🇵🇭#Internationalmed: Philippines

So, you wanted to study in the Pearl of the Orient…. good choice. The Philippine islands make up and archipelago of 7,640 islands in the Pacific Ocean, and outside of a beautiful landscape, and an economy focused on international export of services, such as language centers, call centers and tourism, the Philippines are also giants in health education and services. In fact, Philippines is the top supplier of nurses in the world. But wait, there’s more! This country also produces top notch MDs! Let’s meet one of them- Dr Jon Aclan!

1. Introduce yourself! Hi, I’m Jon Sergei Jimenez Aclan @sergeaclan, but my friends call me Serge. I’m 30 years old, and I’m Filipino.
2. Why did you choose medicine? Or did medicine choose you? My family has been in the practice of medicine. I am a 3 rd generation doctor. So I guess my family is a big influence. It is the only profession I’ve known all my life.

Dr Aclan

3. Did you always want to study medicine in the Philippines? What’s the story there? Yes I wanted to study in the Philippines since this is my home country and this is where I want to serve. The Philippines is a 3rd world country, and a lot of people needs healthcare.

4. How do you apply for medical school in the Philippines? In Philippines, you first need to take a 4 year bachelor’s degree as a premed course. Then you need to take the National Medical Admission Test (NMAT) before applying to
any medical school. Then after getting a favorable result, you can then apply to any medical school. For international students, I would recommend my school, the Adventist University of the Philippines College of Medicine. AUP is one of the biggest international schools in the Philippines and has an organized group of international students.

AUP College of Medicine

5. What does medical school entail there? In the Philippines, medical school usually takes 4 years to complete. Afterwards you have to take a one-year internship before you could take the Licensure examination.

6. What’s the normal professional trajectory after graduating from medical school in the Philippines? After finishing med school and your internship, you take the licensure exam. After you pass, you can now apply for any residency. Some do not proceed to residency immediately. Some simply goes on freelancing in small medical clinics or hospitals as medical officers and general physicians. Some even go to research, public health and health policy.

7. What does a normal day look like for you? A normal day for me would be waking up with a prayer so that my day goes smoothly. I would then attend to my personal needs before going to work. I work in Health Policy and since we’re in the middle of a pandemic, my office is my Macbook. I work from home doing research and paperwork. I also work part time in the University as a part time Junior Faculty in the College of Medicine. School is also online so I stay at
home usually. There are several occasions that I would go on duty in small hospitals but that is very rare.

#Medsquad!

8. What do you do to destress? I usually play the violin and piano to destress myself. I simply just listen to music and
stay at home. I would love to go to the movies once the pandemic is over. The Philippines is also famous for its malls, I sometimes go there to go window shopping.

9. If you could give advice to yourself in your first year of medicine, what would you say? If I saw my 1st year self, I would say to him to read, read and read more. As a first year student I was a bit chill and was just enjoying myself. I did not really pay attention that much to medical school. So I would advice my younger self to study more.

10. What do you hope life looks like for you in the next ten years? I hope in the next years, I would finally be a consultant in a hospital, a full time professor in a university and I hope to actually hold a master’s degree in a field I am interested in.

Thanks to Dr Aclan for being apart of our International medicine #Philippines edition! Follow him on Instagram at @sergeaclan and tell us where else you want us to go for our series! Leave us your suggestions in the comments!

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