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IMG from iraq and coming to US

2586 Views 2 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  Lets_Ace_USMLE
Dear All,

I am an IMG, got 85 in step CK, have Masters in Nephrology in UK, medical school graduate 2006 and hopefully i will get 99 in step 1 which i will do in March/2011, i want to apply for the match next year, can anybody tell me what is the best time to come to US for taking CS? is July ok? what is the cheapest states in US to live, you know i will be there may be without getting a job, so letting me know about the cheapest way of living is something i appreciate it, howmuch i need per month to live in US per a month?. my other questions, if i dont get 99 in step 1 lets say again in 80th, what are my chances to be matched this year for internal medicine? what are the problems i will face in US? is there any hospitals that they offer hand on externship program for free? I know many of you passed through the same difficult stages that i am afraid of now, any advices will be appreciated. any other advices that i forgot ask but you think that it's necessary for me to know, i appreciate clarifications.thanks
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Hello Kaka Rebeen

Dear All,

Hi Dr. Rebeen,

When I first saw your name, I immediately thought you were a Kurd from Iraq so I decided to reply to your post in as much detail as I can since I am also a Kurd and would like to help anyone but paricularly Kurds.

First of all congratulations on passing your CK step. In regards to your first question; what is the best time to come to US for taking CS? Honestly I can't say much about this because I have not done CS yet but let me tell you this: the sooner you apply and reserve your spot the better.
Then you ask: is July OK? Well, again I am not sure but I would like to know why among all the other months you picked July? Did someone tell you that July was OK?

Your next question; what is the cheapest states in US to live? Well, I live in Texas and based on my experience and the experience of many others in Texas, the living costs are about half of what you expect in the northeastern states like New York or Maryland or D.C. I have friends who live in Northeastern US and when we talk they always think Texas is one of the best and cheapest states to live in. Let me detail this further for you; I pay about $300 in rent (all bills paid including electricity, water, cable TV, and internet). My roommate also pays the same. We live in a two- bedroom apartment. If you think you need cell phone, then you will add about $25-45 per month depending on what cell phone carrier you want to go with. Plus for groceries and shopping, add about $150-200 /month that is if you cook for yourself. If you want to eat outside most of the time, then this figure could be easily 3 times more (i.e., $450-600). Then if you decide to have a car then add about $40-60 for car insurance (this is mandatory in Texas, everyone needs to have minimum coverage). Then if you decide to purchase health insurance (this is optional in Texas), then add about $200-300/month. So generally, if you decide to come to Texas and decide to live with a roommate, you are looking at about 550-700 per month. If you decide to live alone, that amount can only pay for accomodation and bills. I hope that this satisfies you for an answer for this question.

In regards to your other question: if i dont get 99 in step 1 lets say again in 80th, what are my chances to be matched this year for internal medicine? Well, first of all the USMLE no longer reports scores in two digits. From now on everything would be three digit score unless the program specifically asks for two-digit to be included. That is what was mentioned in the latest USMLE newsletter. You generally want to score 217 or higher for a better match but match depends on some other factors too which are beyond the scope of this question.

In regards to your other question; what are the problems i will face in US? Well, it depends. One of the inevitable things is cultural shock but don't panic it is going to be temporary only. With a good support network, you should do just fine. I can think of so many other things that you might face in US but they are all manageable. So no worries.

Your other question: is there any hospitals that they offer hand on externship program for free? Well, I heard some hospitals do that for a fee. But generally if you are willing to volunteer your time and make good connections and ask questions then you can do that at the hospitals.

Lastly, there is nothing to be afraid of. The fact that you finished medical school successfully and studied in UK as well are enough that you can beat USMLE in USA too.
One general advice is; please study the area you are going to live to in Houston because many many neighborhoods in Houston are not considered as safe. However, all big cities in USA have higher crime rates than smaller cities but even within the large cities there are neighborhoods with crime rates equal to the national average and others with crime rates 3-4 times higher than national average. Please do not sign any contract unless you fully understand and read everything and please be careful about any area you want to live in. One good rule of thumb is; every neighborhood is dangerous unless proven otherwise. So you still need to do your research and ask other and probably spent a weekend in the neighborhood just walking to see whether you fit in or you are going to be minority (if you know what I am talking about!).

Dear Rebeen, if you need any additional info or just want to talk, I will be more than happy to help.


Kurd in Texas.
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