I’m Back   6 comments

Well, I’m back! Not sure if you missed me, but I really missed writing in this blog.  My last post was 4 months ago, may be the longest hiatus I’ve ever taken off blogging.  Starting with a severe computer virus attack, it’s finally ended. I’m back to blogging, even if it’s not going to be a full recovery as my final exams are pretty close, I’ll try to keep in touch (with my keyboard) as much as I can.

I have signed up at Twitter, and I think it’s going to give me the opportunity of being lazy without being accused of being so.  All people use Twitter, don’t they?  Then, don’t blame me! You can see my tweets at the right column under My Twitter.

I’ve switched to a new theme, celebrating the resurrection of the dead.  It looks so typical, but it’s very organized and easy to use.  I’ll keep it for a while.

Hope my readers are all fine.  Until my next post, take care.


Posted October 19, 2009 by H. H. in My Blog, My Life

6 responses to “I’m Back

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  1. I think you have some fair points about Egyptian medical education, I just read your posts, but you should remember the saying, do not bite the hand that feeds you.

    If medical schools were to be made upto the standard you expect then it could not be free and there would be no way this country could afford to produce the number of doctors it needs.

    The problem is made worse by the doctors who take advantage of this free education, only to leave at the earliest chance and not give anything back.

    • Well, I support paid medical education. I’d pay if I was given the opportunity to do so. We’ve learned from my mistake, and so we sent my sister to a paid pharmacy school. What about people who can’t afford it (most Egyptians, that is)? Well, may be they should find another career. In fact, you’re wrong when you say that this way, we’re producing enough doctors. There IS oversupply. And many doctors in Egypt have no jobs. I know one who’s currently working at McDonald’s.

      “The problem is made worse by the doctors who take advantage of this free education, only to leave at the earliest chance…”

      What advantage have I taken from my study here in Egypt? NONE, I’d say. Really. No medical, cultural, lingual, spiritual, or behavioral benefits. I’ve taught myself how to examine the heart. I only started to lie and act like a hypocrite once I came here. And more. Egypt, my friend, is not the land of advantages, I’m afraid. Do you realize now why people are leaving?

      “…and not give anything back.”

      Give WHAT back? Nobody’s given me anything here. What I’ve been doing since I came here is PAYING. And for what? For very poor products and services.

      You’re right, I think, about one point. It’s that the problem is made worse by the increasingly departing highly educated people. It’s a vicious circle; bad circumstances >> people leaving >> even worse circumstances. But it’s not those people who are to be blamed. Blame authorities, not me.

  2. Hey, this blog post was from a while back, but i just randomly found your blog and had to comment. I hope you don’t abandon your blog because it’s quite entertaining 🙂

    Concerning medical education in Egypt, you’re totally right. I know tons of medical students who say exactly the same things about med schools in public universities. Which is completely depressing me as I’m starting med school isa in the fall at Kasr-al-aini (I got scores high enough on my SAT 1 & SAT 2s). I was born in and llived my whole life in the United States (New York) and had previously only come to Egypt for summer vacations with my parents (they’re Egyptian), and last year I came here to finish my final year of high school so that I could apply to a medical school here. My parents thought it would be a better idea than going to undergrad and then med school in the US because here it’s 6 years as opposed to 8 in the US, not to mention it’s free and in the US that would mean about $200,000 of debt once I finish school. However, after living here for almost a year I realized they were completely wrong and moving here was a horrible idea.

    People in Egypt are generally mean, vicious, untrusting, judgemental, hypocritical, and dishonest. I came here thinking everyone would be nice and honest (my mom always said Muslims are the most honest people you’ll know) but I found out that it’s the opposite. Most also claim to be religious when they are truly corrupt inside. I hate to say this about my own country’s people (I have always loved Egypt and previously been very proud to be Egyptian) but it’s true. At least of the people I have met so far. I go to one of the “American” private high schools in Egypt and it’s a dysfunctional disaster. Let’s just say it couldn’t be farther from the American system. I sooooooo miss the sincerity of Americans.

