FAQs

Eligibility & Who It’s For

Who is the Global Pre-Meds Program for?

Our programs are designed for students with a serious interest in pursuing a career in medicine or healthcare and wanting experience shadowing a doctor. We have separate programs for high school students and those over who are over 18.

The program is particularly focussed on pre-med and pre-PA students, but it is also suitable for students going into nursing, midwifery and other fields of healthcare.

Our mentoring system pairs each student with an appropriate medical doctor, who will tailor the learning experience to the student’s level of knowledge and experience.

What are the eligibility criteria?

To join the program you must be at least 16 years old (18 for our University Program), demonstrate a serious commitment to pursuing a career in healthcare, pass our Admission Interview, and have your application supported by an academic referee.

For more details, please see our eligibility criteria page.

I want to be a nurse, is this program suitable?

Yes. Both pre-nursing students and current nursing undergraduates join the program on a regular basis, and find the experience very useful.

Just like our pre-med students, you will be mentored by a medical doctor, but one who understands that your primary interest is in nursing and tailors the experience accordingly. We’ve found this to be a very effective way for students to gain an understanding of how the whole clinical team works together – something that is important for all the professions.

In most cases, you will be working with one or two other nursing students under the same mentor.

I want to be a midwife, is this program suitable?

Yes. Both pre-midwifery students and current midwifery undergraduates join the program on a regular basis, and find the experience very useful.

As with our nursing students, you will be mentored by a medical doctor, but specifically in the Maternity/Obstetrics Department. In the Dominican Republic, doctors actually perform some of the functions that are carried out by midwives in America and the UK, so this mentoring system is the best way for you to experience natural deliveries, Caesarean sections, and a broad range of ante- and post-natal services.

I want to be a dentist, is this program suitable?

It can be. We don’t offer specific dentistry placements, but quite a number of pre-dental students do join us to gain more general experience of hospital-based healthcare and global health issues through shadowing a doctor.

What is the difference between the University and High School Programs?

The University Program is open to all students aged 18 and over. The High School Program is exclusively for students aged 16, 17 or 18 (so if you are exactly 18, you can choose to join either).

The hospital experience is very similar, but the doctors who mentor students on the High School Program tailor their teaching to suit the younger age group.

Both programs are residential, with students living at the Global Pre-Meds House, but on the High School Program students are supervised 24 hours a day and there are additional rules appropriate to the age group.

Do I need to speak English?

Yes, to a reasonable standard.

All of our hospital mentors and most of our local staff are bilingual in English and Spanish, but English is very much the language of the program – especially when it comes to the important social experience with fellow students.

Do I need to speak Spanish?

No – but if you do, that’s even better!

All of our hospital mentors and local staff speak fluent English, but Dominican Republic is a Spanish-speaking country, so of course knowing the language is a bonus.

The Hospital Experience

Can I choose which department I’m in?

We will discuss your particular interests with you during your admission interview, and take them into account when matching you with an appropriate mentor.

It’s not possible to give you a free choice of which department you are in, because our priority is to match you with a genuinely inspiring doctor who will provide strong mentorship. Those doctors do not necessarily exist in every department, and they move around as their careers progress.

If you have a strong interest in one particular specialty, please let us know on your application form and we will do our best to place you somewhere aligned to that.

Will I get hands-on experience?

It depends what you mean by hands-on. For safety and professional ethics reasons, you will not be allowed any direct physical contact with patients, and of course you will not be allowed to do anything for which you are not properly trained. However, you will be observing your mentor in his or her work with patients very much on the front line (where patient consent and safety considerations allow).

On days with a low patient workload, your mentor may teach and allow you to practice basic clinical skills in simulated conditions, to enhance your understanding of procedures you’ll observe.

How many shadowing hours will I get?

The exact number of hours each week will depend on your mentor’s availability, patient caseload and your own preferences, but typically you will be shadowing for 20-25 hours per week (so 40-50 over the two-week program).

If you want to gain more hours this is usually possible by staying later on busy days and/or volunteering to join a night shift (but remember you’ll be on your feet all day in a new environment and still want time to reflect on the experience and enjoy the local culture).

