Saturday, September 8, 2012

Cost of Attendance

So a lot of people have asked me why I chose to study in Poland, and the answer is quite complicated really. Most people think it's because I was too stupid to get into a med school in the states, the truth is I only applied at two schools in the states, and I didn't even finish the application for one of them. The other one was through the military at their medical school in Bethesda, MD (and yes, in case your wondering I didn't get in- but, that was to be expected). The one other school I applied to was St. Georges in the Caribbean, I got in despite royally pissing off my interviewer.

My #1 reason for applying at these schools was, cost of attendance. The military medical school was free, but required me to serve in the military for a few years after graduating (they also would have paid me while I was studying). St. Georges cost between $23,000-$32,000 depending on the term. Making it one of the more expensive schools in the Caribbean, but also one of the more well respected. The school that I currently attend in Poland is dependent on the exchange rate so last year I paid $17,000 for tuition, and this year I paid only $15,000. The average cost of medical school in the US is between $28,000-$47,000 depending on if the school is public or private. And remember this is only tuition we're talking about! You still have to calculate in cost of living! Which at minimum I would say $10,000 to be on the safe side depending on where the school's at, more even if the school is in some big US city where rent and food prices are more expensive.

To pay for school I usually take out $30,000 per year via Sallie Mae and I use the money left over at the end of the year to pay for the interest built up on the loan. So in sum I'm going to be in about $120,000 worth of debt when I finish (excuse me while I go cry). But, in US schools the total debt when finished is quite a bit more and ranges from $150,000-$180,000. That's between $30,000-$60,000 worth of difference! I could put a down payment on a house or buy a really, really nice BMW with that money!

There a a few other important facts as to why I chose Poland, all of which are good reasons, however in the end I do agree that you get what you pay for. Looking back, I might have considered the quality of education and my job prospects when I'm through. But, what a person can think in retrospect, cannot change what has already been done. What does make me feel better, is that after all this is done, I will be in less debt than most, and I can practice anywhere in Europe without jumping through insane hoops. Plus, by then the euro will probably be worth more than the dollar and paying back my loans might not be so bad.

There isn't a day goes by that I want to be out of here but, medical school isn't always about graduating and being finished, it's about the journey to becoming doctors and better people. What we learn here will not be the end of our education, a good doctor is always learning, always trying to better themselves and where or how much you pay in medical school shouldn't change that.

1 comment:

  1. I attended med school in Pakistan for a few reasons, financial efficiency being at the top of the list. Poland and Pakistan are super different, but from what I've read our experiences as IMGs are actually quite similar. It's nice to hear someone else share this perspective/ attitude. =)