Are the destinations safe and secure?

All the countries that we work in are considered stable, secure and safe for international healthcare students to visit. We take advice from the US State Department regarding not only the destinations we work in but their close neighbors as well. We also consult with the relevant government department if we feel that any particular student’s nationality may pose a risk. On the ground our in-country staff keep us posted with any local issues that could adversely effect the program. 

Are you an NGO or charity?

We are not an NGO or charity. We do take our ethical and moral responsibility very seriously though, providing sustainable electives that will benefit the local community. We also work closely with companies like Doctors Without Borders to provide placements that will best prepare you for a future in international aid, particularly as they cannot provide their own internships because of the drain on relief workers. 

Are your placements regulated?

We take the supervisory element and structure of our internships very seriously and have agreements in place with each of our partner hospitals and clinics that guarantee supervision levels and support throughout your placement. We also follow guidelines laid out by regulating bodies and professional associations to ensure the safety of both patient and student, making sure each placement is structured according to a student’s level of skill.  

Many universities have specific requirements regarding placements and electives and want a more formal agreement to guarantee standards. We have contracts in place with many institutions and are happy to provide audit information and help complete risk assessments if your university requires. 

Can I get help towards the cost of my internship?

The responsibility for the costs of your internship lies with you, but there are many ways in which you can work around this! 

There are lots of bursaries and grants available, or you could raise money through sponsorship - lots of companies are willing to invest in future professionals. You can also head to the funding section of our site for more in-depth tips and advice.

Make sure you sign up to our blog and Facebook too - we often run competitions for free placements. There is also a scheme in place for Work the World Campus Representatives to earn credits towards an internship by representing us at various events. Get in touch for more details.

Can my partner or friend join me at the house?

Unfortunately not. To keep the houses secure we only allow people on placements, or our staff on site. We understand that your partner or friend is not a risk, but they can change the dynamic of the house and it is not fair on other students in the shared space. For that reason we have one rule across the board. We will always try and recommend somewhere close for them to stay if they are visiting though, and there are lots of social spots in each of our destinations where you can hang out.

How do I get from the airport to the house?

We will come and collect you! On your MyTrip page you can load up your flight details and each day the staff overseas check the arrivals with the airline. If you are delayed, don't worry - we'll know about it and will make sure the first thing you see when you eventually get there is a blue Work the World tee-shirt and a friendly smile!  

How much does a placement cost and what's included?

Placement costs vary depending on where you want to go, rising incrementally depending on how long you go for. They start with a 2 week basic placement. We have listed all the costs on our prices page.

Prices include placement organization, accommodation, all food and head office and overseas support. Please note that the prices quoted are for two-week placements and rise incrementally depending on the duration of your placement.

Keep in mind that you will need to arrange your own flights, insurance and visas. The reason we do not include these are because students join us from all over the world with very different requirements. Prices and procedures vary considerably, and many countries have some fantastic deals available to students that we wouldn't have access to. Instead we provide assistance on how to find flights, insurance and indemnity companies and allow you to search to find the best deal out there at the time of booking.

You will also need to budget for any travel that you plan to do. Our staff have lots of information about reputable agents and will give you lots of tips on where to travel etc, but it is up to you to fund the trips. Similarly, although we provide food at the house, many students like to go out for dinner now and again and you would need to be responsible for the cost of this. 

The only other expense to account for is travel. Although we pick you up and drop you off at the airport, it is up to you how you get to your placement each working day. We try to base the Work the World houses as close to placements as possible, but we use lots of different hospitals and clinics in each destination and take into account the safest and nicest areas for students to live in. If your placement is not in walking distance we recommend you get a taxi or public transport. Both are cheap ($2 per day should cover it) and we will show you how to go about taking the trip in your orientation.

I've heard people mention MyTrip. What is this?

MyTrip is a personalized online facility where we upload all the information regarding your placement. We update it as soon as any element of your internship is confirmed, and you can access information about your hospital and supervisor at any time. You can also get reminders about when to apply for visas, or download any supporting materials you need.


