Planning – what next

Once you have clarified what criteria your elective needs to fulfil you can start looking into what country and what type of clinical setting you want to work in. With the country profiles on this website we aim to give you a comprehensive idea of the cultural and societal aspects as well as an overview of existing healthcare systems and the role of different healthcare professions.

One of the most important questions to ask yourself that will help you refine your search is what area you want to gain experience in and at what level. You can read through the country profiles to get an idea of whether the local resources and types of treatments match what you wish to gain experience in.

Consider various aspects of the local culture, and ask yourself if you see yourself being comfortable with adapting to local customs for example in terms of clothing and societal/social norms.

It is also important to consider the spoken language(s) in your host country and region. The more knowledge of the local language the more you will be able to get out of your elective, as it will allow you to communicate more effectively with patients/clients and local colleagues. It is also important to consider the potential strain on local staff if they have to translate all interactions for you. In many placements this will not always be possible, so it is highly recommendable that you learn as much as possible of the local language if you decide to go to a country whose language you don’t have existing knowledge of.

Finally, knowing the local language will make it easier for you to connect with people in the local community.