This isn’t the first time you’ll hear this, but AUA isn’t like most other medical schools. While it might boast a top-tier, US-based medical education, simply being located off mainland United States doesn’t even begin to account for what amounts to a radically different learning environment.

Sure, you’ll end up doing your late-night embryology homework amidst palm trees and beneath a tropical moon. If you’re not from LA or Florida, this could be a break from what you’re used to. But what matters more is the daily interaction with Antiguan culture. And what makes AUA truly special is how diverse and international our student body – and curriculum – is.

Despite the workload AUA students face at our College of Medicine, there’s still plenty of time to fully experience the local culture in Antigua and Barbuda. The city of St. John’s, in particular, boasts a vibrant, natural beauty which extends to our 17-acre campus. From the airport to the butter bread stand, AUA students enjoy a hospitality unrivaled anywhere else. AUA students have given back by volunteering their time and burgeoning skills at local clinics, hospitals and even schools.

But more fundamentally, AUA endeavors to teach its students a global perspective on health. As such, they are expected to step out of their comfort zone to interact and develop valuable relationships with people from different socio-economic and cultural backgrounds.

This is particularly true of AUA’s Global MD program. Students participating in this program don’t just learn basic medical sciences; they also take courses in medical Spanish and receive a comprehensive education on medical anthropology, UN health initiatives and other aspects of global medical policy.

The goal is to make graduates of the Global MD track more than just great physicians, but also experts on health policy throughout the world. This is good for them, as it broadens their opportunities to include leadership positions in healthcare decision making.

And it’s good for the world. The United States isn’t the only country that could benefit from a more sane and cost-effective healthcare system. Developing countries – including the homes of many AUA students – suffer not only shortages of resources like doctors and hospitals, but also ineffective coordination of those resources. AUA’s Global MD graduates are in a better position to fix issues like these.

Theoretically, such an international, policy-driven medical education could be taught anywhere. But context matters. AUA instills a universal attitude in its US, Canadian, UK and Indian students by immersing them in a truly cosmopolitan environment – every day!