View Full Version : I'm at University of Sydney... here's some info or ask away
05-11-2002, 06:52 AM
Hi. I'm currently enrolled in the University of Sydney Graduate Medical Program in Sydney, Australia and am currently in my first year (GMP1). I've been through the interviews and the rejection process of the Ontario medical schools... I know your pain. I've also done a lot of research into being a Canadian IMG and yes, it will be difficult but it is hardly impossible to return to Canada. Actually, the future is not as gloomy as you might imagine. Let me explain.
Currently in my class, there are 25 Canadians enrolled here. We make up 60% of the international medical students! In 2nd year, there are 30 Canadians enrolled and close to 100 total in the GMP program here at Sydney. The University of Sydney is recognised world wide (many nobel prize winners) and is the oldest university in Australia. It is a PBL style course, meaning that every Thursday of your 1st year, and every Tuesday of your 2nd year are spent in your clinical school placements.... meaning we see patients every week starting from the first week of classes! The course is divided into blocks (musculoskeletal, hematology, oncology..... etc. ) and during block 3 (hematology) of first year and block 9 (oncology) of 2nd year, you spend the entire 8 weeks at your clinical school. Everyday your in the hospital. THe course is also very clinically orientated, reflecting the changing format found in the USMLE's every year. Most of us pay about $32000 per year ($25000 -$27000 CDN depending on the dollar) so it is only another $10000 more than the University of Toronto! But half of the international pool can get a scholarship which means you only have to pay half of the tuition costs ($16000AUS) The university also recognises the plight of us Canadians with regards to getting back into Canada for residency/work.... that's why the Dean of Medicine actually flew over to Ottawa last semester and met with the Canadian Medical Association to try and work something out... maybe to streamline the process for graduates of recognised Australian medical schools. In addition to this, the Executive Director of the CaRMS was here last semester and gave a presentation to all the Canadians about the prospects of returning to Canada. She said that all of us here at Sydney "would not have a problem returning in 4 years if we were not restrictive of our specialties". Why would the director of CaRMS come all the way to Australia if they thought we didn't have a chance at returning. Even though only 16% of IMG's matched in the second round... where did those 16% go to school? And why after the 2nd round there were still 53 spots left! It looks as though where you go to school is very important. I want to be a family doctor anyways and here in Australia you get experience in rural medicine as a requirement for finishing your degree.... bonus for coming back to Canada. In fact, my housemate who is a Canadian in 3rd year is in Darwin, Australia for his rural placement.... all expensives paid. And despite what some Canadian medical students think about IMG's, there are Canadians here with MCAT scores in the upper 30's (36-38) who didn't even want to study in Canada to begin with. You are allowed to due rotations back in Canada/US if you wish in year 4 and
We are not all 'rejectees' here.
So if there is anything anyone wans to know about the Australian experience, from food prices to book prices, just ask away.
05-11-2002, 08:34 AM
Your school sounds great. And it sure must be nice spending four years in Sydney!
I think you are right in that as long as you aren't restrictive in your specialty choices, you will have a better opportunity to come back to Canada. However, It is important to recognize that there are very few specialty spots left over each year in specialties (other than Ob/Gyn and Psychiatry) and it changes from year to year as to what ends up being left over. last year there were a couple of ortho spots (A huge surprise), this year none. Last year no anesthesia (in fact a huge number of canadian med grads went unmatched as there was a huge surprise competition for it in the first round), this year a couple left over...
If you know going into medical school that you for sure want to do family medicine, your chances are much better. I would be wary of choosing to early though - I and many of my peers have changed (and many quite radically) our decision as to what specialty once we got in and had exposure to all of them.
All the best...
05-11-2002, 11:46 AM
I think that studying medicine outside of Canada has some big advantages. You get to live in another country and culture, and get to experience another country's approach to health care. Not to mention how fun it would be!
However, I think that if practising in Canada is your ultimate goal, that it can certainly be difficult. Canada currently presents some large obstacles to a would-be returning physician who has graduated from an outside medical school.
Here's a couple of interesting articles from the CMAJ:
This first URL is a letter written by a medical student at the University of Sydney who was then accepted by UBC medical school and subsequently abandoned his studies in Australia to return to Canada.
This is an interesting article regarding Canadian who have gone to Irish medical schools, but the correlation to Australian medical schools is still there. Sandra Banner, the Executive Director of CaRMS, is quoted here as saying there may be the potential for more IMG spots in the future, but none as of yet.
