As a Caribbean Medical Student, I often find myself correcting and educating others, both in-person and online, on the misconceptions they have regarding Caribbean medical schools.
The most often misconceptions I hear are:
- “Most Caribbean students never get a residency position.” The first time residency match rate for students attending my medical school in the 2022 match was 96%. For those who did not match, it is most likely because they weren’t realistic with their application. The same goes for US students who don’t match. If you do not have research, good letters of recommendation, or volunteer opportunities on your application, it is unlikely that you will land that spot in Dermatology, Urology, etc.
- “You can’t get any resume builders on the island.” During my first year as a medical student on the island, I was able to build my volunteer hours, network with physicians, start blogging for Merck Manuals Student Stories, and publish research in scientific journals. It’s all about going out of your way to find opportunities instead of waiting for one to find you!
- “Caribbean med students do not learn the same material as US students.” Caribbean medical students learn all of the same material as US students. We also take the same United States Medical Licensing Exams: USMLE Step 1, USMLE Step 2 CK, and USMLE Step 3.
- “Caribbean med students can get lost in the US because they only learn how Caribbean hospitals work.” During your first two years on the island, your education involves bookwork only, as well as learning and preparing to take the USMLE Step 1 exam. Once you pass that exam, you do all of the clinical work (i.e. in-person, hands-on hospital training in US hospitals).
Overall, don’t let the anonymous commenters on Reddit and Student Doctor Network mislead you! There are a lot of great med school options in the Caribbean that are fully accredited with the United States, if it is something you are considering pursuing. My advice is to go with one of the “Big Four” Caribbean schools who have longstanding relationships with US programs.
Read more by Cidney.