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Increasing numbers of students are going abroad for international healthcare work experience, as it can be an interesting way to stand out during your UCAS application. But with the COVID-19 pandemic and sporadic travel bans, it’s not the most practical option right now.

How Valuable Is International Medical Experience?

Getting medical work experience overseas can be a great method for developing your understanding of Medicine in the global context, and can be a truly excellent addition to your portfolio.

But international experience can also be costly and it is not a prerequisite to getting into Medical School.

It’s not possible to get an international placement at the moment since there are travel bans in place because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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What Will I Learn From International Placements?

Overseas medical placements offer the opportunity for you to witness cases that you might not see at home. For example, tropical diseases such as malaria and dengue fever are much more prevalent in developing countries.

An awareness of the economic, social and environmental factors affecting healthcare in other regions could help your application to make an impression. Leaving your comfort zone and exploring diverse interests is something that could impress admissions officers.

How Can I Make The Most Of My International Placement?

If you’re fortunate enough to experience healthcare abroad, you must make it count.

Admissions tutors often tell us how frustrating it can be when faced with a student who has excellent work experience – but they haven’t reflected upon what they’ve learnt.

Students who reflect on their experiences well are able to pick out striking examples of how international healthcare varies in comparison to the NHS. They can also talk confidently around global healthcare issues such as resources and education.

If you decide an international placement is right for you, make sure you keep a detailed diary and reflect as much as possible to squeeze all the value out of this opportunity.

International Placement Alternatives

International work experience is not a requirement, so you may feel that it’s better to say at home and find a local placement. Some alternative options include:

If you’re really keen on gaining international experience, our new Volunteering & Reflection Programme can help. As well as offering the chance to volunteer remotely around the world with award-winning charity Kissing It Better, you’ll also get access to 10 companion modules – and some of these will teach you about volunteering abroad. Plus, you’ll get a year’s access to TMP MedSoc.

You may also be able to find some webinars or live Q&As with students and Doctors abroad, who will be able to share their experiences with you. This would help demonstrate your motivation to study Medicine without the commitment of an international placement.

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