Is the registration fee refundable?

When you apply you pay a registration fee. If for any reason we cannot provide the placement you wanted - for example it is fully booked - we will offer you the choice of alternatives or a full refund. If there is no problem with your placement we will confirm it. Once your placement is confirmed, the registration fee is not refundable because it is used to hold your place and provide all of our pre-departure services.

Sometimes plans go awry - particularly when it comes to exams. We understand that no one wants or plans to fail an exam, so if failing means you are no longer eligible to go on an internship and a work experience placement is not what you wanted, you can either claim on your insurance or we may be able to reschedule your booking for another time.


What accommodation is available and can I book my own room?

We have big, private houses in each destination - the Work the World houses - which will be your base for the whole of your internship. We have chosen this route rather than the budget option of home stays because our previous students have always told us that after a challenging day on placement, coming "home" to comfortable, friendly environment where they can relax and discuss what they have seen with an international group of peers, is a crucial part of the experience. 

The bedrooms are split into male and female dorms, with 4 - 6 beds in each room. If you are traveling with a friend of the same sex then we shall try and place you together, but unfortunately we cannot arrange private rooms or mixed sex dorms. Bathrooms are shared, but we try to work on a basis of a maximum of 1 bathroom per 4 or 5 students and our housekeeper makes sure they are always clean and well maintained. 

If you are keen to get in touch with other students before you travel, many sign up to our Facebook page. About 1 week before you travel, you will be able to see your housemates on your MyTrip page. 

What happens if something goes wrong while I'm on my placement?

We have staff in each destination who are on hand 24/7 if there is a problem. Our Program Managers will quickly step in and talk to the hospital on your behalf, and if you are unhappy at the house, they will deal with whatever problem has arisen. 

If you have a medical emergency, we will ensure you get the best available treatment. We will travel with you to a private hospital and translate where necessary. We can also help you with any procedures necessary for your insurance. 

Who is eligible for a Work the World placement?

We accept anyone who is on, or has completed, a healthcare course anywhere in the world.

Placements in each category are only available to those studying in that particular discipline, for example nursing placements are only available to nursing students or professionals. This is provided you can obtain the appropriate visa for your destination country. 

We work with lots of groups, either from one university covering several disciplines, or as a group or society that specializes in one area. If you have a group of 10 or more we may even be able to organize a bespoke project for you. Get in touch and we'll see what we can do. 

Will I be paid to undertake a placement?

Each placement is on a voluntary basis. There are no paid placement options available. 

Will I get university credits if I travel with Work the World?

Working with lots of different countries means our programs are not formulated to fit any particular awarding board - everyone would want something different! Your university may offer credits for participating in an overseas elective though and we are happy to provide any information required by the staff if this helps you gain credits.

Are the programs sustainable?

As above, we believe we have an obligation to maximize the benefits and minimize the negative impact of our placements wherever we can. We always employ local people to run our programs instead of expats, training them up and giving them significant opportunities. We also purchase products and food from the communities in which are based, using public transport whenever it is safe and convenient to do so. 

When it comes to your placement, we like to make additional donations on top of your standard placement fees. This benefits the people working with our students. We also sponsor English language lessons for hospital staff.

Are there shift patterns?

The typical working hours are about 7am-2pm but this does vary with each of our hospital partnerships and the department you are working in.

Can I secure my department choices before I go?

Yes. Our expert team will have detailed conversations with you in advance of your placement starting, meaning we can guarantee exactly what department/s you’ll be based in throughout your whole placement.

Can I use my mobile phone overseas?

You can, but it is likely to be expensive. On your first day in-country, our local team will take you to a shop that will sell local sim cards at a very cheap price. This is a much more cost effective way of keeping communication channels open with the Work the World team and fellow housemates. If you choose to get a sim card with data, it also ensures you’ll always have access to the internet!

Can I work evenings or weekends?

