We are now at a crucial point of the year, where medical school offers have been released. Thus, the next big decision is whether you are going to move interstate for medical school. It is becoming more and more common for medical students to move interstate to study, due to the competitiveness of medical school entry
. This can be a very daunting and intimidating experience, especially for those of you who have not yet moved out of home, but also, it can be equally fun and liberating.
This blog discusses some of the important factors to consider when you are moving interstate and will provide some tips and pieces of advice regarding an interstate move.
The Course Structure of the Australian Medical School
The first point to cover here, and an important feature of considering the interstate medical school move, is the course structure of the degree. Finding out at what point in your degree the content transforms to adopt a major clinical focus will be very important. This is because in your clinical years, you will find yourself based at hospitals and other health practices
, and generally NOT the university or medical school. It is vitally important to find this out – as, for example, at University of Queensland, you might move to study in Brisbane, but then shortly be moved to the Ipswich campus (a few hours outside Brisbane).
The Cost of the Australian Medical School
The second point, and arguably the most important, is finances. The aspect of financial survival that is probably the most important is the cost of rent while you study to become a doctor
. Although many medical students can, and do, hold jobs – this is not the case for everyone, and you may find that the hours and study requirements in the course are prohibitive for a casual job. Having said that, there are many medical students who need to work in order to survive, which definitely included myself, and so I strongly believe that it is very manageable to juggle the medical degree and casual job(s). However, a great portion of students will rely purely on Centrelink payments, so make sure you don’t end up spending most of that in rent each fortnight, or it could make medical school very miserable (although this is difficult, as Centrelink payments are practically nothing). Indeed, finances were a major concern of mine in medical school, and as Centrelink support is minimal at best, you might find yourself needing a casual job in order to meet course and study costs costs – which what most of everyone is doing. There are different ways on how to manage your finances. You can read this blog article for more tips about working while studying medicine
The Internship Opportunities Available After Studying Medicine
The third most important point to consider for medical students considering an interstate move is the internship possibilities following. Most states have a preference system for intern positions where those who have studied in that state get higher preferences. For example, if you move from Melbourne to Brisbane for medicine, but want to go back to Victoria for internship, you might have a hard time as you will now approximately be third on the preference list! This is why it is so important to be mindful of your order of preferences (as well as specifics such as fee type and campus location) when you submit your application. Make sure to check it beforehand as this is a really important point to consider now, so you are not caught out much later down the line.
Transportation To and From Medical School
The final point of consideration for the interstate move is a quite obvious one around transport - If you can, it is really worthwhile living near where you will be working and/or studying. It is imperative to check nearest place you can stay going to - this may be the medical school, or a hospital, or both. You will find that many of your long night will be had in a hospital or at the medical school, and not having to drive 30 minutes or so after work will be a blessing. The most fun I had in medical school as I can remember was the walks to and from university, as there would often be a big group of us making the trek!
Although offering just a few snippets of some (hopefully!) useful insights into the medical school interstate move, we hope that it has stimulated your thoughts towards a holistic consideration of the big event. Moving interstate can be challenging and there are different factors you may want to consider - It’s not just about what type of house you are in, or how nice – you need to consider different factors such as location, price, housemates, or how easy it is to maintain the place, the contract length for your rent, and the distance from your teaching facility. These are very standard considerations that may have missed at times, but there are often some unique issues about medical school that get thrown in the mix, which makes making a decision a bit more difficult! Ultimately, it depends on your own personal attitudes towards these things and where your priorities lie, but it is important to think about all this stuff if you’re considering a long-term relocation. Relocating is can be challenging yet it can be fun, too! You can check and read up on each Australian medical school
, chat to current students, talk to your friends, family and partner, and if in doubt, draw up a list of pros & cons!
If you still feel nervous, apprehensive, and/ or worried about starting medical school, you can check out our next blog article: Things I wish I'd known before starting Med School
. It will help you start your med school journey off on the right foot! And remember, if you've survived the GAMSAT exam
, you can survive anything.