Attending medical school in Taiwan


#1

Assuming I had a good grasp of written and spoken Mandarin (and a standardized test score to prove it), a background in the basic sciences, and Taiwanese friends and co-workers in semi-high places, how difficult would be, as a foreigner, to apply to and make it through a decent Taiwanese medical school? Would I have a reasonable chance of getting accepted?

I wouldn’t expect medical school here (or anywhere!) to be easy, even for native speakers. If you planned on flaming me for being some boob looking to add “MD” to the end of his name some easy way, kindly hold your fire. It’s just that number one, I have no chance of getting into a US medical school. A 24 year old with a non-science liberal arts degree, who was a straight B student, and who hasn’t been hustling for internships in hospitals since gradutation, is going to get laughed out the door, even with an MCAT score over 40. I just can’t compete, let’s be realistic.
Secondly, I’m not certain I’ll ever permanently leave East Asia. At this point, I don’t ever plan on moving back to my native USA for good. Attending medical school in the part of the world where I plan to live makes a lot of sense, if I’d want to offer care that’s culutrally suitable.

BTW, I also speak some Japanese, and wouldn’t be opposed to attending medical school in Japan either, if I could get my Japanese up to snuff.


#2

I don’t understand how this can be construed as a background in basic science. No matter. It would, I think, be very difficult to get into medical school here, as places are among the most sought-after of all university courses and competition is mighty fierce. I don’t think a liberal arts degree would even come close to cutting it.


#3

I taught at a medical school here for several years. My advice would be to visit a couple of them - obviously not NTU, but maybe Taipei Medical University, Yangming, etc. and talk to people. As a foreign student, you may be able to get in. Chinese ability has little to do with it at least as far as reading goes at first (texts are in English, and you’d be very popular come the 4th year pathology report that has to be written in English!) and I had a student (actually in the medical technology department) who was a native English speaker from LA, did not read Chinese (but spoke natively) and got through the whole 4 years without reading or writing a bit of Chinese. Straight medical studies might be a bit different (charting, etc.) but it might be possible.

The first year science courses are repeats of what kids here had in high schcool (remember that the MD here is a 7-year degree beginning right out of high school, which personally scares me a bit having taught them!) But remember too that the level of chemistry they come out of high school with is a good deal higher than most kids in the US would probably have…

Why not consider Chinese medicine?? That might also be an option…

In any event, I’d try to get to the schools and talk to a whole bunch of people. You’ll have a better idea that way of the individual admissions policies, which vary hugely.


#4

How comparable would you say the skills of Taiwan doctors with Western ones? It used to be that foreigners would go to the Adventist Hospital because they had foreign doctors (not anymore, I think), and I always wondered about that. Was it just so they could communicate, or because the medical standards here are lower? Their hospitals look the same as ours from the outside, but I have no idea how things really work.


#5

[quote]Was it just so they could communicate, or because the medical standards here are lower? Their hospitals look the same as ours from the outside, but I have no idea how things really work.
[/quote]

I don’t know about standards these days, but the last time I had a surgical procedure done at the Adventist (1990, AFAIR), the surgeon, nurse and I shared the operating theater with a janitor who was slurpily enjoying his midday biandang. I haven’t been back there since.


#6

I think the competition for medical schools in taiwan would be among the highest in the world. I used to teach a doctor english but never heard mention of foreigners studying medicine here and guess only ethnic chinese have done this or people from african countries that taiwan supports diplomatically.
I thought that the US system was one of the easiest in the world to enter if you had the spondoolicks to back it up (dollars)? A bit of medical experience , 100, 000 USD and bobs your uncle after 5 yrs or so??? Am I wrong? In Ireland there are places set aside for foreign students who pay that much and have pull (usually from their parents and grandparents having graduated from medicine in the same university). You can also get a scholarship if you are an outstanding sportsman with good grades!

I guess you would need some medical experience whether in paramedical training or some type of related activity. Medical technology is not difficult to get into but would not be at all related to being a doctor and wouldn’t qualify you much to go on and become one. The only science experience which I heard counted towards medicine were physiology majors.

What I suspect ironlady didn’t mention is that foreign student was an ABC. Foreign students who are ethnically chinese are preferentially treated. If you are caucasian you may have a hell of a time getting anywhere (let alone ABC). Still if you KNOW people as you say you do you may stand some chance if you can show a year or two experience in a medical related field. You’d better read chinese really well as I dont think they would be doing lessons and exams in english just for you and you may have to deal with drugs and patients.


#7

That’s true, he was an ABC. And going through the university application process with my friend now, I am learning more and more, to my disgust, of the preferential treatment afforded to ABCs on purely racial grounds. But that is another question.

For med school, hey, this is Taiwan, so give it a try. Talk to a lot of people and you never know whom you might meet – somebody with good connections might get you in.