One of the most frustrating things I came up with is there is not much guidance when applying for residency. SJSM does a good job in guiding the ECFMG and ERAS process but they stay silent when it comes to licensing questions. SJSM encourages to research States that will offer residency licenses to their students.
I think the best thing for you is to research which programs Saint James students got residency in in order to increase your chances to get matched there. Not only that you should also consider programs with students from other Caribbean medical schools who matched there; such schools as Windsor, MUA, AUA, St. Matthews. Ross, SGU, AUC, and Saba are the big four and they have full accreditation of all 50 states, in addition they have a giant alumni network.
The problem with SJSM is that a lot of students graduate in different years and they do not keep in touch with the Alumni network. Do to that, they do not care about any graduation ceremony. Fortunately, SJSM’s alumni network is growing and I encourage everyone to be part of the network.
If you are a SJSM alumni who matched, then please call SJSM office at their office, and leave your contact information with them so if any recent graduates needs guidance, they can call you.
I encourage all of you from Windsor, MUA, AUA, St. Matthews, and other schools which I don’t know of, to guide new graduates from your respected schools.
If you are a Canadian citizen without US green card or US citizenship then I strongly advise you to NOT apply to any international medical school. The Canadian government has put a cap on how many Statement of Need (SON) documents that will be issued.
In order for the ECFMG to sponsor your J-1 visa, you need a SON from the Canadian government to be sent to ECFMG. The SON is needed because after you finish your residency training or fellowship, you are to return to Canada and stay there for 2 years before you are allowed to come back to the US for a job.
The only way to get around this is you are already in Caribbean medical school is to do your USMLE Step 3 and apply for H-1B visa with the programs that sponsors it. Or find some way to get a US green card or US citizenship so you can increase your chances of getting a residency.
For those Canadians who will apply this year, if they match then they will have to apply for SON, and if they don’t get approved for an SON then they will loose their residency spot.
Please be informed before applying, and if your are a Canadian citizen already in an international medical school, then start preparing now. Unless you know you will get a residency spot in Canada, then don’t worry about it.
I hope this helps and good luck.
Here is the link of the Canadian source of the number of SONs that will be given per specialty for the 2016 residency year.
One of the most disgusting things I have witnesses from others and experienced myself is the people who were friends before residency do not ever want to speak to you again. I remember I helped a friend of mine during rotations, and I used to look out for him, but after he got residency, he doesn’t reply to my emails or my texts. We have a mutual friend and our mutual friend tells me he’s still in contact with him so, it got me thinking how easily people forget those who helped them once they reach the top.
I don’t regret helping that individual but my experience does help me realize that a good face may have poison behind it. I never expected anything back but this experience helped me learn not everyone you help will help you when you need it the most. I wish him the best in his career and his life.
My advice to all of you is, choose your friends wisely during medical school. Always help anyone who needs it but have your guard up. Don’t blame them if they can’t help you, may be it’s out of their hands. But it’s better to be straight forward about it. You will know who will take that extra effort to help you even if they were not successful.
Remember success is leased everyday; you have to work everyday in order to old on to it. It’s going to be your friends and co-workers who will help you hold on to success. If you turn your back on them when they need your help, then you have a higher chance of loosing your success.