McGill learners, faculty and staff shared the FMHS experience with future physicians from abroad in immersive Summer Program for International Medical Students, held in person for the first time. The cohort was  fêted at a grad ceremony last month.

Smiles all around, lively conversation, students and guests dressed in their best – this was the celebratory mood in which Vice-Principal and Dean Lesley Fellows welcomed the Ambassador of the UAE to Canada H.E. Fahad Al Raqbani, the Ambassador of the State of Kuwait to Canada H.E. Reem Al Khaled and the many others gathered at the 2023 McGill Summer Program for International Medical Students graduation ceremony in August.

The program was designed by McGill’s Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences in support of its mission to work collaboratively across borders toward healthier societies, worldwide. The program, now in its third year, is an opportunity for the Faculty’s School of Medicine to share theoretical and applied knowledge and expertise gained through the years, and to also learn from other universities. It is an immersive experience that takes place over the course of three weeks, allowing students to experience what it is like to be a medical student at McGill, in one of the most student-friendly cities in the world. The 2023 edition, the first held in-person at McGill, attracted a total of 33 participants.

“As I look back on the past few weeks, I am filled with gratitude and excitement for the amazing summer program tailored for us, the international medical students,” reflected Salem AlBlooshi, a medical graduate of the United Arab Emirates University. “I owe it all to the incredible professors and staff who worked tirelessly behind the scenes to make it all happen.”

Sara Al-Mahayni, third-year medical student at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (Bahrain), shared similar thoughts: “This was nothing short of transformative and inspirational, where I experienced the Canadian approach to clinical medicine at one of the world’s most prestigious universities.”

This year’s summer program was comprised of nine clinical modules of lectures, case-based workshops, simulations and other hands-on activities. Also included were seven cross-cutting modules to incorporate global health, professionalism and research translation. Additionally, the international tudents had the opportunity to network with McGill students, residents and faculty. All 33 students successfully completed the program and were awarded a McGill Summer Program for International Medical Students certificate, in the presence of both Ambassadors, as well as UAE Cultural Attaché Mr. Mohammed Al Shamsi and Prof. Juma Alkaabi, Acting Dean of the College of Medicine and Health Sciences at UAEU.

“It was so exciting after two online summer programs to experience with students the 2023 edition in person, onsite,” said Howard Bergman, MD, founder of the program and former Assistant Dean, International Affairs, at the Faculty. “The more than 125 McGill professors, staff, residents and students involved were thrilled to be part of it. I am especially delighted and grateful for the very positive feedback we received from the students.”

Says Fadi Habbab, MDCM, the Program Education Lead: “Plans are already underway for 2024, and subsequent years. We will continue to build on the success of the program, as we pursue our vision of expanding the global contributions of McGill’s Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.”

The McGill Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences warmly congratulates the graduating class of the 2023 McGill Summer Program for International Students!

Click any photo to launch a slideshow. Photos by Diana Sarai, Owen Egan and Joni Dufour