Boost your career on a midwifery elective abroad
Go on a once-in-a-lifetime midwifery elective abroad with Work the World and you’ll get career-boosting clinical experience in an overseas hospital. Then in your free time, you’ll have life-changing travel experiences with new friends.
You are in total control — you tell us what you want to experience and we'll tailor your overseas placement to your specific interests. You choose everything from the destination right down to the individual departments you want to get experience in.
You’ll find the experience to be life-changing. And that’s true whether you’re a undertaking an elective for midwifery students or graduates.
Why go on a midwifery placement abroad?
- Unique experience that puts you ahead of your peers
- Stand out to employers
- Strengthen your academic profile
- Build a network to tap into during your career
- Gain perspective that reframes your view of the NHS
- Build confidence by stepping out of your comfort zone
- Get inspiration around where you might specialise
Eye-opening clinical Placement
This kind of clinical placement is centred on gaining perspective through new experiences. You’ll quickly learn that things we take for granted, like woman-centred care, are luxuries found only in the wealthiest healthcare systems.
Some things you will observe on your midwifery elective placement include:
- Episiotomies being performed as a first resort
- Distinct lack of privacy for labouring women
- Surprising cultural attitudes towards childbirth
- No available pain relief throughout the birthing process
You will also see major differences in the fundamentals of midwifery too. For example, in some of our destinations, applying fundal pressure is a common practise and regarded as safe.
Tap into our hospital partnerships
Our long-established international hospital partnerships let us tailor your placement down to a level of detail that would be impossible if you were trying to organise your trip independently.
The partnerships also allow us to guarantee things like your hospital placement, supervision, and your choice of departments. You'll get detailed information on all of the above long before you travel.
You also get an exceptional level of flexibility should you want to amend your midwifery placement choices while you're overseas. All of this means you can create a placement suited perfectly to you, without the risk of your elective plans falling through.
As a midwifery student or graduate, your clinical placement is the focus of your trip. But your free time in the afternoons and weekends will be packed full of experiences like:
- Relaxing on palm-lined, white-sand beaches
- Getting close to elephants, lions and giraffes on safari
- Swimming with curious sea turtles on warm tropical reefs
- Hiking (or paragliding!) through the Himalays
- Spending a weekend hopping between paradise islands
But it's the people you share it with that really make learning about midwifery abroad memorable. You'll live with other healthcare students and graduates in a big private house.
The service you get with us is end-to-end. That means we will support you before, during and even after your trip.
- Pre-departure preparation with our UK team
- Structured, supervised midwifery placement abroad
- Private, catered accommodation
- 24/7 in-country team
- Airport pick up and drop off
- + more
Arrivals are every Sunday, 52 weeks of the year — you have the opportunity to travel on your midwifery elective when it suits you. Durations of placements for midwifery students start from one week.
Book with confidence
We understand that the global situation is evolving every day. So now when you register for your overseas placement with Work the World, you can make unlimited changes to your travel dates, or your choice of destination.
Indonesia - Yogyakarta
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More than half of all births in Indonesia are in rural areas. Many women in these areas believe that following religious beliefs and using a traditional birth attendant called a ‘dukun’ (the village shaman) or a ‘paraji’ leads to a healthy pregnancy. This limitation on modern prenatal care can lead to pregnancy complications like eclampsia, and some of the women experiencing them will come to your placement hospital in the city. You’ll be right there alongside local midwives, seeing these women through their personal, individual challenges.
Ghana - Takoradi
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In Ghana, healthcare is not free. No payment, no care. That means prenatal care, something we take for granted in the UK, is a luxury that only a tiny number of women in Takoradi benefit from. For some women, this leads to serious intrapartum complications (like a breech baby) further down the line. On a midwifery elective placement in Takoradi, you’ll see that there are differences in the care itself too, like a lack of maternity support during labour. Local midwives often keep a distance from the mother and let them deliver naturally. There’s a lack of intrapartum monitoring too, which is very different from UK practise. Read stories from those who’ve already travelled with us to Takoradi.
Sri Lanka - Kandy
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One of the first things you’ll notice on a midwifery elective placement in Kandy is that there are more patients than there are beds. This shows how a lack of resources has a direct impact on patient care. Low resources also affect how staff are able to do their jobs. For example, you might see that staff have different attitudes towards things like terminations and miscarriages. In the UK, cases like this are normally handled and discussed with sensitivity. In Sri Lanka, local staff take a matter of fact approach. Out of necessity, they will prioritise patients’ physical welfare, sacrificing the emotional aspects of care. Read stories from those who’ve already travelled with us to Kandy.
Mexico - Merida
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You’ll spend your midwifery elective placement in Merida in the city’s oldest hospital. The hospital is understaffed, has very high patient numbers and limited bed space. Even so, local staff have still managed to half infant mortality rates over the last 20 years. While you’re on your midwifery elective placement here, you’ll spend time with these specialists to find out what it’s like to help care for mothers and babies in such challenging conditions. As a student, one of your favourite bits of this placement will be getting experience with how local staff handle difficult intrapartum complications (like breech births) with limited time and equipment.
