Tips on Making the Most of Your Placement

July 12, 2013

Article by Global Pre-Meds
Hospital doctor shadowing & global health experience programs.

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A medical placement abroad offers you the opportunity to explore different career paths in medicine and is a great way to determine whether or not a career in this field is right for you. The experience you gain and the new skills you learn during your placement abroad also provide you with an excellent way to boost your CV when you are applying for admission to medical school. Over and above, you get to learn about new cultures and also develop future contacts and networks of support. 

There are several things you can do to ensure that you make the most of your placement:

Enjoying the sunset over Iringa from Gangilonga Rock

Get To Know Your Host Country


Make a real effort to get familiar with the work and social culture of your host country and try to work within that framework. You will find a huge difference between their ways and yours back home, both in healthcare and is everyday life. The only way to truly enjoy this new experience and the new culture is to dive right into it with an open mind.  


Make Notes Of Everything You See, Do And Learn

Keep a diary with you at all times and take plenty of notes during the training sessions. Also make notes throughout the day of all of your observations as you shadow doctors, help out with various procedures, and of every new technique that you learn. These notes will help as a valuable sounding board later on.


Look For Opportunities To Learn More  

Take every opportunity to learn as much as you can. Never pass up on any opportunity, however insignificant it may sound. It is better trying to learn something new than sitting around waiting for something else to come along. Placements throw up lots of unexpected moments and the more enthusiastic you are, the more you are likely to learn and the more unexpected experiences you are likely to be exposed to.  


Look For Opportunities To Do More  

Wherever and whenever you can, volunteer your time and offer hands-on help to anyone who needs it. Lending a helping hand lets you get some valuable hands-on experience, which is something you are not likely to get in a bigger hospital back home.

On placement at Iringa Regional HospitalMake An Effort To Network

 Networking with the other placement students from around the world and exchanging notes and experiences can give you a completely different view of things, which only enhances your own personal experience. 


Take Time To Travel 

Last but not least, take every opportunity you can get to travel and explore the host country and even the neighboring countries if you can. Marveling at the sights, taking in the culture and exploring the local cuisines can make for a lot of memorable moments to cherish in years to come.

An overseas placement really gives you the opportunity to get to know a new and exciting country, become part of a community and learn valuable skills for life. Hopefully these few tips will help you make the most of it!