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Thread: PUMS vs Lodz vs Semmelweis

  1. #1
    gonnabeagooddoc2012 is offline Newbie 510 points
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    PUMS vs Lodz vs Semmelweis

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    Hello everyone,

    Let me first explain my situation. I am Canadian and would like to practice in the USA so only California state approved medical schools are of my choice. I applied to Semmelweis and have been accepted (California state approved, so that is a 'go' option). I applied to Lodz because I though it was California state approved but turns out is not (dumb I know, although the school is suppose to be really good). So because it is not I have declined the offer. I have an interview for PUMS in June and am hoping that I get accepted obviously. I am applying to the 6 year programs as I have an arts undergraduate degree and did not take sciences. So I wanted a strong foundation in basic sciences and would rather spend 2 years in an environment that I can adjust to away from home then doing the undergraduate thing again.


    I know that some may say, stay in Canada or try the USA, in all fairness this is not an option for me, as I would like to move away. So I just wanted to clear that up and be as honest as possible so people know where I stand.


    So I am wondering if PUMS would be a better choice than Semmelweis or vice versa. I know PUMS has the NCBE exams which Semmelweis does not, but I am wondering how significant that would be?

    Pro's:

    Both cali state approved
    both have clinicals all over the world
    both very recognized medical schools
    both have very good teaching/facility reputations

    Is there anything that anyone could suggest why one is better than the other or why I maybe better off in one of these schools compared to the other? I have done a lot of research and other than the NCBE exam difference I am not sure what lacks between the two.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
    devildoc8404's Avatar
    devildoc8404 is offline Ultimate Member 12699 points
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    Everyone and their dog should say "stay in Canada or try the USA" because of the projected future for foreign graduates in the US (and the current state of foreign graduates in Canada). By going overseas -- especially starting now -- you are potentially putting yourself in a deep, deep hole with the possibility of not being able to work in the US or Canada, if you do not match. However, if you are all gussied up and ready to head overseas, then just make sure you are making an informed decision.

    Semmelweis has an excellent international reputation, and it is located in Budapest. Big positive points in that regard. I work with a colleague who attended the Semmelweis German language program, and he liked it very much. I do not know whether Semmelweis has US clinicals, but if it does then it would be my personal choice out of the two.
    I have no idea how Poznan (that is PUMS, right?) functions administratively, I have heard rumors that it is not fantastic in that regard, but I have no first-hand knowledge. Here is how I would break it down...

    International Reputation: Semmelweis > Poznan
    Clinicals: Uncertain... depends on whether Semmelweis has any USCE relationships. (EDIT) If not, then it is a tie, because it turns out Poznan has no USCE.
    Location: Semmelweis > Poznan
    Acceptance of Medical Diploma: Semmelweis = Poznan (Both are 50-state approved, and both offer EU diplomas.)
    Experience in Foreign Medical Education: Semmelweis > Poznan (Semmelweis has been doing it longer, successfully, in both English and German.)
    USMLE Preparation: Semmelweis < Poznan (I am basing that solely on the NBME. Lots of Semmelweis grads passed the USMLE and work in the US. Also, you can take the NBME exams no matter where you attend school, it is not like they are somehow unavailable if you attend a school that does not make them part of the curricular requirement.)

    Regardless, the best advice anyone can offer you is to make double-damn sure you have read up on the information regarding matching in the US after 2016. As a Canadian you are already at a disadvantage in that regard, because you will need a visa... adding a foreign diploma to the mix does not help you any if you are serious about working in the US some day. The situation is rapidly changing, and the pathways that worked even five years ago are no longer looking remotely as attractive.

    Good luck, wherever you go.
    Last edited by devildoc8404; 05-15-2014 at 03:25 PM. Reason: Updated info from a Poznan grad in the thread.