How many students are with one mentor?

Usually two or three, but it depends on the mentor’s preference and the particular clinical setting. We always ensure shadowing is in very small groups to optimise the learning experience and minimise patient intrusion.

What should I wear on placement?

When traveling to and from the hospital, you should be in smart business dress. This helps to create a positive and professional impression as you are seen entering and leaving the hospital by your mentor, other staff and the public.

Once inside the hospital, you will change into your Global Pre-Meds scrubs (we provide you with one complementary set, and additional sets can be purchased through our online shop).

It is important you do not wear your scrubs outside the hospital environment for reasons of infection control. The exception to this is wearing them after being washed once you have finished your placement for the inevitable Instagram moment…

Location

Why is the program in Dominican Republic?

Our programs are based in the Dominican Republic because the hospitals here provide excellent opportunities for students to experience both mainstream cases that are common around the world and more specialist tropical medicine.

Our Dominican program has received consistently outstanding student feedback since its launch in 2016, partly down to the passion of our doctors in sharing their knowledge and developing future generations of health professionals, and partly down to the incredible team of Dominican staff we are lucky enough to have.

We also can’t ignore the vacation feel of living in the Caribbean!

Can I do this in the US or the UK?

No. Part of the point of our program is to give students an experience of global health and the adventure of being in an exciting new environment and culture. We’ve chosen Dominican Republic because it provides an experience of clinical medicine and surgery that is relevant to students going on to study in America and the UK, alongside this wider benefit.

Safety & Ethics

Is this program safe?

Yes – safety is our top priority and we go to great lengths to protect students in the hospital, at our guesthouse and throughout their time on the program. Please see our safety and support page for details.

Is Dominican Republic safe?

Yes – we wouldn’t work there if it wasn’t.

Our Dominican Republic program was established in 2016, and has hosted more than 1,500 students without any serious incidents.

Around six million foreign tourists visit the Dominican Republic each year, and almost all have an entirely trouble-free experience.

Please see our safety and support page for more details.

What is security like at the house?

One of the reasons we operate all of our own student guesthouses, rather than using hostels or homestays, is to give us direct control of safety and security.

We have at least one staff member on duty at every house 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and access is controlled to only allow our own students and staff inside. On our High School Program, there is always a female member of staff on duty at the house over night.

Within the house, bedrooms are single-sex, and out of respect for personal privacy we ask students not to enter rooms other than the one to which they are assigned. Personal security boxes are provided next to all beds.

Our houses and gardens are enclosed by security fences, and we have a security guard on the gate 24 hours. Overnight additional guards are on patrol for added peace of mind.

How It Works

How much support do students get?

A lot. Once we receive your application, our Admissions Team will be in contact to arrange your personal interview and hopefully get you on the program. As soon as this is all confirmed, one of our Student Support Officers will become your personal contact throughout your preparations, here to guide you, answer any questions you may have and work with our Dominican Team to match you with the most suitable mentor.

As soon as you arrive in Dominican Republic, one of our own staff will be there to meet you at the airport, bring you to the house and help you settle in. Once you’re refreshed, you’ll receive your welcome briefing from our Regional Director, and the following day we will personally introduce you to your mentor in the hospital.

Our team are available to you at the house 24 hours a day, seven days a week, so whatever you need there is someone to ask – and they’ll quickly feels more like a family than staff.
Even after you’ve finished the program, our Student Support Team remains here to help, including arranging your Certificate and Recommendation Letter.

We have a very strong alumni community, so you never really finish the program!

What is the registration process?

The first step is to complete our online application form here. Once you have completed the form, you can review your application before proceeding to secure online payment of the Registration Fee to submit it to our Admissions Team.

If anything needs to change about your application (for example, if the program you apply for is already full), we will contact you to discuss alternative dates and/or destinations.
The next stage is your Admission Interview, which is normally conducted by phone or video call within 30 days of your online application.

If you are successful, you will normally receive confirmation immediately after the Admission Interview.

