There are several international opportunities available for you to participate in as a student or resident at the uOttawa Faculty of Medicine. Some of these opportunities, including many international electives, will require you to research and find your own placement, so please give yourself ample time to plan your international experience. For more information on international electives, please consult the Global Health Program (Action Global Health Network) page.
2. Planning for Departure
Once your international elective has been approved or you have been matched to studentship project, you can start to plan the details of your trip. Specifics may differ depending on the country you visit, so please make sure to compliment these guidelines with your own country-specific research.
It is the student or resident's responsibility to ensure you obtain the appropriate documentation:
A valid passport
A visitor’s Visa (if applicable)*
Appropriate travel insurance (health, evacuation and malpractice, if applicable)
*Invitation Letter (China): Please note that if you are travelling to Shanghai, China to participate in one of the programs associated with the Ottawa-Shanghai partnership, an official invitation letter to include in your Chinese Visa application will be sent to you by the Office of Internationalization. The Visa Application remains the responsibility of the student.
Once you your International Elective or Studentship has been approved you can start to plan the logistics of your travel. You are responsible for finding your own flight and accommodations.
Participants in the uOttawa-Shanghai Partnership Programs:
The Office of Internationalization will provide you with a recommended travel agent for your plane ticket. You may use this travel agent or arrange your plane ticket in your own preferred method. Please note that the OI does not coordinate the purchasing of the plane tickets on your behalf. If you are travelling to Shanghai, accommodations in a student residence will be offered to you by the Office of Internationalization. You will also have the option to organize your own accommodations, if you prefer.
If you are planning on applying to do an international elective or applying to the Student Builder Program this year than you will most likely need to take part in a mandatory pre-departure training course. The Office of Internationalization provides a training session three times a year in order to prepare students for going abroad and engaging in international electives and placements.
During this session, students participating in an international elective will receive a copy of the Global Health Pre-Departure Pocket Guide.
If you are travelling to Shanghai, the Office of Internationalization will also provide you with a helpful information guide about the city and hospitals you will be visiting by email. If you do not receive this booklet please request one from by emailing the Office of Internationalization.
Please note that as part of the pre-departure training you will also need to complete our five on-line modules. The modules are mandatory for all students traveling abroad with the Faculty of Medicine.
You can complete our online modules by following these steps:
You will need to register on the Action Global Health Network (AGHN) website. AGHN Register
Once you are registered you can enroll in the education modules by clicking on the education tab: AGHN Education
You will complete the 5 following modules:
Introduction to global health
The ethical responsibilities of global medical volunteerism
A guide to personal safety
The social determinants of health
Please send the 5 certificates of completion to the Global Health Coordinator by email
In general, if you are going to a low resource country where there are health and occupational health risks, you should plan to see a travel medicine provider 4-6 weeks before you leave.
In addition to the usual travel medicine pills and vaccines , you should discuss Post-exposure prophylaxis
While abroad, bring your own PEP, N95 masks, latex gloves and hand sanitizer
Bring all the personal drugs/supplies you think that you will need
Make sure to consult the Pre-travel Checklist for other pre-travel requirements!
Once you believe all aspects of your travel have been planned, please review and ensure all of the following have been completed:
My international elective is chosen, approved, and organized.
I have researched my host community’s culture.
I have read about my destination (Websites, Lonely Planet®) and have talked to those who have gone before
I have completed the pre-departure training session and online modules
My passport is valid for at least six months beyond my return travel date.
I have checked visa requirements and secured all necessary visas and documents.
I have consulted with a travel healthcare professional.
I have made flight arrangements.
I have obtained adequate travel health insurance and know where to get medical care in my host community.
I have researched and purchased evacuation insurance.
I have provided my contact information to family, friends and my sending institution/organization. A close friend or family member also has a copy of my travel documents, placement details, and travel arrangements (I have also e-mailed all of this information to myself).
I have registered with Canadians Abroad or Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (USA) and confirmed contact information for local Canadian, British and/or Australian embassies and consulates, as appropriate.
I have seen my dentist for a check-up and cleaning.
I have refilled my regular prescriptions, including optometrical.
My personal medical kit has been prepared according to the instructions of my doctor and the suggestions listed in the Supplies chapter.
I have money in both Canadian and appropriate international currencies.
I have checked the Global Affairs Canada or US Department of State travel advisories. (In general, universities do not allow students to visit regions where the Government of Canada has a travel advisory restricting non-essential travel).
I have made sure that all red tape has been taken care of PRIOR to departure time - since time is precious!
3. Being Abroad
In Country Debriefing
Emergency Contact Card
Communications and Photos
In Country Debriefing
Please pay attention to and respond to emails from the Office of Internationalization (Faculty of Medicine) and uOttawa's International Office.
Be careful that you are working within level of competency (The other white coat syndrome)
Things may operate at a different speed
Need to gain trust and hopefully get involved with something sustainable
Take good care to NOT undermine what is working
Be careful of the foot print that you leave
Remember that you are always an ambassador for your school (Faculty of Medicine, U of Ottawa)
You can always contact the Office of Internationalization
Emergency Contact Card
While abroad, it is a smart idea to keep emergency contact details with you, both in the case that you need to contact someone while abroad, or if someone needs to be contacted on your behalf.
Emergency contacts abroad: If you are travelling to one of our partner institutions in Shanghai, the Office of Internationalization will provide you with a contact(s) at the partner institution(s) you will be visiting before your departure. If you are traveling elsewhere, it is your responsibility to reach out to your supervisor to get emergency contact information for while you are abroad. Make sure to also be aware of the county’s emergency services number.
Personal emergency contacts: Make sure to keep your personal emergency contacts with you, in the case of medical or other emergencies. You can use this template for the information: Emergency Contact Tag
If you have the chance, please take some photos during your visit! The Faculty of Medicine likes to promote the international experiences of our students and residents through online communications channels. If you consent and send us a few of your favorite photos along with a short description, we may post them on our website and/or our Twitter account.
Examples of photos could be you meeting with colleagues, in-action shots of clinical or research settings, interesting tourist photos, etc. Please make sure to respect people’s privacy and ask permission before sending us your photos.
Please send photos and a 1-2 sentence description to us by email. Thank you in advance for your contributions.
4. Returning Home
Post Elective Debriefing
Follow Up Reflections or Report (depending on your program)
Complete a post-elective survey (emailed to you upon return from your elective)
Post Elective Debriefing:
Debriefing may be needed and it may be ongoing. Please check with the requirements of your program (International elective/Student Builder) and check your uOttawa email account regularly.
Give yourself a chance to reacclimatize.
Don't be too hard on those of us who were left at home / don’t be too hard on yourself or your efforts.
Student Builder Program: It is expected that you will present a poster of your project at a forum to be held in the early fall following the summer of your studentship. You are also be encouraged to present your projects at a national or international conference to showcase the benefits of the partnership in improving the uOttawa medical education experience.