FMG Portal: Assisting FMGs to become U.S. Medical Residents

Becoming a physician in the United States as a Foreign Medical Graduate (FMG) requires some hands-on medical experience within the states. That is why FMG Portal has dedicated its services to helping FMGs through every step of becoming a practicing physician in the U.S. We do this by offering connections to clinical externships, clinical electives, clinical clerkships, clinical rotations and clinical observerships. We also offer assistance with CVs and Visas, so there is no kink in your pathway to a U.S. Residency.


Getting U.S. experience is the impetus behind most of FMG Portal’s services, and it does this by connecting you with programs that provide differing levels of experience. Many of the services, such as clerkships vs rotations are the same if not similar, but knowing specifically what they are will help the FMG to understand what they are seeking.

Clinical Externships

Externships are only available to medical graduates, and they do not qualify for medical school credit. They give FMGs the hands-on experience that will be required by many residences in which applicants apply. Some externships cover specific specialties, which can be very beneficial during the Match process if you are looking to join a certain medical specialty.

Some of the other skills that may be learned in an externship are how to write SOAP notes, participate in diagnosis teams and learn how to use an electronic health record (EHR). While FMGs may have already learned adequate diagnosing skills during their medical training abroad, hands-on experience within the U.S. allows them to learn any nuances that could hinder the medical process by being performed in a manner inconsistent with U.S. healthcare system norms.

Clinical Electives

For foreign medical students, clinical electives are a good opportunity to get hands-on training, and FMG Portal has connections with multiple teaching hospitals. This allows the student to get to work closely with attending physicians in a U.S. healthcare setting.

Foreign medical students who have clinical elective experience in the U.S., especially in their desired specialty, have a much better chance of getting a residency match. Not only does it show experience in the U.S. healthcare field, but it also allows for the opportunity to get U.S. letters of recommendation.

Clinical Clerkships

Clerkships and electives are terms that may be used interchangeably, as they are very similar. In some curricula, they are compulsory. However, U.S.-based clinical clerkships offer a unique opportunity for foreign medical students to participate in healthcare delivery with experienced physicians. This will not only aid the student in passing their USMLE tests, but it will also give the opportunity for cultural adjustment. Cultural adjustment may not seem like a huge component of U.S. healthcare experience, but it greatly aids in communication, which can enhance an interview.

Clinical Rotations

Rotations are very similar to clerkships, and again, the names can be used interchangeably. The word rotation is significant in U.S. rotations because it implies that a student rotates through different specialties in their final year of medical school while supervised by a physician in order to obtain a well-rounded medical education.

Clinical Observerships

Observerships are established when an FMG gets to observe a specialty by participating in a 2-4 week program. This is meant to allow the FMG to get an idea of how the American culture of healthcare works, and it allows the FMG to establish connections along with witnessing firsthand how the medical care is provided in the particular specialty.

Other Services


Immigration laws are constantly changing with the current administration, and this can make applying for visas difficult and confusing. That is why FMG offers assistance in this endeavor, so you can focus on the more important matter of your education and residency placement.


Having a thorough CV is essential to residency placement, but it can be difficult to pare down a full resume to fit the needs of a certain specialty. Our experts can take out the unnecessary details in order to highlight the parts of you that will make you appeal to your residency program director.

ERAS Application

The ERAS application is obviously one of the most important parts of the Match, and filling it out properly could mean the difference between consideration and simple rejection. FMG Portal’s staff can help you fill it out properly, so you don’t miss your change based off of a minor issue.

If you are a Foreign Medical Graduate or a Foreign Medical student looking for resources to get Matched and become a successful physician in the U.S., FMG Portal has the skills, resources, and the connection you have tohave to get you there. As an FMG, you must prove the quality of your education through ECFMG certification, CVs and applications that show that you are the type of resident a program would want to have educated under them.

Don’t travel the FMG road to medical practice in the U.S. alone. Get help where you need it with FMG Portal.

