1. Please tell our readers about yourself.
I am a Medical Doctor and completed my medical education (MBBS) from a government medical College in India. I belong to a middle-class family, from a town in Telangana. I am very passionate about my career and not willing to settle for anything but the best for its advancement. I have obtained PG Training position in Diagnostic and Interventional Radiology, in Germany and will start my training from the 1st of October, 2016. I have the option to specialize in Neuroradiology or Pediatric Radiology.
2. You have done MBBS from India. Why did you select Germany for PG training over the USA or UK where you need not learn a foreign language?
I opted for Germany after weighing these options. I did extensive research online on the numerous forums, spoke to many doctors who had taken the PLAB/USMLE route and after considerable deliberation decided that the probability of getting residency in USA/UK are much lower compared to Germany. Moreover, the resources in terms of time and money required to obtain (assuming I am successful) residencies in the USA/UK were much above what I was willing to risk. To make matters worse, the choice of specializations on offer for foreign qualified doctors was extremely limited in the case of USA.
On the other hand, my research on Germany turned out some very encouraging information. Germany has a lot of shortage of doctors across all specializations and also does not restrict foreign qualified doctors from applying to any Specialist branch. The training standards in Germany are on par with USA/UK. Most important for me, the investment in terms of time and money required to try for Germany was well within my range.
3. Many doctors do not opt for Germany because they are intimidated by the prospect of learning and doing PG training in the German language. What do you think?
I too was hesitant in the beginning but gained the required confidence and motivation after my interaction with doctors who had already done it. So, it is not easy but it is perfectly doable. Actually, now I am more comfortable in German than in English. The structured time-tested manner in which the German language is taught makes one grasp the concepts effectively.
4. How much time did it take to obtain a B2 certificate in the German language?
It took me approximately 8 months to obtain a B2 level. I studied language in a private institute till A2 and then the remaining levels (B1 and B2) from Goethe institute in Hyderabad.
5. How did the PGMP (Post Graduate Mentoring Program) help you in achieving your goal?
PGMP for me started with effective Visa application assistance and counselling, C1 language module followed by Medical Terminology in the German language. We also had intensive sessions on Medical conversation simulations which are very useful for the medical language patient communication test to acquire a temporary license here in Germany.
Apart from what I explained above about the preparation in the PGMP, I was also required to spend time reading medical journals, watch medical videos etc. I also did 30 days of internship in a hospital which helped me observe and learn firsthand functioning of a hospital. This internship also helped me improve communication skills.
Then we had loads of simulations on the Equivalence Exam (for Approbation). This is conducted by serving Professors and HODs which really helped me in cracking the exam. However, a great deal of effort and hard work are to be added from our side as well.
But, please note that German language skills alone are not enough to obtain a PG position here. So, the cultural integration module also played a crucial part in my journey where we had many workshops and classes on basic manners and behaviour in a highly advanced and multicultural society. The training which also includes focuses on body language and communication triggers, Self-confidence and assurance in a foreign community. PGMP is not standard classroom-type training but is tailor-made to suit the needs of each participant.
6. How is your life in Germany? Don’t you feel homesick in a foreign culture speaking a different language?
I meet and associate with people not only from Germany but also from various other countries. It’s a multicultural society. Moreover, I also had other doctors from India in my PGMP batch which made life easier in the beginning. And since I had decent German language skills on my arrival here, it was relatively easy to interact with the locals. I stayed in an apartment which was shared by doctors from other foreign countries as well. Basically, Doctors are a respected lot here. It does take some time to adapt, but nevertheless, I found it exciting. Through all this, I was in regular touch with family and friends back in India through Skype/Facebook etc.
7. What are the qualities needed in your opinion, to be successful in Germany?
I believe a strong determination and focus. Patience is also very important because some legal procedures can take time. The support system of the PGMP made many things easier and the transition seamless.
8. Can you please brief a little on the format of Specialist Training in Germany?
The details and the information that I have read on your website is perfect and authentic. It’s Residency training like many other foreign countries. We work as Assistant Doctor with a salary and are simultaneously trained for a period of 5 to 6 years in our respective fields. The advantages of this training in Germany are that we get a direct super-specialist degree( for example, cardiologist) at the end of the training unlike in India where we have to do a speciality training for example General Medicine and then take another competitive exam and then become a cardiologist. The other thing is that, unlike in India where you are only allowed to do a Specialty training which you get according to your rank in PGCET and have to stick with it even if you don’t like it, In Germany you can change your specialty and also the hospital/ university at any time if you think it doesn’t suit you. The overall work experience in Germany is also considered when you apply for another Residency and you are not seen as a Fresher again.
9. Do you actually get a salary during training? If yes, how much is it?
As I said, it’s Residency. You work as an Assistant Doctor and you are paid a salary like any other Doctor in Germany. Most Assistant Doctors in their 1st year earn Euro 48000 to 50000 PA. Extra hours and night shifts get paid to attract more wages. There are annual increments.
10. What do you have to say to the current and future PGMP participants?
PGMP is a mentoring program and does not include “spoon-feeding”. Its objective is to make you competent and useful person in the German society by guiding you in the right way with the right information and material, boosting you up during your entire journey till you reach your target. Be ready for an exciting and yet a very safe Journey with PGMP.
In this complex process, right and timely information is crucial. Mr. Ashok and Dr. K. Preterit is very genuine people and gives authentic information. I and all my batch mates of PGMP successfully handled a lot of complex situations, made effective use of time and money by following their guidelines.
PGMP has a 100% visa success rate due to its excellent track record. And it’s so obvious that you get the right preparation and help for your Visa application in India and also in some cases Visa extension and the final conversion of your preparation Visa into a work permit Visa (Blue card) in Germany.
11. Are you getting any assistance for your work-permit application?
Thanks to PGMP for the type of preparation visa we get for this program. It’s such type of visa which can be converted directly into a work permit visa in Germany itself without having to go back to India and apply all over again.
The climax of this program is that you get a work contract from a training hospital. With all the guidance and required documents for the work permit, you apply for a work visa (blue card) and it’s issued in a week or two.
I take this opportunity to thank Mrs. M. Battaglia, Dr. K Peteriet and Mr. K P Ashok for all their support. This is a dream come true for me.
Dr. Manoj K was a participant of our PGMP Batch-7 and a resident of Telangana, India