choice, GDL, Guadalajara, liscense, mexico disease, Universidad Autónoma de Guadalajara, why uag
“Why I chose UAG” may be better titled, “Why I chose Mexico”. This is the question most people have, once I inform them I’m going abroad for medical school. I am almost getting tired of hearing, “but why Mexico, aren’t you scared?”; “what do your parents think of this?” Many of the bloggers who attend international medical schools usually include information as to why they did not attend certain others, I’m not going to do that. This is mostly (entirely) because I didn’t care enough about the other schools to research them, even for myself. If you are expecting a comparative table or chart entitled “UAG vs ____”, you will be disappointed.
The UAG is the only medical school I applied to, domestically or abroad. Crazy, right? I took my MCAT only once and have not applied to any other school. I want to put that out there for those who may be wondering if I chose UAG as a last resort. I did not.
It was my first and only option, and here is why:
- Opportunity: Three of my life’s goals are to, become a doctor, study abroad, and to become a fluent Spanish speaker. Not only will I be able to master conversational Spanish, but I will be able to interview patients in Spanish using proper terminology.
- Location: UAG is in a “real” city. It is located in Guadalajara (city), Jalisco (state), Mexico. Guadalajara (GDL) has a population of over 1.5 million people, making it Mexico’s 2nd largest city. No more than 20 minutes from my house in GDL, I can find a Wal-Mart, Costco, Sam’s, Starbucks, and a 24 hour grocery store. If I get bored and have free-time (which I doubt) I can easily go to a museum, mall, concert, or play. I don’t like the idea of living on a sparsely populated city/island island with limited resources. I also love the idea that I can fly directly from GDL to my hometown in less than 3 hours.
- Disease Presentation: I have a vested interest in infectious diseases and public health so being about to see tropical infections on a regular basis is great. Being in Mexico, I will get to see diseases that I could only read about in the US. Examples include: Dengue Fever, Cholera, Malaria, Filariasis, Leishmaniasis, Onchocerciasis (River blindness), Typhoid Fever, and American trypanosomiasis (Chagas’ disease).
- License: The UAG graduates are eligible for license in all 50 states.
- Finances: The UAG’s tuition is cheap compared to many schools ($22,000/yr). In addition, its students are able to receive Stafford (Title IV) loans. This makes the UAG one of the few foreign schools where this is true. The UAG students can receive Title IV loans because it is accredited by the U.S. Department of Education. Another bonus is the cost-of-living in Mexico is considerable lower compared to almost all cities in the US and Caribbean islands.
- Reputation: The UAG is a “real” university. It is the first private university in Mexico, since its doors have opened in 1935 it has graduated more than 100,000 professionals. It currently has a student body population of almost 16,000. The university has five regional campuses and offers 52 undergraduate careers, 28 masters and 3 doctoral degrees. I am comforted that my school does other things than teaching medicine, and has been doing it for a long time. Since the International Program began in the 1960’s, it has graduated more than 13,000 physicians practicing in the United States, Puerto Rico and Canada. From my limited experience, though UAG is a foreign school, it tends not to be lumped together with the other schools in the Caribbean.
I know that the UAG is not a perfect school, but it’s the perfect school for me. No, I’m not getting paid to write this. Though I haven’t started classes yet, and haven’t even moved to GDL, I know I’ve made the right decision. Living in Mexico and attending UAG is not for everyone, so I’m not trying to convince anyone. However, I am biased.
I just came across your blog. I truly like what I hear. Right now, I am considering UAG for the exact same reasons you mentioned above. I would love to hear about your experience thus far. Please email me with any advice/feedback about UAG. I would greatly appreciate it. Thanks 🙂
If you are considering attending UAG, I think you are making a good choice. Make sure however that you weigh all your options and know what you are getting in to. I hope that my posts will continue to encourage you and answer most of your questions.
Hey guadhelpme, have you started yet? I am graduating in 6 weeks and i am thinking of attending uag in less than 6 months. I have heard a lot of horrible things and a few good things about the school and im not sure what to do.
