View Full Version : U. Wollongong Q (Calling Lyndal?)

04-05-2009, 01:13 AM
After doing a bit of research on Australian schools, and watching users bicker back and forth, I'm still not quite certain as to the wisdom of applying to Australian schools, even for students who intend to practice in Australia...

From what I've read, it seems that U. Wollongong is the newest and most up to date (in terms of instruction methods and equipment) open to international students. The school seems very highly regarded by students at other schools, but I haven't heard anything from program directors who would potentially be selecting interns/residents. I'm very much interested in coming to Australia (from the US) to attend school and eventually practice, but I'm really worried about this "med student tsunami" everyone's talking about. I reason if I do end up deciding on an Australian school, that the responsible choice would be the school that's most highly regarded in the Australian medical community.

Can someone (;)) realistically comment on how Wollongong's graduates have/will be received by program directors and peer physicians? In the states, when a program opens up it takes a while for the school to gain a reputation and traction with residency programs (As the first class makes their way through residency and proves they're worth their salt), and I'm wondering if that's generally the case with Australian schools as well, and if the quality of the school attended by an international student has an impact on their chances of obtaining an internship/residency...


Lyndal @ UOW
04-05-2009, 08:25 AM
Hi! I hear you calling :) Greetings from beautiful Vancouver!

Basically the bottom line is that we have not yet had any graduates, so I cant tell you how they HAVE been received. That is the issue with all of the newer Australian schools (and there are a few of us) we are in some ways an unknown entity in North America. But not completely unknown, as I spend a significant time each year when Im here working with the big Universities and residency and credentialing bodies so that they know about our programme. As a complete off topic aside one of our surgeons was skiing in Whistler 2 weeks ago and sat on the chair lift next to a guy who was a radiologist at UBC. They did the "hi, where are you from" thing, and when my friend said he was from Wollongong, the dude said - "Wollongong... I've heard of that. Youve got a really good medical school at Wollongong havent you?" YAY my work is paying off!!!!

So... what can I tell you. Our first cohort of students are currently in third year in hospitals and practices across NSW and are being well received as clinically advanced students with a good grounding in the basics. The NRMP, CARMs, ECFMG, MCC etc have all looked at our programme and reacted positively and did not believe our stduents would have difficulty matching and in fact felt the early clinical contact may place them at an advantage in residency intevriews. Schools such as McMaster and UBC have been involved in our curriculum and we are being sought after to present our educational innovation in medical education circles around the world. We have not yet had any graduates to give you match statistics etc so if you were to apply here that is something you would need to feel comfortable with.

Hope that helps, happy to answer any other questions


04-08-2009, 12:42 PM
Hey Lindal,

Thanks for your response, it's good to hear your hard work is paying off!
My main concern was with the feasibility of landing an internship as an international graduating from Wollongong. I realize program directors in Australia might have a bias against international grads (they do here), but do you know how much of a barrier it would be realistically for someone coming from the U.S or Canada, speaking English as their first language?

Also, you said bodies like the ECFMG reviewed Wollongong favorably. Can you possibly comment on the timeline for Wollongong getting 50 state approval?(California, specifically since they seem to have the strictest requirements...)

Lastly, I understand that Wollongong incorporates a portfolio as a factor when considering admission. Can you comment on how items in said portfolio are scored? Are applicants evaluated based on the quantity or quality of their activities? If one area (achievment in human endeavor for example) isn't well represented, or absent entirely, but other sections have a strong showing, would the application be on the same footing as one that's more uniform, but has a lower level of engagement/fewer activities?

Thanks again!

06-07-2009, 10:40 PM
Look as a Canadian who graduated from Australia and who is doing residency there right now, there is no bias against you because you are an international student. After all you graduated with an Australian degree. The main problem will be your Visa Status (ie you will be on a 457 and not a PR or Citizenship) BTW ALL hospitals sponsor the 457...so unlike the US you won't have to try and find a hospital that sponsors this. However by government policy Australian PR/Citizens must be taken over 457 visa holders. This is only a problem for internship, after which you apply for your PR, then you are on equal footing with everyone else.

In Australia there is no standarised exam (USMLE, MCCEE, QE1 etc.) to distinguish good from bad graduates. So you will have to distinguish your self on your CV and Selection criteria, and in some cases an interview. You are better off using your summers to beef these things up (with Australian experience) if you are really interested in staying. There's no point using US or Canadian experience to try and get into Australia and not much point doing it vice versa.

However that being said Australia is far away from North America and are you sure you really want to stay here after graduation? You will likely have no family here and though it may not seem important you might want to think about it down the track. Lets say you choose to become a GP, that's a minimum of 8 years in Australia (4 years med school, 1 year internship, 3 years GP training). Many Canadians are lucky that they have gotten into good training programs and realise it was a better choice then the caribbean (where if you don't get into the US you realistically can't work anywhere else) but still feel really homesick.

If you're that kind of person then stay home and try medicine closer to home. Don't get yourself 250k into debt and realise you'd rather be at home then a doctor overseas.

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