WHAT IS AN OVERSEAS PHARMACY PLACEMENT WITH WORK THE WORLD?

Our pharmacy placements abroad are clinical placements you undertake in under-resourced, but fast-paced clinical settings in the developing world.

You’ll see immediately how different the healthcare system is from your own. The pen and paper record keeping, the cases, even some of the medicines themselves will be unfamiliar to you.

You choose where you want to spend time — in stock rooms, specialist satellite pharmacies in oncology or the ED, or in the main pharmacies. Your whole placement is customisable.

On a hospital pharmacy placement, you’ll see unfamiliar — often unbranded — drugs, learn how pre-digital stock systems work, and observe how departments are affected when there are drug shortages.

pharmacy placements

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF A PHARMACY PLACEMENT ABROAD?

An overseas pharmacy placement sets you apart from the other pharmacy students leaving university and looking for work every year.

On a pharmacy placement abroad, you’ll:

  • Expand your clinical knowledge and skill set
  • Develop your confidence and resourcefulness
  • Build your personal and professional network
  • Sharpen your verbal and non-verbal communication
  • Become more attractive to employers

You’ll be in the hospital Monday to Friday, and that means you can enjoy your evenings and weekends exploring the destination you’ve chosen to visit.

WHO ARE WE?

We're Work the World — the experts when it comes to planning, organising and supporting placements for pharmacy students like you.

We started in 2005, and since then we've created pharmacy opportunities abroad for 15,000+ students from 450+ universities globally.

Our end-to-end service includes:

Placement customisation (choose your destination and areas of clinical interest) | Comprehensive pre-trip support | Private, catered accommodation | 24/7 in-country support team

Our programs run 365 days a year and arrivals are every Sunday — you can travel whenever suits you. The minimum placement duration is one week (there’s no maximum).

For more detail about how our service works click here.

AM I ELIGIBLE?

You can go on an overseas pharmacy placement if:

  • You’re undertaking a pharmacy degree
  • You’ve recently graduated with a pharmacy degree

You’re looking for a hospital pharmacy summer placement

WHERE DO I START?

Your first step is to speak with us. We’re here to answer your questions about pharmacy abroad, help you figure out which destination to travel to, and secure your place on a program.

Get in touch using the short enquiry form.

pharmacy placements abroad

DESTINATIONS

Indonesia - Yogyakarta
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It might surprise you to learn that in Indonesia, there’s only one pharmacist per 20,000 patients compared with 18 pharmacists per 20,000 patients in Australia. This means local pharmacists have to work even harder to help patients — something you’ll see firsthand in our partner hospital. But it’s not just a lack of pharmacists — drugs are scarce too. Some have limited stocks and others (including basic analgesics) are hard to get hold of. And when medicines are available, they’re expensive. A month’s worth of branded diabetes medication might cost more than eight days’ worth of the local average wage. On placement here you’ll see impact all of this has on both local pharmacists and patients.

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.

 

When it comes to pharmacy, poor funding has a significant impact on the delivery of adequate care. Many drugs have a limited supply, while others are completely unobtainable. Pharmacists often have to rely on dispensing lesser alternatives or nothing at all depending on stock levels. Unique to our programme in Hue, you could also learn about Vietnamese traditional 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.

 

When it comes to pharmacy, our partner hospital’s standards, systems and structures are similar to what you’ll be used to back home. However, availability of certain drugs is limited, as are staff numbers, creating challenges for delivering care effectively. Under supervision, you’ll find yourself checking scripts, doing clinical rounds and spending time in dispensaries found in the adult, mother and newborn, and paediatric hospitals as well as in surgery.

Cambodia - Phnom Penh
Famous Angkor Wat temple complex in sunset, near Siem Reap, Cambodia.Panoramic view.
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The exhilarating capital city of Phnom Penh boasts some of the world’s most fascinating temples, fragrant street foods, and markets brimming with jewelry, knick-knacks, and traditional crafts. Discover crystal-clear seas off the coast, and trek into humid jungles to glimpse sun bears, leopards and elephants.

 

A Pharmacy Placement here will expand your understanding of healthcare in the developing world, opening your eyes in a way that staying at home simply could not. From rotating through dispensaries to encountering a diverse range of unfamiliar drugs and prescriptions, the professional and personal skills you’ll gain here will prove essential to your aspirations. Read stories from those who’ve already travelled with us to Phnom Penh.

Famous Angkor Wat temple complex in sunset, near Siem Reap, Cambodia.Panoramic view.

Nepal - Pokhara
POKHARA MAIN IMAGE
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Pokhara is surrounded by mountains, lush forests and tranquil lakes begging exploration. Ancient temples and pagodas, as well as modern cafes and bars can also be found here. In the surrounding areas, try paragliding with hawks, bungee jumping, or hiking to hidden temples.