Yes, I started this January. So I have been attending UAG for over two months. I was surprised that the school was not nearly as horrible as projected on ValueMD. There are times when you are like . . . “are you guys serious?” But those moments are far and few between. I actually love Guadalajara and like UAG, but not everyone does. Most of my classmates have a positive or neutral opinion about the school. If you are someone who has traveled or is familiar with Latin culture, nothing should really surprise you. If you haven’t you should still be o.k. if you remember one thing, we are in Mexico and not the USA. They do things differently . . . LOL, and in Spanish.
Thats awesome! Thank you, have you had any discussions about obtaining residencies with students who have been there for a while? I really want to go but i still have a few worries. Housing, transportation, phones, and adjusting to Mexico mainly. Plus really worried about the loopholes you have to jump through to get back into the US. I read that UAG students lost some government funding, but don’t really believe that. Any feedback you could give me about any of these topics would be greatly greatly appreciated, Thanks for taking your time to answer questions!
LoL . . . sorry for the late reply. To my knowledge, no government funding has been lost. Guadalajara is not like the rest of Mexico, I know because I’ve been to Mexico many times before attending. You will be surprised how much like “home” it is. In regards to “loopholes”, there is no denying that it may be a little difficult to get back to the States, but the school is working on this. Per the Associate dean at the San Antonio office, UAG has secured a 3 year preceptorship program at a hospital in Arizona.
Diana RG said:
Hi!! I was wondering how are you doing now. I have my UAG interview soon and I really want an honest opinion about the school and what entitles to go there.
How did you interview go? Where did you end up going to medical school. I just started residency and I am about to start fellowship. My opinion of the school is positive. They gave me an opportunity to follow my dreams.
Hello, I’m also considering going to UAG but my only concern is that I don’t know a word of Spanish and the fact that the 3rd and 4th years are taught in Spanish worries me. Do you know if this would become a problem in the future? Thanks and good luck with your studies!
If you put in effort to learn Spanish then you should not have a problem gaining proficiency. The school offers Spanish classes, and there are a number of students who hire private tutors. There will be times during your first and second semesters will you be expected speak and/or understand Spanish (i.e. PMC). The only students that I haven’t learned Spanish by the end of two years or those did not put forth an effort to. You should be fine as long as you try.
Hey guadhelpme! I recently applied to UAG for spring term 2013. I also applied to few other caribbean schools to keep my options open. You’ve been studying there for this past 8 months, right? How is your experience so far?
How was your first semester at UAG? How were the classes and exams like?
My experience at UAG has been way better than what has been depicted in other blogs about the school. If you stay focused, study, and follow the rules, you shouldn’t have any problems. Classes can be a pain to attend and exams may seem impossible, but if you consistently invest your time you will be successful.
Hey guadhelpme! I was wondering if you could speak to me a little about the benefits of starting in Spring as opposed to Fall. When you apply to NYMC for your fifth year, do you enter a semester early? How does it compare and contrast? Thanks!
I will answer your questions in my next post, hopefully it will be up within a week.
I actually came to a similar decision a few months back & have only been slightly dissuaded by negative comments on the school, etc. However, it is my top choice then & now. My question: Without divulging your finances, how feasible do you think it is for someone with no real savings to pay for school, no family business, etc. to get by on US student loans? Thank you for your time & help!
Hi, I was wondering how UAG is like. Are classes all in Spanish? I am a senior in college and I am looking in applying to medical schools in California but UAG sounds like a good school to attend. What has your experience been like?
Great post, thank you. I am interested in UAG, but fear the difficulties of obtaining a US residency. I know this is a problem for those who study “abroad.” Do you know of any difficulties in obtaining residency positions with a degree from this school? Even though it prepares you for the USMLEs, I fear that just because it is outside of the USA, I will face unnecessary difficulty obtaining a residency. Thank you!
Finally…someone who feels the same-way as myself. I am only applying to UAG; for all the same reasons. Soon, the US will require being bilingual, if you really want to make money. In addition, think about all those diseases you only read about in the US medical books. This will be the best time of my life….not to mention the stories I can tell. Good Luck, to those looking for something different!
Hi there – email me. Thinking about coming in Jan. But doing the Mexican program
I just came across your post.. any thoughts or updates or suggestions from your personal experiences please?
Thank you for stopping by. I’m sorry that I have not been keeping up with the blog. I have recently completed residency and will now start fellowship this week. UAG gives you an opportunity to pursue your goals, you just have to be persistent.