When I was a high school student in Tanzania, my advisor made it clear that my chances of being accepted into a U. S. medical school were slim. As a low-income student, they warned me that a medical degree in the United States was financially inaccessible.
Despite this, I decided to take a chance and pursue my dream of becoming a doctor. I wanted to ensure that my fellow Tanzanians, especially those living in underserved areas, received appropriate care in a timely manner. I saw medical education in the United States as an opportunity to close the knowledge gap that currently exists and to be at the forefront of research on the diseases that afflicted my country. The first step to getting into a U. medical school is obtaining a visa.
As an international student, I applied to universities around the country that accepted non-U. citizens and provided financial aid to cover attendance costs. After being accepted to Yale University, I earned a degree in molecular, cellular, and developmental biology and conducted research on malaria and other parasitic infections for more than two years. I also took graduate courses during college and for another year afterward, and successfully graduated with a master's degree in public health from the Yale School of Public Health. When it came time to apply to medical school, I found few resources available for international students like me.
Many of my questions about visas during medical school, financial aid for international students, and the viability of applying for them went unanswered. Fortunately, I discovered F-1 Doctors, an online platform that offers specific resources for applying as an international student, including webinars, a personalized Excel spreadsheet on medical schools that accept international students and their respective financial aid policies, and links to private institutions that provide loans to non-U. citizens. F-1 Doctors also provides mentors to help students navigate the path to residency both in the United States and abroad. For those who wish to remain in the United States after graduating from a health professions school, F-1 Doctors can be a useful tool to strengthen a portfolio of health professionals that is representative of the diverse patient populations in this country. Attending medical school as an international student requires obtaining a valid student visa with specific restrictions such as the number of hours you can work while school is in progress.
These visa restrictions may vary depending on your country of origin and other factors. For aspiring doctors who are considering attending medical school as an international student, there are resources available to help you make informed decisions about your future. F-1 Doctors provides mentors who can answer questions about visas during medical school, financial aid for international students, and more.