My experience was a bit similar. Study groups were crucial for many to survive the vast amount of information combined with a new language (back then) and fast pace of classes.
Unfortunately, some colleagues did drop off early on, probably for that reason and the lack of formal student counseling for medical students back then.
My son studied medicine in the U.S, and their model was completely different and more supportive than the one I had in Libya in the 1980s. I am not sure how it looks like now there.