Who are the placements for?

We accept anyone on, or who has completed, a healthcare course anywhere in the world. If you have recently qualified as a healthcare professional, you can find more information on our professional placements page.

As a general rule, placements in each category are only available to those studying (or qualified) in that particular discipline, for example medical placements are only available to medical students or professionals.

I’m enrolled on (or qualified in) a healthcare degree not listed on your website, can I take part?

We can create tailored placements and electives suitable for those studying (or qualified in) the vast majority of healthcare degrees. If you're looking for a placement or elective that isn’t listed on our website, please get in touch using the enquiry form at the bottom of this page.

I am qualified/no longer at University, are your placements suitable for professionals?

Our healthcare placements abroad are suitable for both students and recently qualified professionals. As every element of your overseas professional placement is tailored to you, we can create a once-in-a-lifetime experience that is directly matched with your clinical interests.

What are the benefits of an overseas placement?

Taking your elective in a developing country is an amazing opportunity to use, develop and share your skills whilst gaining experience with advanced diseases and pathologies that are rare in the Western world. You’ll gain unique insight into developing healthcare systems which will contribute to both your personal and professional development.

This blog post explores the difference between taking your elective at home and travelling overseas.

Can we travel as a group?

Thousands of students and professionals travel with us each year, some on their own and some in groups, meaning we can cater for everyone. There are a maximum number of placements available in each of our programmes, however, so it is advised to book as early as possible to secure your placement - especially if you are travelling as a group. We can also ensure (where possible) that we place your group in the same bedrooms, ensuring you’re all together. 

Can I travel on my own?

This is a really popular choice and each year a considerable number of students and professionals take the plunge and travel out to one of our programmes on their own. For some this can be a daunting thought, so we wrote this blog post to cover off any questions you might have about travelling solo. A massive benefit of travelling with us is that you’ll be sharing your accommodation with other healthcare students so you’ll never be on your own and you’ll make friends quickly.

When can I travel and for how long?

Our placements run throughout the year and are tailored to your interests, experience and abilities, as well as any course requirements you may be expected to meet. As such, they can be done at any stage of your training, including during your elective period, as a summer placement, or even after you’ve become a qualified professional.

We have a minimum stay of one week, but the longer you stay the more you will gain from your experience. Most of our allied health students and professionals tend to stay for a two to four week period. You may also be able to split your placement between two hospitals or undertake a Village Healthcare Week, which will broaden your understanding of healthcare overseas.

Is there an application process?

As long as you are either studying or have recently completed a healthcare degree you will automatically qualify for a place on one of our programmes.

If you’ve not already been in touch with a Work the World placement consultant, then we recommend you submit the enquiry form at the bottom of the page to talk through your options. 

If you have already spoken to one of the team and you’re ready to book, click ‘Book Now’. To start your application we ask for a £300 registration fee in order to secure your place on the programme. You’ll receive confirmation of your placement within 48 hours. If for any reason we are not able to offer you a placement, the registration fee will be refunded in full.

Is there funding available?

With regards to funding, your first port of call should be your university. There are often bursaries and grants available for which a student undertaking an overseas placement may be eligible. A quick Google search may also turn up some third party funding options.

If you are interested in fundraising for your trip we have created the Fundraising Hub, where you can find a number of tips, resources, and guides to get you started.

What’s not included on a Work the World placement?

Whilst the majority of expenses are covered by Work the World there are a few things you will need to arrange independently. Things such as your flights, insurance, visas, vaccinations and any travel you wish to take outside of your placement. You can find more information about what’s not included here.

How far in advance of travelling should I register?

The majority of participants register to secure their place on their chosen programme roughly 9 months in advance. This helps to ensure you’re guaranteed your first choice of destination and also gives you plenty of time to save or fundraise for your placement.

Do I have to pay the full balance as soon as I register?

You don’t! All we need to secure your spot and start planning your placement is your £300 registration fee. You can then spread the cost of your placement by breaking it into smaller payments and paying in instalments. You can pay in as many instalments as you wish, whenever you wish, as long as your full balance is clear 90 days prior to departure. More information on this can be found on our flexible payments page.

Can I cancel my placement once I’ve registered?

Once you have paid your registration fee you have a 14 day cooling off period where you would qualify for a full refund if you changed your mind.

What happens once I pay my registration fee?

Our registration fee secures your place on the programme and allows us to start tailor-making your placement. You’ll receive confirmation of your placement within 24 hours of registering. You will also be given instant access to MyTrip, your online placement planner. The planner has everything you could possibly need such as a step-by-step timeline, full details of your itinerary, access to our Information Pack which contains everything you’ll need to know before your trip; packing lists, language guides, visa requirements and so much more. 