What to Do After Your Residency Interview: The Follow-Up Email


After you finish an interview for a US medical residency program, you’re probably ready to breathe a sigh of relief and take some time to relax. Even though most residency interviews only last one or two days, an interview can be a whirlwind experience–in which you are constantly under pressure to make a good impression, while also trying to figure out whether or not the program is the right fit for you. Successfully getting through the interview day(s) is no easy task, but when you leave, you’re not quite done yet. As soon as the interview is over, you need to start thinking about sending follow up emails to your interviewers and your other contacts at the program. Read on for more information about writing a follow-up email after a US medical residency interview.

The Basics of Residency Follow-Ups: When, Who, and How

  • When to follow up. Ideally, you should send follow-up emails within two to three days of your interview. Waiting much longer than that may suggest a lack of interest in the program, which may detract from the positive impression that you worked so hard to make during the interview itself. Plus, it’s best to write the email while the interview experience is still fresh in your mind. That way, you won’t have trouble coming up with the content of the email (see below for tips), and you won’t have to worry about getting your interview experiences at different programs mixed up.
  • Who to follow up with. The question of who to email depends largely on the nature of your interview experience. At the very least, you should send a follow-up email to the program director and anyone with whom you were in contact during the interview preparation process, such as the interview coordinator. For most programs, you will have three to five formal interviews, and it’s best to try to email each one if you can. In addition, you may want to send a follow-up thank-you email to the residents and/or other faculty members who had a meaningful impact on your interview experience. However, don’t just send the a generic email to every single person you met while you were visiting the program. Remember, they all work in the same place, and they are likely to talk to each other!
  • How to get in touch. In the past, many medical residency candidates were advised to follow up with a handwritten letter. However, in the digital age, a professional email is now considered to be acceptable–and it’s probably the preferred method of communication for most of the contacts at your program. In fact, since it can take a long time for the US Postal Service to get the letter to your program–especially if you are sending the letter from abroad–choosing to handwrite your thank-you note instead of sending an email may put you at a disadvantage, because your contacts at the program may notice how long it took you to follow up.

What to Include In Your Follow-Up Email

As a general rule, it’s best to keep your follow up email short and simple. The interviewers and program coordinators will probably be excited to hear from you, but they’re also professionals with busy schedules. Therefore, you should limit your email to two to three paragraphs. Here are a few of the most important things to include:

  • A sincere thank you. Remember, this email is primarily a thank-you note. More than anything, you should express your gratitude for the opportunity to visit the facility and learn more about the program. On the program’s side, there’s a lot of work that goes into setting up your interview, so coordinators, interviewers, and currents residents will appreciate your acknowledgement.
  • An expression of genuine interest in the program. Even though the official interview process is over, you still want to indicate your interest in the program, which can increase your likelihood of getting matched. In your email, try to point out a few specific aspects of the interview experience that stood out to you and truly shaped your perspective on the program. That way, you can clearly demonstrate that you truly appreciate what the program has to offer for you as a potential resident.
  • Any additional questions you may have. Throughout the interview days, there are lots of opportunities to ask questions, but if a question came up as you were reflecting on the experience, the follow-up email presents a great opportunity to ask. Not only does it signal to your contact that you are still seriously considering the program, but it also allows you to get the answers you need, well in advance of the deadline for your ROL.



Need more tips for medical residency interview success? FMG Portal offers everything foreign medical graduates need to successfully match to a US medical residency program. Contact us today for more information!


Asking Questions During Interview Days: What to Ask and When


In the last post, we listed and discussed some of the questions that you’re likely to be asked as a foreign medical graduate when you interview for a US medical residency program. In this post, we’re going to tackle the opposite issue–that is, the questions you should be asking during the interview days. Over the course of the one or two days that make up a program’s interview schedule, you will have lots of opportunities to find out more about the program and determine whether or not it’s a good fit for you.

Asking questions during the interview days is extremely important because it can help you when you’re preparing your Rank Order List (ROL) in the winter. By learning as much as you can about a program, you can make sure that all of the schools on your ROL offer the professional environment and life experience you’re looking for, and you can make sure that the order you choose is consistent with your preferences. Therefore, during the interview days, you need to be ready to ask the right questions of the right people at the right time. That way, you can make the most of your interview experience and come away with a strong idea of where a program might fit on your ROL.

