Finding the money you need to start organising your placement can be simple. As long as you know what you’re doing.

This page will help you understand the ins and outs of funding your placement. It covers everything from where to look for available grants and bursaries to how to give yourself the best chance when applying for them.

How do we make it easier?

We understand that coming up with money for an overseas placement isn’t easy for everyone. With this in mind we’ve built total flexibility into our payment options. Once you’ve paid your $500 registration fee, you can pay for the rest of your placement however and whenever you want up to 60 days before you’re due to leave. That means you can pay it all at once, or as and when you get more funds.

Where should I look for funding?

OS-Help Loans

There are plenty of places to look for funding, but one of the most common and accessible is the OS-HELP loan. If you’re an Australian student travelling abroad for a clinical placement as part of your studies, you’re probably eligible.

‘OS-HELP’ is the name of a loan available to students enrolled in a Commonwealth Supported Place, or CSP. A CSP, according to the Government’s official website, is “[...] a subsidised higher education enrolment [...] available at all public universities (and at a handful of private higher education providers in national priority areas like nursing and education)”.

The OS-HELP loan can be used to pay for anything relating to your placement. This includes Work the World placement costs and flights. You can apply for and receive this loan twice, as long as you leave a 6-month gap between receiving the funds and applying for the next one. You could potentially put both payments toward the cost of your placement if you’ve got enough time before you depart.

To read more about OS-HELP loans and how to apply for one, click here.

Speak to your International Office

Your university will most likely have a Study Abroad, Global Exchange or Global Mobility Office. In most cases this office will offer information and resources on grants, scholarships or bursaries available for students at your uni. For short-term programs — like Work the World’s popular Summer Placements — you can get access to a mobility grant of anything between $500 - $1500 AUD.

Below are some examples of the types of funding some universities offer.

La Trobe University Guide

University of Otago Guide

Monash University Guide

Global Health and Health Equity Groups

Global Health and Health equity groups exist across most universities in Australia and New Zealand. These are societies that offer scholarships and grants to students to assist with overseas travel. The scholarships and grants range in value and might require you to write a case study after your experience. Ultimately, they provide additional funds towards your overseas placement or for the community you'll be working in.

Below are some examples:

University of Tasmania "IMPACT" Medical Elective Bursary

Griffith University "Hope 4 Health" International Elective Grant

Healthcare Industry Bodies

You’ll discover that a number of professional associations and healthcare organisations across the Tasman offer grant and scholarship options to students and professionals travelling abroad for work. These are offered in a variety of formats and usually require that you write a report (or similar) on return from your trip.

Examples include:

Australian Society of Medical Imaging and Radiation Therapy (ASMIRT) Scholarships 

New Zealand Nurses Organisation Scholarships and Grants

MIGA Medical Elective Grant


The Application Process

The application process may seem daunting and could tempt you to just stay home for your placement, we assure you it’s not as difficult as might first appear. If you manage to get even a small amount of money towards your placement it will have been worth the effort.


As early as possible. Some grant and bursary applications will ask for the exact amount that it’ll cost you to travel, so book your placement with us first to get an accurate total cost.

We’ve provided some solid information above, but conduct your own research before making a decision as to which ones to apply for. Policies and procedures can sometimes change, so be sure to refresh your knowledge closer to the time of your application.

You’ll need to start making decisions at least 12 months before you’re due to leave, to give you enough time to complete the application process.


Each funding group, bursary, and prize has different application criteria.

Most groups require that you apply with specific details of your overseas placement and your reasons for undertaking it. They’ll want to know how the work you’ll be doing is relevant to them. Others will ask you to conduct work to support your application, do specific project work while you’re abroad, or even write reports once back home.


Some funding bodies will ask you to work on a data collection project or a reflective essay whilst on placement. As data collection projects will almost certainly involve lab and clinical research, this type of funding might not be suitable for you.

But reflective writing projects go hand in hand with the placements we offer at Work the World. You can read some examples here.


Some bursaries award fixed amounts, but under certain circumstances you’ll have to apply for the amount you think you’ll need. If you’re travelling with Work the World the process will be easy — we can give you clear information about every cost associated with our placement and the money you’ll need for whichever destination you choose.

If you’re organising your placements yourself, the application process will be considerably more difficult. Struggling to decide which route to take? Read this article on the differences between going it alone and booking with us.


You need to understand, clearly, why you want to go to a developing country. What you hope to learn there? Which destination do you want to travel to? Why? Familiarising yourself with these things will make application is more likely to be clear and concise.
If the funding body asks you to complete a reflective project, you should write up an outline that has a title relevant to the placement you’re undertaking. With it you should provide a brief background summary relevant to the area they’ve asked you to focus on.

Do some background reading and include external references for extra Brownie points. Remember, this isn’t only for their benefit — having a pre-written plan when you’re in-country will remind you what you need to pay attention to. When it comes time to write up what you’ve learned, the project outline will speed up the process.


It might seem like a formality, but funding bodies and organisations want to get familiar with who they’re considering giving free money to. Your CV might not fully encapsulate the unique individual that you are, but it will help the funding bodies make a more informed decision.

It’s worth tweaking your personal statement to include relevant experience you might have, emphasis on relevant. Outline your healthcare-related ambitions and attach a transcript of your grades to date.


Funding bodies really do give free money to students. If your application is well thought out, there’s no reason to think it shouldn’t be you who gets it. Below are some quick fire tips to help improve your chances.

  • Approach each application with time and consideration, and you’ll stand a much better chance than those who’ve hammered out hundreds
  • The narrower the niche, the less competition you’ll have. Up your chances by applying to smaller, local organisations
  • Presentation is paramount. Slip your final draft into a smart looking folder and send it off with plenty of time to spare
  • After a couple of weeks, contact the organisation to confirm they’ve received your application, but don’t hassle them


Whether you’re working overseas or not, your uni will likely ask you to provide a summary of your placement plans and then discuss them with your supervisors.

We work with universities all over the world and each has different requirements. We know this can be a hassle, so we do everything in our power to provide you with as much information as possible around your placement, in-country supervisors, the hospitals you’ll be working in, and more.

We’ll also supply signed supporting documents which validate your placement (useful if you’re applying for a grant, too).


It’s worth it.

If you don’t go through the application process, you have a 0% chance of getting money towards your placement.

Once you’ve applied for one, you’ll have a good understanding of how to apply for the rest. Much of the material you pull together for the first one you’ll be able to reuse for the next one, and the next one after that.

But first thing’s first — you need to figure out where you want to go. Start by browsing our destinations here.