What is MyTrip?

MyTrip is an online elective planner and tracker, personalised for your placement. It contains all the details of your placement with Work the World. We update this as soon as any element of your elective is confirmed. There’s also a visual interactive timeline so you can see how far along in the application process you are.

You can use MyTrip to access information about your hospital and supervisor, the house you’ll be staying in and other students you’ll be living with, you’ll also get reminders on when to apply for visas (if necessary) and download any supporting materials you need.

When should I book my flights?

You should not book your flights until your placement has been confirmed as you may not be able to reschedule the flights if your placement dates are unavailable. Your placement will be confirmed within 48 hours of you booking, once you have received confirmation you can look to secure your flights.

Which airports should I use?

The airports we recommend for each destination are as follows:

Dar es Salaam, Tanzania: Julius Nyerere International Airport (DAR).

Kathmandu & Pokhara, Nepal: Tribhuvan International Airport (KTM), plus an internal flight to carry on to Pokhara.

Takoradi, Ghana: Kotoka International Airport (ACC).

Kandy, Sri Lanka: Bandaranaike International Airport (CMB).

Iloilo, The Philippines: Iloilo International Airport (ILO) via Manila’s 'Ninoy Aquino International Airport' (MNL) or Cebu International Airport (CEB).

Phnom Penh, Cambodia: Phnom Penh International Airport (PNH)

Lusaka, Zambia: Kenneth Kaunda International Airport (LUN)

Merida, Mexico: Cancun International Airport (CUN) and Merida Airport (MID). It is possible to overland from Cancun to Merida by coach which is approximately 4 hours where you will be picked up from the coach station in Merida. 

Hue, Vietnam: Phu Bai International Airport

Yogyakarta, Indonesia: Please book your flights to arrive at the domestic airport in Yogyakarta, Adisucipto (JOG).

You will receive full details of which airports to use and the best ways of booking once you have registered and been given access to the MyTrip portal.

My university requires me to complete various paperwork. Can you help with this?

Yes. We’ve been operating for over 15 years so have an abundance of experience in supporting students with university documentation. This can range from items such as hospital allocation letters, proof of your placement, health & safety audits etc. Once you've registered on, our administration team will support you throughout this whole process.

Can I tailor my elective placement to suit my clinical goals?

Yes, you can. We involve you in the tailoring process of your placement at every stage. You choose the destination you want to travel to and the clinical departments you want to get experience in. Your dedicated placement consultant will be in touch two to three months before departure to go through your clinical interests and help you decide which departments to rotate through in order to meet your clinical goals. 

Will this placement count towards my degree?

Your university may offer credits for participating in an overseas elective. We work with hundreds of universities around the world and we can provide any information required by faculty to ensure we assist with this counting towards your degree.

Do I need travel insurance?

Yes, everyone that takes part in one of our placements will need to ensure they have a travel insurance policy in place to cover them for the duration of their trip.

Will I need a visa?

Visa requirements vary depending on the destination you have chosen and the type of passport you hold.

Your dedicated MyTrip portal will have all the relevant information you’ll need including online embassy application forms, visa costs, the type of visa you’ll need to apply for and most importantly the time frames in which you’ll need to complete this by. We’ve been doing this for over 15 years so we’ll be able to guide you every step of the way, should you need any further visa application assistance.

Which vaccinations will I need?

The destination you have chosen and the vaccinations you have previously received will affect which vaccinations you need and it may be that you don’t need any vaccinations at all. 

Our advice is that you check with your local travel clinic or GP, who will have access to your medical files and who will be best placed to advise you on what you’ll need.

Which destinations are best for which specialities?

Our placement consultants have extensive knowledge of all our programmes - both inside the hospital and out - and can help you discover which of our destinations suit your specialism best, and create the most opportunities for you.

Two to three months before departure, we will have a clinical consultation with you to help you decide where to specialise, whether to split your placement between two hospitals and which healthcare setting best suits your needs.

Can you help me go to a destination that isn't listed on your website?

Unfortunately not. We carefully pick the destinations in which we operate to ensure they meet our own strict internal criteria, focused on safety and stability. We also work hard to build sustainable relationships in all of the countries we are based and as a result we only operate in the destinations listed on our website.

Can I secure my department choices before I go?

Yes. Unlike other elective providers, our expert team will have detailed conversations with you in advance of your placement starting, meaning we can guarantee exactly what department/s you’ll be based in throughout your whole placement.

