Are the programs sustainable?

We strongly believe that we have a responsibility to reduce the impact and increase the benefits that our placements have in all of our destinations. We don’t ship employees over to each of our locations; we employ local people and give them the skills and training they need to improve their opportunities. We source our food and other products from the local areas and make use of public transport as long as it is safe and appropriate to do so.  We also like to make donations to individual members of staff and specific wards in the hospitals and clinics we work with, over and above the standard fees we pay them for each student. Local hospital and clinic staff can also benefit from English lessons that we sponsor.

Are you an NGO or charity?

Work the World is not a non-government organisation or charity. However we are very serious about our moral and ethical responsibilities. We endeavour to provide electives that are sustainable and benefit local communities.  We also work in association with Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) to offer placements that will equip students for a future in international aid. They are unable to offer their own placement opportunities because they cannot afford to spare relief workers.

Can my partner or friend join me at the house?

In order to keep our houses secure we only permit Work the World staff and students on site. This is a rule we apply across the board to remain fair to all staff and students. We do not believe that friends and family pose a security risk but they can, understandably, affect the dynamics of the house – particularly in a shared environment. However we are happy to recommend places for visitors to stay and places where you can meet up socially

How do I get from the airport to the house?

Don’t worry – we will pick you up! You will be greeted at the airport by a Work the World representative wearing a blue t-shirt and holding one of our signs. Your flight details can be added to your MyTrip account so you don’t have to worry if you are delayed as our staff members check with the airlines on a daily basis.

How much does a placement cost and what's included?

The costs of our placements are detailed on our prices page, and they vary according to where you go and how you long you want to go for. The prices shown include all of the pre-departure arrangement of your placement, your accommodation, food and drinking water at the house and the support you will receive from the head office and at your destination. Flights, visas and insurance will need to be arranged independently. We are happy to help with this if you are not sure where to start but we don’t include these in our costs as our students travel from all over the world at different times of the year and are likely to have better access to affordable deals than we will. You should also account for money you will spend recreationally and on travel at our destinations.

Whilst food in included at the house, you might want to go for meals with other students from time to time, so you should ensure you budget for this. If you wish to take any trips during your free time, our staff will be happy to provide you with advice and information but the cost for this would be your responsibility. Equally, your day-to-day travel costs are not included in our packages. We do provide transfers at the beginning and end of your placement, and whilst our houses are located at close as possible to the placements, you may find that you need to take public transport to reach your hospital or clinic. You should budget for around $2 AUD per day. Of course, you will be shown the best way to get to and from work during your orientation session.

I've heard people mention MyTrip. What is this?

MyTrip is an online facility – effectively your own personal account – where all of the information relating to your specific placement is stored. You can access this at any time and we update it as and when the various aspects of your placement are confirmed. On MyTrip you will find all the information you need regarding your placement, including details about your hospital or clinic, your supervisor and your location. You can follow your own progress via a timeline and receive reminders about when elements of your preparation are overdue.

What happens if something goes wrong while I'm on my placement?

There are members of Work the World staff available around the clock if you need any assistance. We can quickly intervene where necessary and our Program Managers will speak to the hospital or clinic on your behalf and sort out any problems that might have occurred in the house. If you are in need of medical assistance we will ensure you get the best care possible, travelling with you to a private hospital and providing translation where appropriate. If you need to contact your travel insurance company we can also help you with this and assist in any procedures you need to follow.

Where can I travel in my free time and what will the weather be like during my stay?

All of our placements are located in incredible, fascinating countries where you will find plenty to see and do. We suggest that you wait until you arrive before booking any trips  - you may decide to travel with other students or take the advice of the very knowledgeable staff on site. You will find lots of advice from previous students on where to go and where not to go, either on our blog, in case studies on the website or even in the comments book at the house.

Will I be paid to undertake a placement?

There are no paid options available with Work the World – all of our placements are voluntary.

Are there shift patterns?

The typical working hours are about 7am-2pm but this does vary with each of our hospital partnerships and the department you are working in.

Are your placements regulated?

The amount of support and supervision students receive on placement is incredibly important to us and is an integral part of the structure of our placements. The levels of support and supervision you receive have been set out within the agreements we have with our partner hospitals and clinics.  We also observe guidelines set out by professional, statutory and regulatory bodies, ensuring that every placement is designed to meet the skill level of each student to protect the safety of patients and students. It is common for universities to have particular requirements of placements according to their standards and the course of study a student is undertaking. We are happy to put additional agreements in place and provide risk assessments and audit information where necessary. 

Can I get help towards the cost of my placement?

You are responsible to provide the costs for the placement but there are many ways in which you can get help and support if you know where to look!  There may be grants and bursaries available to you from your home institutions and employers. Or you could look at raising funds through sponsorship. You might be surprised at how many businesses are willing to invest in this type experience.

