Why Go Overseas?

On a medical elective overseas your perspective on healthcare will totally change, coming to understanding of what it means to practice medicine in a global context. You'll develop personally and professionally, which will help your résumé stand out to potential employers. You'll also make lifelong friends and international contacts, immerse yourself in new cultures, learn new languages and see the world.

WHO CAN GO?

Work the World’s overseas placements are for both student and recently qualified medics. Placements start every Sunday and operate 365 days a year. This means you can travel whenever suits you, for as long as  you like. There’s no application process; if you’re on or have completed a medical degree, you can travel with us.

medical electives abroad

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 departments 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 and introduce you to your dedicated supervision team. 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. Elective placements for medical students run from Monday to Friday, so your evenings and weekends are completely free to travel around the country you’ve chosen.

medical placements abroad

DESTINATIONS

Mexico - Merida
Find out more

Get experience in theatre simulation rooms, in live surgery with everything from cataract removal to RTA-related trauma cases, and in the nephrology and urology department to learn how local staff treat conditions like nephritis. There are also opportunities in oncology, haematology, high-specialty internal medicine, paediatrics and critical care to name a few. You could also learn about tropical diseases like chikungunya, and West Nile virus, making an elective in Mexico an attractive prospect.

Vietnam - Hue
Find out more

Spend time in the ED, OBG, internal medicine, and general and orthopaedic surgery among others on your placement in Vietnam. Cardiovascular and oncology are particularly insightful. Vietnamese traditional medicine is built into the framework of the government healthcare system, so you’ll see how modern practises complement ancient traditions. Modern ‘Western’ medicine remains unregulated in some areas, so you could even see cases like infants with arsenic poisoning from drinking unregulated formula, making this a very interesting medical elective overseas. 

Zambia - Lusaka
Find out more

On your placement in Zambia, you’ll see unfamiliar tropical diseases like acute malaria and haematological afflictions like sickle cell anaemia. There are also incredible opportunities in the cancer and diseases hospital, which is the only referral hospital of its kind in Southern Africa. Get additional experience in the busy ED, and in the women and newborn hospital run exclusively by obstetricians and midwives. If you’re looking to take your medical elective in Africa, the opportunities in Lusaka are outstanding.

Cambodia - Phnom Penh
Find out more

Learn how unfamiliar tropical diseases like malaria, TB, dengue fever and typhoid are treated. Of course, you can also gain experience in more familiar areas like the ED, OBG, ENT, traumatology, and urology among others. Limited resources and cultural and religious implications fundamentally change the way specialists approach treatment. You also have the opportunity to spend time in a specialist paediatric hospital — another compelling reason to undertake your medical elective in Cambodia. Read stories from those who’ve already travelled with us to Phnom Penh.

Ghana - Takoradi
TAKORADI MAIN IMAGE
Find out more

On a medical elective in Ghana, you’ll come across unfamiliar conditions like diabetic gangrene (and resulting amputations), typhoid psychosis, acute malaria, even the occasional snake bite. Naturally, you’ll gain experience in familiar areas like the ED, general medicine, orthopaedics and diabetes and hypertension clinics, but the approach to delivering care will differ from what you’re used to. One of our partner hospitals also has a busy HIV clinic that you can attend. Read stories from those who've already travelled with us to Takoradi.

TAKORADI MAIN IMAGE

Tanzania - Dar es Salaam
DAR ES SALAAM MAIN IMAGE
Find out more

In Dar es Salaam — one of the three programs in which we host medical placements in Africa —  you could see cases of cerebral malaria, sickle cell anaemia, cholera and HIV. The typical areas like paediatrics, the infectious diseases unit, theatre and surgical wards like neurosurgery are all options, but bear in mind that the hospitals we work with here are under-resourced, so you’ll have the added benefit of learning true ingenuity from the local doctors. On this medical elective in Tanzania, there are also fantastic opportunities on the psychiatric ward and in anaesthesiology. Read stories from those who’ve already travelled with us to Dar es Salaam.

