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Foreign Student Series #23: Medical School

I’m Gwen Outen with the VOA Special English Education Report.

This week, as we continue our Foreign Student Series, we answer two Chinese listeners. Jian Liu and Katie Cai both want to know about the possibilities for international study at an American medical school.

One hundred twenty-five schools train future doctors in the United States. The American Medical Association says more than sixteen thousand people are in their first year of training. The current school year began in September.

The Association of American Medical Colleges says more than one thousand foreign citizens applied to be part of that group. It says two hundred seventy were accepted. And, of those, two hundred nineteen have started their medical studies. The association also says foreign students at American medical schools normally have studied for several years at an American college.

Foreign students who want to attend American medical schools must show that they can speak and write English. Foreign students also must be prepared to pay all the costs of their medical education.

Much of the financial aid offered by American medical schools comes from the federal government. Students who receive the aid must be American citizens or live permanently in the United States.

Officials say foreign students considering an American medical school have to know how they will pay for their education. They should be able to show detailed plans for paying their costs while in school.

Students receive an M.D., medical degree, after they complete the traditional four years of training. But medical school is just the first step for new doctors. Then comes a medical residency, several years of working with patients in hospitals.

Some medical specialties require years and years of additional training. Doctors must also meet the requirements of the state where they want to practice.

The Association of American Medical Colleges has information about medical programs on its Web site. That address is The site also provides advice about how to apply to an American medical school.

Our Foreign Student Series continues next week. All the reports are online at And our e-mail address is

This VOA Special English Education Report was written by Nancy Steinbach. I’m Gwen Outen.