Increasing numbers of students are going abroad to experience international healthcare. While certainly not essential to getting into Medical School, this can provide a really interesting differentiator in the application process.
This page answers the following questions about international placements:
- How valuable is international medical experience?
- What will I learn from international placements?
- How do I get an international placement?
- How can I make the most of my international placement?
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.
International medical experiences can be a truly excellent addition to your portfolio, while enhancing your understanding of medicine in a global setting.
But international experience can also be costly and it is not a prerequisite to getting into Medical School.
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 may also impress admissions officers.
How Do I Get An International Placement?
While it is possible to get international work experience on your own, most people use providers like Medical Projects and Volunteering Journeys, who work with us here at The Medic Portal.
Volunteering Journeys offers some excellent medical placements in local hospitals and clinics in India, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Tanzania, to give you a taste of what being a doctor is really like. You can read more about their programmes on our page, Volunteering Journeys. Medical Projects also offer overseas hospital placements for students in India, Kilimanjaro and Transylvania – you can find out more on our Medical Projects page.
If you are determined to go it alone, it is preferable to do so in places where you have family or friends. Your safety should always be the number one priority.
How Can I Make The Most Of My International Placement?
If you are 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 experience that they haven’t reflected upon. It is a unique opportunity to really stand out.
Students who have reflected 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 do go abroad, or are about to, use your free personal portfolio up to keep up-to-date when you are away.