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  3. #3
    wieja77 is offline Newbie 512 points
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    Experience in Foreign Medical Education: Semmelweis > Poznan (Semmelweis has been doing it longer, successfully, in both English and German.)
    USMLE Preparation: Semmelweis < Poznan (I am basing that solely on the NBME. Lots of Semmelweis grads passed the USMLE and work in the US. Also, you can take the NBME exams no matter where you attend school, it is not like they are somehow unavailable if you attend a school that does not make them part of the curricular requirement.)


    I would like to know where did you get the information about experience in foreign medical education - I can tell you with whole certainty that PUMS has had international medical students since 1947 in the beginning they were students from Russia, after that from other countries of the Warsaw pact. in 1950s PUMS started to accept students from Africa and was leading University in communistic countries in educating foreign medical students. That has continued until they opened solely ED program. PUMS is the oldest Polish university that has educated international students, and since Semmelweis is in the country that was in Warsaw pact I have to disagree with that point. The only thing that I can agree on is that Semmelwies is doing it in German, all Polish universities dropped German as teaching language after WWII. Something to do with a grudge over war.
    Another thing is that Poznan uses Kaplan for their USMLE prep course. That is a nice course.
    But my opinion is , no matter who gives you the books you have to do the work, and if you work hard you can become the best doctor you should/ could be. ( it is not an army slogan)
    Last edited by wieja77; 05-14-2014 at 11:28 AM.

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    gonnabeagooddoc2012 is offline Newbie 510 points
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    Hi Devildoc8404,

    Thank you kindly for this information. I have to say that I am still very torn between the two. I am in the process of finding out more information. If it is not too unprofessional to ask and should there be time could you maybe ask your colleague what it was like to partake in Semmelweis clinical rotations or how he/she felt about them? Please let me know, if it is too much hassle I understand.


    If anyone has completed Semmelweis clinical years please let me know your experiences as it would be nice to have some insight about the clinical years and the process from actual students.

    Thank you.
    Last edited by gonnabeagooddoc2012; 05-14-2014 at 12:11 PM. Reason: forogt a word.

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    gonnabeagooddoc2012 is offline Newbie 510 points
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    Hi Wieja77,

    You seem to know a lot about PUMS. I am wondering if you could please tell me how the clinical years are structured. If you have any experience attending PUMS I would really like to hear about.

    Thank you kindly,

  6. #6
    devildoc8404's Avatar
    devildoc8404 is offline Ultimate Member 12699 points
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    @wieja77 - I was referring specifically to foreign language medical training, not international medical training in general. Hell, most schools accept foreign students, and have for a very long time. My own alma mater (MU-Sofia) was a shining star for foreign students throughout the East Bloc and Africa since way back in the day (that star has tarnished somewhat in the past decades, alas)... but that training was in Bulgarian. Sofia's English program is still something of a new-fangled invention that they are usually not managing very well... but it is a cash cow.

    Semmelweis' medical faculty has been around since 1777, which is a smidge longer than 1947, and it is safe to assume that they educated their fair share of foreign medical students during the past 237 years, since it is a world-recognized faculty. However, my point was that Semmelweis has been providing foreign-language medical training since 1983. They started with German and then added English in 1987. Poznan started their English training program in 1993. That is a decade, and it is more experience... which is exactly what I wrote.

    With that said, I think that the implementation of Kaplan is a good idea by Poznan, and it supports the idea that Poznan offers better USMLE prep... which is exactly what I wrote.

    Not sure how/why you would want to disagree with those points, they are pretty well established. It is not a slam against Poznan to say that another school has been doing something longer, nor is it a slam against Semmelweis to say that Poznan does a better job of curricular USMLE preparation.
    Last edited by devildoc8404; 05-14-2014 at 02:37 PM.

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    devildoc8404's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gonnabeagooddoc2012 View Post
    ...could you maybe ask your colleague what it was like to partake in Semmelweis clinical rotations or how he/she felt about them?
    That is no problem, but I am away on a research trip at the moment and will not be back in the hospital for another week. If you can wait that long, and if he and I are scheduled to work together, I will totally ask for you.