Are the programmes sustainable?

Yes. We take our social responsibility very seriously and understand that we have an ethical obligation to maximise the benefits of our placements and to ensure they have no negative impact locally.

We employ local people to run our programmes instead of expats. We purchase products and food from the communities in which we're based. We rent our private accommodation from local landlords. And we use public transport whenever it is safe and convenient to do so.

When it comes to your placement, we make sure that the people working with our students benefit from the interaction. As well as standard fees paid to each hospital for every student, we make regular donations to individual wards and departments, and sponsor English language lessons for hospital staff.

We’re always looking for innovative ways to make sure our programmes are sustainable, but you can read more about how we currently work with hospitals and local communities here.

Are your placements regulated?

Yes.

Our longstanding relationships and formal agreements with our partner hospitals and clinics guarantee supervision and support for the duration of your placement. We also follow guidelines laid out by regulatory bodies and professional associations to ensure each placement is structured according to each student’s level of skill and particular interests. 

Many universities have specific requirements regarding overseas electives and placements and want a more formal agreement to guarantee standards. We have contracts in place with several institutions and are happy to provide audit information and complete risk assessments if your university requires.

Are you a charity?

No.

We do not operate as a charity or a Non Government Organisation, but we provide sustainable elective placements that benefit the communities in which we work. We go out of our way to build face-to-face relationships with everyone we work with, which ensures fairness and sustainable relationships across the board.

I have to complete a project as part of my elective. Is this possible?

Yes, this is a common requirement for students at a number of the universities we’re partnered with. Our teams both in the UK and overseas have experience of assisting with elective projects and once you’ve registered we can talk through your objectives in detail.

Are the destinations safe and secure?

All the countries we work in have been selected primarily because they are considered stable, secure and safe for international healthcare students. We pay close attention to the advice of the British Foreign & Commonwealth Office regarding not only the destinations we work in, but their neighbours too. For more information, visit our safety and security page.

Will I be staying in a homestay?

Unlike a number of other placement providers, you will not be staying in a homestay. You’ll stay in our private Work the World houses with all the comforts that you’re used to at home. You’ll be living with healthcare students and newly qualified professionals from all over the world, benefiting your interprofessional learning and meaning you’ll have a new group of friends to travel to placement with, share stories and experiences with after placement, and travel with on the weekends.

What is the accommodation like and can I book my own room?

In each of our destinations we have spacious and secure private accommodation, which will be your base for the duration of your placement.

The Work the World houses provide a welcoming, comfortable and private space where you can relax or socialise with other international students across all disciplines. The houses are great social hubs where the legendary Work the World weekly barbecues are but one of the many highlights. Students frequently comment that the house and its atmosphere is one of the unique aspects that make our programmes so memorable.

Bedrooms are split into male and female, with 4 - 6 beds in each. It is not possible to arrange private rooms as that would mean turning other students away. Bathrooms are shared, and we work on a basis of 1 bathroom per 4 or 5 students.

Our locally hired staff team are on-site, and include a Programme Manager, Assistant Programme Manager, Housekeeper, Caterer, and Security Guard who all work together to keep everything clean, tidy and efficient.

Find out more about where you’ll be staying on our accommodation page.

Do the WtW houses have wifi?

Yes. Each of our Work the World houses has the best wifi we can get within the local area. Given we work in developing countries, it can be intermittent at times but generally it works well as long as no one is streaming/downloading movies.   

What will the food be like?

Our caterers are experienced in cooking both local cuisine and dishes more common in the West, so you can try both local delicacies and traditional meals as well as "home favourites" like pizza and mashed potato! 

When we say your placement is tailor-made, we mean every aspect including the food. Whether you’re vegetarian, gluten-free, dairy free or vegan, our chefs will whip up a dish you can enjoy after a day on the wards.

How many spaces are there in each location?

Our houses, depending on destination, accommodate between 22 and 39 people. This means there’s a maximum number of places available in each Work the World house, so booking as early as possible is always advised.

Will I be able to contact my housemates prior to departure?

Shortly before your placement begins, your MyTrip portal will be updated to show everyone that will be living in the house at the same time as you. Their placements may not be starting on the same week as yours, however you will be living in the house together for at least some, if not all of your time overseas.

Can my partner, family or friend join me at the house?

Unfortunately not - Work the World houses are for students and professionals on paid placements only.  However, we will always try and recommend somewhere close for friends or family to stay if they are visiting.