My own conclusion is that studying abroad is an amazing experience, and one of my high school friends is currently studying medicine outside of Canada. However, people should expect that Canada currently has a lot of barriers up to returning here to practise medicine. Hopefully those barriers will not still be in place by the time you graduate so that as a Canadian you have every opportunity to return to your home country, but it's important to be aware that the current situation doesn't favour you if you wish to return to Canada.
UBC, Med 3
05-11-2002, 08:06 PM
I know of these articles you speak of... and I know people here that know your friend at UBC. But those articles are almost 2 years old, and many things have already changed since then. I'm living with a guy that interviewed for that article. The fact is, most people want to stay here and don't even bother with applying to Canada once we are here. The truth is that Canada needs doctors. There are many Canadian IMG's studying in great schools abroad.... and you must be in a good school (sorry Carribbean schools) because that DOES make a difference when residency directors look at your application. Maybe that's why only 16% were matched with 50 some spots left over after the 2nd round..... hmmm do you think that everyone that applied as an IMG went to great schools? In the past, most Canadian IMG's were landed immigrants with degrees from their home country, schools not necessarily up to par. But that is different now. Over the last 2-3 years, many Canadians have left to go to top schools in the UK and Australia because of the cutbacks 10 years ago. The proof is right there in the pudding. And considering most of us have talked to Sandra Banner one-on-one, and been encouraged by her responses, we feel we are getting a great experience down here that others only dream about. WE ALL KNOW IT WILL NOT BE EASY to return to Canada, but so what. I will have lived in Australia for 4 years, and if I wanted to stay and practice here I could. I don't want to come across as defensive... maybe I am. The stigma of being an IMG is certainly fallible. There is NO way the small increase in enrollment in Canadian medical schools is going to offset the troubles Canada faces in the future... if you think it will you're being ignorant. Cities like Guelph and Peterborough (yes I'm an Ontario boy) are underserviced.... c'mon. These are cities for crying out loud. Where are they going to get the doctors? I want to practice medicine..... where, it doesn't matter. I only miss the hockey anyways!
05-12-2002, 10:22 AM
Hi, just wanna ask some questions...
1. How fierce is the competition to get into meds in Australia? Since you mentioned it's a great school, I would guess that it is going to be about the same as the schools here.
2. Is it pretty easy to get Australian citizenship upon graduation (without having to marry an aussie)?
Good luck in your studies!
05-12-2002, 01:38 PM
I agree with you. Medicine is a wonderful field, and from what I hear, Australia is a wonderful place to be. I only bring the previous post to mention to state that returning to Canada currently isn't easy. I would hope that these issues are resolved for the future, but at this time they are not.
If returning to Canada isn't an issue (I can think of lots of places in this world where it'd be amazing to have to opportunity to live and work) then it's all good. I hope I didn't come across as being dismissive, far from it. I hope that you'll continue to post and share your experiences with us. :)
UBC, Med 3
05-14-2002, 09:17 AM
The competition is getting very intense for spots in Australia. You have to remember that some schools are still using the 6 year program, as our counterpart in Sydney is doing... University of New South Wales. Most of the graduate entry schools (there are 5 I think... look it up) have recently (last 3 years) been taking students from North America. Yes, there are plenty of American students you have to compete with since the exchange rate is fantastic for them.... they're the ones always buying the drinks. I got in with a GPA of 3.7 and an MCAT score of 30, but there are others here with lower scores than that. The cutoff for the International scholarships this year (based on MCAT scores only) was a score of 35 and over. But it changes every year. You will have to either fly to New York if you live on the east coast (was just 2 weeks before 9/11 this year!) or San Francisco if you live on the west coast for your interview.... not a bad holiday in itself. I was average with my scores if that helps.
Regarding your 2nd question, many students try and succeed in gaining "permanent residency" once they are here. You do not want "citizenship", just permanent residency status. This drops you from $32000 AUD to $6500 AUD a year!!!! Quite a drop. If you succeed, then your tuition for medical school will be cheaper than your undergraduate tuition that you paid in Canada (with the exchange rate...). You can apply as soon as you get here. Most will have to apply as "skilled independent migrant" unless you have a relative to sponsor you. Migration here is tough. It's based on a points system, which was actually just raised from 110 points to 115 points last week by the gov't., making it harder to "pass". For example, you get 30 points for being able to speak and write in English fluently, 5 points for speaking another language fluently other than English, 40-60 points depending on your past education (diploma, degree, certification....) etc... The immigration site is "www.immi.gov.au" if you want to look and find more info about it. However, Australia is still one of the hardest places to gain residency status of any kind, much harder than Canada and the US. Just some people are lucky and the cards fall into place.... making it possible for them to apply and succeed.