    "When I haven't any
    blue... I use red
    ."
    - Pablo Picasso

    BA - Oregon ° MS - BYU ° MD - MU-Sofia
    Clinical Research Fellow / Resident
    Fleet Marine Force Hospital Corpsman 1996-2003


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    CanadaPaul is offline Member 523 points
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    I am a PUMS 2013 graduate and I wouldn't recommend going the IMG route simply for the reasons DevilDoc outlined above. You're setting yourself up for failure by becoming an IMG and things are only going to get worse not better. That being said, if you're set on moving abroad I would personally pick Budapest over Poznan for the city alone. Budapest is an amazing city to live in, one of my favorites in Europe by far, whereas Poznan doesn't really have that much to offer. Don't get me wrong, it's still a nice city and I enjoyed my time there, but if I could have had it my way I would have much rather preferred to have been in Krakow or Prague. The reason I say that is you don't learn anything in the schools anyways, it's almost 100% self-taught. Make your peace with that now, and understand that if you don't have the discipline to sit and read for hours a day without anybody making you do it you will not achieve the grades necessary to return to the US or Canada and will most likely end up doing a foundation year in the UK if you're lucky.

    Also make peace with the fact that unless you want to do Family Medicine or Psych, you have almost 0% chance of returning to Canada. I am not saying these things to be melodramatic, it's simply a reality of being an IMG. PUMS does not have any relationship with any US institutions. If you want to do any clinicals in the US as a PUMS student you need to arrange and organize everything on your own, and as a Canadian you are only allowed to do 12 weeks away from your home school (vs. Americans who can do 16 weeks abroad). Also, in the six year program you are not reimbursed for the electives you do abroad (vs. the four year program where we got money back). If the school in Hungary has a relationship with a US school or hospital then you should go there for sure as that is a major advantage in terms of getting US clinical experience (a lot of programs require at least 1 year of US experience in order to be able to apply to them), as well as for getting good LOR's.

    If the school in Hungary doesn't provide NBME's then just purchase them yourself and make sure you are scoring well above average, if you're not then you are just wasting your time and money. I know you don't want to hear this, but seriously consider going to a school in the US vs. abroad. It will save you a tremendous amount of hardship in the future. Otherwise, consider English speaking countries like Ireland, as they are also regarded higher than non-English speaking countries. Finally, I know you want to make sure your school is 50 state approved, but be aware that just like Canada, you have almost 0% chance of actually getting a residency position in California - it's not going to happen.

    Hope that helps, choose wisely and really make sure you know what you're getting yourself into. In my class, of the people who applied to the US and Canada, maybe 30% Matched, but not necessarily in a good program if you catch my drift. If I could do it all over again would I choose to be an IMG? Definitely not.
    devildoc8404 and US4EEMD like this.

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    devildoc8404's Avatar
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    Nothing like the words of (recent!) experience, CanadaPaul. I hope everything is working out for you, and I wish you well.

    "When I haven't any
    blue... I use red
    ."
    - Pablo Picasso

    BA - Oregon ° MS - BYU ° MD - MU-Sofia
    Clinical Research Fellow / Resident
    Fleet Marine Force Hospital Corpsman 1996-2003


  10. #10
    gonnabeagooddoc2012 is offline Newbie 510 points
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    Hi CanadaPaul,

    Thank you for the post. Very informative. Can you tell me a little about your clinical experience with Poznan? Did you complete the 4 or 6 year MD?

    I see that they have this new contract with the Global Health Learning Opportunity Program (GHLO). I am assuming that this was not in place when you where attending the school? Do you know anything about it?

    Putting the idea of staying in the USA/Canada aside to do a medical education, it seems like I am leaning towards Semmelweis by the day. They do have American affiliates plus you get to start supervised patient contact after first year.

    To do placements after first year these are the approved schools you can take part in for anyone that is interested (Please see attachment 1).
    Attached Files Attached Files

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