All placements as standard are Monday to Friday allowing you weekends off to explore the country you are living in or relax at the house. However if you do want to work weekends that is absolutely possible and can be arranged with our in-country management team. Most working hours tend to be daytime shifts but it is also possible to work nights, again this can be arranged for you in-country.

Can me and my friend be placed on the same department?

Yes, subject to availability. All placements within departments are limited and are very much subject to each individual's interests and objectives.

Can we travel as a group?

Thousands of students and professionals travel with us each year, some on their own and some in groups, meaning we can cater for everyone. There are a maximum number of placements available in each of our programs, however, so it is advised to book as early as possible to secure your placement - especially if you are travelling as a group.

Do I need to speak the local language?

In all our Work the World programs all staff members speak excellent English. We’re proud of the fact that we only employ locals to host our students at the Work the World house; this means that they have unparalleled local knowledge as well as strong relationships with our partner hospitals.

With years of experience tailor-making overseas placements, we’ve developed the ultimate in-country language support. Once you’ve registered with us, you’ll get access to MyTrip — our online placement planning portal. Here you can see our comprehensive written language guides and accompanying videos for the destination you’re travelling to.

To give you an even deeper practical understanding of the local language and customs, a language teacher will provide twice-weekly language lessons in our Work the World houses throughout the duration of your placement.

With the exception of Peru (where we ask that all students & professionals display an intermediate level of Spanish) you don’t need to be fluent in the local language. In the hospitals and clinics we partner with, many senior consultants in our partner hospitals are also required to study in English speaking countries as part of their learning, so again, are likely to have a good (if not excellent) level of English.

Do the WtW houses have wifi?

Yes. Each of our Work the World houses has the best wifi we can get within the local area. Given we work in developing countries, it can be intermittent at times but generally it works well as long as no one is streaming/downloading movies.   

How many hours a week will I be in the hospital?

Typically our students and professionals work on average 35 hours per week. If you need to do a set number of hours based on your university requirements we can assist with this.

How many spaces are there in each location?

Our houses depending on destination, accommodate between 22 and 39 people. Therefore in all our destinations there are a maximum number of places available, so booking as early as possible is always advised.

How much spending money should I take?

It really varies depending on where you go, but the cost of living is significantly cheaper than your home country. We recommend on average about $200 for every week you are in-country. This will cover travel to and from placement, weekend trips away including accommodation and spending money, as well as mid-week drinks and meals out if you decide to not dine at the house.

Is there an application process?

This is not a job role, it is a paid-for placement. As long as you fulfill the eligibility criteria and can afford the fee, we will accept you subject to availability.   

Making an application is easy and can be done directly through the website. If you’ve not already been in touch with a Work the World staff member, then completing the Enquiry Form at the bottom of the page is advised. However if you have already spoken to a team member and you’re ready to book, click ‘’.

We ask for a $400 USD registration fee in order to start organizing your placement. If for any reason we couldn't fulfill your placement request, we would refund the money in full.

Once you have filled in the simple online application form, you will receive a welcome call from our head office. The Operations Manager who will oversee your whole placement will introduce themselves, confirm your dates and run through how we plan the logistics of your placement. 

What are the benefits of an overseas placement?

Taking your elective in a developing country is an amazing opportunity to use, develop and share your skills whilst gaining experience with advanced diseases and pathologies that are rare in the Western world. You’ll gain unique insight into developing healthcare systems which will contribute to both your personal and professional development.

This blog post explores the difference between taking your elective at home and travelling overseas.

Within the international aid sector, few charities or organisations offer medical elective placements. This is because you would be working in high-risk environments and potentially detract from the capacity of local relief workers who would need to supervise you.

Work the World are proud to provide electives in challenging, yet safe environments that will help you decide whether working in a developing country as a professional is for you.

What happens once I pay my registration fee?

