration when making the final choice. Government medical colleges are affordable, but they are few. And private colleges can be expensive, while in comparison, some fees in some countries can be far lower. Thus, these institutes are tempting choices to study MBBS abroad.
  • MCI Approval: A doctor can only practice in India if their degree is approved by the Medical Council of India. There are numerous medicals schools abroad in various countries that are recognized by MCI. The graduates from these schools can practice in India either directly or by qualifying for the Foreign Medical Graduate Examination (FMGE), thereby receiving a license to practice in India.
  • International Exposure and adaptability: Young people get the opportunity to meet people from different cultures, countries, and backgrounds. They have to adapt to a plethora of new things like food, weather, culture, language among others. It helps them to shape into better human beings, which is an asset personally as well as professionally. These doctors would be more sensitive and receptive to people. Also, they will learn to adapt to any kind of situation, friendly or hostile.
  • No Separate Entrance Exam: The most enticing prospect for studying abroad is probably no separate entrance exam. Most countries would accept students who have cleared the NEET Exam conducted by National Testing Agency (NTA) in India along with meeting other basic eligibility criteria. The number of students who qualify for NEET every year is more than the seats available in colleges in the country. Also, admission is based on rank in NEET, so study abroad opens a new door to aspirants.
  • Better Return of Investment (ROI): The return on the investment again depends on the course fees. So, studying abroad can result in lower fees spent, while getting national and international recognition, including MCI and WHO approval. As a qualified doctor, they can either return home or continue working abroad. All these definitely could offer a higher return on the invested funds.
  • Personality Development: Being away from home and Studying abroad is always a life-altering event for any student. Experiencing new things, interacting with a truly international population, and being dependent on self develops different facets of personality. Expertise in soft skills, confidence, adaptability, appreciating different cultures, etc shape sophisticated healers. Thus, a few years of studying abroad can be well spent building personality as well.

So what does someone need to study MBBS?

The basic eligibility criteria in India are as below:

  • At least higher secondary education in Science stream Physics, Chemistry and Biology
  • The minimum score usually needed is 50% (in India candidates from reserved category need at least 40%) in Higher Secondary
  • The minimum age should be 17 and the maximum age 25 years while applying for the
  • Candidates must have appeared and qualified for the relevant entrance test.

The question naturally comes to mind, so What might be different in different countries?

Well, apart from the basic criteria, the requirements for a medical degree may vary from country and university. We look at some estimates, however, the best way is always to contact the relevant education authority/ university/ college.

  • High school level education with at least two science subjects: Biology, Physics, Chemistry, Maths, etc. Generally, Chemistry is insisted upon.
  • If a student is a graduate, then an honours degree in science with 2:1 or above, or equivalent is advantageous. Or an overall GPA of 3.0 or higher or equivalent
  • For courses taught in English, usually, a proficiency level is tested, i.e., IELTS 6.5 – 7.0, or equivalent in TOEFL or C1 Advanced language certificates.
  • Relevant transcripts to evidence of sustained academic achievement
  • Some countries require local qualifications like UCAT or BMAT in the UK. And MCAT in the USA, among others
  • Voluntary work experience in Health Care and evidence of transferable skills are a plus
  • Sometimes a Foundation program has to be undertaken to bridge the gap between existing qualification and MBBS program requirements.

The next step is knowledge of Documents that student has to submit and having them available to avoid delays. There are always strict application deadlines to be adhered to especially abroad. Thus, as a rule of thumb the following would be asked for:

  • Personal identification documents i.e., passport; national identity card etc.
  • Personal statement or Statement of purpose/SOP
  • Copies of your educational transcripts (diplomas; degree), depending on the country, even translated copies might be asked
  • Letters of recommendation/reference usually from employers or teachers.
  • Relevant proof of other employment/achievements
  • Last but not least, proof of funds that student would have to show documents to prove to confirm capability to cover the living expenses and fees for the duration of the course

These are just general guidelines; each university or medical school can ask for more or fewer details depending on their application and acceptance procedure.

How to narrow down where to study?

Well, this is a tough question. Each person is different and will come from different circumstances, so no one really can’t dictate the choice. A lot of time and money is invested so while guidance is a are some pointers to reach the crucial decision.

  • Country Selection:

    This is probably the most difficult part. First thing is to understand the prospects offered by each country is a must. The choice should be made based on how each country and course fits with the future goals of the aspirant.

    If the aim is to study and repatriate back to the home country, then choose a student friendly country offering the best quality education and student support. Also, counties with similar ailment patterns would prepare competent doctor suited for in-country practice. Similarly, If the objective is to settle abroad, then select a country that offers post-study work options leading to settlement.

  • An eminent Medical School:

    There are thousands of medical schools/universities to choose from. But not all of them will have the same standing or rating. Do some research and create a list of desirable study institutions. Then, carry out comparative analysis based on factors like curriculum faculty, research facilities, fees, pedagogy, accreditations, awards, and select the one best matches the future goals.

    Be always careful to look for WHO recognition, MCI recognition, acceptance of degree in other including home country, internship opportunities, duration of course among other things.

  • Make a good financial plan:

    Finances are the key to selecting a school/university abroad. The study is ultimately an investment done to get returns in the future. Studying abroad can get expensive, so financial planning is imperative. So, put a solid financial plan including a contingency in place.

    Many universities provide scholarships to assist with fees, avail them if possible. Most banks lend money for education, approach them and other financial entities for monetary aid. Many countries allow limited part-time work, explore the local area for a job. Some universities even provide financial aid to students based on merit or financial circumstances.

