Why Go Overseas

A medical elective abroad is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. In a novel clinical setting you’ll learn how staff manage limited resources to treat advanced conditions, many of which you’re unlikely to see at home. For a medical student, electives abroad are a great way to boost your personal and professional development, whether you’re a medical student or professional.

Over the last decade, we’ve tailored thousands of medical placements abroad. The partnerships we have with hospitals and clinics worldwide unlock experiences that would normally be closed to you. Structured supervision throughout your placement is another benefit of these relationships. Our in-country teams oversee our medical electives and provide 24/7 support. They also manage our private, catered accommodation, and will monitor your elective experience throughout.

How it Works

We know more about medical electives abroad than anyone else. Our expertise will help you make a well-informed decision about which of our destinations you want to travel to. We’ll then build your perfect placement based on your areas of clinical interest. Working with our expert team you can customise everything, right down to which departments in which you want to gain experience.

We put an enormous amount of work in behind the scenes for every medical placement abroad. So you can stay up to date with every step of the process you’ll get access to MyTrip — an interactive online elective planner containing personalised information about every aspect of your trip.

Team and Accommodation

A member of our experienced in-country management team will meet you at the airport, then take you back to the Work the World house. We’ll provide a comprehensive welcome briefing, and take you on a local orientation and hospital introduction trip.

 

Our spacious houses are private and secure. With medical students, professionals and others from a range of disciplines, the houses foster a lively, social atmosphere. You’ll love the amazing weekend travel opportunities with all the new friends you make. Providing 24/7 support, our management teams are always on hand. The rest of the team is made up of an in-house chef, a housekeeper and a teacher who hosts twice-weekly local language lessons.

IN THE HOSPITAL

Before the first day of your medical placement, our team will show you the best route to your hospital and introduce you to who you’ll be spending time with. The close relationships we’ve developed with our partner hospitals will allow you to see advanced and often unusual medical conditions, unfamiliar clinical practises and diverse cultural attitudes towards medicine. To ensure your elective consistently meets your expectations, our in-country teams review your experience in real-time. Medical electives run from Monday to Friday, leaving your evenings and weekends free to explore the destination you’ve chosen, making them the best medical placements around.

DESTINATIONS

Mexico - Merida
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Get experience in theatre simulation rooms, in live surgery with everything from cataract removal to RTA-related trauma cases, and in the nephrology and urology department to learn how local staff treat conditions like nephritis. There are also opportunities in oncology, haematology, high-specialty internal medicine, paediatrics and critical care to name a few. You could also learn about tropical diseases like chikungunya, and West Nile virus, making an elective in Mexico an attractive prospect.

Vietnam - Hue
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Spend time in the ED, OBG, internal medicine, and general and orthopaedic surgery among others on your placement in Vietnam. Cardiovascular and oncology are particularly insightful. Vietnamese traditional medicine is built into the framework of the government healthcare system, so you’ll see how modern practises complement ancient traditions. Modern ‘Western’ medicine remains unregulated in some areas, so you could even see cases like infants with arsenic poisoning from drinking unregulated formula.

Zambia - Lusaka
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On your placement in Zambia, you’ll see unfamiliar tropical diseases like acute malaria and haematological afflictions like sickle cell anaemia. There are also incredible opportunities in the cancer and diseases hospital, which is the only referral hospital of its kind in Southern Africa. Get additional experience in the busy ED, and in the women and newborn hospital run exclusively by obstetricians and midwives. When it comes to medical electives in Africa, the opportunities here are outstanding.

Cambodia - Phnom Penh
Monk in Angkor Wat Cambodia. Ta Prohm Khmer ancient Buddhist temple in jungle forest
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Learn how unfamiliar tropical diseases like malaria, TB, dengue fever and typhoid are treated. Of course, you can also gain experience in more familiar areas like the ED, OBG, ENT, traumatology, and urology among others. Limited resources and cultural and religious implications fundamentally change the way specialists approach treatment. You also have the opportunity to spend time in a specialist paediatric hospital — another compelling reason to undertake your elective in Cambodia. Read stories from those who’ve already travelled with us to Phnom Penh. 

Monk in Angkor Wat Cambodia. Ta Prohm Khmer ancient Buddhist temple in jungle forest

Philippines - Iloilo
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A clinical placement in the Philippines means you’ll see unfamiliar conditions like dengue fever, tuberculosis,  clubfoot, and maybe the occasional rooster bite. The local population tends toward a high-sugar diet, meaning cases of hypertension and cardiac arrest are common. In the ED you could assist with respiratory failure, gastroenteritis, burns, rabies, hernias, and hyperglycemia. You’ll also see how cultural and socioeconomic factors can affect the provision of care. For example, doctors here often have to prescribe drugs based on a patient’s ability to pay, rather than what they actually need. Read stories from those who’ve already travelled with us to Iloilo.

