How to get global health experience

October 9, 2020

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

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Gaining a global health perspective as a premed student is a valuable way to make your medical school application standout. You may be wondering how to find global health experience as a premed.

You can find internships, volunteer programs, or doctor shadowing opportunities to fulfill your desire for global health experience. There are benefits to all of these programs, which we have explored for you below.

Doctor shadowing programs abroad are exactly what we do at Global Pre-Meds. We cater to pre-health students looking for a safe and educational medical experience. You will learn about the local healthcare system and how that compares to your own.

You should always check with any university or program you are considering before you rely on these options for your resume or application! Global health experience will undoubtedly make you a better person and a better healthcare professional, although it is not always required.

We have enhanced the health and safety guidelines of our program to provide a safe, COVID-resilient experience for you.

Internships abroad for premed students

Getting a medical internship abroad is an exciting opportunity for students who are looking to add to their resume, experience more hands on medical work, and get a view of what healthcare looks like in another country.

Internships are different from shadowing opportunities in that you are usually doing work to contribute to a project or medical institution. Sometimes that could mean doing research, helping to check patients in or out, or performing small medical procedures that you are already allowed to perform in your home country. You can gain an understanding of how a hospital or medical organization works within the traditions and regulations of the country.

Many medical internship programs assign you to a mentoring doctor, just like we offer at Global Pre-Meds. They may also provide opportunities to volunteer or add health seminars to enhance your learning experience. This is an opportunity to start building connections.

The important thing to remember is if you are not allowed to perform a procedure in your home country, then you should not be doing it in a foreign country. Because the work you’re allowed to do is dependent on your skill set, some medical internships are more appropriate for students who have received official training or worked at a hospital already. Otherwise, you may find yourself observing more than practicing any skills, in which case you may want to shadow a doctor or physician instead.

If you don’t have a lot of medical training and want to head towards a doctor shadowing program, the activities you will engage in are similar to what you will do with us at Global Pre-Meds. High school or premed students may be more suited to a program like ours where you are focused on observing interesting cases.

While you may practice certain medical skills, an ethical program should not allow you to perform any medical procedures you are not trained on, rather we offer you the chance to practice skills using dummies or checking each other’s vitals. We create an in-person learning experience without patient contact.

International doctor shadowing programs

International doctor shadowing programs are exactly what we offer premed, gap year, or high school students! On our hospital doctor shadowing program, we guarantee a minimum of 40 hours of shadowing on hospital frontlines

There are many benefits to shadowing a doctor abroad. You will gain an understanding of healthcare on a global level, and it exposes you to patients and cases you might not see in your home country or at your local hospital.

If you join us at Global Pre-Meds, we assign a mentoring doctor who we’ve carefully chosen to share his or her professional experience. The relationship you build over our two-week program helps your mentor write a personal letter of recommendation, which you will receive at the end of your program.

Our program is suitable for students interested in medicine, physician assistant, midwifery or nursing! We cater to your interests, making sure your mentoring doctor knows what kind of cases you’d be interested in observing. Occasionally, your mentoring doctor may have you observe on someone else’s service if there is an interesting patient. This allows you to see how the whole hospital works together.

In addition to the wonderful learning experience at the hospital, we will also host global health seminars for your understanding. This way you get to ask any additional questions, and your mentors can help put the cases you’re observing in to context. Your understanding of international healthcare will be above and beyond the average medical student.

Shadowing a doctor or physician on the frontlines of an international hospital gives you a global health experience in a safe and ethical way. We make sure you do not have any physical interaction with patients. Your job is to observe and learn from your mentors. If you choose a doctor shadowing program abroad, make sure they have strong safety and ethical guidelines.

Medical volunteer trips

Medical volunteering is a wonderful way to give back to a community, diversify your learning experience, and add to your resume or medical school application.

No matter what path you’re on, it’s a good idea to add some volunteer hours to your background experience. Find something you’re passionate about that speaks to who you are as a person. This gives medical programs an idea of what specialty you’re interested in and how you might excel with their program.

Additionally, by assisting an underserved community you understand challenges that affect different groups of people. Diversity of experience is helpful to any healthcare professional.

Just like with medical internships and shadowing programs, it’s important to understand that you should not be doing any work that you are not qualified for. If you are not able to legally perform a procedure in your home country, then you should not be doing that abroad either. Overstepping and breaking any ethical guidelines could hinder your future.

While we focus on the doctor shadowing experience at Global Pre-Meds, we also offer the chance for you to volunteer with local organizations during your program. You get to interact with more of the community and give something back.

You can gain a global health perspective in many ways. We hope you join us for that experience at Global Pre-Meds. All you have to do is apply, and we will help you stand out from the crowd!