Tanzania - Dar es Salaam
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A midwifery internship in Dar es Salaam will see you right there on the wards with local midwives. You’ll see women giving birth before they even reach the labour wards as there are too few beds. Resources for midwives are low here, so women have to bring their own delivery packs with them, containing cotton wool, sterile gloves, and a razor blade for episiotomies and cord cutting. Things are different culturally too. On a midwifery placement here you’ll see that Tanzanian women are expected to show strength during labour. If they make too much noise, local midwives may even slap them on the leg and give them a telling off. Read stories from those who’ve already travelled with us to Dar es Salaam.
Vietnam - Hue
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If you do your elective in Hue, you’ll spend your time in the OBG department in a big, bustling university teaching hospital. You can get experience in lots of different areas while you’re on placement, with local midwives helping to get you involved in all areas of maternal and infant paediatric care. You’ll learn a lot about Vietnamese traditions surrounding birth too. Some local people believe that making too much of a fuss of a newborn baby attracts bad spirits. Others believe that complementing the mother too much brings bad luck. Getting experience with cultural differences like these is a big part of what makes an overseas placement special.
Zambia - Lusaka
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Most Zambian mothers-to-be have their babies in the country’s big national hospitals — there’s a perception that these hospitals offer better care. While you’re on placement here, you’ll see how dramatically this affects patient volumes (they’re high). Some would argue that there isn’t enough education around having a baby in Zambia. You’ll even see that some mothers don’t realise they’re going into labour as no one has explained the signs. There’s a lack of prenatal care too. Midwifery in Africa is very different to back home, meaning you’ll get experience with conditions and birthing complication that just wouldn’t occur in the UK.
Philippines - Iloilo
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On a midwifery elective in Iloilo, you’ll see major differences in practise between the UK and the Philippines. If a doctor isn’t quite ready for a delivery, local midwives will often apply pressure to where the baby is presenting to prevent the baby’s descent. The local hospital has a high patient load, so don’t be surprised to see patients sharing beds. You may also see more fetal abnormalities than you would back home, hydrocephalus, exomphalos and anencephaly included. You’ll also see that women with birthing complications and other risk factors, like preeclampsia, hypertension and twin births, are not separated. Read stories from those who’ve already travelled with us to Iloilo.
Nepal - Kathmandu
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On your elective placement in Kathmandu, you’ll see that HIV is much more common in Nepal than it is in the UK. Evidence suggests that babies are more likely to die from a lack of breastfeeding than from the virus, so mothers continue the practise. As is common in many developing countries, social and cultural factors can affect the care women receive. Religion, a woman’s occupation, cost, and having to seek permission from their husbands can prevent women from getting treatment even for routine procedures. And in spite of the efforts of local midwives, the rate of infant mortality in Nepal has actually risen in recent years. Read stories from those who’ve already travelled with us to Kathmandu.
Nepal - Pokhara
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You’ll see huge differences in practise between the UK and Nepal if you do your placement in Pokhara. Doctors put most labouring women on contraction stimulating drugs, even if they’re already contracting naturally. There’s no analgesia during labour. Local midwives don’t tend to ask patients for consent, and will rarely offer explanations to patients before, during, or after procedures. You’ll also see that almost every woman will undergo an episiotomy, even if they’ve given birth multiple times. You can even observe in theatre here, which makes it an exciting elective placement for student midwives. Read stories from those who’ve already travelled with us to Pokhara.
Cambodia - Phnom Penh
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Our partner hospital is based in Phnom Penh, Cambodia’s capital city. There’s a big and diverse population here, so you’ll get experience with plenty of patients, each with their own unique situation. If you do your midwifery elective here, you’ll see how local midwives safely deliver babies, even when conditions are at their toughest. One big problem is a lack of medicine. The impact of this means that less than 5% of women in Cambodia give birth with pain relief. Compared to the UK, birthing complications are common in Cambodia. Pregnant women and new mothers with HIV are much more common too. On this elective in Cambodia, you’ll see the ways local midwives have learned to help these patients, even when resources are seriously low. Read stories from those who’ve already travelled with us to Phnom Penh.
"It was inspiring to see how hard the staff in Zambia worked to provide care."
Courtnie-Rae Toms, City University London 2020Read more
"It was a lovely tradition to be involved with and the family were always very appreciative."
Stephanie Marsh, Bournemouth University 2020Read more
"I was amazed at how much the doctors, nurses and midwives could do with the limited resources."
Leticia Romero Barrios, Middlesex University 2020Read more
"All of us had the most amazing experience and it’s not something we will ever forget."
Rachel Green, Hannah Jeavons, Sonia Takhar & Caroline Furey, Birmingham City University 2019Read more
"The biggest difference in healthcare and Kathmandu was the lack of resources and equipment."
Catriona Mc Sorley , Keele University 2019Read more
What do our midwifery electives offer?
A Work the World midwifery elective gives you the chance to undertake a clinical placement in the developing world. You will spend time in a low-resource hospital and see unfamiliar practices and advanced conditions. You can even choose the departments you want to rotate through. Learn more here.
What are the benefits of a Work the World midwifery elective?
The benefits of our midwifery electives include:
- Expanding your clinical knowledge and skill set
- Becoming more confident, independent and resourceful
- Making yourself more attractive to employers
- Doing some proper travelling
- Building your personal and professional network
- Sharpening your language and communication skills
- Renewing your perspective on the NHS
What countries can I travel to on a Work the World midwifery elective?
How long is a Work the World midwifery elective?
A midwifery elective is as long as you want it to be. Our minimum placement duration is one week, but students typically travel on their midwifery electives for 4 weeks. There is no upper limit to how long you can travel for.