August 22, 2014
Article by Global Pre-Meds
Hospital doctor shadowing & global health experience programs.
Are you looking for a way to combine your love for travel and medicine? Fortunately, today’s healthcare professional does not have to give up one for the other. If you are passionate about both in equal measure you can have the best of both worlds by taking up healthcare jobs in different countries around the globe. There are plenty of opportunities available, from working with international aid organisations to working aboard cruise ships and filling up vacancies in hospitals overseas.
You should know though, that an international career does not just happen overnight and neither does it happen automatically. It is something that you have to plan for and work towards over a period of time. No matter how acute the need, most international employers prefer to hire healthcare professionals who have had some kind of overseas experience, even if it isn’t in healthcare. That’s because working in a foreign country has its own challenges, from the difference in language to the different cultures and cuisines of the country. Any employer who is looking to hire applicants from overseas would want to know whether you are capable of rising to those challenges and doing a good job despite them. As with many other similar situations, this brings you to a classic Catch-22 situation – how do you get the experience if nobody will give you the opportunity?
For it to happen, it is important to have a strategy for building your international career block by block. You don’t have to wait till you have graduated to do this. There are numerous opportunities to gain international experiences while you are still in school or university.
Your main goal should be to build an international profile and the way to do this is to dive into all things international. An overseas career is built on experience in diverse areas and you need to work on building up a host of international experiences before you can apply for a job in a foreign country. The good news is it can be great fun too.
Here are a few things you can do to get your international career in gear things and better your odds of getting employed as a healthcare professional after you graduate from medical or nursing school.
Work On Your Academic Profile
Regardless of your field, include courses with an international component. For research projects, choose to investigate a subject matter with a global focus. Take outside electives such as an internationally focused social science course. Take any opportunity that comes your way that allows you to gain diverse academic experiences – attend international healthcare symposiums, help organise seminars on public health, participate in research projects, become a tutor or volunteer with a global healthcare organisation, work as a teaching assistant. If you get to opportunity to work on any kind of team project, preferably one that involves working with foreign students, don’t pass up on it.