If you are unsuccessful in your application, we will refund your Registration Fee in full.

I haven’t traveled much abroad, how will I know what to do?

Don’t worry, lots of students who join us have never travelled outside their home country before, and we’re here to help. As soon as you’re registered, you’ll have one of our Student Experience Officers to guide you through every step of your preparations, and answer any questions you have at any stage.

Traveling to the Dominican Republic can seem daunting, but as soon as you walk out of the airport to one of our friendly staff greeting you with a big smile, then meet all your fellow students at the house, you’ll settle in in no time.

What should I wear?

When traveling to and from the hospital, you should be in smart business dress. This helps to create a positive and professional impression as you are seen entering and leaving the hospital by your mentor, other staff and the public.

Once inside the hospital, you will change into your Global Pre-Meds scrubs (we provide you with one complementary set, and additional sets can be purchased through our online shop).

Away from the hospital, you can relax and wear whatever you’re comfortable in. Remember Dominican Republic gets hot, so go for lightweight, comfortable clothing. It can also rain (hard!), but never gets cold so you’ll soon dry off as soon as the sun comes out!

What else should I pack?

Sunscreen! Other than that, we’ll provide lots of advice on what to pack and how to prepare for your trip once you’re registered.

Where should I fly into?

You need to arrive at Punta Cana Airport (airport code: PUJ) or La Romana Airport (airport code: LRM).

Please do not book flights until we have approved your application and formally confirmed your place on the program. Even if you are successful in your application, there can occasionally be changes to where and when you need to arrive, which we would notify you of at that stage.

Will I be met at the airport?

As long as you land in Punta Cana or La Romana on the Sunday at the start of your placement, yes – we will be there to meet you off your flight and transfer you to the house.

When must I arrive?

Your flight should land in Punta Cana or La Romana on the Sunday (your program start date).

Please do not book flights until we have approved your application and formally confirmed your place on the program. Even if you are successful in your application, there can occasionally be changes to where and when you need to arrive, which we would notify you of at that stage.

If you arrive in Dominican Republic before that day, we can offer advice on hotels and local taxis, but we will not be able to meet you or check you into our accommodation until the program start date.

If you arrive in Dominican Republic after that day, you will miss the welcome briefing, orientation and introduction to your hospital placement. That is very disruptive to your experience and others on the program, and will seriously limit your first week hours in the hospital because you will have to wait until we have a staff member available to arrange your introductions (which may not be the day you arrive).

When must I leave?

Your flight should depart Punta Cana or La Romana on the Saturday (your program end date). You’ll have to check out of your room at the house by midday on Saturday, but you are welcome to stay at the house and use the common facilities if you have a flight later in the day.

If your flight departs after the program end date, you will probably have to check out of the house and move to a hotel (we’re happy to help with practical arrangements, but this will be at your expense). Occasionally, we might have space for you to remain at the house on the Saturday night for an additional charge – but please do not assume this unless we have confirmed it for your dates.

What if my flight is delayed?

If your flight to Dominican Republic is delayed through no fault of your own, we will do our very best to meet you when you do arrive, and get you started on the program as soon as possible.

Accommodation & Food

What kind of accommodation is provided?

The accommodation is one of the things that really sets out program apart. You’ll live together with your fellow students in one of our dedicated Global Pre-Meds houses, staffed 24 hours a day by our super-friendly local team and complete with tropical gardens, private swimming pool and even your own Chef!

Operating our own accommodation in this way also gives us greater control over student safety, security and privacy – all of which we take very seriously.

Read details on our social experience page.

Who will I share a room with?

Bedrooms are single-sex, generally shared between four or five students, and most have their own attached toilet and shower room. We’ll match you with people we think you’ll get on with (not always from the same part of the world – making new friends is a big part of the experience).

If you’re traveling with friends, be sure to let us know in advance and we can normally arrange for you to share a room.

Can I study at the house?

Of course. There are various spaces you are free to use, and the dining area with tables and chairs is usually quiet outside of meal times.

Is there free wifi at the house?

