A Medical Placement Abroad During Your Gap Year Can Be A Life-Changing Experience

January 22, 2014

Article by Global Pre-Meds
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As you approach your last year in school, you will hear a lot of ongoing discussions among your peers on the topic of gap years – who’s taking one, who’s not, where they are going, what they are going to do. If you are sitting on the fence, not quite sure whether you should or shouldn’t take a gap year, here are a few things to think about, especially if you are considering a profession in the medical field.

The biggest buzz amongst students who wish to attend medical school is the option of doing a medical placement overseas. Is that something you should consider? How do you benefit from such a program? Does it offer you something more than the opportunities you would find back home? 

The fact is, an overseas medical placement experience and the benefits you gain are completely different from any other kind of volunteer experience or clinical experience. A medical placement abroad during your gap year is filled with several opportunities that you can benefit from personally as well as professionally.

Students with their mentor at Chiang Mai Memorial Hospital How a medical placement works

To get the maximum benefits of the experience, it is always best to do a medical placement through an established organisation. These organisations have tie ups in local hospitals where you will get the chance to experience medicine first-hand and also get a real look at a day in the life of a medical professional.

Also, when you go through an established organisation you need never worry about your safety, which is usually a primary concern amongst students seeking such an experience. Everything is taken care of at your destination from the time you arrive at the airport to the time you leave. 

Gap Medics is one of many placement organisations that arrange medical placements abroad. We offer opportunities in Tanzania, Czech Republic and Thailand. 

Your takeaway from an overseas medical placement

Most placements are arranged in developing countries, primarily because the experience you will get at one of these settings is unparalleled. Not only will you get to see medicine being practiced in under-equipped, under-staffed hospitals that are far removed from anything you would have seen back home but you also gain exposure to ailments such as cholera, malaria and others that are almost never heard of in developed countries. An intense experience such as this, readies you for anything you are likely to face down the road in your medical career.

During a placement in a foreign country you also gain exposure to a new culture- not just from a tourist’s perspective but you get an insider’s view of the culture, which by itself can be a huge and very valuable learning experience.

Last but certainly not least, you get the opportunity to travel to exotic destinations that are usually far removed from most tourist itineraries. Any destination that you may choose to go to has its own charm and excitement, whether it is scuba diving in Thailand, going on a safari in Tanzania or skiing in Czechoslovakia.  

With plenty of unique professional and personal experiences in store for you, you know that life can never be the same after a medical placement overseas. The fact that it will add tremendous value to your medical school application is a huge bonus.