Why Go Overseas?

On a medical elective abroad 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. Placements 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
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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. 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 whereby you could encounter 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, in busy departments like Infectious Diseases and Emergency Medicine, you'll witness 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 encounter 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 elective placement you’ll learn how local specialists fight tropical diseases like malaria and dengue fever. 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 in Anuradhapura you'll spend your time in a teaching hospital that actively promotes patient interaction, in departments including ICU and Neurosurgery. You'll witness 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 encounter 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 gain experience 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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"All of the doctors I saw were amazing, and on a number of occasions I was blown away by their resourcefulness, as well as the fortitude of the patients."

Andrew McKinlay, University of Queensland 2018

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"The Philippines is, without a doubt, my favourite country..."

Niamh Doran, Dundee University 2018

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"I spent a week in a rural village, which was the highlight of my placement with Work the World".

Seren Dupont, Exeter University 2018

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"My placement in Peru was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had and I would go back to do it all in a heartbeat!"

Gigi Lee, Queen's University, Belfast 2018

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"Now, a year later, I still often think back on my time in Ghana and I know for certain I will go back."

Saskia Veldkamp, 2018

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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.