Yes. We are at the mercy of Dominican infrastructure when it comes to speed and reliability (so hopes of streaming Netflix might be unrealistic!), but we provide the best service we can free for you to use all the time.

What is security like at the house?

One of the reasons we operate all of our own student guesthouses, rather than using hostels or homestays, is to give us direct control of safety and security.

We have at least one staff member on duty at every house 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and access is controlled to only allow our own students and staff inside. On our High School Program, there is always a female member of staff on duty at the house over night.

Within the house, bedrooms are single-sex, and out of respect for personal privacy we ask students not to enter rooms other than the one to which they are assigned. Personal security boxes are provided next to all beds.

Our houses and gardens are enclosed by security fences, and we have a security guard on the gate 24 hours. Overnight additional guards are on patrol for added peace of mind.

What support and supervision is there at the house?

During the day, most of our local team, including the Program Manager, will be around the house to provide support and help with anything you may need (it’s very much the base of the program, not just a place to stay).

There is at least one member of staff on duty at the house 24 hours a day. On our High School Program, there is always a female member of staff on duty at the house over night.

We’re not here to be overly strict or stop you having fun, but our staff are trained to ensure everyone at the house behaves responsibly and we reserve the right to suspend or exclude any student from the program as a result of serious offensive, disrespectful or dangerous behaviour.

What food is provided?

We provide a full breakfast and evening meal five days a week, all prepared by our full-time Chef at the house using fresh, local, seasonal ingredients.

Do you cater for vegetarians and other dietary requirements?

Yes, we always provide a vegetarian option on request.

We will also do our best to cater for any other dietary requirements, but please be aware that some types of food are not available in Dominican Republic. If you have specific dietary requirements it is important you let us know at the time of application for the program, so we can either accommodate them or advise on alternative options.

Please note that it if you have any serious food intolerances or allergies, it is a condition of joining the program that you must inform us of these in writing at the time of application, so that we can plan accordingly.

Do you provide drinking water?

Yes. We provide unlimited purified drinking water at the house.

We strongly urge all students to fill reusable bottles from this source – it’s free, and helps reduce our use of plastics that damage the natural environment.

Costs & What’s Included

What does the Registration Fee cover?

This demonstrates your commitment to the program and covers us processing your application and conducting your application interview. If your application is successful, the registration fee also reserves your place on the program and covers your welcome pack.

If your application is not successful, we will refund the registration fee in full.

What does the Program Fee cover?

This covers your hospital placement with at least 40 hours clinical shadowing under the personal mentorship of a medical doctor, your accommodation at our exclusive student guesthouse with 20 home-cooked meals, arrival and departure transfers, personal support from our Head Office Team before your trip, 24-hour support from our Dominican Team throughout the program, your clinical experience certificate and a letter of recommendation from the doctor who mentors you.

Are the fees refundable?

The registration fee is non-refundable at any time, provided your application is successful. If your application is unsuccessful (e.g. because you do not pass the admission interview or we are unable to offer you a place due to availability), we will refund your registration fee in full.

The program fee does not have to be paid until 120 days before your program start date, but once it is paid it is non-refundable.

If you choose to pay in installments, each installment is non-refundable once paid.

Are there scholarships or bursaries available?

We are a placement provider, and do not offer funding assistance ourselves.

We are happy to provide confirmation of your enrolment on our program and other information as required to support applications you are making for scholarships or bursaries from other sources.

Is tuition included?

Yes. You will be paired with a medical doctor as your full-time mentor.

As well as paying the hospital, we use part of your fee to pay your mentor directly, incentivising great doctors to serve in positions that benefit their local community as well as our students.

Are scrubs included?

Yes. We provide a complimentary set of Global Pre-Meds branded scrubs which are yours to keep.

Additional branded scrubs can be purchased from us once you are registered.

Are flights included?

No. Students join us from all over the world, so it would not be practical for us to build the cost of flights into our program.

We are happy to provide advice and assistance when it comes to booking your flights.

Are transfers included?

Yes. As long as you arrive at Punta Cana Airport on the Sunday at the start of your program, one of our own staff will be there to meet you and personally transfer you to the Global Pre-Meds House.