Your registration fee secures your internship immediately and allows us to start tailor-making your placement. You will also be given instance access to MyTrip, your online placement planner. The planner has everything you could possibly need such as a step-by-step timeline, full details of your itinerary, access to our Information Pack which contains everything you’ll need to know before your trip; packing lists, language guides, visa requirements and so much more. 

When should I book my flights and which airport do I need?

You should not book your flights until your placement has been confirmed – you may not be able to reschedule the flights if your placement dates are unavailable. When your placement has been confirmed we suggest that you book your flights no later than 3 months before your trip begins to avoid any panic or inflated prices.

The airports we recommend for each destination are as follows:

  • Arequipa, Peru: Rodríguez Ballón International Airport (AQP) via Lima’s  Jorge Chávez International Airport (LIM). These flights can be booked together by your travel agent or you can purchase the internal flight separately from a low cost airline (this is often more economical). Note that if you fly into Lima via an international flight, you must collect your luggage and leave the airport departures area, and then re-check in with your luggage for the internal flight.
  • Dar es Salaam, Tanzania: Julius Nyerere International Airport (DAR).
  • Kathmandu & Pokhara, Nepal: Tribhuvan International Airport (KTM). You will also need to book a separate internal flight to our base in Pokhara. As a general rule this cannot be booked at the same time as your international ticket, but we will give you details of local tour operators who will be able to assist with this flight.
  • Takoradi, Ghana: Kotoka International Airport (ACC).
  • Kandy, Sri Lanka: Bandaranaike International Airport (CMB).
  • Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka: Bandaranaike International Airport' (CMB).
  • Iloilo, Philippines: Iloilo International Airport (ILO) via Manila’s 'Ninoy Aquino International Airport' (MNL) or Cebu International Airport (CEB). Both flights can be booked together by your travel agent or you can purchase the domestic flight to Iloilo separately from a low cost airline (this is often more economical).
  • Phnom Penh, Cambodia: Phnom Penh International Airport (PNH)
  • Lusaka, Zambia: Kenneth Kaunda International Airport (LUN)
  • Merida, Mexico: Cancun International Airport (CUN) and Merida Airport (MID). Both flights can be booked together by your travel agent or you can purchase the domestic flight to Merida separately from a low cost airline (this is often more economical). It is possible to overland from Cancun to Merida by coach which is approximately 4 hours where you will be picked up from the coach station in Merida.
  • Hue, Vietnam: Ho Chi Minh City Airport (SGN) or Hanoi Airport (Noi Bai) 


Where can I go and for how long?

Our placements run throughout the year and are tailored to your interests, experience and abilities, as well as any course requirements you may be expected to meet. As such, they can be done at any stage of your training, including during your internship, as a summer placement, or even after you’ve become a qualified professional.

We have a minimum stay of two weeks, but the longer you stay the more you will gain from your experience. Most of our allied health students and professionals tend to stay for a 2-4 week period. You may also be able to split your placement between two hospitals or undertake one of our add-on experiences like the Village Healthcare Experience, Ayurvedic Medicine Experience or Intensive Spanish Course, all of which will broaden your understanding of healthcare overseas.

As mentioned above, the minimum length of stay we offer is two weeks. Any less and we feel there just isn’t enough time to get to grips with your surroundings and integrate into your placement hospital.

Where can I travel in my free time and what will the weather be like during my stay?

You have chosen to go to one of the most beautiful and fascinating countries during your internship, and there is lots to see and do. We recommend that you arrange trips when you get there - our staff can advise you on reputable agents - as often students group together. In terms of where to go, we provide information on our blogs and the students often talk about their free time in their reviews. In the house there is also a comments book from previous students - this is packed with information about places to eat/ visit/ avoid! 

Which destinations are best for which specialities?

Our placement consultants have extensive knowledge of all our programmes—both inside the hospital and out—and can help you discover which of our destinations suit your specialism best, and create the most opportunities for you.

Two to three months before departure, we'll will be in touch to help you decide where to specialise, whether to split your placement between two hospitals and which healthcare setting best suits your needs.