Questions During the Formal Interview

It’s common for US medical residency interviewers to save one of the toughest interview questions for last: “Do you have any questions for me?” Although you have a variety of options for how to answer, the correct response is definitely not “No.” When you’re asked this question, you have the chance to make a good impression and learn more about the program. Because this is part of your formal interview, you want to show that you’re well-informed about the program and eager to get your interviewer’s unique perspective. Thus, you should avoid asking for basic information about the program that you can find online or that was discussed during an information session. Instead, ask a question that has a truly meaningful answer and that reminds the interviewer of something about who you are as a candidate (without seeming too self-centered). For instance, some appropriate options include:

  • What would you say makes this program stand out the most from other programs in my chosen specialty area?
  • What do you like most about working in the [insert your specialty area] department at this institution?
  • Can you tell me more about the research opportunities in my specialty area of interest? (When asking this question, it can be helpful to mention a specific research project or group that you’ve looked into as you’ve been considering the program.)
  • How does your experience working at this institution compare to your experiences working abroad? (Of course, this question should only be asked of an interviewer if you know they have international medical experience like you do!)

Questions During Informal Meals with Residents and Faculty Members

Many programs include informal meals or coffee breaks with residents and/or faculty members. These events provide candidates with an excellent opportunity to have candid conversations about what your work in the program would really be like. In an informal setting, you can ask residents about their daily schedule and obligations, their work-life balance, the housing and transportation options in the city, and what they like to do with their time away from work. If one of the residents or faculty members is a foreign medical graduate, you might also ask them about their transition to the United States and why they chose this program and location over their other options.

No matter what, remember that it’s best to phrase all questions in a positive way, because you’re still being evaluated, and you want to make a good impression. For instance, asking the question, “What has been your greatest challenge as a medical resident?” sounds much better than, “What sucks the most about being a resident here?” In these conversations, you should also try to avoid gossipy questions about people you might have met during the interviews– especially since the answers won’t really make a difference when it comes to constructing your ROL in the winter.

Questions After Information Sessions

Most programs include an Information Session, often at the beginning of the interview schedule, to cover the basic components of the program and logistical topics like salary and program size. Often, the speaker will open up the floor for questions at the end. This gives you the opportunity to ask any clarifying questions if you are confused about something that was discussed. However, if your question could easily be found in the information packet, you might just want to jot it down and find the answer after the interview days are over. Alternatively, if the question is only pertinent to your individual situation, you may want to follow up with the speaker after the presentation is over, instead of posing your question in front of the whole group of candidates.
For more help with the interview process (or any other aspect of landing a US medical residency), contact FMG Portal today!

Residency Interview Do’s and Don’ts: Tips for Foreign Medical Graduates


If you’re a foreign medical graduate, finding out that you have been offered an interview at a US medical residency program can be an exciting moment. After all your hard work in medical school — not to mention the time you spent perfecting your personal statement and putting your application materials together — it’s great to know that a program in the United States is willing to consider you as a candidate. At the same time, it’s normal to be nervous about the medical residency interview, because it can really make a difference as to whether or not you end up getting matched to your top choice. Read on for some do’s and don’ts that can help make your US medical residency interview experience a success.

What You Need to DO During the Residency Interview Process

Everything you do during the interview can impact the impression you make on the program. Here are a few of the things to make sure you do:


  • DO dress for success. When you interview for a US medical residency program, you should plan to dress in business formal attire. Your appearance affects the first impression you make on everyone you meet, so professionalism and modesty are key. As you choose your interview outfits, you should also make sure that you feel relatively comfortable, since you don’t want to be distracted by an itchy tag or a too-tight collar when you are trying to explain your professional goals to an interviewer.
  • DO make sure you directly address the interviewer’s questions. Part of the interview is to determine how well you communicate, since effective communication is essential to your success in a residency program–not to mention your career as a physician in the future. Make sure you’re not just answering the questions you think the interviewer might ask — really pay attention to what they are saying. Also, if you’re not sure what your interviewer means when they ask you a question, don’t be afraid to clarify! An interviewer will appreciate a clarifying question much more than a confused, rambling answer that fails to truly address the question.
  • DO remember to smile! There’s no doubt that an interview for a US medical residency program is a nerve-wracking and high-pressure experience, but you have to remember that your interviewers are trying to get to know you — not trap you in “gotcha” questions or make you look silly. Remember to smile, relax, and maintain a positive attitude and upbeat demeanor. Your smile can demonstrate that you are confident, even under stressful circumstances, which is a great attribute for a future physician.