I have friends/family that live in the destination I have chosen - Do I need to stay at the Work the World house?

The placements we create are inclusive of accommodation and in order to get the full experience of being overseas we strongly recommend you stay in the Work the World house.

What level of support can I expect once I’m in country?

We’ve been operating for over 15 years and our in-country operation is what makes our service unparalleled. A huge part of the service we offer is the on-the-ground support from our in-country teams and they are there to provide as little or as much support as you require.

Find out more about what you can expect on our In-country Support page

How will I get from the airport to the house?

You will be fully supported from the moment you arrive. All you need to do is upload your flight details to MyTrip and one of our friendly members of staff will be at the airport to greet you. You’ll recognise them by their blue Work the World t-shirt.

Don't worry if you get delayed - we check the arrivals every day so we can keep track of your flight and arrive at the correct time to meet you.

Can I use my mobile phone overseas?

You can, but it is likely to be expensive. On your first day in-country, our local team will take you to a shop that will sell local sim cards at a very cheap price. This is a much more cost effective way of keeping communication channels open with the Work the World team and fellow housemates. If you choose to get a sim card with data, it also ensures you’ll always have access to the internet. 

How will I travel to placement?

Our Work the World houses are based as close to your placement hospital or clinic as possible, after taking into account the safest and most suitable neighbourhoods to live in.  

In most cases the easiest way to reach your placement hospital or clinic is to take public transport or a taxi. Our staff will show you exactly how to do this during your orientation. Most of the time you will be travelling with other Work the World students and professionals.

Are there shift patterns?

The typical placement hours across the majority of our destinations run Monday - Friday from 7am to 2pm, this does vary with each of our hospital partnerships and the department you are placed in. You are also welcome to try other shifts such as weekend or night shifts, if you wish. If you have a set amount of hours to complete, we can guarantee this for you.

Can me and my friend be placed on the same department?

Yes, subject to availability. All placements within departments are limited and are very much subject to each individual's interests and objectives.

How many hours a week will I be in the hospital?

Typically our students and professionals are based in the hospitals on average 35 hours per week. If you need to do a set number of hours based on your university requirements we can assist with this.

Who will sign off my hours in the hospital?

The supervisor you are placed with will sign off your hours in the hospital/clinic you are based in.

Are all placements supervised?

Yes. The placements we offer are completely structured, so when you’re on placement you’ll be supervised every day. Once you arrive in your chosen destination you’ll be taken for an orientation of your placement hospital where you’ll be introduced to your supervisors and key department staff ready for your first day. Our local teams have strong in-person relationships with all of our partner hospitals, so you can expect 24/7 support from the Work the World team, and regular monitoring to ensure you’re getting what you want from the experience.

How much spending money should I take?

It really varies depending on where you go, but the cost of living is significantly cheaper than your home country. We recommend on average about £100 for every week you are in-country. This will cover travel to and from placement, weekend trips away including accommodation and spending money, as well as mid-week drinks and meals out if you decide to not dine at the house.

Do I need to speak the local language?

You don’t need to be able to speak the local language in any of our destinations, with the exception of Mexico (where we ask that you display an enthusiasm for learning the basics of the language and come prepared to expect some Spanish to be spoken in the hospital). 

When preparing for your placement, learning a few everyday phrases can really help you build relationships with hospital staff and get the most from your time overseas. To help you with this we’ve created comprehensive language guides and videos, once you’ve registered with us you’ll get access to this section of MyTrip.

To give you an even deeper understanding of the local language and customs, a language teacher will provide twice-weekly language lessons in our Work the World houses. Designed with your clinical placement in mind, these language lessons are an added bonus to help you get to grips with clinical words and phrases.

The staff teams in the Work the World houses speak English exceptionally well and most senior consultants in the hospitals and clinics we partner with are required to study in English-speaking countries as part of their learning, so they’re likely to have a good level of English too. 

For more information, visit our page on Learning Local Languages

Where can I travel in my free time and what will the weather be like?

There are a huge variety of different travel options in each of our destinations, and it’s easy to arrange trips once you have arrived.

Our knowledgeable staff will always be able to give you some ideas. Each house also has a comments book from previous students with top travel tips.

You can also read our blog or previous student's reviews for information on what activities there are in each of our locations. 

What happens if something goes wrong while I'm on my placement?

Our in-country management team are always on hand to ensure any issues are dealt with quickly and efficiently. We also provide you with a 24/7 emergency contact number while on placement.

If you have a medical emergency we will ensure you get the best treatment, and a member of staff will accompany you to a preferred private hospital.