We also provide a complimentary transfer service back to Punta Cana airport on the Saturday at the end of your program.

Is travel to the hospital included?

Yes. We provide a complimentary minibus service between the house and the hospital for your normal placement hours.

If you choose to stay longer in the hospital or volunteer for a night shift, we are happy to arrange a trusted taxi driver for you at your own expense.

Is travel insurance included?

No. However, we have teamed up with Endsleigh Travel Insurance to offer a policy that covers you for everything you need on our program (very importantly this includes cover while you are on placement in the hospital). This can be purchased through us after you have registered.

Please note it is a condition of joining our program that you take out appropriate personal travel insurance, whether that is through us or from your own provider.

What else should I budget for?

Flights – to and from Dominican Republic.

Personal travel insurance.

Once you’re in Dominican Republic, most things are covered by our program fee, but you will also need to budget for your lunches, socialising/going out with fellow students, weekend activities (such as boat trips or horseback riding), souvenirs and personal items such as toiletries.

As a rough guide for all your spending once in Dominican Republic, about US$250 (£200) per week is a sensible budget.

If you spend your evenings and weekends at the house (which you’re welcome to do) and only buy the essentials, you can spend considerably less than this; if you frequent the higher-end restaurants and bars, you can spend considerably more!

Credit & Program Recognition

Can I get a doctor’s recommendation letter?

Yes. The doctor who mentors you will be happy to write you a personal letter of recommendation that is a true reflection of his or her experience of your approach and aptitude.

We also offer the option of providing the letter confidentially to universities with your permission, if that is their requirement.

Can I get a reference?

Yes. You will receive an official certificate of clinical experience after completing the program, and you can request a reference for specific purposes up to a year after joining the program.

Does the program carry credit from any external bodies?

Yes. Our program is accredited by the Award Scheme Development and Accreditation Network (ASDAN) and successful completion of the full two weeks qualifies you for their Universities Award.

You can obtain the optional ASDAN Universities Award Certificate through us for an additional charge (your official Global Pre-Meds Clinical Experience Certificate is free of charge).

How is the program viewed by universities?

We have an excellent international reputation built on our experience of hosting over 12,000 students and our commitments to ethical learning practices.

Any program of this kind is ultimately all about what you, the student, put in and get out of the experience. Simply participating does not, in itself, help you get into medical school. What the program does is to give you an enormously valuable platform from which you can demonstrate your commitment, ability to learn and understanding of the medical profession. How you, as an individual, present this is what will get you noticed.

Dates, Availability & Application

When do the programs run?

Please see our dates and fees page for current availability.

For groups of students travelling together we are sometimes able to offer additional start dates throughout the year, and for groups of 50 or more we offer a fully-tailored special program service built around the group’s preferences. Please contact us for details.

When should I register?

Our programs fill up throughout the year on a first come, first served basis – so the sooner you register, the greater your chance of a place.

Most programs fill up 6-8 months in advance, but expansions of our programs and occasional cancellations mean that we do sometimes have spaces available very last minute – so if you’re wanting to join the program very soon it’s always worth contacting us.

How do I apply?

The first step is to complete our online application form here. Once you have completed the form, you can review your application before proceeding to secure online payment of the Registration Fee to submit it to our Admissions Team.

If anything needs to change about your application (for example, if the program you apply for is already full), we will contact you to discuss alternative dates and/or destinations.
The next stage is your Admission Interview, which is normally conducted by phone or video call within 30 days of your online application.

If you are successful, you will normally receive confirmation immediately after the Admission Interview.

If you are unsuccessful in your application, we will refund your Registration Fee in full.

What is the Admission Interview?

This is a one-to-one interview that you have with a senior member of our Admissions Team, usually conducted by video call.

We take seriously our responsibilities both to students and to the busy working hospitals into which we place people; the purpose of the interview is to ensure that the program being applied for is appropriate for the individual student, and that student approaches it with maturity, respect and accurate expectations.

The vast majority of serious applicants pass the Admission Interview without difficulty.

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