by Work the World


So why go abroad? It’s probably far easier and convenient let’s face it to stay put. However if your after something a little more exciting than ‘easy’ or ‘convenient’ then look no further. This is why you SHOULD do your elective abroad:

For pretty much most of your healthcare course, you would have had all or nearly all your clinical experience in the what better opportunity than to go somewhere new and experience a completely new and exciting environment.

Are you one of those students who started your degree straight after leaving school? If so you probably missed out on the ‘Gap year’ experience of travelling around the world… And even if you were lucky enough to have one of these, I’m sure there’s somewhere else that your itching to go to.

An elective abroad provides you with a new and very unique cultural experience. Sample some delicious delicacies, enjoy new genres of music…embark on that adventure you’ve always wanted to go on. Make your elective one of those life changing experiences that you never forget!

From a healthcare perspective going abroad gives you the opportunity to widen and enhance your clinical experience. See diseases or conditions that are so rare in the UK that you’ve probably not even heard of them yet. See rare presentations of common conditions that you’ve never seen in the UK and are unlikely to see for the rest of your career. Relish the opportunity to do procedural tasks that you have not yet done or had little experience in doing so in the UK.

It also allows you to have more of an educated idea about some of the health inequalities that exist around the world, differences in the healthcare systems themselves, as well as seeing how health care professionals work in often far more challenging situations than the UK. This may help you to have a greater appreciation and understanding of UK standards or practice or perhaps highlight areas where we as health care professionals may improve. Either way you’ll be learning something!

And after your done with seeing ‘the rare’ and exciting. Enjoy your evenings and weekends by exploring the tourist attractions, the local bars and picturesque beaches. As well as having the clinical component of your elective, you’ll also have a holiday too. So theres much fun to be had.

I thoroughly enjoyed my time abroad and probably would not have gained as much from a clinical and personal point of view without leaving the UK. I saw diseases that are more prevalent in the countries I visited, had the pleasure of experiencing new dishes to tantalise my taste buds and enjoyed some fantastic weather too. Most of all I enjoyed the opportunity to travel to countries that I had never visited before. No doubt going abroad is a lot more expensive than staying in the UK, but in my opinion is totally worth it!

Written by Naomi Oliver, medical student at the University of Edinburgh

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