"What are you planning to do after medical school? It would be great to get some insight to what Canadian medics plan to do after their studies in the UK."To be honest, the future can always change directions and I know I will have to be prepared for anything that life throws at me. My first choice is to stay in the UK and do my specialty training here as I know the system, and I have gotten to know quite a lot of doctors who can give me advice for the future. I will try my hardest to stay in the UK, but laws do change. Hopefully the law won't change to prevent international students who study in a UK medical school from practising in the UK. In my eyes, I have spent 5 years in the UK. Moving isn't easy. The last thing I want to do is moving back and forth between countries. When I set my mind to something, I like to stay on that track and I am a very determined and ambitious person. In a way some people see it as stubborn, but I set goals for a reason - it is something for me to look forward to and to work towards to. I used to be quite a high level athlete and giving up is not an option. I do not like to stray away from the goal and when I do, I do get disappointed. I set high standards for myself and yes I know staying in the UK will not be easy, but I have set my mind to it. I have moved my life over to the UK and I personally don't see much of a future for me in Canada.
Now I may be determined and ambitious, but I'm not going to shoot myself in the foot. Always have a back-up plan. Things can go wrong. Life can throw a curve-ball at you. Rules can change. Who knows. The future is unknown and the most you can do is to be ready. Yes I have my mind set to stay in the UK, but I am still planning to take the Canadian MCCEE so if push comes to shove and I have to go back to Canada, I can. Nothing worse than ending up jobless and stuck in that awkward grey area.
I know quite a few international students wondering about taking the USMLE. (Note: I am not trying to start an argument/debate with this topic - just a personal opinion. Sorry in advance if anyone takes this persona/finds it offensive...) Who doesn't want to live the "American Dream". So why am I not taking it? Because I am not seeking for the "American Dream". To be very blunt - I do not care for working in the US. Some people see it as a great opportunity to make some good money. Some people just like the environment more. How I see it - if you are looking for the "American Dream", I'm sorry to break it to you, but in today's economy - there isn't much of an "American Dream" anymore unless you become a very famous doctor. The US is a very competitive place. Remember not only do you have to take a sickeningly hard exam, but you also have to score well in it. There's no point in just scraping a pass - you have to have a competitive score to get a desirable job in the US. I personally have my mind set on a specialty and it is a very competitive specialty. If I wanted to go the US, I would actually have to ace the USMLE. I don't want to end up working in some small southern town in the states in the middle of nowhere. The UK schools aren't geared to take the USMLE. UK medical students are geared to become practising doctors...not to take a US registry exam. That means students who want to take the USMLE, have to spend a lot of extra time to study for the USMLE alongside with their UK course work/exams. It is a very tough thing to juggle and you really have to be determined to go to the US and be committed to do well. So do your research.
Having said that, those who are determined to go to the US and have their eyes set on the prize - will probably do well in the USMLE. These people would probably take the exam seriously and study hard for it. Some might not really care what specialty they want to go into. These people will probably get a job in a desirable location. I'm sure I wrote a post about priorities before. Personal preferences and priorities - what is important to you, may not be as important to the person sat next to you. To make your priorities work, you will have to make sacrifices. At the moment, my #1 priority is to get into my desired specialty. This will probably require me to make quite a few sacrifices as it is a competitive field. The most likely thing I will have to sacrifice is: location. Someone else who wants to do the same specialty may see location as a huge priority. He or she may rather stay in London than do specialty X or he/she may not mind doing specialty Y in order to stay in London. It is all down to you.
All in all, the future is a personal thing. Everyone has his/her own path. No one path is the same. Know your priorities and stick with them. Don't let someone else alter your priorities or talk you out or into things. It is your life at the end of the day.