Are you looking for medical and health volunteer projects or medical electives abroad? Search skilled and non-skilled projects in the developing world for students, graduates and medical professionals. There are short and long term placements in hospitals, clinics, outreach centres and remote community projects in destinations like Africa, Asia and Latin America.
Find free, low cost & structured medical and healthcare jobs, electives and gap year programs in the developing world in medicine, dentistry, midwifery, pharmacy, radiography, physiotherapy and nursing.
Did you know you can go overseas and join important medical and healthcare jobs 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.
Apply for the most rewarding experience of your life today.
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?
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.
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.
With One World 365 you can find pre-university medical and 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.
All placements are medically focused, with students usually spending Mon – Fri in hospitals, shadowing doctors in surgery, obstetrics, pediatrics and internal medicine. On some programs doctors also take time 3 days per week to give clinical teaching sessions to our students on a variety of topics such as prevalent diseases in the country and how they are treated. All students live together in our comfortable, socialable houses. We give you an opportunity to get real medical experience and learn about healthcare in the developing world. You will witness a wide variety of clinical cases and perhaps most importantly see what it feels like to work in a medical environment. A hospital placement overseas may also reaffirm a students desire to study medicine and many students return from our medical experience projects with a renewed aspiration to secure a place in med school.
A medical placement booked through One World 365 will be full of the sort of experiences which will give you not only a first rate application but a real head start and renewed desire in your first years at med school. The companies we have listed provide you with unrivalled support, arrange all aspects of your placement and supply you with all your meals and accommodation, for the duration of your time away with us aswell as an opportunity to get real medical experience and learn about healthcare in the developing world.
For many a gap year isn’t planned. The fierce competitive nature of applying to medical school means that many are left with no other option but to take a year out and reapply the following year. After the initial disappointment of not getting into med school at the first attempt, embrace your gap year, it may just be the best thing you ever do. The reality is that getting into med school isn’t easy. UK based medical schools are so over subscribed that there’s a good chance prospective medical students will have to take a gap year if unsuccessful and reapply the following year.
Prospective medical school students are generally very focused in their desire to succeed in their chosen discipline. Medicine for many is a vocation, if an applicant finds themself unsuccessful in applying for medical school the first time many will take time to improve their applications for the next year. This also shows the medical schools that you will be applying to, that you have the dedication needed to succeed in your career and that you wont be deterred by failing to get a place at the first attempt. An applicant that can pick themselves up from a setback like not be accepted the first time and come back with a stronger application the second time around is demonstrating a resolve that can only be looked upon favourably.
Many see an imposed gap year as a bad thing but a year out of education before embarking on a long and tough medical degree isn’t necessarily a bad thing. People looking back on their imposed gap year are thankful of it and in many cases if used correctly it can be of great benefit to your future medical career. For many also it is a time to take stock. A career in medicine should not be entered into frivolously and many medical gap year students will use the extra experience gained during their gap year to reaffirm their decision to enter into the world of medicine.
Volunteer and support local staff in a busy and happening laboratory. If volunteering in a lab isn’t the first project that came to mind when you decided to volunteer abroad, you will be pleasantly surprised by this well-managed project that offers valuable insight into the local health-care system of a developing country. Anyone with a genuine interest in laboratory work is welcome to join the project. Sign up for 2-12 weeks!
Volunteer placements are usually in a medical lab where you will support a hospital or surrounding community. Labs are fast paced and exciting, located inside of the hospital and serving the needs of a full list of departments. Staff are responsible for covering a large scope of tests that cover general medicine, x-ray, surgery, laboratory tests, venereology, obstrectics and gynaecology, dermatology, mother and child healthcare and ultrasound, ophthalmology, and ECGs- and more. In Africa the hot tropical climate means there are a variety of ailments that patients are tested for, including malaria and waterborne diseases. The waiting room outside of the laboratory is always full and its services are always in demand. Help support a friendly and hardworking local team, and gain practical experience in a field that will indefinitely benefit not only you, but the many people who need these important services.
Volunteer placements in laboratories are generally few and far between, which makes this placement a perfect niche program for those who want to get out and try something unique. In addition to relieving some of the workload off of local staff, the hospital we partner with holds a particular respect for international exchanges, advocating for cross cultural awareness and global team-building initiatives. In the lab, you help out wherever you can be of assistance. Experienced volunteers may be able to help out in more technical capacity than others, but there are otherwise many tasks you can help with. You might be asked to speak with patients, record information and log it into the hospital computer system, administer the appropriate tests, or analyze laboratory results. Above all, any work you do will be appreciated by the friendly local staff. Working hours are usually around 8am-3pm and duration range from 2-12+ weeks. Projects run year round except January when local students are completing their placements.