05-14-2002, 09:27 AM
If you are Australian, getting into a medical school in Australia is just as tough and probably tougher than getting into a school in Canada. If you apply out of high school to the 6 year leaver schools, you must be in the top 99.8% of all the high school graduates for that year.... that is an insane number but it is true. The Aussie's in our program all did undergraduate degrees and wrote GAMSAT (the Australian MCAT) since it's a graduate medical program (GMP) just like Canada. For 180 spots at Sydney they had over 4000 applications and 500 interviews. And we all think McMaster's stats are crazy.... my roommate was an interviewer for this years intake and was blown away. For example... in my PBL group there is one licensed vet, 2 Ph.D students, 1 arts student, 1 American student with Master's and 3 more with medical science degrees.
Hope this helps!
05-19-2002, 01:39 AM
Know someone age 26 with 2 degrees from the University of Ottawa (biochemistry and physicology) who did not even get 1 interview across Canada, but was accepted into Med school in Australia. But don't ask me her marks, as she is not telling. Suspect not that great. However, she turned down the opportunity and decided to do another degree in Canada:)
09-25-2002, 07:18 PM
Hi, I have an interview with U of Sydney, but since I applied late, I missed the ones over in North America and will have to fly to Sydney for the interview. What are the chances for an international applicant once granted an interview? What is the interview like? What are your recommendations? I need to decide quickly whether I should fly there as I have to book the tickets.
10-21-2002, 10:51 AM
a very interesting debate is arising on the studentdoctor.net website regarding australian schools..please take everything with a grain of salt but it does pose a few questions you might want to ask the australian schools before venturing that way
here is the link:
10-22-2002, 06:48 PM
Thanks for the link. :)
UBC, Med 4
10-23-2002, 10:55 PM
no probs ian..anything for the moderator:)
here is another link where this character 'usmedstudent' has specifically stated things that one can ask the aussie medical schools..the only unfortunate part of these posts is that he seem to be the only one giving major opinions, but still nevertheless he raises very key questions
01-25-2003, 05:17 AM
I put up a post about Australia in another thread but again I wanted to make a few things clear,
1) I'm really sorry for saying this to the Canadian Grads (I didn't even do an undergraduate degree in Canada, though I was excepted to Waterloo for computer engineering) but when I heard about the Uni of Tasmania I applied directly from highschool (so I'm in a 6 year program) but from what I have seen I think that Australia is a better place to practice than Canada
Here is why:
a) Australia has currently adapted a two-tier healthcare system that I think is superior (in some ways) to the Canadian one. The main reason is that it doesn't place a cap on the salary of the physicans even though the government does reimburse the patient. So in a sense we have a hybridization of the American and Canadian healthcare system. Thus the poor still can afford healthcare (because the government will pay for them) and those who want access to private healthcare can also buy it. Since I have had a lot of clinical exposure as well as the fact that I did have to get a chest x-ray in both Canada and Australia I will tell you from personal experience that as a Canadian citizen my experience with the healthcare system in Canada was awful. I only had a $200 a year insurance plan in Australia and I got better service! I didn't have to wait 2 months in line to get a radiologist to check some subcutaneous lumps (luckly there was nothing wrong) in Australia! (I checked them out in both countries just to make sure the docs got it right) and the best part was that in Australia the insurance covered 100% of the costs.
So the bottom line is that the doctors in Australia are just as equally well recognized and are certainly better paid, they are offered more incentives to stay (such as free houses...etc etc) and considering you have completed a medical education in Australia you are not an IMG!!! They can not discriminate against you like the Canadian Authorities can.
So you consider (Don't get me wrong though I really do love Canada a lot) -26C weather and a capped salary and I think that most ppl studying in Australia will agree with me, that our intial goal of coming back may have been a silly though afterall.
P.S. I'm not trying to put anyone down, so please don't become defensive!
I can see where you're coming from redshifteffect, but there is one thing that is worth mentioning regarding reasons Canadians studying meds abroad want to come back. No matter how nice the weather is or how one feels another health care system is more conducive to an MD, for some Canada is still home. I'll be perfectly honest I HATE the cold and sometimes I HATE the strains on our health care/education systems. Having said that, though I want to visit as many countries as possible, I will always consider Canada home and can't see myself having a career anywhere else. Despite our shortcomings, I still think we live in a great country with great people and want to contribute to the good 'ole maple leaf if and when I do become a doctor.
