Electives can be extremely costly especially for those who go abroad and to more than one location. So every penny counts and goes a long way abroad. How can you ensure that you have enough money to both fund your elective and have a good time?
Well look no further. Here are my top tips:
Your Elective isn’t something that suddenly ‘pops up’ around the corner. Some students will even have as much as four years notice. That’s plenty of time to save, whether that means putting away as little as £10 a month into a savings account or seeking employment during the holidays when you’re not studying to put away larger sums of money. Look at it as an investment…the more you save the easier your elective will be to arrange in the future and the more fun you can potentially have. You really do not want to be restricted by funds when abroad.
Apply for elective awards:
Consider doing an audit or some research during your elective. This usually requires you to make an application to a royal college of the speciality you’re interested in giving them a brief proposal of what you intend to do while abroad as well as the location and details of your elective. You will need to be organised early as some applications need to be submitted as early as a year before you head off. But it’s definitely worth it; each elective award can be anything from £500 to £1000!
Apply for a loan:
Not many banks still do, but some may still offer you ‘professional development loans’ which most students will utilise for their electives. These loans do not need to be paid back until you graduate and can be anything up to £20, 000 depending on the bank. Although you’ll need to move quickly as this can be a lengthy process applying for the loans and some banks are/have withdrawn these great offers due to the current financial climate.
Beg, borrow and (well maybe not steal in this case):
Beg…Make a point of saying goodbye to each family member before departing for your elective. Most families will be sad of your departure and want to give you some money before you leave. If you’re lucky enough to have a birthday during elective or just before, make sure you ask for money instead of a present.
Borrow…If you do not need to buy something for your elective, then don’t! Talk to older students who have previously been on electives. Consider borrowing their mosquito nets, travel accessories etc.
If you do have to buy something…make sure you shop around! Things such as vaccinations are hugely competitive. Do not feel obligated to have your vaccinations with your registered medical practice. There are plenty of vaccination centres around that will offer better prices and may even chuck in the odd student discount. Not to mention buying things like insect repellent direct from pharmacies online, even with packaging and posting this often rivals well known high street stores.
Utilise what you already have:
If you’re due to start your elective half way through a term or earlier than you would usually break up for a term then you may have a substantial part of your student loan to take with you. Money that you would have usually spent in the UK for food and entertainment can be taken with you to help form part of your elective budget.
Any old junk lying around?
If you have both the time and fancy having a bit of a clear out too, consider selling unwanted/ unused items on eBay…that pair of shoes you never wore or that horrible jumper your aunt bought you for Christmas may fetch a few pounds or so. And hey you have nothing to lose.
So those were my tips that helped me fundraise for my elective. Hope these help you!
For more info, here's the Work the World fundraising guide.
Written by Naomi Oliver, medical student at the University of East Anglia