    Anyway, sorry about the super long boring comment about myself, but I agree with all your posts, especially the Muslims vs. Islamofascists one. A question about this post, would you really have gone to a private med school if you had the chance? Because I currently am choosing between 6th October, MUST, Cairo U., or undergrad in the States. I’m leaning towards the last, but if the private universities are better than the public I might go there. From what I’ve heard though, they’re alot worse and you learn alot less, they’re just places to get a diploma. My private high school is certaintly like that. If I stay I defintely want to go somewhere where I’ll learn, because I plan to do USMLE since I’m a US citizen. Speaking of, did you take your Step 1 yet? If not, good luck!

    • Hi, FutureMD, and welcome to my ‘almost-abandoned’ blog (I’m currently thinking of starting up a new blog directly related to USMLE and practicing medicine).

      You remind me of myself when I first came here. We almost share the same story. But I’ve lived in the United Arab Emirates all my life. That country has a very high standard of living, and by coming to Egypt, we felt like we’ve gone down, way down. I came with my family, except my dad who’s still there.

      Of course I totally agree with what you said about life in Egypt. You’ll find no other person to agree more with you on this than me.

      About your question, whether to get into a public or a private school here, or go back to the US, I’d say the ideal, and the most useful choice is to go back to the US. Not only you’ll be getting top-notch education, but you’ll also live as a ‘human being’; that includes a decent cultural and social life. Here you’ll be wasting a lot of time, knowledge, and life. What I mean by life is that you’ll find yourself, no matter where you live, and how much money you have, living a low-quality life, as long as you’re in Egypt. You’ll meet terrible people, your discussions with them will be shallow and useless, your English language will deteriorate, your health will deteriorate as well because you’ll prefer to stay at home (like me).

      For me those 7 years I lived here were like HELL. Everything frustrated me. Even the education was terrible and confusing. Because of all those factors, I’ve no longer become the top-notch student that I’d been, and my grades have been average, which was very depressing to me and to my family, where they expected more from me, but I just couldn’t adapt to this life. So I can say I gained very little in those 7 years in terms of medical, cultural, lingual, and social knowledge. And if I had a time machine, I’d go back in time, and never come here, even if I had to forsake my medical career.

      Of course that sounds very depressing, but there are ways to get around this terrible atmosphere and ways to learn better. There’s one advantage in learning medicine here is that you get a FREE MD certificate. For many, this is a very precious thing. So, if you ever need to stay here for this, you should act very indifferent to the negatives you see. You shouldn’t complain, but only concentrate on:

      1. graduating.
      2. preparing for the USMLE since day one.
      3. improving your knowledge in the basic sciences in the first years of med school (by reading good American textbooks).
      4. improving your clinical knowledge (by also reading popular textbooks and watching those American medical shows to get you in the atmosphere you’ll one day return to).
      5. keeping in touch with fellow American med students
      6. maintaining your health “very important” by drinking bottled water and walking/jogging every day. (I bought a home treadmill for this).
      7. you shouldn’t socialize too much in college to avoid unnecessary relationships
      8. lastly, you should entertain yourself by what you see suitable on a regular basis.

      I also recommend attending a private medical school. The lower number of students makes a big difference in the learning process, and also the medical system tends to be more modern, with GPA grading, earlier hospital visits,…etc. You’ll definitely learn more and you’ll at least feel like a real med student, not a sheep among a sheep herd (that’s what I felt). Private high schools here may be much worse. My sister took her SATs from such a terrible school, but I think private med schools are much better as they are strictly regulated. Overall, the educational system is weak, so don’t expect miracles, but still any private school is better than a public one.

      I’ve just graduated from a public med school and I’m currently attending an obligatory 12-month multi-specialty internship. I’m also preparing for Step 1 at the same time.

      I hope I’ve answered your question. If you wish to discuss with me further (I also have a friend who’s an American Arab in MUST — I may refer you to him, if you wish), don’t hesitate to contact me using the contact form on this page:

      Best of luck.

