I would like to take a moment to explain the reality of medical school. Medical school is considered the hardest part in a student’s life should you decide to pursue such a career.  I’ll be honest with you, if you’re interested in medicine for monetary gain, I urge you to rethink your options. People can make a lot more money in other careers, with less stress and less money spent to earn such a profession. Overall, it doesn’t make sense to spend a total of 8 years of undergraduate and graduate school combined, only to make $180-$200k.  It’s just financially irresponsible if you’re interested in attending medical school for the “high” income. In my opinion, it would make more sense financially to go to nursing school and make $60-$90k per year for a total of 2 years education.

I have a personal friend who attended Johns Hopkins Medical School who literally went through hell with the admission process, his schooling, and he had to take extremely high loans to fund his education. After graduating with his MD in 2012, he started his residency in internal medicine at a metro-Detroit hospital. He then had an epiphany that he hated medicine 2 years into his career, after almost 10 years of higher education. He decided that he wanted to be a chef, that food is his passion and only pursued medicine because of family pressure. So please, make sure it’s what you want before making such a drastic step.

Once you understand the motives of your career choice, then you have to decide where to go to medical school. To some there are many options based on merit or even financial support from family. Others have to take loans upwards of $200k just to have a chance to for such career.

I decided to come to Washington University because I honestly didn’t want to take out an absurd amount of loans. Their payment plan is very accommodating to students. The administration is helpful and provide a vast amount of information.

Deciding to move to another country is a big decision. You will experience culture shock the first month or so, but there are many benefits and conversely negatives in living here. I’ll start with the negatives since I’m sure that you want to find out as much as possible…I was in your place a couple months back!

The biggest issue I have living here is the terrible cab drivers. I’m from New York so I shouldn’t be complaining, but they’re a whole new species of bad drivers. The food is bad here and sometimes is overpriced. There are no fast food chains. If you don’t know what the Belizian cultural food is..its basically Mexican food since we’re very familiar to that cuisine. Another negative side in living here, it’s either too hot or too wet. The rainy season here is like having a hose put on full blast and is constantly being held over your head wherever you go!

Now on to the positives, it’s a tropical island! The view is amazing. I was in awe the first 2 weeks I was here. The money doubles here due to the exchange rate. When I came here I had 600 bucks in pocket cash…then it became 1200 Belize. Hahaha its psychologically up-lifting. The biggest positive of all is that you’re in medical school completing your MD degree. The time spent on the island will go by very quickly, it’s only 16 months here.  One more positive, you can study on the beach at any time you want.

Now down to the meat of the whole reason of you being here on the island, the education. Like every other educational institution there are going to be bad professors and great professors. I experienced this with undergrad. I attended University of Michigan and I had many great professors and even more bad professors who basically just provided “chalk and talk” old school thinking with minimal explanation. Unlike undergrad level education, there is a lot of independent learning which is everywhere including U.S. medical schools.

I hope this explanation helps in your decision making process.

-Jaafar Noor, MD2
Washington University of Health and Science