Posted by Adam as Medical Student Loans
As I am nearing the end of my journey through medical school I have been more and more worried about paying back my loans. At the time of application I was just excited to be given the opportunity to study medicine even though growing up I never wanted to be a doctor. After finishing a degree in Canada I realised that a bachelors isn’t going cut it in the real world. The options I had at the time included either continuing in my field while pursuing a masters or PhD, apply to dental school, pharmacy, or medicine. After 4 years of undergrad I realised that I couldn’t see myself sitting at a bench doing experiments the rest of my life while getting paid less than the average tradesman. So I pursued the professional school path.
I studied for the dental admissions test and applied to schools in Canada and the United States. Got into a school in the US but the tuition was way too much and decided to reassess my future. During that time I got hooked on a little show called “Scrubs.” I must of watched every single episode out at the time at least a dozen times. Every time I watched it I wanted to become a doctor more and more. So I ditched my dental dreams and followed the path of becoming a doctor.
Getting into medicine in Canada is actually quite tough given the fact that the government hasn’t opened up any new medical schools in recent years or increased the number of spots to meet the country’s demand for doctors. I was disappointed in my own government. The very country that provided me with endless opportunities denied me of my dreams – albeit a dream that I didn’t put too much thought into at the time.
I didn’t want to go to medical school in the US or Caribbean mainly because I knew I wasn’t going to be able to afford it so I didn’t bother applying there. Plus there’s something about the Caribbean that’s not appealing to me. My views on that at a later date. At the time Australia seemed like a reasonable place to study. It’s a commonwealth country similar to Canada but with better weather. The tuition was reasonable and back then the exchange rate was decent. All of which made me want to move there. The only downfall was that it was so far away making it difficult to see family and to have a long distance relationship. However, after having spent 4 years here I feel as though this has become my second home. I probably won’t be returning back to Canada to practice medicine anytime soon.
When I got into medical school I made the mistake of applying for lots of student loans. To be honest, the interest rate and terms were very attractive at the time. However, having accumulated almost $120,000 worth of debt over the course of my medical school education, I’m starting to freak out about having to repay it all back even though the current Canada bank interest prime rate is at 3%. Medicine is becoming more like a business in which only the rich can afford. I am jealous of some of my friends who will leave medical school debt free.
Now that the Australian dollar is higher than the Canadian dollar, studying medicine in Australia is becoming more and more expensive. University of Queensland graduates on average would have spent at least $300,000 on their education, while University of Sydney will have spent just as much if not even more when you factor in the high cost of living in Sydney. Finding money to pay for school is becoming harder and harder if you’re a Canadian studying overseas given the fact that banks are reluctant to lend money out to people living overseas. So when thinking about studying medicine overseas, especially in Australia, make sure you know what you’re getting yourself into.
During my time in medical school I have come up with several ways to keep my cost to a minimum while reducing my debt even while studying. All of which will be revealed at a later date.