Caribbean Medical Schools - Revisited

I know this issue has been tackled on this website before, but I was curious if some of the docs would be willing to revisit it for my own personal knowledge. I have read plenty of information on the pluses and minuses of Caribbean medical schools on other websites (ValueMD, SDN, etc.), but there are so many negative people on those boards that I would prefer to get the objective perspective of the folks here.
As I see it, the negatives of a Caribbean med school are (1) stigma associated with foreign med school; (2)less choice for clinical rotations; (3) less chance for residency location of your choice; (4) harder to get into residency specialty of your choice.
I do not plan on applying to medical school until next summer, but I at least want to weigh all my options. The general consensus seems to be that the Caribbean medical schools are limited to those people who could not get into US med schools. Also the consensus seems to be that if a person had a choice between a US med school vs. a Caribbean med school, they would be crazy to choose the Caribbean med school.
Caribbean med schools do seems to have some strong points though: (1)for a person who loves to travel and experience new cultures and lifestyles, the chance to spend a few years on a remote island is quite appealing; (2) because of the trimester schedule of most Caribbean med schools, med school can be finished in a little over three years as opposed to four; (3) because of the trimester schedule, there is no need for a full lag year between applying and attending; (4) if you plan on going into family practice or internal medicine, the limitation on program specialties does not really hurt you; (5) the limited clinical rotations allow you to visit multiple cities, including some European cities, in order to complete your core.
With what I have just mentioned, I would love to hear some dialogue on the pitfalls of a Caribbean medical school if you attend one of the so called “big 3” of the Caribbean (AUC / Ross / SGU). If someone loves to experience new cultures and surroundings, enjoys the aura associated with the tropics or beach, finds the idea of multiple city and country experiences for clinicals appealing, plans on practicing medicine in a low-demand speciality, and also likes the idea of finishing medical school a little earlier, what are the unmentioned problems with attending a Caribbean medical school? With this being said, is it crazy to attend a Caribbean med school if you have the stats to get into a US School? Does attending a Caribbean med school make it more difficult to practice medicine, open your own practice, or get equal salaries in comparison with those who attend a US school?
Thanks in advance for your responses,

Though I’m not at a Caribbean school, I just wanted to let you know that one of my classmates(here at St. Chris, an “offshore” school in England) came from Ross. He is a young guy, early 20s, and stated the living conditions there were NOT good. Specifically he didn’t care for all the “critters” in his house, and said he had to wipe bugs off his counters every morning before making his breakfast. He also mentioned lack of good food, and apparently lost quite a bit of weight.

I am by no means an expert on foreign med schools, but I have done my fair share of research on the topic. It seems the important issues among those who post a lot on this subject are:
1. USMLE Scores
2. 3rd & 4th year clerkship sites
3. Residency Placement.
4. Licensing Issues (Can you practice in the state of your choice)
I’m sure other important issues exist; it’s just these concerns seem to arise most often. Personally, I would make sure any schools you are considering applying to be able to provide you with this information. Any school not willing to provide you with this information should raise concern immediately!
“Caveat Emptor”

Both my father and mother were FMG’s and neither of them had any trouble specializing and subspecializing - but you have to keep in mind that they completed medical school in 1960 and encountered a very different environment than exists today.
The general consensus seems to be that going to a foreign school if you have admission to a US school (MD or DO) is a bad decision.

it’s not the same as living in another country, but I’ve known many people to do overseas rotations, medical missions, etc. while attending U.S. medical schools. So I wouldn’t put the travel aspect on ONLY the Caribbean side of the ledger. To a certain point, much of your medical school curriculum is quite scripted, but schools do offer a variety of ways to break out of the box and do cool things. I had several classmates who spent the summer between first and second year doing medical mission sorts of things. I had classmates do overseas rotations during fourth year as well.
Just wanted to point this out…

Hi there,
As Mary RR pointed out, most medical schools in this country offer plenty of time for electives and summer programs overseas. Most medical schools have plenty of options for you to get almost any experience that you want or need.
In today’s climate, most FMGs are having great difficulty matching into residencies in most specialties. There are very very few (almost none) FMGs matching into categorical surgery, surgical specialties, anesthesia, pathology, Dermatology, OB-Gyn and Optho. Most program directors will not take an FMG over an American grad no matter what numbers are posted. Still there are some opportunities available but you DO face an uphill battle if you graduate from overseas. Many residency programs are cutting back slots this year and redefining resident roles in the wake of experiences with the 80-hour work week.
In the more competitive specialties and programs, it is near impossible for an FMG to match outright and as an FMG, you need to have very strong ties with the program in order to get your foot in the door or to obtain a position outside of the match.
When it comes to matching, what worked in the past in not an indication of the future as the rules change from year to year. We used to have tons of FMGs matching easily into anesthesia and this year, only top American grads can easily match into anesthisia. In General Surgery only one categorical slot was open after the match and it was quickly filled by an American grad.
Internal Medicine and Family Practice tend to have more slots that American grads to fill and thus FMGs have a better shot at these slots but good programs will still fill with American grads.
If you want to be the master of your own destiny, do not attend medical school out of this country. If you do, you will be limited as to specialty and location. This is not my bias but a simple fact. If you don’t mind being limited to Internal Medicine or Family Practice, as an FMG, you may be able to secure a slot in one of the non-competitive programs but still, many program directors will not take you unless they cannot find an American grad. Many of the programs that will be open to you, will be at programs that American grads do not want and programs that have a high malignancy rate.