WHY UNDERTAKE A RADIOGRAPHY ELECTIVE PLACEMENT ABROAD?
A radiography elective placement abroad is your chance to undertake a hospital placement in a low-resource radiography department in the developing world.
You choose the country you want to travel to, let us know your clinical interests, and we’ll create a placement to suit you.
The idea is for you to see just how different a healthcare system can be from your own. All while getting experience with conditions and practises you don’t come across in the UK.
You’ll help scan and diagnose unfamiliar conditions, learn techniques like developing X-rays on film, and see how economic and cultural considerations affect the practise of radiography abroad.
THE CLINICAL EXPERIENCE
A radiography elective abroad is all about challenging what you know and seeing the discipline through a new lens. You’ll realise that things we take for granted in the UK — digital diagnostic equipment for example — are luxurious compared to what’s available in some of our destinations.
Some things you will observe include:
- Developing CT, MRI and X-ray on film in a darkroom
- Limited privacy with multiple patients undergoing scans simultaneously
- Extremely late presentations and advanced pathologies
- Faulty or broken down diagnostic equipment
You will also see major differences in the fundamentals of radiography too. For example, in many of our destinations, protocols around radiation protection for staff and patient families are incredibly lax.
Your hospital placement runs Monday to Friday, leaving your evenings and weekends free to explore the destination you’ve chosen.
The service we provide is end-to-end. You have our support before, during and even after you’ve returned from your trip.
We’ve got everything covered, completely removing the stress from planning a radiography elective placement.
With us, you’ll get:
A tailored radiography elective | Comprehensive pre-trip preparation | 24/7 in-country support team | Private, catered accommodation | Airport pickup
We operate 52 weeks of the year, and arrivals are every Sunday — you can travel whenever is most convenient to you. Placement durations start from two weeks.
For a more detailed step-by-step guide to how our service works, click here.
While on your trip, your focus should, first and foremost, be on the clinical aspects.
But — whether you enjoy solo travel or prefer the group dynamic — weekend trips are a particular highlight. Whether you want to trek through the Himalayan Mountains or raft down the Zambezi River, our destinations offer endless opportunities for adventure and cultural immersion.
WHERE DO I START?
Get started by talking to us. We’re highly experienced and ready to answer any questions you may have about a radiography placement abroad. We’ll help you choose a destination and get your place secured when you’re ready.
Get in touch using the short enquiry form.
Mexico - Merida
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On a radiography elective placement in Merida, you can see the two sides of radiography in Mexico. In a state-of-the-art private hospital, you’ll get experience with some of the world’s most sophisticated diagnostic technologies. In a low-resource state hospital, you’ll see how radiographers operate when funding is limited. Compared to the UK, practises are different in Merida, regardless of which hospital you’re in. For example, local staff don’t have the same level of concern for radiation safety — staff will happily stand near machinery, even when in use. If you’re interested, you can also get experience alongside radiotherapists in the radiotherapy department.
Vietnam - Hue
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Your placement in Hue is in a university teaching hospital. While you’re here you’ll get experience with both scanning and helping to interpret imagery. That said, much of the diagnostic equipment in the hospital is out of date, and some machines (that hospitals in the UK might take for granted) don’t exist at all. The general lack of resources in the Vietnamese healthcare system also means the department is understaffed. You’ll learn exactly how local staff cope with this lack of staff and machinery, and this will give you an adaptability that will serve you throughout your career as a radiographer.
Zambia - Lusaka
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As a radiography student in the UK, you’re probably well used to digital imaging technologies. In Lusaka, our partner hospital is slowly introducing digital equipment, but analog equipment is still widely used. You can even learn how to develop X-rays in the hospital’s darkroom. While you’re on placement, you’ll notice a significant number of cases of HIV too. If you’re interested in radiotherapy, you can get some experience next door in the cancer and diseases hospital. There’s very little public awareness, so you’ll see many late presentations here — around 60% of cases are classed as ‘severe’ when first diagnosed.
Cambodia - Phnom Penh
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Your radiography placement in Phnom Penh takes place in our partner hospital’s radiology and radiography department. The department is busy, in part because even though there are lots of hospitals in the city, very few of them have radiography departments. Even this hospital has outdated machines and lacks ancillary equipment. And when scanners break here, there are no technicians to fix them, so they are often left abandoned for months in hospital corridors. The department also uses film screen radiography, so you can learn how to develop X-rays in the hospital’s darkroom. Read stories from those who’ve already travelled with us to Phnom Penh.
