Why Go Overseas

Undertaking a medical elective abroad is an opportunity that comes around once in a lifetime. In new and exciting clinical settings, you’ll see how staff cope with limited resources when treating advanced conditions — some of which probably won’t have seen before. An overseas experience will advance both your personal and professional development.

We’ve been tailoring overseas medical electives for more than a decade. The partnerships we’ve developed with hospitals and clinics around the world afford us an unusual degree of flexibility when tailoring your placement, ensuring we offer high quality structured supervision from local professionals throughout the placement. On the ground, our teams oversee every part of your placement and provide 24/7 support throughout. These teams also manage our private, catered accommodation, keeping a close eye on your placement experience.

medical electives

HOW IT WORKS

The expertise we’ve developed over the last ten years will help you make a well-informed decision about the destination best for you. We’ll then create the perfect placement based on what you’re most interested in seeing and getting involved in. Our expert team will work with you to customise everything, right down to the areas you’d like to experience.

We put vast amounts of work into each and every placement. You can stay up to date with the entire the process via MyTrip — our online placement planner, which contains an interactive timeline, and personalised information about every aspect of your trip.

Team and Accommodation

A member of our in-country team will come to collect you from the airport when you arrive. We’ll then take you back to the Work the World house where you’ll enjoy a complete welcome briefing. We’ll also take you on a local orientation and an introductory trip to the hospital you’ll be based in.

 

The accommodation we run is private, spacious and secure. Living with other students and professionals from a range of disciplines gives the houses a lively social atmosphere, where you’ll quickly get to know each other. There are amazing weekend travel opportunities in all destinations that you can enjoy with the new friends you make. Our teams on the ground are always on hand 24/7 providing all kinds of support as and when you need it. Other team members include your in-house chef, your housekeeper and your teacher who hosts language lessons twice-weekly.

IN THE HOSPITAL

Before your placement starts, the team will take you to the hospital, introducing you to your supervisors. The close relationships we’ve built with our hospital partners present experiences like seeing unusual medical conditions, unfamiliar clinical practises and diverse cultural thinking around medicine. Ensuring your placement consistently meets your expectations is our top priority, so our in-country management team review your experience in real-time. Placements run from Monday to Friday, so your evenings and weekends are completely free to travel around the country you’ve chosen.

medical electives abroad

DESTINATIONS

Mexico - Merida
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Merida is Mexico’s cultural capital, home to beautiful colonial architecture, green plazas and broad boulevards. The city is lively in the evenings with restaurants and bars in full swing. Further afield, you can dive in beautiful underwater caves cenotes, relax on tropical beaches, and visit awe-inspiring ancient Mayan ruins.

 

Gain experience in a modern, highly specialist institution where the majority of patients are from poorer backgrounds. Many require sophisticated treatments like open heart surgery and even neurosurgery. Access to the Hospital’s high-tech theatre simulation room is a highlight. Going on to treat tropical diseases like chikungunya, and West Nile virus in a low-resource hospital will offer a fascinating contrast.

Vietnam - Hue
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A vibrant focal point of Southeast Asian culture and backpacker favourite, with bustling markets, lively bars and delicious street food in abundance. Close to tropical beaches, rainforests, and ancient temples and pagodas, you’ll have every chance to indulge your adventurous side.

 

In Hue, our partner institution is a large university teaching hospital. This means that, the range of specialisms you can gain experience with is exceptional. Gastrointestinal endoscopy, oncology, reproductive endocrinology, even traditional Vietnamese medicine.

Zambia - Lusaka
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Lusaka is Zambia’s thriving capital city. Visit game parks to see rhino, lions, elephants and cheetah, and spot hippos wading through the beautiful Zambezi River while rowing along the shore in your canoe. Rich local cultures and traditions deeply ingrained in Zambian tribal culture are a highlight.

 

The hospital we’re partnered with is actually five in one — these are the Adult, Paediatric, Mother and Newborn, Eye and Cancer and Diseases Hospitals. You can rotate through any or all of these departments to work with everything from severe spinal injuries to multidrug resistant patients and beyond.

Cambodia - Phnom Penh
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Phnom Penh is one of Southeast Asia’s most exhilarating cities, jam-packed with ancient ruins, fragrant street food, and chanting monks in beautiful saffron robes. Come sun-down, the capital bursts into life, with restaurants spilling out onto busy streets and modern bars open until the early hours.

 

On a medical elective here you’ll hone your skills in a range of departments, confronting tropical infectious diseases like malaria, influenza, TB, HIV, and more. Patients will likely present at stages significantly more advanced than you’re used to.  Read stories from those who’ve already travelled with us to Phnom Penh.

Ghana - Takoradi
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Ghana lies on Africa’s stunning West Coast, and boasts white beaches, fishing villages, and thriving jungles. The town itself is a cultural melting-pot, with bustling markets, bars, and restaurants.

 

Specialists keen to share their knowledge will grant you access to a range of top departments on your Medical Placement. These include A&E, Female Surgical, and NICU. Time in the hospital’s HIV clinic will open your eyes to the realities of providing care with limited drugs and medical technologies. Read stories from those who've already travelled with us to Takoradi.

