Life as an International Medical Graduate

“The serenity of the lulling ocean is a wondrous thing to behold..more precious than the gems coveted and covered in platinum or gold...” ― Oksana Rus
When I first came to the realization that I would not be attending medical school in the United Kingdom or the United States I was honestly originally disappointed and my current university became my alternative, my last shot, my last chance. However, now as I move along through my third year, I’m happy and proud to attend my school and being closer to becoming an International Medical Graduate (IMG).

If there is one major piece of advice I can start with it would be the importance of being and staying POSITIVE!
Being from a Caribbean island myself, moving to another island was not really a culture shock for me as it was for so many of my American and Canadian classmates. I attend medical school in a country that is still developing where there were days when the electricity went off, days when the super heavy rain will cause the water in your apartment to turn brown, and days when you get to the local store and the milk was already sold out. So many of my classmates would complain, and I won’t lie there would be days here and there where I would be fed up with some aspect of my life there, but I've been reminded more than ever that complaining and being negative is your worst enemy. Strive to be positive and surround yourself with positive people, it makes a huge difference!
On a side note for those of you who have specific items that you want that you can’t get on the island, ship it to the island. Just be mindful of the duties that will be placed on what is brought in, but if it is something that you really need (and is reasonable to ship) to help get you in the right mindset or feel comfortable then I wouldn’t hesitate.

Studying in medical school is completely different compared to what it was in undergraduate school and getting back into studying after being away from school for some time is difficult. For anyone like me out there that has taken time off from school it can be especially difficult to get back into the swing of studying. I personally had a 4 year gap between getting my undergraduate degree and beginning medical school. My break was mainly due to financial constraints but in the end I am so thankful for the great hands on experience I obtained during that time. However, you quickly learn that medical school is a whole new ball game in and of itself and your old study habits will need some tweaking.

I recommend that you try to find your study style as early on as possible; you want to stay on top of your studying, trust me it will pile up all too quickly if you do not. If what you did in undergrad isn’t working for you in medical school, don’t get caught up in the fact that it isn’t and don’t be afraid to ask for help. If what works one semester doesn’t work for another, don’t dwell on it, work to change it! Explore what resources the school may have for  helping students find new ways to approaching the material.

In the beginning of medical school I felt that I had to study every waking moment, and I often felt guilty (yes guilty) for taking breaks. BREAKS ARE A NECESSITY! Breaks will keep you sane! I would even feel guilty for going to bed at a particular hour, thinking “how can I go to bed so early?” (early being 10pm). Then I realized trying to study while you’re about to pass out is not effective studying and you are just better off getting the rest you need and tackling it once you have had some sleep. Take it from a person who hasn’t had caffeine in almost 8 years! I started taking naps in medical school (when I could) so that I could recharge and get back to the material once rested. 

I hope this helps you set realistic study goals for the upcoming semester and prepare for your move to the Caribbean if you will soon be an IMG. Feel free to share your thoughts and ask questions in the comment section below!

-Carmen is a medical student at Ross University in Dominica.


  1. Very, very cool! I completely agree with staying positive: in South African public hospitals we also deal with un-ideal situations and having a bad attitude just makes it SO much worse!

  2. I've learned that staying positive also aids in staying sane :)

  3. Hey I'm also a Bahamian adventist I'm currently in cob and plan to do medical school at Uwi and was curious as to if you knew the steps to get government sponsorship at uwi. I heard that there is different percentage at different campuses can you please share some light on this topic it would be greatly appreciated I'm a new reader just found this blog yesterday ☺ read the interview on accepted can't wait to tell everyone I know thanks in advance