Elective course of clinical training in the USA: My horrible experience!

Elective Reqest- Jameel Khaleel Hijazeen - Mu'tah University*** This is a imaginary letter to a person who will enter my Blog and help me accomplish a dream of mine. Time is runnig out and this dream is most likely not going to be fulfilled… What is most important to me is that when other friends of mine have accomplished this dream, I will not be angry or feeling sorry, simply because I will have asked for help from all those whom I thought they could offer it! My blog is my last place to seek help! What I am requesting might be hard… yes… it is a DREAM! ***


My name is Jameel Hijazeen. I am a 5th-year Medical student in Mu’tah University. In the period of June-August 2012, I am required by my faculty to do “two-months of clinical training in two of the major branches of medicine” (Please, to see the elective request, click on the resized image above).

Worldwide, the most advanced country in Medicine is undoubtedly the United States. What is more, if you are a doctor who is to be accepted for residency in the USA, one of the things that will tremendously support your CV is having “US experience”. Therefore, a dream of mine is to do my two months of clinical training in internal medicine in the form of an elective in the United States.


How did it all begin?

Starting from exactly 8 months ago, I started searching for how a Jordanian medical student from Mu’tah University can obtain such training.

Soon after my search started, I realized how expensive, complicated, and demanding is such a “dream” is. These are the main reasons:

  1. Most universitieshospitals require expensive application fees and training fees. What is ‘interesting’ is that your application fees are ‘non-refundable’ even if you are not accepted.

  2. Most universitieshospitals require having finished a USMLE step.

  3. Most universitieshospitals require TOEFL (not required if you had finished a USMLE step or are recommended as a good English speaker)

  4. Few universitieshospitals accept students from outside the US (Sometimes, an exception can be made if you are recommended).

  5. Few universitieshospitals acknowledge Jordanian universities. Even fewer universities acknowledge Mu’tah University.

  6. Applying for these universitieshospitals requires hours of papers filing, preparation, and sending.





What is the solution then?

I asked older students who know about this issue, all of them summarized the way in which someone can be accepted into two: Pure luck or having someone recommending you for acceptance. Till today, two students in my batch have already obtained an elective via the second way (one in the USA and another in France).  Via the first way, not a single students of the 5th year in Mu’tah University has obtained an acceptance; How surprised am I!.

For the above reasons, I did not contact any universityhospital. As a result, I was left with the second option.


Here is a list of the people I contacted:

# My faculty: No formal programs are available that are meant for sending faculty students to western countries. Nonetheless, certain efforts have been given. I deduced that because Dr. Omar Nafia Al-Ajarmeh, the vice dean, thankfully, contacted a certain University in the USA to accept some of Mu’tah students. In an email reply hanged on one of the boards in the faculty, a part of the response was, “Your university is not recognized by (certain accreditation committee)… Therefore, students from Mu’tah University cannot be accepted for electives in our university”.

# An uncle of mine: A thoracic surgeon in a western country since the 1980s. He had performed more than 4,500 operations. My uncle apologized and denied the presence of any friends of him in the US who could help. He advised me to seek help from my faculty doctors!

# Dr. Nabil S: An American-Jordanian doctor whom I met in a medical conference that was held in Amman. I took a list of the doctors who participated in that conference and showed them to another Uncle of mine to see if he knew anyone of them. For my huge surprise, he turned out to know the brother of this Dr. Nabil S. My uncle contacted his brother. Dr. Nabil, to my happiness, emailed me showing his readiness to help me. From the beginning, unfortunately, it was a hard road full of multiple obstacles!

The first obstacle that face me was that his hospital only accept students for obeserverships not for electives (It is enough to know that if you are an observer, you are never allowed to be in the hospital unless your sponsoring doctor is. What is more humiliating, you can never touch or simply talk to a patient). Reluctantly, I agreed. Do I have any other options so as to refuse this “great opportunity”?

Nevertheless, things got even worst. The doctor sent an acceptance for a two-month observership in family medicine; a branch which my faculty does not accept. So, I asked for the observership to be changed. Because I thought that I am going to remain under the supervision of the same doctor, I did not specifically talk about my wish to be accepted in the internal medicine department. As a result, I was accepted in the surgery department and at the same time, was told by an administrative in the hospital that I can only be accepted for one month… How worst can things be more than this? I emaild my complaints for two times… Dr. Nabil never responded!

# An American young Jordanian doctor: All my information about this doctor are from a blog that he has. Despite realizing how hard it is for a young doctor to recommend others for such a hard thing as an elective, and despite my little knowledge of him, I rudely contacted him. With a big heart, he showed readiness to help (as I expected). Unfortunately, the hospital where he works did not offer electives. At that point, I decided to bother him no more and so sent him no further requests. If my faculty, my relatives, and the friends of my relatives could not help, why would I bother a person that does not know anything about me to help?

The above is a list of the persons whom I contacted. I do not carry any bad feelings about them for not being able to help. On the contrary, whenever I talked to anyone about my elective, I felt ashamed because of my consuming their time and efforts!



p align=”center”>Can you help me get accepted for a two-month


p align=”center”>elective in internal medicine in the US?


p align=”center”>image

You might consider it a small favor, but with this “small” favor, you are changing the life of a doctor-to-be forever!… It is like the “small step” of Neil Armstrong:

“That’s one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind”[1]

Neil Armstrong, 2:56 UTC July 21, 1969.



[1] Source: “Neil Armstrong”, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neil_Armstrong, retrieved: 07.02.2012.

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  1. Hey I don’t know how much it would help, and I did my elective way back in 2009, but I have a list of most of the hospitals my classmates went to… At least make sure you contact those… Send me an email, and I’ll write you back…

    • I also have a friend attending Jordan university of science and technology who wants to take his elective here in usa.. please can you send me the list that might take him??? I am american and i am coming up against stone walls on this..how do i help him??? my email is mj186422@yahoo.com

      • Hi,
        I am sorry. I do not understand what you meant by “coming up against stone walls on this”… If you are a physician then you can easily secure him a position at the place where you work! This is the idea of having a contact within the USA!

        If you are not a physician then try to find ones you know because they are the ones that can help you obtain electives or observerships at the places where they work!

      • ok, call me

    • Hello ehab … am trying to get elective course … could you send me the names of hospitals on my E-mail ??
      My E-mail is : me_dr_y91@yahoo.com
      Thanks …

  2. hey did you end up getting an elective? Man I’m in your boat at the moment (except i’m not jordanian) and it sucks! I must of sent a 1000+ emails only to get one rejection after the other…(and I’m still trying) …i’d appreciate it if you had any feedback or advice.

    • Dear colleague,

      I hope that you are doing well. Firstly, I salute you a lot for all of your hard work. I didn’t email any university. They told me that it is a hard job and it is easier to obtain an elective via a contact. I couldn’t find anyone who could help. I didn’t try further to send any email. I had no USMLE steps history, no TOEFL, and my school wasn’t recognized by the few universities I checked.

      At the end, I didn’t get an elective in the USA. It needs either a contact to help you or to pay money (around $400-500/month).

      I salute you again for your trials. I hope that they will pay off.

      Best regards.

  3. I look back at my “horrible experience” and can easily see that I did not adequately search. I should have searched far more than that!

  4. So where are you now and what did u do?
    (A student who’s seeking help too)

    • It’s big time difference, but the process is still the same

      • I am happily in Germany and did not get an elective back then! Not gettinng an elective back then was one major reason, why I later chose Germany over the USA. You need to keep searching! Go to conferences, where you could meet international doctors. This is, I believe, one great way to find electives.

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