Boost your career on a pharmacy placement abroad
This is your once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to undertake a pharmacy elective abroad with Work the World. 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 pharmacy placement abroad to your specific interests. You choose everything from the destination right down to the kinds of hospital or clinic you want to get experience in.
You’ll find the experience to be eye-opening. And that’s true whether you’re a undertaking an elective for pharmacy students or graduates.
Why go on an overseas pharmacy elective?
- Unique experience that puts you ahead of your peers
- Stand out to employers while job hunting
- 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
Book with confidence
It’s official - overseas placements have been given the go-ahead and our programmes are open!
Plans can change, so once you’ve secured your space, you can make unlimited changes to your travel dates, absolutely free.
Eye-opening clinical placement
While overseas, you'll quickly realise that we take things for granted in the UK. For example, in some of our destinations where healthcare isn’t free, a £30 bottle of Albumin is the equivalent of up to one fifth of the local monthly salary.
Some things you might observe on your pharmacy placement abroad include:
- Massive over-prescription of antibiotics by UK standards
- Unusual stock including snake and insect anti-venoms
- Breaking of capsules and crushing of tablets
- Traditional herbal medicine
You will also see major differences in the fundamentals of pharmacy too. For example, many of our destinations have inpatient pharmacies where patients’ family members have to pay for drugs and then hand-deliver them to the patient.
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 pharmacy elective 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 pharmacy 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 your Work the World trip 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 pharmacy elective placement
- Private, catered accommodation
- 24/7 in-country team
- Airport pick up and drop off
- + more
Arrivals are every Sunday, 52 weeks of the year — travel on one of our pharmacy opportunities abroad when it suits you. Durations of placements for pharmacy students start from one week.
Indonesia - Yogyakarta
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It might surprise you to learn that in Indonesia, there’s only one pharmacist per 20,000 patients compared with 18 pharmacists per 20,000 patients in the UK. This means local pharmacists have to work even harder to help patients — something you’ll see firsthand in our partner hospital. But it’s not just a lack of pharmacists — drugs are scarce too. Some have limited stocks and others (including basic analgesics) are hard to get hold of. And when medicines are available, they’re expensive. A month’s worth of branded diabetes medication might cost more than eight days worth of the local average wage. On placement here you’ll see impact all of this has on both local pharmacists and patients.
Ghana - Takoradi
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On your pharmacy placement in Takoradi, you’ll spend time in a pharmacy department that supplies all medication to an entire regional hospital. The department even has its own small-scale drug manufacturing facilities to keep up with the demand. Life in the dispensary is very different from the UK. Resources are limited, and labeling involves writing directions (by hand) directly onto medicine boxes. There is no database to check for drug interactions, so this all done manually. You can also see how traditional herbal medicine is integrated into some of the more modern pharmaceutical solutions. Read stories from those who’ve already travelled with us to Takoradi.
Vietnam - Hue
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On your pharmacy placement in Hue, you’ll see just how much of an impact a lack of funding has on drug supplies. Some medicines have limited stocks and others are impossible to obtain, even basic analgesics that we take for granted in the UK. There isn’t much local pharmacists can do about this, other than prescribe less effective alternatives, or nothing at all — not good news if you’re a patient. Vietnamese traditional medicine aims to fill some of the gaps, so you’ll see how traditional approaches are used alongside the more contemporary medicines you’re used to in the UK.
Zambia - Lusaka
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Aiming to create a universal healthcare system, the Zambian government covers the cost of antiretrovirals, basic paediatric medications, and cancer drugs. But, most prescriptions cost money, often leaving patients (or their families) in a difficult financial position. There are a lack of pharmacists here too, and some drug supplies are limited thanks to a lack of funding. But even so, on your pharmacy placement in Lusaka, you’ll see that local pharmacists fight to maintain standards that are actually quite similar to those found in NHS hospitals in the UK.
Nepal - Pokhara
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On your pharmacy elective placement in Pokhara, it will come as no surprise that pharmacies here suffer from a serious resource problem. Even so, you’ll spend time in two relatively well-stocked dispensaries. Unlike pharmacies in the UK, our partner hospital even stocks strains of anti-venom in case of life threatening insect and snake bites. The hospital also has a dedicated pharmacovigilance unit that monitors and helps avert side effects that some drugs produce. You’ll also pick up some surprising knowledge, like the fact that with as little as 72 hours of training, anyone can open an independent pharmacy in Nepal. Read stories from those who’ve already travelled with us to Pokhara.
Nepal - Kathmandu
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Modern pharmacy is a relatively new concept in Nepal and local people rely much more on ayurveda or ‘tree medicine’. There are ayurveda practitioners all over the country, and they use concoctions of herbs, and ancient Hindu healing prayers to treat their patients. You’ll see that some patients are reluctant to give modern pharmacy a try, but local pharmacists do what they can to show patients just how effective drugs can be. Seeing the contrast between allopathic and homeopathic will open your eyes to the challenges faced by traditional and nontraditional healthcare professionals. Read stories from those who’ve already travelled with us to Kathmandu.
Philippines - Iloilo
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If you do your pharmacy placement in Iloilo, you’ll be rewarded with insight into a unique system completely different from the NHS. This is a specialised placement and you can rotate through six separate pharmacy outlets, gaining practical experience in each. There’s a real lack of digital equipment right across the hospital. For the pharmacy department (and for you), that means writing documentation by hand. You’ll also see just how creative and resourceful local staff have to be as they cater to hundreds of prescriptions everyday with minimal resources. What’s more, family members have to come to the pharmacy to buy all medications, fluids, needles and other devices before they can be used on patients. Read stories from those who’ve already travelled with us to Iloilo.
Cambodia - Phnom Penh
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On your pharmacy elective placement in Phnom Penh, you’ll see that the system works in a different way than it does in the UK. While you’re in the dispensary, you’ll see patients’ families lining up to collect medication ready to deliver it to their loved ones. The pharmacy here has a list of essential medications that the government provides, but you’ll see that in reality, there are very few of the required bottles on the shelves. You may even see families giving patients drugs they had no choice but to buy from the private sector. Read stories from those who’ve already travelled with us to Phnom Penh.
"The thing I am most thankful for is the people I met through this experience."
Ana Morán, Complutense University Madrid 2020Read more
"The pharmacy team were fantastic and they were as happy to see me as I was to see them."
Michael Walker, Keele University 2019Read more
"Their ‘aseptic suite’ was an incubator from the NICU modified to have laminar flow"
Mared Foulkes, Cardiff University 2019Read more
"I learnt the whole process on how to treat patients presenting with snake bites"
Paulina Paksaite, University of Bath 2019Read more
"During the month I spent in Pokhara, I made unforgettable memories with amazing students from all over the world."
Jack Gilbert, Robert Gordon University 2018Read more
What do our pharmacy placements offer?
A Work the World pharmacy placement 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 pharmacy placement?
The benefits of our pharmacy placements 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 will I see on an overseas Work the World pharmacy placement?
You'll have the opportunity to see things like:
- Reconstitution of chemotherapy drugs
- Patients’ families purchasing and delivering medicines
- Traditional herbal medicine integrated into local healthcare systems
- Medication for conditions malaria and leprosy
- Manual (pen and paper) stock systems
How long is a Work the World pharmacy placement?
A pharmacy placement abroad is as long as you want it to be. Our minimum placement duration is one week, but students typically travel on their pharmacy placements for 4 weeks. You have the opportunity to travel for as long as you like.
What is a pharmacy placement?
A pharmacy placement is a clinical placement that pharmacy students undertake as part of their degree. If you want to undertake your pharmacy placement overseas, get in touch with us today.