When considering a foreign medical school, cost is a relative factor, and so this question is not so easily disposed of.

You may think that studying in another country, say Mexico or the Caribbean, would be a less expensive option than a top notch U.S. school. But that’s not necessarily the case. In fact, studying at an international medical school can often bring even higher costs.

One way to look at this is by comparing the average debt assumed. A 2010 study by the federal government pegged average student debt for foreign medical students at $235,000; U.S. medical students accrued an average of $158,000.

But here’s where apples are not oranges. If you graduate with $250,000 in debt and are unable to get into a residency program, your medical school education will not only be expensive, but it may prove useless. Even if the education were cheaper, it may be the most expensive mistake you’ll ever make.

This is not to say foreign medical schools aren’t the perfect option for many medical students. Just make sure you attend a school with ECFMC certification, and with an excellent reputation for not only training doctors, but obtaining residencies.

Bryce Johnson co-founded premedFAQ.com in 2011 and is the author of Must Reads for the Well-Rounded Pre-Med on Amazon. If you'd like to write for the site or contribute in another way, feel free to reach out to him on LinkedIn or via email.