Logistical Issues to Consider When Preparing for a Clerkship in the United States


In our last blog post, we discussed some of the benefits of a US-based clerkship for foreign medical students. If you are earning your medical degree at a school outside the United States, getting some of your elective credits through a clerkship program in the United States can offer a wide range of academic advantages, and it may also provide practical benefits if you intend to apply for a residency program in the United States in the future. While considering these opportunities is exciting, you also need to think about the clerkship options from a logistical perspective. In order to make the most of your clerkship experience, you have to make sure that all of the logistical details are in order so that it goes smoothly. Read on for more information about the logistical issues you need to consider as you prepare for a clerkship in the United States.

Setting Up a Clerkship in the United States

A clerkship in the United States is an unprecedented learning opportunity — not to mention a life-changing experience — but setting it up does require some advance planning. The first step of the process is to make sure that you are eligible for a clerkship program. In general, that means you have to meet three key criteria:

  • You are enrolled in a medical school that is accredited by your home country.
  • You are taking enough credits to qualify as a full-time student.
  • You are currently in good standing at your medical school.

If you meet these basic requirements, you are probably eligible to participate in a clerkship in the United States. There are several different clerkship scheduling options you can choose from, depending on your scheduling needs and academic interests. Before you apply, you need to examine some of the options to find one that is right for you. Here are the options offered by FMG Portal:


  • A 3-Month Clinical Elective Plan. With this plan, you will spend three months in the United States, spending each month under a different Attending Physician in a single specialty (or subspecialty) area. This is the plan for you if you have a good idea of your desired residency specialty area.
  • A “Triple Play” Clinical Elective Program. This plan also lasts for three months, but it allows you to gain experience in three different specialty or subspecialty areas. This offers a great opportunity for you to compare specialty options if you aren’t sure about which residency specialty you want to apply for after medical school.
  • A Flexible Clinical Elective Plan. This plan is best for students who are looking for an option that aligns with highly specific personal needs or institutional requirements. A flexible plan can last anywhere from one to twelve months, and you may gain experience in one or more specialty or subspecialty areas, depending on your needs.

As you consider these three options, it is also important to note that you need to get approval for your elective schedule from your medical school. While US-based clerkships are generally well-regarded by medical schools around the world, it is still important to make sure that your school will grant you the elective credits you need to continue your progress toward your medical degree.

Once you have decided on a US-based clerkship option and cleared it with your school, you are ready to start the application and enrollment process. The necessary documentation can vary depending on your country of origin, so make sure you start early! — All documentation materials need to be in at least four weeks before the deadline.


Choosing a Service that Streamlines Your Clerkship Setup Experience


There is no doubt that a US-based clerkship has the potential to enhance your education and boost your future career prospects, but if you choose a service that doesn’t offer the logistical support you need, an exciting opportunity can quickly devolve into a major headache. As a full-time medical student working hard to fulfill academic requirements and become the best physician you can be, you just don’t have time for it. Therefore, it is important to choose a service that offers assistance at every stage of the process. For instance, FMG offers visa embassy interview assistance, which can help you get your documentation in order, as well as accommodation assistance, so you won’t have to spend hours scouring the internet, trying to find an affordable place to live.

Of course, there is also the ever-present question of financing. Given the significant academic and practical benefits of a US-based clerkship, it can be a valuable investment in your future. However, in order to make sure you stay within your budget before, during, and after the clerkship, you may want to look for a service that offers a monthly payment program that is optimized for medical students who come from a wide range of economic backgrounds.
If you’re concerned about the logistical details of a US-based clerkship, take a look at the services FMG Portal has to offer. Our program’s credits are almost always recognized by foreign medical programs, and we streamline the setup process so that when you get to the United States, you can make the most of your experience. Contact us today for more information!

The Benefits of a US-Based Clerkship for Foreign Medical Students

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No matter where in the world you are earning your medical degree, you have to meet a certain set of core credit requirements — but you also have the opportunity to make choices when it comes to how you earn your elective credits. If you have your sights set on entering a US medical residency program after medical school, fulfilling elective credits with a clerkship in the United States offers a wide range of benefits, from both an academic and a practical standpoint. Read on to learn more about why foreign medical students are choosing US-based clerkships for their clinical electives.

Enhancing Your Academic Experience in Medical School

A clerkship in the United States offers an exciting and challenging academic experience that you can’t always get from the standard electives offered at your medical school. For instance, while you are completing your medical school courses, you may discover a passion for a medical subspecialty in which few physicians in your area have significant expertise. By choosing a US-based clerkship as a clinical elective, you could spend three months gaining hands-on experience with three different Attending Physicians who have dedicated their careers to the subspecialty. This would enable you to explore the subject in-depth and gain real-world experience that you wouldn’t be able to get at your medical school.

Alternatively, if you haven’t yet decided on your subspecialty area, there are clinical clerkships in the United States that empower you to explore three different specialty areas over the course of three months. Again, some of these clinical experiences could be in specialty/subspecialty areas that aren’t available in your area. In a US-based clerkship, you may also have the chance to decide between inpatient and outpatient availabilities — another choice that is not available at every foreign medical school.

Even if your medical school does offer electives in your specialty area of interest, it still makes sense, from an academic standpoint, to complete a US-based clerkship if you plan on applying for a US medical residency program in the future. A clinical elective also offers a real-world introduction to the complexities of the US healthcare system, which is a valuable learning experience for foreign medical students who aspire to enter US medical residency programs. The healthcare system in every country is different, and you can learn a lot about what it truly means to practice medicine in the United States over the course of a three-month clerkship.

Practical Considerations for Your Residency Application

For foreign medical students who are planning to enter a US medical residency program after graduation, earning clinical electives through a US-based clerkship makes even more sense from a practical standpoint. Completing a clerkship does not guarantee that you will be matched to a US medical residency program, but it can give you opportunities that will make you a more competitive candidate and help you throughout the application process. Here are a few of the things you would get to do during a clinical clerkship:


  • Make connections with US-based Attending Physicians. Some US medical residency programs require at least one Letter of Reference to be written by an Attending Physician in the United States. During a clerkship, you may be able to develop a positive working relationship with an Attending Physician who could potentially write you a letter of reference in the future.
  • Gain experience in a subspecialty area (or multiple areas) of interest. When you are writing your Personal Statement, you need to be able to lay out a clear set of professional goals and explain why you are a great candidate for a US medical residency program. If you already have experience working in the United States in your specialty or subspecialty area of interest, you can make a much stronger argument.
  • Start preparing for the USMLE. Before you can apply for a US medical residency program, you need to get certification from the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG) — and for that, you have to pass the USMLE Step 1, Step 2 – C2, and Step 2 – CK exams. The knowledge and skills you gain in a clerkship can help you prepare for success on these exams.
  • Learn what it’s like to live in a certain region of the United States. Because the United States is a large country with diverse regions, it is impossible to give a simple explanation of “what it’s like to live in the United States.” During a clerkship, you will have the chance to find out about the lifestyle of a medical resident in a particular location, which may help you narrow down your residency application choices based on regional considerations or a preference for an urban or rural residency program.



FMG Portal offers top-notch US-based clerkships for foreign medical students who want to earn elective credits in the United States. Contact us today to learn more about what makes our programs stand out!