Planning On Going On A Medical Placement Abroad? A Few Tips On How To Make The Most Of This Opportunity

February 24, 2015

Watching the sunset at Gangilonga Rock A medical placement abroad is a great way for a premed student to get valuable firsthand clinical experience in the field of medicine. Not only will it help you decide whether this career is a right choice for you but it will also give your med school application a tremendous boost if you decide to pursue a career in medicine.

If you are planning to go on a medical internship abroad, here are a few things you can do to make the most of your time in that country.


  • Take The Opportunity To Learn As Much As You Can

A medical placement is a rich ground for a variety of learning opportunities and although your time here will be very limited, you should go out of your way to make the most of it and exploit take every opportunity that comes your way, however small it may seem at the time. Observing doctors and helping nurses work under stressful conditions and with scant resources is a kind of eye opening experience you can never get at any internship or shadowing opportunity back home.  

  • Keep Taking Notes

Carry a book or diary around with you from day one of your placement. Take notes whenever you can and keep a record of everything you do, everywhere you go and all the techniques you observe being used during that time. These notes serve as a useful memory bank that you can refer to whenever necessary. For example, it could be an invaluable resource when composing your personal statement for your medical school application. 

  • Learn About Your Host Country

During the course of your placement, make an effort to familiarise yourself with the culture of your host country. If you do a placement in Tanzania or Thailand, you will find that their traditions, cuisine and their way of life are vastly different from anything you’ve known or seen. Be curious. Ask questions. Learn more about their ways. It will enrich your life and give you lots to talk about when you get back home.

  • Network With Premed Students From Other Countries

During your placement you will meet premed students from several other countries. Interact with them as well as with the local doctors and nurses who you will be shadowing or working with. Exchanging information and experience with people from different countries can be a huge learning experience and will also help you make some fantastic friends in the process.

  • Do More Than You Need To

If you get done early, offer to do some more or lend a hand to somebody who may be struggling or is running behind. All of this adds to the practical hands-on experience you can get and as a premed student, you can never get enough.

  • Last But Not Least – Explore The Country You’re In

Why waste such a fantastic opportunity! Sure your main goal is to get some hands on experience but after you’re done, you should take the opportunity to explore the country and soak in the local flair and flavours. For a truly awesome experience, do some research on things to do and places to see in that country and make your plans accordingly.