My Journey as an International Medical Graduate
In March 2011, I arrived in Auckland as what they call an IMG - International Medical Graduate, a title that is affixed to every doctor who gained medical degree in different country. I have never imagined this would be the start of a long, exhausting journey. To be able to enter a New Zealand specialist program, one has to be registered in New Zealand as a doctor and have one year of clinical experience. The first step to be registered is to pass one of these exams: the USMLE step 1 & 2; AMC-Australian Medical Council exam part 1 or PLAB.
My first few months lived in Auckland went smoothly: I stayed with a nice homestay family who become my new family in Auckland, I attended a USMLE preparation course at Kaplan International and my study went really well despite the limited facilities at Kaplan-Auckland due to the Christchurch earthquake which closed the Kaplan Centre in Christchurch.
Four months after I started my course, I begun the registration process for the USMLE that includes registering my self to the ECFMG and contacting Christian University of Indonesia, where I gained my medical degree, to release my credentials to ECFMG in America. This was a long and complicated process and took one and half years.
By the end of my first year in New Zealand, I faced financial difficulties, I had spent almost all my saving to pay my accommodation and someone stole my credit card details which left me with additional bills to pay. I was in crisis and needed to find a job immediately, this made me step out of my comfort zone. I applied for jobs that I had never done before, to get free accommodation, and extra income, to enable me to stay in Auckland.
There were so many things that happened in the last few years: I managed to find a job as an Au-pair that not only gave me place to stay and some pocket money, but also another family to share my ups and downs. I got engaged in 2012 after going out for a year and got married in 2013. Unfortunately, my study was not going as well as other aspects in my life. ECFMG accepted my credentials at the beginning of 2012 and I sat my USMLE exam at the end of the year, but once again I faced disappointment: I failed.
It was really difficult to find balance between study and work, so I decided to focus on working for a year which later extended to two years. Finally, In January 2015, I had a strong will to concentrate on my study to pass the AMC (Australian Medical Council) Exam as part of the New Zealand Medical Council registration requirements. I started studying from the beginning of January 2015, for at least ten hours per day while working part-time and from March 2015, a month before my exam, I dedicated all my time to study. My hard work finally paid off when I passed in May 2015.
Here some useful link for IMGs who want to work or continue their study in NZ:
New Zealand Medical Council
Eligibility requirment for NZREX clinical
Australian Medical Council MCQ
Kaplan Medical - USMLE course
USMLE course in Auckland
IELTS course with ELA
I will be glad to answer any questions about study schedule or useful materials for USMLE or AMC-MCQ.
Also read my post about my experience preparing for NZREX here.