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“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 hope I can keep this disposition throughout the duration of my academic career.  We’ll see. ;0)