Who are the placements for?

We accept anyone on, or who has completed, a healthcare course anywhere in the world. 

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. 

We send lots of groups – whether you are the same or different disciplines. If you have a group of 10 or more we may even be able to organise a bespoke project for you. Email us your enquiry and we'll see what we can do for you!

How much does a placement cost and what's included?

Placement costs vary depending on where you want to go, but the vast majority of expenses are included in the price. Features of our service are all listed on our prices page and include placement tailoring service, private accommodation, all food and 24/7 overseas support.

Please note that the prices quoted are for two-week placements and rise incrementally depending on the duration of your placement.

The only things you will need to arrange independently are your flights, insurance, and any travel you wish to take outside of your placement. Flight prices fluctuate throughout the year, and so to charge a fixed rate would be unfair to you, as you can find excellent deals shopping around.

We do, however, provide recommendations on preferred flight, insurance and indemnity companies, and our staff are happy to advise reputable agents and unmissable locations for additional travel.

Is the registration fee refundable?


If we cannot organise a placement with the dates and destination of your choice, we will offer you an alternative placement based on your interests, or a full refund of the £300 registration fee.

Once your placement is confirmed, the registration fee becomes non-refundable as it is used to reserve your place (meaning other students could be refused a placement) and to meet the cost of your pre-departure packages.

If you are unable to take your elective due to exam results, you can either claim on your insurance or we may be able to reschedule your booking for another time.

Is there an application process?

Yes, a very simple one. This is not a job application. As long as you fulfil the eligibility criteria, we will accept you subject to availability.  

Making an application is very straightforward and can be done directly through our website. Click ENQUIRE NOW on any page to fill out our short enquiry form, and you’ll receive an email or call from one of our Elective Experts who will provide you with all the information you need with no obligation on your part whatsoever. Should you wish to take the first steps, they will confirm your dates and run through the logistics of arranging your placement with you.

To start your application we ask for a £300 registration fee in order to secure your place on the programme. This fee also gives you access to our library of online preparation materials. If for any reason we are not able to offer you a placement, the registration fee will be refunded in full.

Can I get help to cover the cost of my elective?

You most certainly can.

For information on navigating the world of funding an elective, hover your cursor over the ‘FUNDING’ title in the top menu.

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. 

Are the programmes sustainable?


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 is 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?


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 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?


We do not operate as a charity or 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 want to work with, which ensures fairness across the board.

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.

We have gone out of our way to avoid organising homestays with local people, as previous students felt that after a challenging day on placement, interacting with an unfamiliar, non-English speaking host family was overwhelming. 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 dorms, 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 local staff team are on-site, and include a Programme Manager, Assistant Programme Manager, Housekeeper, Caterer, and in some instances a security guard who work together to keep everything clean, tidy and efficient.

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 when you do. 

How will I travel to work?

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

In most cases the easiest way to reach your hospital or clinic is to take public transport or a taxi. Our staff will show you exactly how to do this during your orientation. 

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! We appreciate that local food isn't for anyone, so the kitchen is always open for snacks and fresh drinking water too.

What if I have dietary requirements?

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 seasoned chefs will whip up a dish you can enjoy after a day on the wards. 

Can my partner 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 partners or friends to stay if they are visiting.

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.

Within the international aid sector, few charities or organisations offer healthcare elective placements. This is because you would be working in high-risk environments and potentially detract from the capacity of local relief workers who would need to supervise you.

Work the World are proud to provide electives in challenging, yet safe environments that will help you decide whether working in a developing country as a professional is for you.

What about the language barrier?

Although you can get by on the basics in most of our destinations, we encourage all of our students to be as proactive as possible learning local languages, as they will undoubtedly enhance your experience.

To aid your communication skills we offer free weekly language lessons at the Work the World house. Lessons are oriented towards both useful everyday phrases and clinical phrases and terminology relevant to your placement.

For those of you wanting to brush up before you travel, we have a selection of specialised language videos available after you've booked your placement.

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

Your Programme Manager or Assistant Programme Manager 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.

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

When can I go 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, as a summer placement, or even after you’ve become a qualified professional.

You can stay as long as you want. We have a minimum stay of two weeks, but the longer you stay the more you will gain from your experience. You may also be able to split your placement between two hospitals or undertake one of our add-on experiences like the Village Healthcare Experience, Ayurvedic Medicine Experience or Intensive Spanish Course, all of which will broaden your understanding of healthcare overseas.

As mentioned above, the minimum length of stay we offer is two weeks. Any less and we feel there just isn’t enough time to get to grips with your surroundings and integrate into your placement hospital.

When should I book my flights?

You should not book your flights until your placement has been confirmed—you may not be able to reschedule the flights if your placement dates are unavailable. When your placement has been confirmed we suggest that you book your flights no later than three months before your trip begins to avoid inflated prices or last minute panic.

Which airports should I use?

The airports we recommend for each destination are as follows:

Arequipa, Peru: Rodríguez Ballón International Airport (AQP) via Lima’s Jorge Chávez International Airport (LIM). These flights can be booked together by your travel agent or you can purchase the internal flight separately from a low cost airline (this is often more economical). Note that if you fly into Lima via an international flight, you must collect your luggage and leave the airport departures area, and then re-check in with your luggage for the internal flight.

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

Arusha, Tanzania: There are two airports close to Arusha - Arusha (ARK) and Kilimanjaro (JRO). Alternatively you could book a flight to Dar es Salaam (DAR) and arrange a separate internal flight.

Kathmandu & Pokhara, Nepal: Tribhuvan International Airport (KTM). You will also need to book a separate internal flight to our base in Pokhara. As a general rule this cannot be booked at the same time as your international ticket, but we will give you details of local tour operators who will be able to assist with this flight.

Takoradi, Ghana: Kotoka International Airport (ACC).

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

Anuradhapura, 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). Both flights can be booked together by your travel agent or you can purchase the domestic flight to Iloilo separately from a low cost airline (this is often more economical).

Batangas, The Philippines: Ninoy Aquino International Airport, Manila (MNL)

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

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 Case Studies for information on what activites there are in each of our locations. 

Which destinations are best for which specialities?

Our staff 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'll will be in touch to help you decide where to specialise, whether to split your placement between two hospitals and which healthcare setting best suits your needs.

Will this placement count towards my degree?

Your university may offer credits for participating in an overseas elective. We are happy to provide any information required by faculty if this helps you gain the credits you need.