DAR ES SALAAM MAIN IMAGE

Nepal - Pokhara
POKHARA MAIN IMAGE
Find out more

You can see communicable diseases like, diphtheria, TB, and typhoid if you undertake a medical elective in Nepal. You could even come across injuries like tropical insect and snake bites. You can gain experience in all the usual departments like surgery, OBG, paediatrics and orthopaedics, but as a result of limited resources the practices and treatments will differ from what you’re used to. Time in the OBG theatre will mean experience with things like myomectomies, laparotomies and hysterectomies. Read stories of those who’ve already travelled with us to Pokhara.

POKHARA MAIN IMAGE

Nepal - Kathmandu
KATHMANDU MAIN IMAGE
Find out more

You’ll encounter patients with unfamiliar conditions like Japanese encephalitis, dengue fever, malnutrition, and snake, monkey and dog bites on your medical placement in Kathmandu. You can get experience in departments like the ED, surgery, general medicine and paeds, but the way local staff approach treatment depends largely on resources, so expect significant differences in practise. Nepal is great for specialisation—ENT, dermatology, psychiatry, forensic medicine, biochemistry, microbiology, and cardiothoracics. Read stories from those who’ve already travelled with us to Kathmandu.

KATHMANDU MAIN IMAGE

Philippines - Iloilo
ILOILO MAIN IMAGE
Find out more

A clinical placement in the Philippines means you’ll see unfamiliar conditions like dengue fever, tuberculosis, clubfoot, and maybe the occasional rooster bite. The local population tends toward a high-sugar diet, meaning cases of hypertension and cardiac arrest are common. In the ED you could assist with respiratory failure, gastroenteritis, burns, rabies, hernias, and hyperglycemia. You’ll also see how cultural and socioeconomic factors can affect the provision of care. For example, doctors here often have to prescribe drugs based on a patient’s ability to pay, rather than what they actually need. Read stories from those who’ve already travelled with us to Iloilo.

ILOILO MAIN IMAGE

Sri Lanka - Kandy
KANDY MAIN IMAGE
Find out more

On a medical elective in Sri Lanka, you’ll see tropical infectious diseases like dengue, chikungunya, and chagas. Departments include psychiatry, surgery, OBG, and general medicine among others. For cultural, religious, and resource-based reasons, the practises you’ll see in these departments will differ from, or even contradict what you’ve been taught. Our partner hospital is also known for its extraordinary range of ICUs including: surgical, medical, cardiothoracic, the coronary care unit, and cardiac ICU. Read stories from those who’ve already travelled with us to Kandy.

KANDY MAIN IMAGE

Sri Lanka - Anuradhapura
ANURADHAPURA MAIN IMAGE
Find out more

Malaria, tuberculosis, dengue fever, acute respiratory infections, cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases, diabetes, and cancer are all prevalent conditions in Anuradhapura. Tobacco and alcohol abuse have also increased in magnitude. This, combined with late patient presentation, means you’ll see cases much further advanced than you're used to. In terms of departments, you can rotate through areas like ICU, OBG, General Medicine, General Surgery and Oncology. Read stories from those who’ve already travelled with us to Anuradhapura.

ANURADHAPURA MAIN IMAGE

Peru - Arequipa
AREQUIPA MAIN IMAGE
Find out more

On our medical electives in Peru, infections and disorders arising from poor sanitation, cases of cross contamination and TB are common. Key hospital areas you can gain experience in include but are not limited to surgery, paediatrics, trauma and general medicine. Spending time in the ED’s critical observation room is also worthwhile. The hospital is also home to the largest oncology department in Southern Peru, housing one of two of the country’s only brachytherapy units. There are many unique opportunities like this on a medical elective in South America. Read stories from those who’ve already travelled with us to Arequipa. 

AREQUIPA MAIN IMAGE

Take every chance you get — my Work the World experience in Kathmandu was that chance for me.

Sem Jue, 2018

Read more

"There was routine use of prescription drugs to augment labour, and routine episiotomies".

Jessica Annett, Hull York Medical School 2018

Read more

"This trip increased my self-confidence enormously."

Joshua Wren, University of Leeds 2018

Read more

"Amputations for diabetes weren’t uncommon. One patient had bilateral, dry gangrene of both feet."

Sarah Imbush, University of East Anglia 2018

Read more

"Local staff banded together to deliver the best possible care to their patients."

Samirah Musasizi, University of East Anglia 2018

Read more

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.