There is a growing trend for medical schools in the Caribbean advertising U.S. clinical rotations for international medical students; however, only 12 of these schools are actually accredited to provide the credentials they advertise.
It’s important to research your program and ensure that it has valid specialty, that the point of study fits into your plan, and that there is a potential for success in a highly competitive environment.
Applying for a clinical clerkship can be a stressful endeavor, despite there being a high risk of rejection in comparison to other fields of study; however, there are many benefits to a clinical clerkship that make those stressors worthwhile.
What To Expect
After passing the U.S. Medical Licensing Exam, students are eligible to apply for clerkships and clinical rotations, which are unpaid positions shadowing and learning from doctors in a hospital setting with live patients. Clinical clerkships can be highly competitive, so applying to numerous programs of interest is recommended, as well as including any letters of recommendation if the program allows for them, as this can better help your chances of acceptance. Generally, these clinical rotations are broken up by specialty over a period of time, typically about 12 weeks per specialty, and generally last the entirety of the student’s third and fourth years of medical school. Typically applications are accepted online through the accredited university or program’s website and have a specific set of requirements and instructions for applicants to follow.
How Caribbean Students Have A Leg Up
Generally, Caribbean medical students have a greater grasp on the English language, automatically making it an easier transition from their home country to a U.S. based clerkship. Students from Caribbean countries tend to have the advantage of not having to learn a completely new language, as compared to other IMG candidates. Moreover, some Caribbean IMGs are U.S. citizens, which prevents issues of obtaining visas and eventually the citizenship process if it is the candidates goal to practice within the United States.
Another advantage is in the fact that typically Caribbean curriculum closely follows the structure of American programs, making it easier for students to acclimate to their new studies and schedules within the U.S.
Adaptability is another essential aspect of successfully completing clinical clerkships, and generally Caribbean IMGs have a leg up in this category. Because this process is very competitive, students who already have a firm grasp on the English language, as well as already possessing U.S. citizenship, have a higher chance of succeeding in these programs.
What To Look For
It’s important to heavily research potential programs of interest, as there are State and Federal restrictions that will determine the ultimate success of clinical clerkship credits being applied toward an applicants end goal. All IMGs will need to qualify for certain aspects of their program and the specialties offered therein. When applying, be sure to include letters of recommendation centric to the specialty or skill that you’re looking to expand upon within your program and make sure to make specific, powerfully worded personal statements about your goals.
Lastly, it is important to apply to numerous programs, it is suggested to aim for a high number as clinical clerkships are immensely competitive and it is best to ensure acceptance into a reputable program.
Here at the Community Hospital Health Association (C.H.H.A.), we are committed to providing you with the best experience when applying for a clerkship abroad. We also help in streamlining every step of the process; from applying to schools, to getting a student Visa. Fill out the form below and start your application process now!