Tanzania - Dar es Salaam
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On a radiography elective in Dar es Salaam, you’ll gain experience in Tanzania’s best-equipped radiography department. Patients here are normally referred from the hospital’s general wards, casualty, the specialist orthopaedic institute, and from other smaller hospitals in Dar es Salaam. If you’re interested in radiotherapy, you can spend time in a specialised cancer hospital too. Tanzanian hospitals rarely offer radiotherapy as training and equipment are expensive. Some patients have to travel literally hundreds of miles to seek care. Because demand is so high, some patients have to wait as long as two years to be seen. Read stories from those who’ve already travelled with us to Dar es Salaam.
Peru - Arequipa
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Your radiography elective in Arequipa places you in Southern Peru’s oldest hospital. Your placement is in a diagnostic and imaging department, and as the hospital is under-resourced, you’ll learn how to use darkroom techniques to develop X-rays on old-style film. In the oncology department, the placement is focused on radiotherapy. The department has one of Peru’s only two brachytherapy units, so you’ll see a steady stream of patients. Both departments are fortunate enough to have some digital diagnostic equipment, but this equipment can and does break. Funding is limited, so replacing and fixing machines is unrealistic in the short term. Read stories from those who’ve already travelled with us to Arequipa.
Philippines - Iloilo
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Your radiology elective in Iloilo happens in our partner hospital’s X-ray department. The department is split into two areas — one focused on fluoroscopic procedures, the other focused on computer and digital radiography. The Philippines is a developing country and infrastructure is shaky at times, so the hospital experiences regular power cuts. When this happens, there’s a backup darkroom used to develop X-rays on film. Supplies are low in this hospital, and you’ll see staff coming up with ingenious ways to get around this. For example, local radiographers inject grape juice into patients when contrast dye stocks are low. Read stories from those who’ve already travelled with us to Iloilo.
Nepal - Kathmandu
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If you choose Kathmandu for your elective, you’ll get experience in the radiography department in our major partner hospital. The department has a great range of facilities, but this is only by local standards. Some of the more advanced equipment that you might take for granted in the UK, doesn’t exist here. In spite of this, the services the department does offer come at a reasonable rate compared to other private hospitals in Nepal. Most patients are referred from wards in the hospital, but some come from rural clinics as far away as the Himalayan Mountains. You’ll see a real range of conditions here because of this. Read stories from those who’ve already travelled with us to Kathmandu.
Nepal - Pokhara
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Your radiography elective in Pokhara will show you what it means for a department to be understaffed. To give you an example, our partner hospital can often see 130 patients with as few as three staff members. You’ll see differences when it comes to patient privacy too, with patients being brought in for scans while the previous patient is still changing. Culturally, this is the norm. Radiation safety standards are observed by staff, but when it comes to patients and their families, the rules may seem relaxed. Doors might be left open, and family members might be in the room with patients when exposures are made. Read stories from those who’ve already travelled with us to Pokhara.
Ghana - Takoradi
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Your radiography elective in Ghana takes place in our busy partner hospital. You’ll help the team provide diagnostic services for departments across the hospital and smaller clinics in the surrounding area. This means you can get experience observing and analysing a diverse range of conditions. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that radiography departments in Ghana aren’t as well equipped as they are in the UK. So, understanding how local staff get around this is a big part of why placements here are so interesting. You even have the chance to get experience that would be impossible back in the UK, like using a darkroom to develop X-rays on film. Read stories from those who’ve already travelled with us to Takoradi.
"I realised that the operation of the department was very efficient despite the limited services available."
Jonathan Small, University of Cumbria 2019Read more
"I’m so much more comfortable being myself now, and I feel stronger and more confident as a person."
Refa Begum, Cardiff University 2018Read more
"Travelling by myself was a lot less difficult than I thought it would be."
Celyn Thomas, University of the West of England 2018Read more
"Using an older method of radiography was truly unique and something I would never have been able to do in Australia."
Jacinta Pang, University of Canberra 2018Read more
"When a bed became free, the next patient would hop on to claim their spot otherwise someone else would take it!"
Philippa Jowett, University of Leeds 2018Read more
What is a radiography elective?
A radiography elective is a clinical placement that radiography students undertake as part of their degree. Every year, more and more radiography students are doing their radiography electives overseas. To create your own customised radiography elective, get in touch with us today.
How long is a radiography elective?
A radiography elective is as long as you want it to be. Our minimum placement duration is 2 weeks, but students typically travel on their radiography electives for 4 weeks. There is no upper limit to how long you can travel for.
What are the most popular countries for radiography electives?
Our most popular countries for radiography electives are (in no particular order):
8. The Philippines
10. Sri Lanka
What are the benefits of a radiography elective?
The benefits of a radiography elective 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 a radiography elective?
You’ll see things like:
- Relaxed radiation protection procedures
- CT, MRI and X-ray developed on film in a darkroom
- Extremely limited patient privacy
- Late presentations and advanced pathologies
- Unmaintained and faulty diagnostic equipment