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Tanzania - Dar es Salaam
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Despite its large city feel, Dar es Salaam is surrounded by natural beauty—think safaris, views of Mt. Kilimanjaro, and nearby Zanzibar island for some of the best beaches in the world.

 

On your Medical Placement, you’ll flourish in busy departments like Infectious Diseases and Emergency Medicine, working with cases of unfamiliar diseases like malaria, dengue fever and cholera. Spend time in the Psychiatric Ward’s secure wing for insight into the local approach to mental health issues. Read stories from those who’ve already travelled with us to Dar es Salaam.

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Nepal - Pokhara
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Pokhara is a lush valley tucked at the feet of the misty Himalayan mountains. The surrounding areas offer amazing opportunities like paragliding, elephant safaris, and trekking to ancient Buddhist temples.

 

Show proactivity on your Medical Placement and you could work with unfamiliar conditions like leprosy, worm infestations, and even snake bites. Spending time in the region’s only NICU will highlight the impact a lack of resources has on the lives of local people. Read stories of those who’ve already travelled with us to Pokhara.

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Nepal - Kathmandu
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Kathmandu is Nepal’s lively capital and is home to ornate Buddhist temples, winding market streets, buzzing nightlife, mischievous monkeys, and the majestic Himalayas. Nearby, try activities like paragliding, bungee jumping, and whitewater rafting.

 

Show enthusiasm on your Medical Placement and opportunities in specialisms will arise; Psychiatry, Forensic Medicine, Cardiothoracics, Microbiology, Biochemistry, you name it. Proactivity will help you get involved in daily lectures, case presentations, and community programs. Read stories from those who’ve already travelled with us to Kathmandu.

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Philippines - Iloilo
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Iloilo is the perfect healthcare placement destination if tropical beaches, sunshine, and clear seas float your boat. Dive off the coast into an underwater world, join cultural festivals, and tour local bars and restaurants for lively nights out.

 

A confident attitude on your Medical Elective will provide great patient interaction, as you examine tropical diseases like dengue fever and malaria. The high-sugar Filipino diet also means cases of hypertension and cardiac arrest are common, both of which you’ll likely encounter on placement. Read stories from those who’ve already travelled with us to Iloilo.

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Sri Lanka - Kandy
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Kandy is home to stunning natural beauty, ornate temples, exquisite cuisine, and ancient traditions. You’ll find plenty of opportunity for adventure here too, for example water sports off the coast and trekking through jungles in search of rare wildlife.

 

On a Medical Placement you’ll learn how local specialists fight tropical diseases like malaria and dengue fever. Working in the Renal Transplant Unit, which performs 80% of all kidney transplants in the country, will open your eyes to the hospital’s lack of resources. Read stories from those who’ve already travelled with us to Kandy.

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Sri Lanka - Anuradhapura
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The ancient city of Anuradhapura never fails to impress. Stupas, temples, and sacred palaces make up the old city, and the new city boasts restaurants, bars, and bustling markets. Safaris, national parks, and paradise beaches lay nearby.

 

On a Medical Placement you’ll work in a teaching hospital that actively promotes patient interaction, in departments including ICU and Neurosurgery. Working with cardiovascular diseases and advanced stage cancers will highlight the limitations professionals here face on a daily basis. Read stories from those who’ve already travelled with us to Anuradhapura.

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Peru - Arequipa
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Peru is stunning. Explore the remains of Machu Picchu – an ancient Incan city, trek through the lush Amazon jungle, join colourful local festivals, and boat across Lake Titicaca to visit its famous floating villages.

 

On a Medical Placement here you’ll work with unusual cases like arsenic poisoning, as well as conditions unique to South America like Chagas disease. In the largest Oncology Department in Southern Peru you’ll have the chance to work with radiotherapy, brachytherapy, and chemotherapy, treating cancers uncommon in the developed world. Read stories from those who’ve already travelled with us to Arequipa. 

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Tanzania - Arusha
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The lively city of Arusha is the perfect jumping off point for adventure. Mountain climbing, safaris, volcanoes, markets, and local restaurants all lie right on your doorstep.

 

Proactivity in hospital departments like Internal Medicine and Paediatrics will present opportunities like working with advanced stage HIV, hypertension, pneumonia and unfamiliar conditions like malaria. Should you choose to do so, witnessing surgeries in theatre will be a highlight of your placement experience. Read stories from those who've already travelled with us to Arusha.

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"My trip to Kathmandu was an amazing experience. I developed as a person and as a future doctor."

Annefleur Mauritz, 2017

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"My guidance would be: don’t be afraid to get stuck in and do stuff!"

Josie Walshaw, Hull York Medical School 2017

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"Put yourself forward, build relationships with your supervisors and you will get so much more out of your placement. "

Kaylee van de Par, Maastricht University 2017

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Thymen Houwen

"These experiences will be beneficial for your personal and working life forever!"

Thymen Houwen, 2017

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Katherine Hughes

"I loved experiencing a new and vibrant culture in a beautiful country that is so different to mine and meeting so many wonderful people".

Kathryn Hughes, Cardiff University 2017

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What is a Medical Elective?

Medical Electives are placements Medical Students undertake as part of their degree—Work the World tailors structured, supervised Medical Electives in destinations across Africa, Asia and Latin America.