American University of the Caribbean, main building

American University of the Caribbean, main building

Several friends have asked us questions such as “Why are you going to the Caribbean for medical school?” And those who work in the medical industry (mostly nurses and doctors) and who know a thing or two about medical schools have made comments to the tune of “Are you sure you want to go to a foreign medical school?”

So I thought I’d take a moment and share some of what we have learned in our extensive research. Selecting a medical school is no small decision, and we invested a great amount of thought and time in making this decision.



If you’re interested, here’s a more personal background on why Carina selected AUC as her medical school.


The Bad and the Ugly

There are a LOT of medical schools in the Caribbean. If you’re curious here’s a list. I didn’t count but there’s well over fifty, and most can best be described in one word: Scary. The vast majority are not accredited, and when you graduate you’d be lucky to ever get a residency that would eventually lead to a job practicing medicine in the United States. And even if you did, you’re license would not permit you to practice in all 50 states. Most Caribbean schools are generally a bad idea for anyone serious about practicing medicine in the Unites Sates.


The Good:

However, there are some exceptions. To be exact, there are three.

These three schools are the only medical schools in the Caribbean which fit all of these important criteria:

  1. They are fully accredited
  2. Their students are eligible for U.S. student loans
  3. They have a board pass rate that competes with U.S. based medical schools. (AUC’s pass rate is 94%, on par with the U.S. M.D. schools which also average 94%, and well above U.S. D.O. schools who average 81%.)
  4. Their graduates can participate in the residency match program
  5. Their graduates regularly land in some of the most coveted residency programs in the country
American University of the Caribbean, front steps of main building

American University of the Caribbean, front steps of main building

SGU and Ross are both larger and thus more well known than AUC, but also more expensive. We were attracted to AUC because of the lower tuition and smaller class sizes. (There will be 82 students in Cari’s class starting in January of 2011.)  And, I must admit, we also chose it because of it’s location on the island of St. Maarten!

AUC was founded in 1978, and it’s 30+ year history has given it time to build a reputation and track record. Their students spend the first 20 months at the St. Maarten campus studying science and biology, and then move on to two years of clinical rotations at hospitals in the US, Ireland, or the U.K. One of the advantages of AUC’s history is that it has built relations with some of the top teaching hospitals in these countries.

The main drawback to AUC and to all foreign medical schools is that their graduates (FMG’s) sometimes face criticism from American medical graduates (AMG’s). And we’ve already seen some of this. Part of this problem is that many AMG’s tend to group all Caribbean graduates into one group, and they fail to filter them by the school they attended.

We have both met and heard about many graduates from SGU, Ross and AUC who are top physicians in their communities. We’ve met surgeons, anesthesiologists, pathologists, family doctors and many others who loved their experience in the Caribbean and the experience it provided for their families.

We’re excited and looking forward to the adventure!

Written on November 24th, 2011 , AUC: American University of the Caribbean

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    Cheyenne commented

    When it is all said and done it won’t matter where you went to school. Add the international living experience and you are way ahead of the game. You guys made a great choice!!!!

    November 28, 2011 at 9:02 pm
      ccrookston commented

      Right! We’ve met enough MD’s around the Twin Cities who went to Caribbean schools and loved it… we’re not worried. And the experience for the kids will be priceless.

      December 12, 2011 at 5:12 pm
    Lynn commented

    We love you guys and are so excited for you all. What an amazing opportunity! You are in our prayers!

    November 29, 2011 at 1:55 am
      ccrookston commented

      Thank you Lynn. I’ve had a ton of fun getting to know your boys in young men’s,

      December 12, 2011 at 5:08 pm
    David commented

    I applaud your zest for adventure and the well thought out approach (both spiritual and intellectual) that you have used in reaching this decision. Although you will be missed terribly I wish you and your family all the best.

    November 29, 2011 at 2:34 pm
      ccrookston commented

      Thanks David! But you won’t be rid of me this easily. We’ll still see plenty of each other.

      December 12, 2011 at 5:07 pm
    Norma Fay commented

    You have some really useful information. I start at UMHS St. Kitts this fall. They are a great medical school caribbean with a state of the art campus and caring staff. Your information will definitely help me better prepare for my own experiences there.

    March 30, 2013 at 7:20 am
    Choi commented


    I am recently got interested in AUC as a chance to get a second career.
    your blog is great and has full of information I need for family.
    if possible, can I get some advice in applying the school?

    Thank you,

    January 22, 2017 at 4:29 am
      Casey Crookston commented

      Hello! I sent you an email. Thanks for the comment!

      January 23, 2017 at 1:10 am

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