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Thread: An Irish (UCD) Graduate's Experience with the "Atlantic Bridge"

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    IrishMBBChBAO is offline Newbie 513 points
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    An Irish (UCD) Graduate's Experience with the "Atlantic Bridge"

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    Hi all.

    I thought I would take a minute to discuss my experiences going overseas for medical school at University College Dublin.

    Biggest cons: the tuition (roughly $50K/year), limited residency options.

    Biggest pros: Dublin is a great city to live in (but expensive), the Irish degree is well-recognized worldwide, I learned a lot!

    Going to Ireland for medical school is a very expensive endeavor. Tuition is near enough 40K Euro which is over $50K based on today's exchange rate (which has improved since I was there).

    The cost of living in Ireland is much higher than in the US. It's like mid-town Manhattan expensive. Flights are expensive, especially when its time for residency interviews. I flew back 10 times for interviews and flights run $600-1400 round-trip which adds up fast, and isn't including hotels, rental cars, etc.

    I matched into Family Medicine in Kentucky, not my first choice of places to live (I'm from Maryland and wanted to return to my family). I didn't want Family Medicine either. I wanted Anesthesiology but I didn't match. My second choice was Internal Medicine but I didn't get that either. So now I'm in FM, which I think is too broad of a field, and I can't stand working with the kids. Given the choice go Peds or IM, avoid FM, most of my coworkers feel the same way and are hoping to get into a FM practice that only sees adults when they finish residency.

    Admittedly I got into FM because my board scores were only slightly higher than the US average which held me back.

    I had a buddy who didn't match at all. He did a year of research in California, and then matched into FM a year later. But he sweated it out big time with $300,000+ debt and no medical residency. His USMLE scores were at or just below the national average.

    I also tried to remain in Ireland but got rejected for an internship. I had gotten used to the Irish system, and I saw interns working 40 hour weeks and didn't want to go work twice the hours for the same money in the US.

    Being in Europe is awesome! I got to visit London, Paris, Rome, Greek islands, Egypt, & Istanbul while I was in med school!

    My total debt amounted to $318,000 for 4-years of tuition + all costs associated with medical school (but not including leisure trips).

    If I could do it again I would probably go to DO school and just spend my summers in Ireland. I would have gotten the residency of my choice, and it would have cost about half the price. You can do a lot of traveling with $150,000.

    Ultimately, Ireland was a good experience but due to the issues surrounding getting a residency of your choice it's best to attend medical school in the US. I'm still sorting out an avenue out of FM. It's too early to say if I "regret" going to Ireland but I definitely wish I had gone to DO school. I had a 31R MCAT (11PS/7VR/13BS) and 3.15 GPA. My country of citizenship is the US.

    Feel free to ask questions.

    I'll add more if I think of anything.
    Last edited by IrishMBBChBAO; 04-20-2012 at 05:59 PM.
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    devildoc8404's Avatar
    devildoc8404 is offline Ultimate Member 12699 points
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    Great recap of hour experiences, and congrats on your match! I hope all goes well for you in Kentucky... pretty country, and it will just be a few years.

    This is a great example of why it is best to stay in the US for med school if you can, MD or DO, when even the Irish schools are no guarantee of a first/second choice specialization.

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    bidiboom is offline Permanently Banned
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    IrishMBBChBAO hi thank you for your honesty and sharing the inner side of your experiences. You are so sweet, and saving lives even on internet. If you are always this person, you will be a gain for the people of wherever you go and work Besides no need to regret, because these kind of experiences help ripen and surface our beautiful sides; if you wouldnt live it, maybe you wouldnt be that much a considerate person. Every experience turns to something good in good guys

    I wish you the best Thanks again..

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    Debb is offline Newbie 510 points
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    I am considering applying to the Atlantic Bridge Program, but was wondering if the program is pass/fail (as US med schools are) or graded? Did you do the 4, 5, or 6 year program? And, did you do any US-based clinical your 4th (or final) year, or did you remain in Ireland during your final year of med school? Thanks!

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    JAMSisExcitement is offline Newbie 512 points
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    Need to get into Ireland!!!

    Thanks to much for all the info! I'm so sorry you had trouble with the Match and hopefully your FM residency has improved since your original post.