 

On your Pharmacy Placement you’ll spend time in the dispensary, familiarising yourselves with medicines uncommon in the developed world like anti-venoms. A spell in the Pharmacovigilance Unit will give you the opportunity to study the detection and prevention of adverse effects associated with certain pharmaceutical products. Read stories of those who've already travelled with us to Pokhara.

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Ghana - Takoradi
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Ghana’s lively markets and welcoming local people make it rich in typical Ghanaian culture. Sample traditional dishes, or sip a cocktail while watching the sun set over the port. Venture further afield to spot endangered wildlife on safari, hike into the lush jungle in search of hidden waterfalls, and visit rural communities.

 

Displaying proactivity in the hospital will see you assisting across departments like Surgery, Paediatrics, and the HIV Clinic. A spell in the hospital’s Dispensary will highlight the resourceful nature of local staff who work hard treating a wide range of pathologies with extremely limited resources. Read stories from those who’ve already travelled with us to Takoradi.

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Nepal - Kathmandu
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Kathmandu’s history can be traced back thousands of years, yet the current city is an eclectic mix of both the old and the new. Here you’ll peruse the markets filled with handmade curiosities and crafts, tour impressive temples, and paraglide through the misty Himalayan mountains.

 

Pharmacists here assist doctors in explaining prescription drugs and their side effects. On placement you’ll take ward rounds with local specialists, gleaning insight into the growing role Pharmacy plays in the development of Nepali healthcare. In relation to the widely popular Ayurvedic medicinal tradition, this will be an enlightening experience. Read stories from those who’ve already travelled with us to Kathmandu.

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Philippines - Iloilo
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While the many bars and restaurants lend a modern feel to the city, Iloilo is—at its heart—a laid-back, tropical haven. Everyone joins in vibrant festivals throughout the year, and across the water the white sand beaches and palm trees of Boracay island beckon.

 

On a pharmacy placement in the Philippines you’ll have the chance to rotate through six outlets, including satellite Pharmacies in Emergency, Neonatal, Operating Rooms, and OBG. Time in any of these areas will open your eyes to the challenges faced by local staff typically associated with resource-poor environments. Read stories from those who’ve already travelled with us to Iloilo

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"The thing I am most thankful for is the people I met through this experience."

Ana Morán, Complutense University Madrid 2020

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"The pharmacy team were fantastic and they were as happy to see me as I was to see them."

Michael Walker, Keele University 2019

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"Their ‘aseptic suite’ was an incubator from the NICU modified to have laminar flow"

Mared Foulkes, Cardiff University 2019

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"I learnt the whole process on how to treat patients presenting with snake bites"

Paulina Paksaite, University of Bath 2019

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"During the month I spent in Pokhara, I made unforgettable memories with amazing students from all over the world."

Jack Gilbert, Robert Gordon University 2018

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What do our pharmacy placements offer?

A Work the World pharmacy placement gives you the chance to undertake a clinical placement in the developing world. You will spend time in a low-resource hospital and see unfamiliar practices and advanced conditions. You can even choose the departments you want to rotate through. Learn more here.

What are the benefits of a Work the World pharmacy placement?

The benefits of our pharmacy placements include:

  • Expanding your clinical knowledge and skill set
  • Becoming more confident, independent and resourceful
  • Making yourself more attractive to employers
  • Doing some proper travelling
  • Building your personal and professional network
  • Sharpening your language and communication skills
  • Renewing your perspective on care back home

How can I raise funds for my pharmacy placement?

It’s easier than ever to get the funds together for your overseas pharmacy placement. You can take advantage of government programs like OS-HELP, you can take the initiative by starting your own online fundraising page, and you can apply for a huge number of grants and bursaries to help you along the way. Learn how easy it is to raise as much as you need.

What countries can I travel to on a Work the World pharmacy placement?

Work the World organise pharmacy placements in Africa, Asia or Latin America, with placements in 10 different countries: 1. Tanzania 2. Zambia  3. Vietnam 4. Cambodia  5. Indonesia 6. Mexico 7. Ghana 8. The Philippines 9. Nepal 10. Sri Lanka.

What will I see on an overseas Work the World pharmacy placement?

You will see things like:

  • Reconstitution of chemotherapy drugs
  • Patients’ families purchasing and delivering medicines
  • Traditional herbal medicine integrated into local healthcare systems
  • Medication for conditions malaria and leprosy
  • Manual (pen and paper) stock systems

How long is a Work the World pharmacy placement?

A pharmacy placement is as long as you want it to be. Our minimum placement duration is one week, but students typically travel on their pharmacy placements for 4 weeks. There is no upper limit to how long you can travel for.