  • Do your research:

    The student preparing to study would best know their needs and choice yet the onus of research also falls on them. Often, these young adults (or would be) seek advice to reach a decision or even receive unsolicited advice. Then, there are agents offering different services as well. All these may be correct, but personal groundwork always helps to make the correct option.

  • Build your network to fulfil dreams:

    In the medical profession, hands on experience is an essential element. There is a lot of it provided as part of the studies. But post-study work or internship opportunity adds extra points. However, medical schools will only have limited availability, so no relying solely on them is a good idea.

    While studying, students will interact with people from different walks of life. Building a network with these people, be it fellow students, faculty members, patients will serve to open unexpected new doors for the future.

Travel tips when you choose MBBS abroad things which you should do

Select a country that suits you

You should understand that each country is different in terms of certain factors. You better make sure that you are choosing a country that suits you in terms of your goals. Dont just select a country for the climate or the sights. You’ll have to consider your objectives as well. If your objective is to study abroad and come back to your native country for a career, then you should probably look out at the trend. Look for countries with the best quality of education and student support.

If you are looking for a career prospect abroad, you should also consider countries with good post-study work opportunities. This is because countries like The UK do not entertain the idea of immigrants taking up jobs of the local citizens.

When it comes to MBBS studies you should be clear in choosing a country that matches the disease pattern of your native country. If you miss out in this point, then it is no use doing medicine abroad and returning to your country to practice medicine.

Choose a reputable university

Now, this is, of course, the most important point. Because it would make no sense to select a university just for the sake of studying abroad or fulfilling your dream of experiencing the lifestyle of a particular country that you had always wanted to.

Some of them are reputed enough but not even close to many of the universities abroad. While selecting a university, make a list of universities which provide the best syllabus you want to pursue and where you are eligible to apply. And qualify them in terms of the pedagogy, infrastructure, accreditations, and curriculum. Select the one which seems the best to you. A lot of research has to be done behind this.

Especially look for the universities that help you clear FMGE if you are from India. The bitter truth is that only 14% of students have cleared FMGE in past 16 years. So beware of the fear factor.

Make a good financial plan

As we have mentioned before, studying abroad is an investment and most of the time it can get really expensive. You’ll have to have a proper plan when you choose to study abroad.

Fortunately enough, many universities provide scholarships that can ease the burden. Now given the fact that not all of you will be able to avail scholarships, you can always approach banks and other financial institutes for monetary aid. Some universities even provide financial aid to students who wish to avail them.

Travel Tips of Doing MBBS abroad. The things which you should not do

Don’t choose a country out of affection

Do not choose a particular country because you had always wanted to visit that place. But choosing a wrong country you might have to spare your career completely. So see to that you choose a country that matches your country’s disease pattern. Countries like China, Ukraine and Russia have a completely different set of disease pattern.

Don’t just go with others opinion

Choosing to study abroad is a huge decision and is often followed by lots of opinion from people. And this might affect your decisions regarding your course, country, and other things.

Don’t completely rely on the university to fulfill your goal

You might have your reasons for studying abroad. Most Indians go out of the country to study abroad because Indian institutes do not provide all the things they promise, like good job opportunities.

Reasons/tips why to travel MBBS abroad

There are many reasons for one to do MBBS abroad. Here are some of them

  • Infrastructure

    Foreign medical colleges have world-class infrastructure with all modern facilities. It has the latest medical equipment, medical laboratories and enough resources for research and experiments. The infrastructure of these medical institutes is better than that of most medical colleges in India. The labs, laboratories and research centres are well furnished with the latest equipment and resources that are crucial for the learning experience of any medical student.

  • Cost of Study

    Fees of private medical colleges in India is quite high. At this cost of study, students can complete their medical studies from a medical college abroad. In some foreign medical colleges, the cost is even less than an Indian medical institute. Thus, many Indian students choose a medical college overseas over an Indian medical college.

  • MCI Approved

    The degree received from a medical college abroad is approved by the Medical Council of India (MCI). Those who hold a medical degree from a foreign university can appear and qualify the Foreign Medical Graduate Examination (FMGE) to get a medical licence including medical practice in India.

  • International Recognition

    Students who complete medical studies from universities abroad get international recognition when they return to India. After completion of MBBS overseas, students get an opportunity to interact with students from different countries, communities and cultures. It eventually helps students to grow at a personal and professional level. International exposure makes an individual more sensitive towards people and they learn how to approach people from different corners of the world. Also, they learn how to be geographically stable and adaptable to any environment

  • No Separate Entrance Exam

    Students who want to study MBBS abroad need not take a separate entrance exam for admission. Admission is considered based on NEET entrance test which is conducted by the National Testing Agency (NTA) in India. Those who qualify the NEET UG entrance exam and score more than 50% marks in PCB and English in 10+2 are considered eligible for admission to medical institutes abroad.

  • Better Return of Investment (ROI)

    As discussed earlier, the cost of studying MBBS in India and the cost of studying MBBS abroad is incomparable. After acquiring an MBBS degree, students can either return to their home country or practice in a foreign country. This results in higher income be it in the host country or in any foreign country, which in turn contributes to better ROI.

  • Personality Development

    Studying abroad is a lifetime experience for an individual. Studying in a place with students and faculty from different backgrounds helps students build their overall personality. They learn new languages, exchange their ideas and gain more confidence. These soft skills are essential to make for sophisticated professionals like doctors. Students who have an exposure to the outer world have a broader perspective towards the world and they learn to be responsible and independent. A few years spent abroad helps them emerge as a confident individual.