Major Don’ts: What NOT to Do During Your Medical Residency Interview

When it comes to your medical residency interview, there are important pitfalls that you should try to avoid. Here are a few major DON’Ts for foreign medical graduates who are looking to make a stellar impression:


  • DON’T speak without thinking. When you’re nervous, it can be tempting to jump right into an answer to an interview question before you’ve really decided what you want to say. Speaking without thinking can be especially problematic if you’re not a native English speaker and you find yourself midway through a sentence, unsure of where you ultimately want to go with your answer. During the interview, remember that there is nothing wrong with pausing after an interviewer has asked a question to take a deep breath and carefully consider your response.
  • DON’T spend your interviews reciting your CV or personal statement. The program has already reviewed your CV and personal statement, so your interviewers will be familiar with your background. The interview offers you the opportunity to build on these documents and show them why you truly belong in the program. While it’s okay to talk about the goals and accomplishments that you listed on your CV and discussed in your personal statement, make sure you’re speaking candidly and expanding on your ideas, not just reciting the documents from memory.
  • DON’T act unprofessionally outside of the formal interview slots. Although the interview process varies between programs, most programs include multiple events outside the interview process, like a tour of the hospital or a meal with faculty and current residents. These settings are less formal, but you should still remember that people in the program are paying attention to your behavior. You may not need to wear a business suit to a restaurant, but it’s still important to look clean and neat. It’s also best to avoid controversial topics of conversation (like politics or religion), excessive complaining, and (of course) foul language.

The prospect of an interview for a US medical residency program can be daunting for foreign medical graduates, but if you approach it strategically, you can make your best impression and maximize the chances that you will get matched to the program of your dreams. FMG Portal is here to help you with a wide range of resources that can help you successfully navigate the US medical residency preparation, application, and interview processes. Contact us today to learn more!

Preparing for a U.S. Medical Residency Interview

Although many U.S. allopathic seniors have a chance to complete mock interviews at their medical schools, some foreign medical graduates may not be fully prepared for the interview process. Completing all the required medical exams and meeting the basic requirements for acceptance is an important first step. However, it does not guarantee admission. Candidates must also impress the interviewer. In this article, we’ll outline how foreign medical graduates can prepare themselves for a successful interview.

Review your own background

Interviewers often ask questions about a graduate’s past experiences. While many graduates can talk confidently about past experiences, reviewing them prior to the interview can be helpful. Perhaps you had forgotten about that volunteer experience you completed three years ago. Reviewing your background can bring more memories to the surface. Then you will be prepared when the interviewer asks a question about your experience.

Research your chosen specialty

At a U.S. medical residency, you will be interviewing for a particular specialty. Having extensive knowledge of this specialty is likely to impress the interviewer. To prepare, keep up to date on the latest developments in your selected specialty. You can subscribe to journals on the specialty or even just set up a Google Alert to send you notifications of new developments. Interviewers may ask your opinion on major issues facing the specialty and this research will help you provide a valuable response.

Research your chosen program

Interviewers will likely ask why you chose the specific school program. Knowledge about the program will help you develop a good answer. For example, the program may be ranked highly. This is a somewhat generic answer, however, and greater specificity will reveal how much you researched the program. A more specific answer would be because you want to work with a specific doctor who is an expert in a procedure that you would like to learn. The second answer, which demonstrates how much research you did, is more likely to impress an interviewer.

Matching with a U.S. medical residency requires more than a stellar resume and high scores on the ECFMG examinations. While the resume and exam scores will get you in the door, you will also have to impress the interviewers. Being knowledgeable about your own experience, your chosen specialty and the interviewing program itself is likely to impress interviewers. When it comes time for the medical residency to rank possible candidates for the match, you want them to rank you toward the top.