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. Usually you need to be on, or have completed a healthcare course to apply. This is provided you can obtain the appropriate visa for your destination country. The exception to this is that now some organisations accept student and professional nurses in to midwifery placements, provided you 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.
For some orgaisations, having prior experience working in a hospital or heathcare center will be helpful to you, but it is not required. Anyone who has a genuine interest in working in the healthcare industry or learning about the a healthcare system abroad is welcome to register to apply. You should be enthusiastic, and willing to help out with different tasks assigned to you. Physical space in some placements can be tight, so you must be friendly and adaptable to working on a team. Volunteers who demonstrate excellent interpersonal skills and motivation may be able to help out in other capacities at the laboratory as well, although this decision is always made by the local team. Some placements will be very interesting for volunteers who are learning about tropical diseases, lab chemistry, microbiology, or haematology. Anyone who is an expert or has proven skills in an area may be able to do extra tasks under supervision.
Most programs are offered as part of a package where you will need to pay a joining fee. This generally includes:
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 directory for more options or e-mail us for advice about medical positions overseas. Please get in touch if you have any questions as we will be able to identify how your skills can be matched to a specific program.
There are placements all around the world, where you go really comes down to personal preference. Here is a run down of the destinations where you can participate...
If everyone can help another person in their life the world will be a better place. Volunteering on community initiatives is a popular way to give service, there are lots of ideas like building/constructions projects, helping people and improving facilities and standards. We recommend you print out some local language phrases which you can use to enhance your experience, this will really help you interact with local people and make the whole trip easier. For example asking for directions people will probably be more likely to help if you ask politely in their language.
You can join skilled and non-skilled programs throughout the continent in private/public hospitals or as part of outreach teams. If you already work in this profession your skills will be needed or if you don't have experience there are lots of ways you can work in teams contributing on awareness initiatives for illnesses and diseases. There are various roles available for doctors, nurses, dentists, nutritionists, occupational therapists, social workers & child psychologists. Spending a couple of weeks or months on a medical outreach project will be an inspiring experience.
You could be working in temporary clinics conducting screenings and referral programmes for communities that otherwise has little or no access to health care. This is then followed up by free treatment either at a well-equipped surgery, temporary hospital treatment rooms or at a village clinic in which we provide the equipment. Working with rural communities is a great experience and these programs are ideal for elective students or recently qualified professionals wanting to gain substantial experience of clinical procedures, especially extractions and restorations, in challenging conditions. You can expect days to be busy, last year medical organisations screened and treated over 100,000 people!
Medical & Healthcare Programs in Kenya
Kenya has a poor public health system and you can work in specially set up areas, hospitals or join outreach teams travelling out into rural areas to help people. There are skilled / non-skilled placements, some you will be required to have a formal education but no previous experience is required for non professional placements. On HIV / AIDS volunteer programs you might be raising awareness of the disease in local communities in hope of stopping and preventing the spread of the disease, around 5 - 10% of the population suffer from this devastating disease. We work with organisations which can place you in medical centres in places like Mombasa on the East Coast, there are nurses and nurses in training required all the time to help with daily tasks and duties at surgeries. You will work side by side with local doctors helping local people who are in need of assistance, most centres lack resources and staff and you might be thrown straight into the action when you arrive. You could help children affected by poverty, abandonment, illness and disease by applying to be a child welfare assistance. On this positions you will be able to help children gain their smiles back by helping with their education and healthcare.
Medical & Healthcare Programs in Malawi
Rural communities in Malawi are in desperate need of assistance, usually the nearest hospital or clinic is miles away and local lack the transportation to seek help. Outreach teams and organisations arrange clinics which go direct to comunities and perform check ups, minor surgery, advice and also assistance. Usually skilled professionals are encouraged to apply but there are also spots available for general assistants with no medical background. These placements can be an eye opening experience but also extremely rewarding when you get to see the difference you make on the ground.
There are various medical based projects available where you can work with people affected by illness and disease. Tasks can include caring for HIV/AIDS patients, counselling and in hospitals and communities.and being part of community outreach programs traveling into remote areas of the continent. On our website you can search local organisations who treat communities in the developing world, they provide medical assistance and run clinics and outreach programs where local people can go for a check up and receive treatment. Medical training is not necessary for some projects but if you have a healthcare background this is preferred as skilled professionals can be placed on specific placements. Volunteers without medical background can help to with non hands on tasks like education, awareness and other practical tasks.
