Types of Placements Available
Guide to Working Abroad in a Medical Capacity
Did you know you can travel abroad and join important medical and healthcare volunteer projects which bring much needed help to people and communities in developing countries. Maybe you are looking to get out of your comfort zone and do something totally different where you can really help people, if you have always dreamed about exploring new countries and would like to do something challenging then you will really enjoy a medical volunteer program. Medical missions bring a lot of care and attention to children and people in developing countries and you can be part of an outreach program which do amazing work. You will meet new people from all over the world who devote their lives to helping others and you will develop close bonds on these trips.
Medical volunteer programs run all year round and are flexible so can you can join around a job, family or study commitments. Positions can be found at hospitals or with community projects. On overseas healthcare programs you can help communities affected by poverty, disease and disability supporting NGOs and charity work. Some placements can be hard work with long days but its totally worth it. In a non-medical capacity you might be helping experiences doctors and nurses with daily activities and helping with education. On medical placements abroad you could be placed in an exotic or rustic destination gaining a great understanding of the places you visit. Our programs allow you to live and see a different part of the world be part of rewarding projects which really make a difference in the developing world. These are great community service opportunities where you can give back to those in less fortunate situations in the world. In the Western world we take medical treatment for granted but a lot of people don't ever get to see a doctor or receive information about health.
If you are a student, graduate or planning a medical gap year by applying you are also likely to increase your chances of finding medical job openings and public health positions in the future enhancing your career prospects. Or if you are already working in the industry this is a great way to help train local workers and improve lives for people. A lot of people don't realise you don't need previous experience in the profession to participate on some of these types of programs - there are assistant and educational roles available where you can work alongside seasoned professionals. Below we provide a run down on the types of positions available.
There are placements all around the world, where you go really comes down to personal preference. You can search specific opportunities on our continent volunteer directories:
Medical Electives for Students & Graduates
If you are currently studying or recently graduated we have programs and internships which will boost your resume / CV and allow you to help people in the developing world. Lots of people apply every year and these placements are perfect if you are planning a career in healthcare. You will be able to learn from experienced professionals and see the impact programs have on communities. You can choose from hundreds of locations but please be aware that placements can be in rural and rustic conditions and far from Western standards. These programs are a great learning experience and also a lot of fun where you can make a huge difference to the lives of others. Volunteering on medical and healthcare placements is a great way to create strong bonds, you will usually stay in shared housing and get lots of time to interact and become friends with other participants.
We list specialist organisations which aim is to take all the hassle out of organizing an overseas elective, by providing you with safe and structured placements which include flights, accommodation, meals and in-country support. The idea of most projects is to have elective students carry out as much of the clinical work as possible, and while a sending agency organises all the logistics of each project, responsibility for clinical supervision lies with qualified local dentists. What your supervisor allows you to do will depend on the level of trust and respect you can earn by demonstrating your abilities and confidence, but the opportunity is there to really get some hands-on experience. These projects will be invaluable for both professional and personal development, as well as really standing out on your C.V.
Gap Year Medical Electives
Popular medical gap year projects include helping at hospitals, these programs are great if you are looking to further a medical career and put your studying into practise. We list several healthcare gap year volunteer projects in the developing world, for skilled placements most organisations will require you to have a relevant degree, course or training. Non-skilled placements usually require no previous experience but usually you will not be working hands on.
Before looking for employment in the medical and healthcare industry a lot of students study and then go on gap year medical programs, on our website you can find pre-university medical, nursing and dental work experience placements. These trips offer a great opportunity to gain cv and resume work experience which will look great to future employers. To join a placement you might need to dedicate a certain amount of time, some programs require a minimum of 2 week commitment. Some organisations offer packages where you will need to pay a joining fee, this usually include placements, accommodation, transfers, pre-departure briefing, training, in-country support and more. If you need any help or advice about taking a medical elective overseas contact us.
Top Reasons to Apply for Medical Work Experience Programs Abroad
If you’ve already been reading up on the medical school application process, you will know that the fight for a place is fierce. To get into medical school, you not only need top grades but you will need extra attributes to stand out from the crowd. This is where work experience in a hospital can help you shine. Work experience in a hospital should be considered as important as your grades and it is guaranteed to be discussed during interviews with your chosen medical schools. You will be asked about what you learned during the experience, what you liked and disliked and whether or not it had any impact on your motivation to become a doctor. Work experience in a clinical setting is the perfect way to affirm your love for medicine.
Of course, you may be one of the few who come back from work experience in a hospital only to decide that medicine isn’t right for you. This is acceptable too. However, the majority of future medical students return with the enthusiasm and determination required to win a place at medical school. Medical work experience is ideal for listing on your personal statement. Work experience demonstrates that you have developed an understanding of the role of a doctor in a clinical setting. Furthermore, it teaches you about the highs and lows and limits of the profession. Work experience allows you to gain a true insight into the way in which a hospital setting operates and how different healthcare professionals come together to work as a team. If you lack work experience, how will you know that you are suited to a career in medicine?
Work experience in a hospital enables you to demonstrate that you possess the skills and personal qualities required to work as a doctor. These skills include but are not limited to: good communication, enthusiasm, perseverance, an ability to work independently and with diverse groups, and a sense of self-insight and personal responsibility. You do not have to travel far to acquire clinical work experience. However, you can do so if you wish! Contact your local hospital and ask for information about obtaining a clinical work experience placement. Be aware that the list may be long, you may have to wait until a placement becomes available and theres no guarantees you will be able to secure a place.
It is essential to try and acquire hospital work experience as soon as you have decided to become a doctor. This way, you will have the experience to list on your UCAS form. Many students struggle to acquire work experience, but keep trying and if you have some lined up do not delay in submitting your application form but do state your intention to carry out work experience in the near future. If you have a date on which you will be starting your work experience, state this on your form so that your chosen medical schools are aware of this. If you are unable to acquire the hospital work experience you desire in your current location and feel adventurous enough to travel afar, why not consider one of our many programmes that offer you the chance to travel abroad and take up valuable work experience at the same time?
Eligibility & Requirements
Usually you need to be on, or have completed a healthcare course anywhere in the world to apply. This is provided you can obtain the appropriate visa for your destination country. As a general rule, placements in each category are only available to those studying in that particular discipline, for example medical placements are only available to medical students or professionals. The exception to this is that we now accept student and professional nurses in to our midwifery placements, provided they have some experience in this area. There are also sometimes general placements available to non-skilled professionals where you can help behind the scenes with education and awareness.
How to Apply
Most programs are offered as part of a package where you will need to pay a joining fee. This generally includes:
Fully structured and supervised placement
Extensive pre-departure preparation
Personalised online elective planner
All university and visa supporting documentation
Airport pick up and local orientation
24/7 support in country
There are free, low cost and also paid volunteering programs programs available worldwide usually with local NGO's and large international charities. You can browse our opportunities and apply today. Visit our volunteer abroad directory for more options or e-mail us for advice about medical positions overseas.