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Real Experience: Residency Matched (USMLE Scores - Visa - Research - Experience - OET - Tips - More)

Discussion in 'USMLE' started by Egyptian Doctor, Jun 8, 2021.

  1. Egyptian Doctor

    Egyptian Doctor Moderator Verified Doctor

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    This is my prematch experience:I hope this experience is helpful especially for those who had difficulty in getting US visa.

    During my internship in Egypt in 2013, I started preparation for USMLE Step 1. I took my exam in October 2014 and scored 259.

    One year later, I took the CK exam and scored 269.

    I got an observership shortly after my CK exam and applied for the B1/B2 visa for the first time, and got rejected.

    I waited 2.5 months and applied again for the purpose of taking CS exam and doing an observership in Cleveland Clinic, and my application was rejected three more times. At that time, I applied to the HMC IM residency program. There was a delay in announcing the result, so I started looking for research in US, and I got accepted in a position. Afterward, I received the good news that I got selected for HMC IM residency. I decided to go to Qatar as I needed financial support, and I was not sure I would get the J1 research visa considering my visa history and it will be a disaster to get a J1 rejection as it will kill any remaining hope to get the US visa.

    I came to Qatar, and I spent four amazing years of residency; I have learnt a lot and gained invaluable experiences on many levels (Clinical practice, research, communication skills).
    I applied to the B1/B2 again 6 months after I joined the residency (3/ 2017). I was in a hurry to get the visa as I saw my peers applying to US residency, and I felt that I am stuck because of this visa issue. I got rejected again.

    I decided to wait for a long time before I apply again. Also, knowing that my chances to go to US have decreased significantly, I decided to do my best during residency and meanwhile to seek another pathway other than US pathway. During the residency, I completed the exams of the royal college of physicians in UK (MRCP) and I started the GMC registration process and my plan after I complete my residency and fellowship training in HMC to go to UK. Also, I published few case reports with my colleagues.
    In November/December 2018, 2.5 years from the last rejection, I applied to B1/B2 again twice and I got rejected (SEVEN BRUTAL REJECTIONS FROM TWO COUNTRIES TILL NOW). The visa officer told me clearly to stay away from the embassy for years, and after that, you can try again and you might have a chance.

    I felt that I almost reached a dead end. So I applied to GI fellowship in HMC, and I was lucky to get selected.
    After the COVID-19 pandemic, and the cancellation of the CS exam, I became eligible for ECFMG certification. I applied to the match without certification as I took the OET exam in November.
    From 21 October till mid of November, I got 10 interview calls. Few of them were at good university programs.

    8-9 of the interviews were through connections. By connections, I mean friends and colleagues who are residents in these programs and sent emails to the programs to support my application. I assume that most of my IVs were through connections, mainly as I was filtered because of my YOG and due to lack of USCE to a lesser extent. My first interview was at a prematch community program in November. I received the prematch offer, three days later while I was starting my second interview LOL.

    It was a difficult decision for me, whether to accept the offer or continue the match process as there was still time to receive more interviews. The main reason I decided to take the prematch offer is because of my visa issue, as I can start my visa process much earlier, and be prepared for any unexpected scenarios that might happen, (rejection, administrative processing, etc.). After seven previous trials, I finally got my visa at the end of February Alhamdulillah.

    Here is the lesson I learned from my journey:


    Everyone will tell you never give up on your dreams. That is true; I couldn’t stop thinking about the US dream for years. But my journey taught me that FLEXIBILITY is as crucial as resilience and persistence. You should learn to accept whatever Allah bless you with and know that not everything is under your control e.g., visa issues, family circumstances, etc.

    Do your best, take care of your patients, take care of your family, help others, work on your CV, improve your research and communication skills, go outside your comfort zone but BE FLEXIBLE. Don’t narrow your vision and be fixed on a certain goal especially when there are things out of your hand. You may find happiness in another place, although you always pictured your happiness in a certain way. For ex. I always felt that anything other than US would never be satisfying, but after starting my fellowship training in GI, I liked the specialty and enjoyed doing procedures, and felt that I am happy to pursue my career in this specialty even outside US.

    I have never been to the US, and the US might not be the earthly paradise in my eyes as I always imagined. But going there is a necessary step to close this chapter and move on with my life.

    By: Khaled El-fert
     

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