Study Abroad Opportunities for Pre-medical Students
by John T. Hansen, Ph.D.
Associate Dean for Admissions
Professor of Neurobiology and Anatomy
UR Medical Center
The University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry encourages students interested in careers in medicine to sample the breadth of learning opportunities offered by their undergraduate institutions, including study abroad programs. Exposure to a different culture, the acquisition of foreign language skills, the ability to navigate one's way in an unfamiliar country, and the opportunities for growth in cultural understanding all bode well for success in today's quickly changing world. Study abroad programs foster independence and expand personal horizons in ways that few other opportunities can match.
The School of Medicine and Dentristry Admissions Office encourages students to considering even delaying application to medical school to enrich their international experiences or, at the very least, taking one or two premedical courses as part of their study abroad experience. Most medical schools will not object to a single premed course being taken at a foreign college or university and some, like Rochester, may even be comfortable with the satisfactory completion of several science courses abroad as long as the MCAT exam scores are representative of the knowledge acquired. Most importantly, students who participate in study abroad programs usually present with a level of maturity and cultural sophistication that is highly valued by medical schools and is a prerequisite for today's cross-cultural competency.