If you’re enrolled with an Australian higher education provider as a Commonwealth supported student, you may be eligible to access an OS-HELP loan for your study overseas. 

If you need further information once you have booked your placement just let us know and we will provide you with some advice on bursaries and sponsorships.  There are often some great opportunities posted on our Facebook page and blog, including competitions offering  free placements, so make sure you subscribe!

Can I secure my department choices before I go?

Yes. Our expert team will have detailed conversations with you in advance of your placement starting, meaning we can guarantee exactly what department/s you’ll be based in throughout your whole placement.

Can I use my mobile phone overseas?

You can, but it is likely to be expensive. On your first day in-country, our local team will take you to a shop that will sell local sim cards at a very cheap price. This is a much more cost effective way of keeping communication channels open with the Work the World team and fellow housemates. If you choose to get a sim card with data, it also ensures you’ll always have access to the internet!

Can I work evenings or weekends?

All placements as standard are Monday to Friday allowing you weekends off to explore the country you are living in or relax at the house. However if you do want to work weekends that is absolutely possible and can be arranged with our in-country management team. Most working hours tend to be daytime shifts but it is also possible to work nights, again this can be arranged for you in-country.

Can me and my friend be placed on the same department?

Yes, subject to availability. All placements within departments are limited and are very much subject to each individual's interests and objectives.

Can we travel as a group?

Thousands of students and professionals travel with us each year, some on their own and some in groups, meaning we can cater for everyone. There are a maximum number of placements available in each of our programmes, however, so it is advised to book as early as possible to secure your placement - especially if you are travelling as a group.

Do I need to speak the local language?

In all our Work the World programmes all staff members speak excellent English. We’re proud of the fact that we only employ locals to host our students at the Work the World house; this means that they have unparalleled local knowledge as well as strong relationships with our partner hospitals.

With years of experience tailor-making overseas placements, we’ve developed the ultimate in-country language support. Once you’ve registered with us, you’ll get access to MyTrip — our online placement planning portal. Here you can see our comprehensive written language guides and accompanying videos for the destination you’re travelling to.

To give you an even deeper practical understanding of the local language and customs, a language teacher will provide twice-weekly language lessons in our Work the World houses throughout the duration of your placement.

With the exception of Peru (where we ask that all students & professionals display an intermediate level of Spanish) you don’t need to be fluent in the local language. In the hospitals and clinics we partner with, many senior consultants in our partner hospitals are also required to study in English speaking countries as part of their learning, so again, are likely to have a good (if not excellent) level of English.

Do the WtW houses have wifi?

Yes. Each of our Work the World houses has the best wifi we can get within the local area. Given we work in developing countries, it can be intermittent at times but generally it works well as long as no one is streaming/downloading movies.   

How many hours a week will I be in the hospital?

Typically our students and professionals work on average 35 hours per week. If you need to do a set number of hours based on your university requirements we can assist with this.

How many spaces are there in each location?

Our houses depending on destination, accommodate between 22 and 39 people. Therefore in all our destinations there are a maximum number of places available, so booking as early as possible is always advised.

How much spending money should I take?

It really varies depending on where you go, but the cost of living is significantly cheaper than your home country. We recommend on average about $200 for every week you are in-country. This will cover travel to and from placement, weekend trips away including accommodation and spending money, as well as mid-week drinks and meals out if you decide to not dine at the house.

Is the registration fee refundable?

You pay a registration fee when you apply for one of our placements. If we are unable to fulfill your placement – for example it may be fully booked – we will either find you an alternative you are happy with, or refund your registration fee. The registration fee is no longer refundable once your placement has been confirmed, because it is used to reserve your place and cover the pre-departure services. If personal issues arise once your placement is confirmed - if you don’t pass the exams you expected to or decide that the placement is not for you - you should check whether you are able to make a claim on your insurance. It might be possible for us to postpone your placement for a future date, but this option is applied on a case by case basis.

Is there an application process?

If you’ve not already been in touch with a Work the World staff member then completing the Enquiry Form at the bottom of the page is advised. However if you have already spoken to a team member and you’re ready to book click ‘Book Now’.

What accommodation is available and can I book my own room?

Our Work the World houses are large, secure shared houses that will be your home for the duration of your placement. We opted to place our students together in one location rather than taking the budget home-stay option because the feedback we received from early placements indicated that students enjoyed coming home to like-minded peers who can discuss their placement experiences in a relaxed environment. The bedrooms are all shared but split between male and female with 4-6 beds in each room.

If you are going on placement with a same-sex friend we will try to place you in the same room where possible. However, we cannot accommodate requests for private rooms or mixed-sex roomss. Bathrooms are also shared but they are kept to a small number of one per four to five students and they are well looked after to ensure they are always clean.

What are the benefits of an overseas placement?

Taking your elective in a developing country is an amazing opportunity to use, develop and share your skills whilst gaining experience with advanced diseases and pathologies that are rare in the Western world. You’ll gain unique insight into developing healthcare systems which will contribute to both your personal and professional development.