01-25-2003, 12:53 PM
Hey I know where you're coming from too...I had a Canadian flag waving from my room window all year while I was down under...but trust me the situation changes once you experience studying/working in a different country. All I'm saying is that I wanted to come back too, but now that I've seen more of Australia, if I dont' come back it won't really be such a great loss.
02-17-2003, 12:19 PM
Hello everyone. I've just noticed that there seems to be no info on average GPAs/MCAT scores on this forum for Australian Medical schools. 8/8/8 is the min suggested MCAT score on some webstes. I called a school and they mentioned that above 3.3 GPA would be best but they will not release statistics regarding their previous incoming classes. (Seemed a little strange but someone must have an idea of what is the bare minimum and what is competitive). Please let us all know!!!
03-03-2003, 01:36 PM
I was reading your posts and I had noticed that you mentioned that you had applied for med school right out of highschool.
I want to do the same thing.
How and where did you apply? what were the requirements? can you please fill me in on how it works.
Thank you so much for your help.
03-24-2003, 01:54 AM
Can you give me an email, I have some Q's for you.
03-26-2003, 02:48 PM
Here is a question: From what I can tell Australia will allow foreign Mds to practice in their country in underserviced areas (if the school qualifies). So if you go to school in Australia and then do your residency in the US, would it be feasible to go back to Australia if you wished? (Or is it a major pain in the #$@?)
I suppose that this seems silly and the obvious repsonse would be that if you intend on staying in Oz then why go to the US? Since Canada seems to have fools administrating the health care of the country this makes it very unlikely to return home. Either way I will have to migrate to a new country to practice in my desired field and I'm just wondering how to keep the most options open.
04-13-2003, 09:34 AM
Why stay in australia? well first of all it's a lot safer than the US with 9/11 and all. Also the money is fairly good here as well. Typical GP in Tasmania: about 300 000 to 500 000 AUD working 9-5 but in the US you could obviously make more but then you would have to work more. The good thing about going to an aussie school and then staying is that they consider you almost as one of their own (until you get their PR/Citizenship at which point YOU ARE ONE OF THEIR OWN). So you have an excellent chance of staying. As I have said in almost all my posts, I have a map of Canada/Flag in my room and I'm a really big patriot, I brag to everyone how great Canada is and how cheap electronics are etc. etc...but at the end of the day I'm going to stay where I'm accepted and where I can have a decent lifestyle. I mean there is a lot of good qualities about australia.
04-30-2003, 12:18 PM
Does the University of Sydney let you defer a year if you get accepted? And also, if you become apply to become a Permanent Resident todecrease your tuition, does that kick you out of Medical School?
I read somewhere else that they want you to keep paying International Student fees but that seems silly to me.
RunMD asked a similar question there.
04-30-2003, 07:00 PM
U of Syd allows deferrals only if you meet certain criteria...
1)deferral of one year if evidence of serious illness or misadventure that could not have been foreseen at time of application.
2) allow one to undertake an additional research year for an Honours degree and is provisional upon completion with the GPA that they want (i think B+).
About the student fee stuff for international/local.. i think the point is that they take you cuz you pay international... so you have pay international fees for the 4 years.. even if you do switch local. (i think you sign something prior starting saying that)
04-30-2003, 09:23 PM
Ah, thanks traveller4ever.
That clears things up.
Are you at the U of Syd now?
I wonder if they would let you defer if you took a directed studies course as an unclassified student and you wanted to finish up your research project.
04-30-2003, 09:36 PM
Is there no delete option for posts?
I was trying to reply to another thread but accidently posted here.
I'm going to edit this so it's relevant...
This thread was linked on this board in an earlier message: www.studentdoctor.net/for...genumber=5 (http://www.studentdoctor.net/forums/showthread.php?s=af3ea6c786e4eef64c28ea546e8b67cc&threadid=33647&perpage=20&pagenumber=5)
but the replies by USMedStudent there are making my head spin!
It's like a VR passage gone horribly wrong.
05-01-2003, 08:01 AM
no i'm not at u of syd at the moment. i have a deferral :)
i know i had to get my registrar to write a letter and get my research supervisor to write a letter as well.
yeah, USmedstudent provides a different viewpoint, but hey, who knows, maybe it's all partial truths/slanted viewpoints of things. i just take it with a grain of salt.
but the u of syd registrar said there are tons of canadians studying med there, so in due time will we see where they all go afterwards.
05-01-2003, 06:40 PM
traveller4ever: I know two people going to school down there: One in Dental school and the other in Medical school.
I'd be more worried about returning to Canada afterwards...
