Why do your medical elective abroad?
An elective abroad can be a required or optional part of various healthcare professions’ formal training, depending on your field of study and university.
While doing an elective placement in one’s country of study is undoubtedly a valuable and necessary experience, choosing to do an elective abroad can be a truly eye-opening and life changing experience, not to mention a fun and inspiring way of gaining those required credits for your degree. Getting a chance to experience first-hand how your field is practiced in a different country, in the context of a different culture and resources available is a great way of gaining perspective and insight, as well stimulating your curiosity and desire for learning.
The level of freedom you have to find and arrange your elective will vary depending on your university and course, so it is important that you check what the requirements are.
Thorough planning is essential for ensuring you have the best possible experience and optimal learning opportunities, and if time and attention is given to ensuring that the elective meets your own and your university’s requirements, an elective abroad can be one of the most challenging yet rewarding experiences in your student career.
On this website you will find a wide range of resources specifically designed to help you find and make the most out of your elective abroad.
Key benefits of doing your healthcare elective abroad
Being fully immersed and working in a different culture is a great way of challenging yourself personally and academically, and will undoubtedly make you step out of your comfort zone. This is essential for both personal and academic growth. Some of the key benefits that students often mention are:
- Standing out to future employers on your CV and in job interviews,
- Increased resilience, confidence and independence,
- Increased adaptability, flexibility and problem-solving skills,
- Improved self-awareness,
- Increased openness, curiosity, and desire to learn,
- Increased compassion and empathy,
- Improved knowledge and understanding of alternative treatment approaches,
- Increased recognition of the importance of effective communication between healthcare professional and patient.
- You will be able to contribute to the healthcare system in the local community you are working in.
- Improved intercultural skills, such as increased awareness, sensitivity and respect for other cultures and people from various backgrounds – this is becoming increasingly important as most healthcare professionals are likely to at some point work in settings where they will be treating people from diverse backgrounds. Increased cultural awareness will help you build a strong rapport with patients.