    I've just submitted my app to UCD, RSCI, and UCC - for the second time :-(
    I'm searching for any and all suggestions on how to beef up my application 'cause I was horrified last time when I didn't even get an interview. I've been waitlisted at US MD schools, accepted to numerous DO schools, as well as prestigious (i.e., Israeli, Australian) off-shore schools, and have no clue what happened with Ireland. Ireland's not only my first choice for med school but, as I'm in the process of obtaining Polish (i.e., EU) citizenship, a place I'd strongly consider permanently moving. I had a 3.0 Science GPA (3.3 overall, 3.6 for my MA in Sociology) but a 34 MCAT with lots of jobs/experiences I would've thought would've made me a competitive candidate, but they had zero interest in me. I thought maybe it was 'cause I'm American - I know the ABP is mostly a Canadian thang - but you just explained that you're American... Short of retaking the (new, long, daunting) MCAT and hoping for an even higher score (I taught prep so hopefully it'll pay off), do you have any suggestions for how to peak their interest? I'm totally willing to promise them my first-born child (though they can't have my dog). Should I fly out to their California headquarters and take the lads out for a pint? Any and all suggestions (short of suggesting I be willing to offer up my dog - I won't do it, I tell you!) will be much appreciated!!
    Last edited by JAMSisExcitement; 11-29-2015 at 11:36 PM. Reason: Typos

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    Tricuspid is offline Member 535 points
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    Quote Originally Posted by JAMSisExcitement View Post
    Thanks to much for all the info! I'm so sorry you had trouble with the Match and hopefully your FM residency has improved since your original post.

    I've just submitted my app to UCD, RSCI, and UCC - for the second time :-(
    I'm searching for any and all suggestions on how to beef up my application 'cause I was horrified last time when I didn't even get an interview. I've been waitlisted at US MD schools, accepted to numerous DO schools, as well as prestigious (i.e., Israeli, Australian) off-shore schools, and have no clue what happened with Ireland. Ireland's not only my first choice for med school but, as I'm in the process of obtaining Polish (i.e., EU) citizenship, a place I'd strongly consider permanently moving. I had a 3.0 Science GPA (3.3 overall, 3.6 for my MA in Sociology) but a 34 MCAT with lots of jobs/experiences I would've thought would've made me a competitive candidate, but they had zero interest in me. I thought maybe it was 'cause I'm American - I know the ABP is mostly a Canadian thang - but you just explained that you're American... Short of retaking the (new, long, daunting) MCAT and hoping for an even higher score (I taught prep so hopefully it'll pay off), do you have any suggestions for how to peak their interest? I'm totally willing to promise them my first-born child (though they can't have my dog). Should I fly out to their California headquarters and take the lads out for a pint? Any and all suggestions (short of suggesting I be willing to offer up my dog - I won't do it, I tell you!) will be much appreciated!!
    I would seriously consider taking US DO school offer if you don't get the US MD offer. If not, with EU citizenship, Ireland is probably your next best option. Ireland is more competitive than places like Australia and the Caribbean, essentially you are competing against Canadians who often have much higher GPAs and MCAT scores since Canadian MD schools in general are much harder to get into.
    Cardiothoracic Surgery Resident

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    JAMSisExcitement is offline Newbie 512 points
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    "DO" stands for DO Not Work in Europe

    Quote Originally Posted by Tricuspid View Post
    I would seriously consider taking US DO school offer if you don't get the US MD offer. If not, with EU citizenship, Ireland is probably your next best option. Ireland is more competitive than places like Australia and the Caribbean, essentially you are competing against Canadians who often have much higher GPAs and MCAT scores since Canadian MD schools in general are much harder to get into.
    Sadly the DO degree isn't recognized in Europe - at least the English-speaking places I'd be settling. I wish they'd change that and allow DO grads to sit for their boards and allow 'em to use MD or MBBS, just as we in the US allow MBBS grads to put "MD" on their white coats. But in UK/Ireland DO is a sort of chiropractic degree that does not confer physician licensure.

    Thanks for the advice though. I'll study extra hard for this new MCAT since all you Canadians will be gunning for my spot! I've met so many Canadian med students abroad and you guys REALLY do have it rough... I see you're at McMaster so congratulations on your acceptance (even if it's extremely belated)!
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    Tricuspid is offline Member 535 points
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    Quote Originally Posted by JAMSisExcitement View Post
    Sadly the DO degree isn't recognized in Europe - at least the English-speaking places I'd be settling. I wish they'd change that and allow DO grads to sit for their boards and allow 'em to use MD or MBBS, just as we in the US allow MBBS grads to put "MD" on their white coats. But in UK/Ireland DO is a sort of chiropractic degree that does not confer physician licensure.

    Thanks for the advice though. I'll study extra hard for this new MCAT since all you Canadians will be gunning for my spot! I've met so many Canadian med students abroad and you guys REALLY do have it rough... I see you're at McMaster so congratulations on your acceptance (even if it's extremely belated)!
    Thanks! I appreciate it It depends on where you would like to settle for sure, I was assuming that your ideal choice was to settle in the US, however if you would rather settle in Europe then that would pretty much put Ireland up there.
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    Is Ireland a good option without EU citizenship?

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    Torontomed is offline Member 527 points
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    Quote Originally Posted by Albus View Post
    Is Ireland a good option without EU citizenship?
    I personally don't think it is anymore. None of the non-eu grads got internships last year (you can contact ABP for the updated stats). The schools are great and obviously of high quality, but you could be stranded with 300k+ debt with no residency if you can't come back to North America.

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