This blog post explores the difference between taking your elective at home and travelling overseas.

Within the international aid sector, few charities or organisations offer medical elective placements. This is because you would be working in high-risk environments and potentially detract from the capacity of local relief workers who would need to supervise you.

Work the World are proud to provide electives in challenging, yet safe environments that will help you decide whether working in a developing country as a professional is for you.

What happens once I pay my registration fee?

Your registration fee secures your placement immediately and allows us to start tailor-making your placement. You will also be given instance access to MyTrip, your online placement planner. The planner has everything you could possibly need such as a step-by-step timeline, full details of your itinerary, access to our Information Pack which contains everything you’ll need to know before your trip; packing lists, language guides, visa requirements and so much more!

When should I book my flights and which airport do I need?

You should not book your flights until your placement has been confirmed – you may not be able to reschedule the flights if your placement dates are unavailable. When your placement has been confirmed we suggest that you book your flights no later than 3 months before your trip begins to avoid any panic or inflated prices.

The airports we recommend for each destination are as follows:

  • Arequipa, Peru: Rodríguez Ballón International Airport (AQP) via Lima’s  Jorge Chávez International Airport (LIM). These flights can be booked together by your travel agent or you can purchase the internal flight separately from a low cost airline (this is often more economical). Note that if you fly into Lima via an international flight, you must collect your luggage and leave the airport departures area, and then re-check in with your luggage for the internal flight.
  • Dar es Salaam, Tanzania: Julius Nyerere International Airport (DAR).
  • Arusha, Tanzania: There are two airports close to Arusha - Arusha (ARK) and Kilimanjaro (JRO). Alternatively you could book a flight to Dar es Salaam (DAR) and arrange a separate internal flight.
  • Kathmandu & Pokhara, Nepal: Tribhuvan International Airport (KTM). You will also need to book a separate internal flight to our base in Pokhara. As a general rule this cannot be booked at the same time as your international ticket, but we will give you details of local tour operators who will be able to assist with this flight.
  • Takoradi, Ghana: Kotoka International Airport (ACC).
  • Kandy, Sri Lanka: Bandaranaike International Airport (CMB).
  • Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka: Bandaranaike International Airport (CMB).
  • Iloilo, Philippines: Iloilo International Airport (ILO) via Manila’s 'Ninoy Aquino International Airport' (MNL) or Cebu International Airport (CEB). Both flights can be booked together by your travel agent or you can purchase the domestic flight to Iloilo separately from a low cost airline (this is often more economical).
  • Phnom Penh, Cambodia: Phnom Penh International Airport (PNH)
  • Lusaka, Zambia: Kenneth Kaunda International Airport (LUN)
  • Merida, Mexico: Cancun International Airport (CUN) and Merida Airport (MID). Both flights can be booked together by your travel agent or you can purchase the domestic flight to Merida separately from a low cost airline (this is often more economical). It is possible to overland from Cancun to Merida by coach which is approximately 4 hours where you will be picked up from the coach station in Merida. 

Where can I go and for how long?

Our placements run throughout the year and are tailored to your interests, experience and abilities, as well as any course requirements you may be expected to meet. As such, they can be done at any stage of your training, including during your placement, as a summer placement, or even after you’ve become a qualified professional.

We have a minimum stay of two weeks, but the longer you stay the more you will gain from your experience. Most of our allied health students and professionals tend to stay for a 2-4 week period. You may also be able to split your placement between two hospitals or undertake one of our add-on experiences like the Village Healthcare Experience, Ayurvedic Medicine Experience or Intensive Spanish Course, all of which will broaden your understanding of healthcare overseas.

As mentioned above, the minimum length of stay we offer is two weeks. Any less and we feel there just isn’t enough time to get to grips with your surroundings and integrate into your placement hospital.

Which destinations are best for which specialities?

Our placement consultants have extensive knowledge of all our programmes—both inside the hospital and out—and can help you discover which of our destinations suit your specialism best, and create the most opportunities for you.

Two to three months before departure, we'll will be in touch to help you decide where to specialise, whether to split your placement between two hospitals and which healthcare setting best suits your needs.

Who is eligible for a Work the World placement?

We arrange placements for those who have completed or are currently studying a healthcare course anywhere in the world. We can only place students within their individual disciplines – midwifery placements are only available to midwifery students or professionals. We have lots of experience working with various large groups, for instance universities or societies, so if you have a group of 10 or more let us know and we may be able to arrange a completely tailored project just for you.

Will this placement count towards my degree?

Students who undertake our electives travel from all over the world and each university has different criteria for recognising credits gained. However, it may be part of your university and course structure to award credits for overseas placements. We are happy to provide your supervisor or co-ordinator with the information they require in determining this, and don’t forget that it is possible to tailor your placement to suit your course requirements.