Identify your objectives
The first thing to consider before searching for an international medical elective is to determine your learning objectives. This will help you decide where to go, what to do, how long to go for.
Consult our database and/or talk to others
After outlining objectives and narrowing down your country and discipline of choice, it is a good idea to seek advice from friends, family, peers, professors or mentors. You never know where someone can have a connection that can make the whole process a whole lot easier.
Consult our database to see if anyone has already taken part in an international medical elective in the area of choice, and what is their recommended organization/hospital. If you can’t find the ideal location in our database, don’t hesitate to ask; there are countless non-profits and volunteer organizations, both local and global, that have programs open to learners wishing to do an elective abroad. These programs are so diverse that asking for a recommendation from a peer might help honing on a perfect location and ensure your safety while abroad.
Do your research
Doing research of potential locations online is an excellent way to scope organizations and opinions. Try searching for general information at first, and then narrow down a location or type of elective to help yield more specific results. Once you have found an organization that interests you, contact them to make sure it is a legitimate organization. Asking questions like how long they have been offering electives, how many per year, how long does the application process take, what a typical day would be like for you, what support systems are in place while you are on-site, nighttime safety, any emergencies that anyone has ever had while on the ground and how it was managed.
Find universities with medical schools
One you have decided which country/countries you would like to visit, you can find which universities in that country have medical schools, and determine if they accept international students for electives. If you have a specific specialty you would like to work in, you can also contact the appropriate department of affiliate teaching hospital.
- CACHA : Canada Africa Community Health Alliance
- Mountain Fund
- BABU Bringing About Better Understanding
- Save a Child's Heart
- CHR Citadelle (French only)
- IFMSA International Federation of Medical Students' Associations
- Work the World
- Child and Family Health International
- CFMS Canadian Federation of Medical Students
- Unite for Sight
- Projects Abroad
- CSIH Canadian Society for International Health
- Mission Amanda and Elective Ghana:
Amanda Lee Kelsall, a second year Medical Student at the University of Ottawa passed away on January 5, 2014 as a result of a car accident near Pembroke, Ontario. Mission Amanda was created in her memory with the purpose to carry on the work that the Lord began in Amanda’s life. Two of Amanda's dreams were to get into Medical School and to go to Africa. She was fortunate to experience both of these. During medical school Amanda completed a medical elective in Ghana. This was such a remarkable experience that she made a commitment to be an ambassador for her host organization - Elective Ghana. Amanda and her parents, who have since travelled to Ghana themselves and met Sefa, the founder of “Elective Ghana’, have been very impressed by this organization. The commitment, compassion, and earnest desire of Elective Ghana to assist medical students in gaining meaningful experiences is very evident The Kelsall family contacted the UGME Global Health Program to ask us to help with the continuation and promotion of Elective Ghana experiences for our students. The founder and contact Sefa would be please to assist UOttawa Medical students to organize electives in Ghana, at minimal cost. For more information – please contact Sefa.
Note: International electives for UGME students must be 70hours/2weeks minimum.