It seems tough but then again, I don't see how else Canada is going to fill their doctor shortage if they don't accept IMGs.
05-13-2003, 09:30 AM
To apply out of highschool it depends which province you are from. I applied from Ontario so i had the added benefit of doing OAC's which meant that in all the schools I applied to (England/Ireland) when I was given admission they knocked a year off my admission. However in Australia they will not do this no matter what you have done (in some cases even if you have done an undergraduate degree). (This is the case with Tasmania which is particularly stringent). Now the main thing with a highschool admission is decide where you want to go: ex. do you want to go to a big city? Then try Monash, Melbourne, and Uni of NSW (in Sydney). Also be careful Uni of Sydney and Flinders DO NOT accept students out of highschool so rule them out now. You can also apply to Newcastle (I believe) and Tasmania. However these are smaller cities and you may not like the lifestyle. Other important considerations, marks, tuition and cost of living. For the first (and I guess most important) Monash and Melbourne are the hardest to get into, they require about a 95% OAC average. While I believe NSW would be third, and then Tasmania and Newcastle (there are more unis but i'm not too sure about their admission policies). This wasn't a problem for me, as I got into all that I applied to. Next is tuition, as obviously being in a more isolated state Tasmania has one of the lowest tuitions. Thas was my main concern which is why I chose this Uni. You can get loans from all the governments (US/Canada). Finally cost of living is reasonable in Tasmania, but it depends what you are used to. Some things are very expensive such as foods, and electronics. Though rent is good, you can get away with paying 70-100 per week in rent. (Depends where you live). I can't speak for the rest of the states in Australia, sorry :( All this considered that is why I picked Tasmania.
Finally to apply the easiest thing to do is visit the websites. www.utas.edu.au go the the international students section do a bit of reading and fill out the appropriate forms. They require a few things but you should get an acceptance within a couple of weeks if you meet the criteria and provided they don't require an interview (required in cases where the marks are low).
Can't speak for the other unis but the procedure is the same.
email address of prof in charge of admissions: email@example.com ask him all the questions you want.
Anyway see you later.
05-14-2003, 01:14 AM
redshifteffect: Do you know anyone who has completed their education in Australia and made it back to Canada sucessfully?
Also, what do you intend to specialize in?
05-17-2003, 12:44 AM
Yeah there have been reports of Family doctors training doing an extra two years in Newfoundland somewhere and then being allowed to practice. So it's possible.
I also read in the paper about some guy who was from the Carib. that is living in windsor and practicing in detroit.
I am not 100% sure what I want, but I really like internal med...so I might do that.
But if you want to come back to Canada i guess you haev to be realistic. As for me I'm not really considering Canada, I will either go to the US or stay here.
05-26-2003, 12:08 AM
Is it true the University of Sydney doesn't have exams until the end of 2nd year???
What happens if you fail it?
07-31-2003, 10:09 AM
Hahah we at Tassie have cumulative 2nd year exams that count for 100% of your mark (well I'm exaggerating only 85% but that's still bad) so that means everything from first to second year is tested..funny you say that though cause we just got our results back for sem 1 and 15 out of 80 failed....
So what happens? Well we have a saying here "You're @#%$ mate"
08-03-2003, 10:00 PM
Holy crow. So do you get kicked out of Med school if you fail?
How does one keep up for such an exam???
Do they have tests throughout the year to insure that people are keeping up with the material???
08-07-2003, 02:56 AM
It's hard enough to learn new material let alone refresh old stuff.
Well if you keep plugging away at it though you can kinda make links between things and then if you remember the general idea then you can at least get a pass.
Anyway I'm sure it's not as bad as it sounds. I don't wanna say it's easy but if you're not dedicated I doubt you should be studying medicine overseas (or in Canada) but if you are than I'm sure you'll be okay.
Honestly though it's really important to learn the basics so I guess this is a good way of getting it into your head.
Oh about getting kicked out here are the rules:
Most of the subjects in first and second year are full year courses. So if you fail anything in one semester if you can bring up your average enough in second semester then you could be alright (but this is not the case for every subject). If your overall marks are still below a pass within 2-3 percent they may offer you a supplemental paper, if you pass this you pass (well you get a "faculty" pass which is a stain on ur record but at least you can proceed). If your marks are too low to get a "sup" or you fail the sup then you must repeat the WHOLE year. If you fail this year again then you are kicked out of the medschool.
And no there are no tests. You might have 1 or 2 formative tests (don't count) if you are lucky but other than that it's a self directed learning approach...so it's not highschool where they spoonfeed you. That's why some ppl. fail.
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