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Tanzania - Dar es Salaam
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In Dar es Salaam — one of the three cities in which we host medical placements in Africa —  you could see cases of cerebral malaria, sickle cell anaemia, cholera and HIV. The typical areas like paediatrics, the infectious diseases unit, theatre and surgical wards like neurosurgery are all options, but bear in mind that the hospitals we work with here are under-resourced, so you’ll have the added benefit of learning true ingenuity from the local doctors. On this medical elective in Tanzania, there are also fantastic opportunities on the psychiatric ward and in anaesthesiology. Read stories from those who’ve already travelled with us to Dar es Salaam.

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Peru - Arequipa
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On our medical electives in Peru, Infections and disorders arising from poor sanitation, cases of cross contamination and tuberculosis are common. Key hospital areas you can gain experience in include but are not limited to surgery, paediatrics, trauma and general medicine. Spending time in the ED’s critical observation room is also worthwhile. The hospital is also home to the largest oncology department in Southern Peru, housing one of two of the country’s only brachytherapy units. There are many unique opportunities like this on a medical elective in South America. Read stories from those who’ve already travelled with us to Arequipa. 

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Ghana - Takoradi
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On a medical elective in Ghana, you’ll come across unfamiliar conditions like diabetic gangrene (and resulting amputations), typhoid psychosis, acute malaria, even the occasional snake bite. Naturally, you’ll gain experience in familiar areas like the ED, general medicine, orthopaedics and diabetes and hypertension clinics, but the approach to delivering care will differ from what you’re used to. One of our partner hospitals also has a busy HIV clinic that you can attend. Read stories from those who’ve already travelled with us to Takoradi. 

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Nepal - Kathmandu
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You’ll encounter patients with unfamiliar conditions like Japanese encephalitis, dengue fever, malnutrition, and snake, monkey and dog bites on your medical elective in Kathmandu. You can get experience in departments like the ED, surgery, general medicine and paeds, but the way local staff approach treatment depends largely on resources, so expect significant differences in practise. Nepal is great for specialisation—ENT, dermatology, psychiatry, forensic medicine, biochemistry, microbiology, and cardiothoracics. Read stories from those who’ve already travelled with us to Kathmandu.

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Sri Lanka - Kandy
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On our medical electives in Sri Lanka, you’ll see tropical infectious diseases like dengue, chikungunya, and chagas. Departments include psychiatry, surgery, OBG, and general medicine among others. For cultural, religious, and resource-based reasons, the practises you’ll see in these departments will differ from, or even contradict what you’ve been taught. Our partner hospital is also known for its extraordinary range of ICUs including: surgical, medical, cardiothoracic, the coronary care unit, and cardiac ICU. Read stories from those who’ve already travelled with us to Kandy. 

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Nepal - Pokhara
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You can see communicable diseases like, diphtheria, TB, and typhoid if you undertake this medical elective in Nepal. You could even come across injuries like tropical insect and snake bites. You can gain experience in all the usual departments like surgery, OBG, paediatrics and orthopaedics, but as a result of limited resources the practices and treatments will differ from what you’re used to. Time in the OBG theatre will mean experience with things like myomectomies, laparotomies and hysterectomies. Read stories from those who’ve already travelled with us to Pokhara.

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Sri Lanka - Anuradhapura
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Malaria, tuberculosis, dengue fever, acute respiratory infections, cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases, diabetes, and cancer are all prevalent conditions in Anuradhapura. Tobacco and alcohol abuse have also increased in magnitude. This, combined with late patient presentation, means you’ll see cases much further advanced than you're used to. In terms of departments, you can rotate through areas like ICU, OBG, General Medicine, General Surgery and Oncology. Read stories from those who’ve already travelled with us to Anuradhapura.

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"I saw both routine surgeries and those that were unique and challenging."

Samuel Jennings, University of Wollongong 2018

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There were no epidurals, and limited anaesthesia during labour.

Taiwo Dada, University of East Anglia 2018

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"I saw conditions I’d never seen before, and probably won’t see again."

Leslie Logghe, 2018

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"Many patients who needed the hospital made less than 100 Pesos per day. A basic eye ultrasound cost 800 Pesos."

Akash Dharni, University of Leeds 2018

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"There was no pain relief for women in labour—no epidurals, no gas and air, nothing."

Emma Knights, University of East Anglia 2018

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What is a Medical Elective?

Medical Electives are placements Medical Students undertake as part of their degree—We tailor structured, supervised Medical Electives in destinations across Africa, Asia and Latin America.