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A Guide to Pre-Med Degrees Abroad

Medical school is a big commitment for 20-somethings (and anyone, really). “Scrubs” and “Grey’s Anatomy” looked like fun places to be a doctor, but let’s face it, it’s going to take a lot of work. Deciding to pursue medicine as your career means you’ll have years of studying ahead of you. Once you complete your pre-med requirements, you can expect four years of medical school and three years of residency. So in reality, you might become a legit MD by the time you’re... 30? That is a long time with your nose in the books! Why not take a break from the monotony and the traditional track by attending international schools that offer pre-med?

Why Earn Pre-Med Degrees Abroad

Since you are interested in pursuing a career in medicine, you’ve clearly got the “caring” gene (yep, that’s a real medical thing!). Earning your pre-med degree abroad, whether at the best pre med undergraduate schools or at an advanced level, will give you hands-on experience in a foreign country; so, you’ll get to learn new approaches to medicine from a diverse cultural lens as well as the direction to determine the specific field of medicine you want to practice.

A degree abroad in pre-med will demonstrate your willingness to experience the extraordinary and unfamiliar. By having an open mind and the desire to step out of your comfort zone, you will be more well-rounded and stand out from other med school applicants, which will increase your chances of being accepted to a top-notch medical school program later on down the road.

This type of international degree is perfect for pre-med students with a desire to work in medicine and international development. By studying and living in a foreign country, you will gain firsthand knowledge and an understanding about the communities you want to serve when you are a doctor.


You know you want to earn your international pre-med degrees, but you’re unsure what country you want to move to. Many universities around the globe offer pre-med degree programs, so it boils down to your interests. If you are interested in learning a certain language, research programs in that country. If you desire to work as a doctor in a particular country once you finish med school, choose a program in that country to give you a leg up on your future plans.

While most pre-med degree programs in Hungary for international students are located in larger cities, don’t let that hold you back from keeping this top European city as an option. Hungary is one of the best places for studying pre-med because you would likely attend school in a big city like Budapest, and at the same time still feel a sense of old world charm because the entire country has preserved its history through its architecture, avoiding modernity. It is a country that is influenced by bordering cultures such as Romanian, Austrian, and Transylvanian — therefore, a distinctly unique location.

Earning your pre-med degree abroad will require a lot of work, motivation, and dedication, which can be stressful, especially when you are not used to your surroundings. Why not study in a country with a laid back ambiance? Spain is known for having a comfortable, relaxing atmosphere, where people are friendly and peaceful. You can earn a four year degree at Saint Louis University - Madrid Campus, which is a multicultural community of students from over 60 different countries. Outside of the big cities and tourist attractions, Spain boasts miles and miles of beautiful, lush countryside to explore in your downtime.

Australia is your best bet if you desire a location with the perfect match of historical links to the West and economic ties to the East. This sixth-largest country in the world, and the world’s largest island, makes for a one of a kind experience of history, culture, and geography. The University of Melbourne where you will be integrated with local students in your lectures, tutorials, extracurricular activities, and field trips. If you are an adventure seeker, Australia is a country surrounded by beaches, containing the outback, rainforests, rugged wilderness, the Great Barrier Reef, and national parks to explore.

If you’re interested in a top-notch education at schools that offer pre med internationally, consider earning your pre-med degree in the United Kingdom. The United Kingdom not only offers a British experience abroad, it is also an international one because the UK is globally connected to more international students from around the world. You can earn your degree at a reputable university while enjoying big city life, interacting with students from other cultures such as Asia and India, and being just a short train ride away from dozens of European countries to explore in your downtime.

If you desire to really make a difference in people’s lives, consider a pre-med degree program in India. A country with high levels of poverty, India is a place that will offer a rewarding experience through hands-on training in the medical field. It’s a conservative country with many customs and traditions unique to India, which can be a challenge to foreigners, but at the same time, an eye-opening experience that will help you see the world through a different lens.

Pre-Med Degree Programs

With appropriate planning, it’ll be a smooth operation for students to earn a pre-med degree abroad. Depending on your personal goals, you can find a program to fit your lifestyle, and at the same time, will help meet your prerequisite course requirements to enter medical school.

By choosing to earn your pre-med degree abroad, you will have your work cut out for you to ensure you meet the requirements for medical schools you plan to apply to back home. However, it’s possible to complete your entire pre-med undergraduate degree abroad. Just make sure that the program you choose has affiliations with U.S. medical schools.

Undergraduate degree programs abroad are shorter in general and more economical than earning your degree at home. Many programs allow you to complete your pre-med degree in three years, saving you time and money. Some programs may take up to six years with an internship, so you’ll be taking it slow and really immersing yourself in the country. 

Another option is to plan to actually attend medical school abroad after meeting your pre-med requirements. This option is less expensive and U.S.-based, and it’s wise for students who are interested in studying global medicine and for students interested in practicing in other countries. Plan to learn the native language early on because you will be required to speak fluently typically by your third year of medical school in real life patient interaction.

Benefits & Challenges

One of the biggest challenges to earning a pre-med degrees abroad is thorough planning. The path to medical school is a long one with many tough courses that require a lot of studying, so you need to have your ducks in a row early on. If you plan to transfer to a U.S. or Canadian institution for medical school, you’ll want to make sure that the pre-med program you choose is an official study abroad program as defined by the American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS).

Medical schools are looking for qualities that will set you apart when reviewing your application. Earning your pre-med degree abroad will do just that. Plus, you will likely have an opportunity for good scholarships, grants, or special opportunities that you wouldn’t receive by earning your degree at home. An international pre-med degree shows admissions boards (and yourself) exactly the stuff you’re made of. It demonstrates to future employers that you are willing and capable of learning your field of study from other cultures approaches. It also proves that you can learn and adapt in unfamiliar, challenging situations.

Earning your international pre-med degrees will be both personally and professionally rewarding and will help in future medical practice and patient interaction. You’ll also round out your resume early on with international experience of learning your craft in a multicultural environment. You will have enjoyed adventures and experiences abroad that others in your profession probably never even considered. Your life will be richer, and you will also have fun along the way!

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A Guide To
Pre-Med Degrees Abroad


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