The experiences you will have on these programs are likely to be vastly different from anything you are used to. Working from temporary clinics and hospitals in Asia you will get to help people in rural communities that otherwise have little or no access to health care. You can therefore expect to see far more advanced cases than you would typically see in a domestic setting. Itineraries are the daily routine is dependent on the number of cases that visit so expect each day to be a new challenge. If you are looking to gain experience then we have some fantastic programs available where you can learn from experienced staff. You can help in clinics or work in communities providing education to local people about the importance of hygiene. Applications are open all year round and there is a big need for international staff to help train and work alongside local staff.
Medical and Healthcare Placements in Cambodia
Volunteer healthcare work experience in Cambodia. In local state hospitals and clinics, volunteer health workers can assist local doctors. Previous experience and skills are not required for most placements and training will be provided. Types of positions include dentistry, therapy, awareness and physiotherapy. These projects attract both medical professionals and also non-skilled general helpers.
Medical and Healthcare Programs in India
On some placements you might be required to have certain skills and experience but on others you can apply if you just want to help. If you are already in a skilled career for example a doctor, nurse, physio / occupational therapist then you can make a real different to the lives of people less fortunate in the developing world. You could help at an outreach program, hospital, community centre or working with people affected by HIV / Aids. In India's capital - Delhi there are various clinical projects available. You will work alongside nurses and doctors, observe specialist surgery and learn more about the world of medicine in Asia! This India internship is the perfect opportunity for anyone considering a career in medicine. Medical interns are placed in a hospital chain that has been working for many years to provide an outstanding quality of medical services. With hospitals specialising in cardiology, obstetrics and gynaecology, these medical professionals are committed to providing world-class treatment and service for their patients at affordable prices.
The dedication of the staff, modern facilities and friendly atmosphere make this a fantastic place to learn more about medicine and what it's like to work in a hospital. This programme is ideal for medical students as they will be given the opportunity to accompany doctors on their rounds, observing both everyday and specialist procedures and surgery. Part-qualified and student nurses taking part in this internship can pursue research into tropical diseases that are rarely experienced first-hand in the UK. Taking this type of internship can really add depth to your CV. Interns will learn all about healthcare in India and the conditions and culture of its people, so you'll return home with extra dimensions to your medical knowledge and experience. By taking a medical internship you can really demonstrate your passion for medicine!
Medical Voluntary Work in the Philippines
There are medical outreach clinics set up to provide healthcare to rural and disadvantaged communities - sometimes this is the only source of medical attention some people get. If you have any medical/healthcare experience your skills will be put to good use as there is often a lack of staff/resources. Tasks can include running medical check ups and helping provide advice and recommendations to local people on how to stay healthy. These programs are perfect if you are a medical student seeking experience in a developing nation but even if you don't have any formal training or experience you can still join but you will be placed on a general assistance role.
Medical Volunteer Programs in Sri Lanka
There are placements for skilled and un-skilled medical volunteers in Sri Lanka, maybe you are training for a career in healthcare or you already work in the profession, or you just want to help ill/sick people. There are projects available for nurses, doctors, dentists and general medical assistants. Around 10% of the population of Sri Lanka are thought to have mental health problems and there is a need for internationals to help train local staff and also work directly with people. You might get to work rehabilitating people or raising awareness surrounding mental health.
Medical Volunteer Programs in Thailand
Work hands on delivering aid and assistance at hospitals or community outreach programs. There are healthcare awareness and more options for skilled medical professions and also people who are just looking to help in a general capacity. Many of the applicants are people looking to share skills and experience life in a different culture. You might be working in outreach teams, in hositals or in rural communities.
Volunteer in South America on medical programs where you can help children and communities improve their health. You might be considering a career in medicine or as a dentist or maybe you just want to help in developing countries. No previous experience is needed for some roles like being a general assistant. These positions are perfect if you are a recent graduate and you are looking to give serice and really help people. You will get to work as part of an international team delivering help and check ups to remove villages and communities. There are so many exciting and challenging programs, you might be places in really scenic or beautiful locations, usually these outreach programs are in rural areas far away from the noise of big cities.
Medical & Healthcare Volunteer Programs in Argentina
Apply to join medical, physiotherapy, nursing, radiography, midwifery or dentistry elective and help make a difference to local people in Argentina. We offer some fantastic placements where you will get to gain work experience, and help make a positive impact on local people. Mendoza's healthcare system is not as developed as it's cosmopolitan cities may believe and for those who cannot afford the insurance to visit private hospitals, the government or state hospitals are busy and overcrowded. We offer structured and safe placements where you will learn from local staff, meet other participants from all over the world and also improve your skills and knowledge. Medicine and healthcare programs are open to pre-uni, undergraduate and fully qualified volunteers, you will get to work in state hospitals and clinics in places like Buenos Aires, Mensoza and Villa Allende where you can specialise in a specific area of medicine or offer your services and gain experience in a variety of wards. You will need previous experience for some programs.
