Projects Abroad offers a wide variety of international Medical Elective placements overseas in developing countries. These are individualized to specifically to meet the academic needs of students in medical school and other degree programs training to be doctors, nurses, dentists, physical therapists, occupational therapists, and midwives.
We have over 20 years of experience collaborating with medical professionals abroad. We will provide you with a placement that not only meets your elective requirements but also gives you a complete and rewarding experience of the country in which you are based. You will be assigned a qualified supervisor who is there to provide support and guidance throughout your placement. We arrange your accommodation, meals, and insurance, and have strong in-country support to make sure your time abroad runs as smoothly as possible
Projects Abroad can offer elective placement that not only meets your preferences for specific specialties, but also the chance to make a difference in a developing country that is a new and exciting backdrop to your studies.
If you are not a medical student or an elective placement is not a required part of your studies, please visit our Medicine & Healthcare internships page.
Volunteer Medical Electives Abroad
In developing countries, students doing electives will encounter diseases and conditions that are rarely seen in North America, such as malaria, leprosy, and polio. Furthermore, due to a lack of both general health education and money to pay for treatment, the cases tend to be far more advanced than you would normally see in hospitals here.
Many of our elective students also have the opportunity to take part in extra activities such as attending workshops, outreach programs, and seminars with other medical students. This depends on the country and placement you choose.
"I have loved every minute of my time on my elective placement in Mongolia, at times it has been frustrating but I wouldn't change a thing. When I leave I will be sad to go but I'm sure I will find an excuse to return. I would certainly recommend Mongolia as an elective destination with a difference, the challenges won't be easy but for me the rewards were plenty."
Elective Student in Mongolia
Setting up your Global Health Experience
Find a mentor
- Find a mentor
- For research, the student's mentor is a UCSF faculty member who is often an investigator on the project, or is willing to co-mentor for a project outside UCSF.
- For clinical rotations, the student may ask a faculty member that they know to be a mentor. Other students find mentor names on the UCSF Student Trip Reports below or ask a global health advisor.
Resources for Researching Your Trip
- Resource for Students/Trainees on travel health and safety: start with a comprehensive look at the issues of travel safety. Refer back to this Resource frequently, but note this information is for UCSF trainees in general and some of the forms and procedures may not apply to students in all schools and programs.
- Student trip reports: begin researching your trip by reading about what students have done previously
- International opportunities by region:find descriptions and contact information for international programs and opportunities available to UCSF traineesvia your MyAccess account.
- UCSF Global Health Research Projects: search for a research project involving UCSF faculty. You can search by location, investigator, program, or topic
- UCSF International Travel Guidelines for Students & Trainees: find out more about the UCSF policy for countries that carry State Department Travel Warnings or a UC Trip Planner Security rating of 5.
- Global Health New Site Inquiry Form: use this form to request approvalfor a global health site that has not been used by trainees previously. See theform for more details.
- State Department Website: check for Travel Warnings. Students need special permission to receive credit or funding for work or projects in countries that carry a State Department Warning, with the exception of students who are participating in an active UCSF program where UCSF faculty and staff are located in that country. Please see your global health advisor if you have any questions about this issue.
- UC Trip Planner: check the iJet site for information specific to the country you are interested in, by clicking on the iJet UC Trip Planner (includes safety, security, cultural, etc.,)
- LGBT Travel Resource Center: Gives important warnings and advice to LGBT travelers.
- Required approval for human research projects: start early since this process can take months and may require both UCSF and in-country approvals.
- CDC travel information: look up travel immunizations, tropical diseases, and other travel health information
- CUGH Global Health modules: find information on specific global health topics or populations, or on planning academic work abroad
- Essential Global Health videos: view brief videos grouped by subject, ranging from health determinants to women’s health to non-communicable diseases
|Required||SOM Students||Other Professional Students||Other Trainees|
Obtain a Travel Advice Appointment through your insurance for shots & travel meds
Regsiter for Free Ace/iJet Travel Insurance
|Obtain your BlueCard for Leisure (Fun) Travel Insurance|
If have SHIP
If have SHIP
Review and fill out the International Packet and other forms on the UME International Froms & Procedures page
|X||If receiving RAPtr funding|
Complete the online GH 101 Course or the equivalent (Search GHS 101 Online: Introduction to Global Health (14-15) from CLE Homepage)
Check with your school or program regarding
Fill out your UCSF Student Trip Report
Turn in the Evaluation Report by your Foreign Preceptor
|If required||If required||If required|
Organize your receipts for reimbursement
|If required||If required||If required|
Get a PPD after 8-12 weeks
Present at a Global Health Conference
Apply for conference funding and present your global health research
The staff of the UCSF School of Medicine Global Health Pathway lists opportunities on the linked pages as a convenience to UCSF students. Students are not only encouraged to, but should do their own research and preparation for each placement opportunity and not rely solely on the information provided on these pages.
UCSF web sites may contain links to non-University sites (“Third-Party Sites”). UCSF is not responsible for and does not control the content of linked Third-Party Sites; therefore, UCSF assumes no liability for any content on such sites. The inclusion of any link does not imply and should not be interpreted as a UCSF endorsement of the site, entity, products or services.