  3. Oh man, i just KNEW you weren’t raised in Egypt! I hadn’t known that you lived in UAE but from reading some of your blog posts.. and from pretty much the overall style of your blog and writing, I had a huge hunch that you weren’t raised here. People here just seem so unnecessarily crude and bitter, if you know what I mean. If any Egyptian is reading this and is offended, I just want to say that I’m not trying to demean Egyptians or anything, I swear before this year I would’ve told anyone that Egypt is the best country in the world, Om el Donia, Agda3 Nas, proud to be masrawy, etc., etc., but that was my tourist’s view of this country mixed with a weak understanding of Egyptian culture from my almost 2nd-generation-American perspective. My parents both came to the U.S. very young and are citizens.. we don’t even speak Arabic at home -.- which is why I now suffer while Egyptians mock me straight in my face for my broken Arabic.

    Oddly enough, I’ve seen sooo many posts by Egyptians on USMLE sites, med school sites, etc. and they seem like really genuinely nice people who want to work for a better future. But in reality, most of the people I’ve met here aren’t. I hope I’ll meet some nice people if I do stay here… I feel bad for what you had to go through, Dr.H, and I hope that won’t be me soon.

    Unfortunately its looks like I won’t be going back.. it’s too late for fall college admissions and I would have to wait for spring term at worse than sub-par undergard college because I didn’t apply with the rest of my fellow high school seniors. This is really sad because I had a good shot at great schools, even some of the Ivy’s like Columbia (close to where I lived).. 2230 SAT 1550 SAT 2’s =D, but not great avg, like 88. My dad thinks taking a year off is out of the question and going to a “bad” undergrad is a waste. He thinks Cairo University is wonderful, LOL. He planned the whole IMG road trip for me and thinks it’ll be easier since I’m a citizen, plus either free (Kasr-al-aini) or cheap (6th Oct, MUST). Believe me, veryy cheap as opposed to US med school rates. And I don’t get financial aid for undergrad either. I tried explaining that the IMG path is never “easy”…

    Anyway, looks like I’m probably stuck here, so I already ordered American med school textbooks for all my first year courses plus Step 1 aid! I know, rushing things, but I figure if I’m exposed to it right away it’s better. My dad was more than happy to buy tons of books for me, lol. He lives in the US (for work) but the rest of my family and I live here now (another thing we have in common), but he comes down every few months for a vacation.

    Anyway, thanks a lot for the list of advice, really helpful as my health has already started to go down the drain (and I was on my high school cross-country track team) now I rarely leave the house too as attendance at school is not required and a waste of time, it’s a smoking lounge there.. I tried joining track at Nadi 6th October, terrible experience I won’t even get into it. It’s kinda scary how much we have in common, I’m relieved though because I was beginning to believe that I am a depressed stuck-up snob and “if everyone else is fine living here, then it’s not the place, it’s me”. But I guess it’s just a very hard transition to make.. culture shock. We even look alike lol green-eyed, pale, dirty-blond hair.

    Good luck on studying & Step 1! I really hope you do well and get that residency because you will really hugely enjoy a life in the US. Thanks for the reply and if you need any info, etc. on anything medical/non concerning the US I’ll try to help, my cousin is a US med student in NJ.

    • I knew it would be difficult to go back now since you had already arranged everything a year or more in advance.

      You can actually make it a good experience if you stick to the advice I told you, especially: DON’T GET DEPRESSED. I was a victim of depression, and that took a lot out of me. If you look at your stay here as a temporary thing, and that you’ll be returning in a certain period of time, you won’t find it that bad. After all, you’re an American citizen, so you’ll definitely return. For me, I felt like I was stuck, and med school here, btw, is not USMLE-friendly (you’ll not find many preparing), so I wasted a lot of time trying to get good grades at school, and postponed the USMLE stuff, which was a mistake.

      Anyway, I’m sure your journey will be easier and more enjoyable as you are more informed than I was when I first got into med school.

      I’m always here (unless I start up a new blog, which I will redirect this blog to), so don’t hesitate to come back any time for any advice. I’d be glad to help.

      Thank you and best of luck!

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