Over the years, the number of Indian students studying medicine abroad has witnessed a spike. Almost 20,000 Indian students are enrolled in the top medical universities of Russia, Bangladesh, and the Caribbean Islands for academic pursuits and this number is only expected to increase year on year. The reason for choosing MBBS abroad over MBBS in India is to fulfill their dream of becoming excellent doctors and also includes international exposure, practical training on advanced equipment, and state-of-the-art infrastructure.
No matter how many vast opportunities await medical aspirants in the top medical universities abroad, leaving one’s home for five to six years to study medicine in another country always involves challenges. The benefits of studying MBBS abroad are uncountable for Indian medical aspirants but knowing the disadvantages of studying MBBS abroad before you finally board your flights to your MBBS destination prepares you well for what awaits you there.
1. Language Barrier
Every country has its mother language. When you are moving to a new country to study medicine for about five to six years, learning the official language of the country makes it easier for you to communicate with the local people. Learning a foreign language overnight is impossible for all and this becomes a barrier for many Indian medical students in countries like Russia, Armenia, etc.
To overcome the language barrier, the top medical universities in abroad recognized by the National Medical Commission have introduced a special English-medium medical curriculum for Indian and other international students. Moreover, highly-qualified professors and faculty members have been hired who can communicate with international students in English.
2. Adverse Climatic Conditions
The top destinations for MBBS abroad like Russia, Armenia, Kyrgyzstan, etc. have different weather and climatic conditions than India. Where India has moderate climatic conditions, Russia, Armenia, and Kyrgyzstan have extremely cold climates for most of the year. This makes it difficult for Indian students to cope with the weather and climate conditions of these countries and may fall sick during the initial days of their settlement.
As the top medical universities in Russia, Kyrgyzstan, etc. have a good strength of Indian students, they have special arrangements to keep the temperature warm within the universities. Moreover, it is advised that students must carry sufficient winter clothes with them while going to study MBBS in Russia.
3. FMGE Examination
A majority of Indian students studying in foreign medical universities have a dream to practice medicine in India and join the Indian healthcare sector. For this, they need to clear the Foreign Medical Graduate Examination (FMGE) conducted by the National Board of Examinations under the onus of the National Medical Commission. This rule does not apply to Indian medical graduates who have completed their MBBS in India.
No matter this puts a lot of pressure on Indian medical graduates as their entire career depends on qualifying for the FMGE exam. However, the medical universities abroad recognized by the NMC organize special on-campus FMGE coaching classes by famous Indian doctors and professors for their Indian students from the initial years of their MBBS course. This increases the probability of clearing the FMGE exam for their students as they don’t have to prepare for it at the last minute.
4. English Proficiency Tests
Passing the language proficiency tests like the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) and Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is mandatory for Indian students who are planning to study medicine in the UK, the USA, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. This is an additional condition to be fulfilled by Indian students to get admission to the top medical universities in these countries.
Not all top MBBS in abroad destinations like Russia, Bangladesh, the Americas, etc. demand passing scores in IELTS and TOEFL to grant admission to Indian students. Indian medical aspirants can simply take admission to any medical university in these countries based on their 10+2 and NEET scores.
5. Different Cultures & Traditions
Just like India, every country has its own culture and traditions holding a high sentimental value. Moving to a new country for your medical education for six years means you will be taking part in its rich cultures and traditions. Foreign medical universities represent multicultural diversity owing to the presence of international students from far and wide. While staying in a foreign country during your medicine course, you will get accustomed to the new customs and traditions of various countries. This makes Indian medical students long for their country in a foreign land.
To save international students from this awkward feeling, foreign medical universities ensure to celebrate all the important festivals of the countries from where their students hail from. As Indian festivals are well-known for their pomp and show. Navratri, Diwali, Holi, and other Indian festivals are celebrated with exhilaration.
6. Feeling of Homesickness
Staying thousands of miles away from your families and friends is hard and painful for students who are studying MBBS in other countries. The feeling of homesickness frequently strikes students during their stay outside India. This feeling will eventually fade out with time as soon as they adjust to their routine at the universities.
7. Practical Training on Dummies
Not all MBBS destinations allow their medical students to practice on human cadavers. Rather they use dummies to impart anatomy lessons to them. Moreover, they are not allowed to touch patients during their clinical rotations in hospitals but observe distantly.
On the other hand, Indian medical colleges conduct practical anatomy sessions on human cadavers and allow their students to take an active part in these sessions. During their clinical training at the end of the MBBS course, they diagnose and provide treatments to patients under the supervision of senior doctors.
8. Learning A Second Language
The MBBS curriculum of foreign medical universities includes the learning of a mother language. For instance, Russian medical universities have the Russian language in their MBBS course to acquaint the students with the language and to make communication easier with Russian patients during their clinical rotations.
For some students, it may seem like an obstruction or a disadvantage, but for others, it is certainly an opportunity. Getting to learn Russian from experts while studying medicine will only be an advantage. It can also widen their prospects in case they decide to practice medicine in Russia.
9. Diverse Academic Standards
The medical education system of Russia, Bangladesh, and the Americas is poles apart from each other. As each one lies on a different continent, the academic standards and study patterns are different from each other. Indian medical students planning to practice medicine in India after their MBBS abroad have to adjust to the Indian healthcare system during their practice.
Speaking of the benefits of diversified academic standards, students will also get familiar with the new technologies and various aspects of medical science that are not taught in the Indian MBBS curriculum.
10. Different Disease Patterns
As every country has a different climatic condition, this leads to a variation in the disease pattern. While India, Bangladesh, and Nepal share the same climate, the disease patterns in these countries are similar to each other. So, Indian students who are studying medicine in these countries and plan to practice medicine in India do not face any difficulty in treating patients during their practice.
However, when medical graduates from Russia, the Americas, etc. return to India to practice medicine, they might have to struggle due to the variation in the disease patterns of these countries. Such new doctors have been trained to diagnose and treat diseases prevalent in Russia, the Americas, etc., and not in India.
Tips To Make Your Study MBBS Abroad Experience Better
The above-listed challenges of studying medicine abroad certainly need your attention when you are planning for MBBS abroad. However, such factors cannot influence your decision to build a better career in the field of medicine. Here are some quick tips to make your experience of MBBS in abroad a better and more memorable one.
- Interact with people as much as you can. This will make you feel more comfortable and less homesick in a new country.
- MBBS abroad is an opportunity. Try to utilize your time in enhancing your knowledge and skills by involving yourself in fruitful discussions with your classmates.
- Take a break from your studies and spend time with your new friends.
- Visit new places with your friends to make everlasting memories.
- Don’t be an introvert. Clarify your doubts with your professors.
- Take out some time to talk to your family and friends every day.
- Participate in extracurricular activities organized by your university.
- Be positive and attentive while learning the mother language of the new country.
The Final Words
The top medical universities of Russia, the Caribbean Islands, Armenia, etc. stand out for their incredibly advanced infrastructure and technology that are hard to find in medical colleges in India. The practical exposure awarded to Indian students during their MBBS abroad is massive that is missed by the students of Indian medical colleges. The medical education system of every country may have some shortcomings, but taking admission to the right medical university or college will contribute to your MBBS journey.
Rather than focusing on the disadvantages of studying MBBS abroad, concentrate on the advantages of studying abroad. Fulfill your dream at reputed, trusted, and leading medical universities in abroad and gain the best international exposure that is inaccessible in India.