Volunteer Medicine Internships Abroad
Working alongside local staff, medical interns will learn more about healthcare practice in a developing country while gaining practical work experience. Many of the patients come from disadvantaged backgrounds, and your role will be to assist the local medical team wherever possible as they provide vital healthcare treatment.
Volunteering on a Medicine placement
As a Medicine volunteer, you may find yourself working in a public or private hospital, clinic or healthcare centre. A number of these placements are under-resourced and under-staffed. This means that staff and interns often have to come up with creative solutions to medical problems.
With limited funds to pay for routine medical treatment, many patients will have advanced illnesses and conditions that would rarely be seen in the developed world. Indeed, it’s an opportunity for you to gain insight into healthcare practices in a different setting from your home country.
On a healthcare internship, you will have the chance to learn from skilled local staff, who are keen to teach and share their knowledge. For the duration of your placement, you will be assigned to a supervisor who will give you practical exposure to the day-to-day workings of your placement at an appropriate level.
What will I do on a Medicine internship?
Your role will differ according to the specific placement and destination that you choose. Those with additional experience or training will take on more responsibilities. Each placement is tailored, where possible, both to a volunteer's level of experience and their interests. Depending on your length of stay, interns will have the opportunity to rotate through different departments, such as paediatrics and cardiology, or focus on a specific field.
Please bear in mind that any opportunity to gain experience in practical, hands-on work will always be at the discretion of local practitioners. Initially, your role will be mainly observational. As you develop a working relationship with the local staff and prove yourself responsible and trustworthy, you may find yourself given more hands-on assignments.
Medical outreach work
There is also the opportunity to take part in regular medical outreaches. These often involve travelling to local villages, rural areas or children’s homes to carry about basic medical checks, dispense medication or raise awareness around a particular medical issue. If you are looking for something outreach-based on a full time basis, Public Health would be the better option.
In some destinations, we also run medical workshops, which is an excellent way to hone your skills and learn more about a particular aspect of healthcare.
If you are a Medicine student in your Elective year, please see our Medicine Elective page.
"My first week was spent in the paediatric ward. On my first day we began with a ward presentation on sickle-cell anaemia and foetal hypoglycaemia, presented by some of the medical students to their peers, nurses, doctors, and the head of the ward. The students and staff were eager to share their vast knowledge of different diseases and their symptoms and treatments with myself and the other volunteers."
Medicine Volunteer in Ghana