Medical Volunteer Programs in Chile
You could participate on a medical/healthcare program which are usually operated in places like Santiago, you might need to be either studying or already working in the industry to take part. There are also community centres which care for poor or underprivileged children throughout the country, assistance is needed all year round as many of these operations are underfunded. This will be an experience which might be quite eye opening but unforgettable. Some placements can involve working with blind or disabled children, international staff are invited to apply and help - this is probably the most rewarding program available.
Medical & Healthcare Placements in Colombia
Gain medical and healthcare work experience working in hospitals and helping children affected by HIV and Aids. These placements can be quite emotional and so you will need to be ready for this. There are spots for both skilled and un-skilled participants. In the last few years Colombia has introduced free universal healthcare to its citizens but there are still people who need help from disadvantaged backgrounds or who live too far away from medical institutions. As a healthcare working in Colombia you will get to help prevent and help people with HIV, yellow fever and malaria.
Medical Volunteer Programs in Costa Rica
International participants are needed to help support local doctors, nurses and carers working in Costa Rica. If you have a background in medicine, or are currently training then these projects are a rewarding way to experience Costa Rica and do something amazing. Placements can include helping at hospitals, nursing homes, in clinics, educational awareness teams or in outreach teams. You might be working with sick/elderly people, locals who have HIV/Aids. There are lots of different roles available including shadowing doctors/nurses, helping with physical therapy, taking notes, doing wounds, observing patients and also offering general help and assistance. When applying for these roles you will need to provide proof you have a background in this field of work and demonstrate you can converse in Spanish.
Medical Volunteer Programs in Ecuador
There are medical projects which have been designed with a strong focus on learning, giving and providing you with hands-on involvement in the field of medicine and healthcare. Local Ecuadorian people benefit greatly from the support of international volunteers and there are skilled / un-skilled projects are available. So whether you are a student/graduate seeking experience or if you work in this industry and would like to help abroad these placements will appeal to you. Four popular medical placements available in Ecuador are located in Ambato, Manglaralto, Santa Elena and Baeza.
Medicine & Healthcare Placements in Guatemala
Work hands on helping people who really need assistance. There are skilled and non-skilled programs available so if you are in this profession or not, you can apply. Types of projects include dentistry, nursing, working as a doctor, joining awareness efforts or providing general assistance with daily life making sure the right people get help. Sometimes you might be working as part of an outreach team travelling to remote areas working with remote communities and raising healthcare standards.You can give children and their families a better standard of care and access to essential vitamins and food. You’ll help to ensure that children receive nutritious food and drinks, such as carrot juice and fruit every day, clean their teeth and take their vitamins. You may be needed to help with social work with the families of the children and increase awareness within the community of the importance of healthcare and education. There are also care projects available where you can work with elderly and vulnerable members of society.
Honduras Medical Volunteer Programs
Unfortunately, the public health care system in Honduras is one of the worst in Latin America. There are very few good hospitals, and most middle class families are unable to afford them. Therefore, able volunteers in our Honduras health projects assist in local hospitals which are often poorly-equipped and are short of well trained staff. Skilled and non-skilled medical placements are available too, you can help raise healthcare standards and work directly with people in need of assistance. Positions can be found at community centres, clinics and hospitals, also if you have any specific skills you can find specified placements like midwifery. There are also elective programs available in Honduras designed for those volunteers who wish to gain valuable knowledge and skills by working along with professional dentists.Volunteer work includes assisting the dentists in their tasks and helping in sterlization of supplies as well as doing hands on tasks. The program is suitable mainly for students who want to gain hands on experience and skills before starting professional work.
Medical & Healthcare Volunteer Work in Mexico
There are various clinics and outreach projects working with remote communities providing attention to people in need. A lot of doctors in Mexico have trained in the United States and so you should have easy communication but a lot of organisations will require you to have a good level of Spanish as a local of people in Mexico do not speak English. If you have an previous skills or already work in this area this is really beneficial. If you don't have any previous skills you will be able to help with general tasks and awareness initiatives.
Medical & Healthcare Volunteer Programs in Peru
Peru has a wealth of cultural sights but the country is very poor and lacks basic facilities including water sanitation and healthcare. If you are currently in the healthcare profession your skills will really be put to good use in Peru, but don’t worry if you have never done anything like this before you can before a general assistant. Illness, disease and HIV and Aids are a problem in Peru whilst in remote areas of the country people are unable to gain treatment. Local people will really appreciate you helping and you can make a huge impact in the lives of others on these types of projects. Spend time doing something rewarding and beneficial to others is a special experience, these programs are a fantastic way to help communities in a developing world. Programs are perfect if you are wanting to make a difference where you can donate your time and make a real difference to people integrating into the local culture.