The WAMSS Elective Database is written, curated, and produced by students to give you tips on applying and organising your clinical elective.

Click on each of the entries to read more, and click here to contribute to the database!

Student Name
Name of elective host institution
Country of Elective
Name of Hospital/Clinic/Facility
Specialty/ties completed
Elective Start Date
Elective End Date
How did you arrange this elective?
URL to elective institution/application and contact details
Name of elective agency (e.g. Work the World) - if applicable
Tips on how to apply
How would you rate your elective experience overall?
Please give a summary of your overall elective experience
Languages spoken at elective placement
What aspects of your elective did you enjoy the most?
What aspects of the elective did you enjoy the least?
What should you bring for this elective?
Would you recommend this elective to future students?
If not, why not?
Tips for future students
Did your elective charge an application fee/donation?
If your elective charged fees/donation, how much did you pay?
What was the total cost of your elective including elective fees, flights, accommodation and insurance?
Please provide a breakdown of costs (optional)
Did you receive a scholarship or bursary for your elective?
If you received a scholarship/bursary, please select the relevant box
Did you receive an OS-HELP loan for your elective?
Did you receive a loan or grant from a bank or financial institution for your elective? (Optional)
If you received a loan or grant, please tick the relevant boxes
Did you travel to another destination prior to, or after, your elective
If yes, which destinations did you go to?
Please place any tips on vacations opportunities whilst on elective
Did you complete your elective at another placement?
2018Elaine Sir Run Run Shaw HospitalChinaHangzhouN/AEmergency Medicine, Endocrinology08/01/201802/02/2018I applied directly through the host institution/university apply in English or Chinese - the admin workers speak both languages.7Was a good experience. Most patients do not speak English, so it's best if you know some Mandarin if you want to take a history/examine the patient. Limited procedural opportunities.

Best to know some medical terms in Mandarin-- they do translate for you, but not in great detail.
Mandarin, some EnglishVery nice staff, wide variety of patients, exposure to the cultureLimited English spoken at the hospitalVisa (very important for China)Yes- If you want to access Facebook, Gmail etc. make sure you download a VPN and set it up before going to China.
- Baidu, Alipay, and Wechat are essential apps for China.
- Baidu maps is useful for figuring out how to transport around China
- Best to set up a bank account if you're there for more than a couple of weeks-- Bank of China is the one I used, they just need your passport and your Chinese phone number (you can get this at a China Mobile or any other mobile store)
- At Sir Run Run Shaw Hospital, they will lend you a white doctor coat and swipe card. These need to be returned at the end of your placement. The swipe card is also a meal card - cafeteria food is very cheap, usually less than $2 AUD per tray.
No~$3000Flights ~$1200
Accommodation ~$1500 (for 4.5 weeks)
Insurance ~$300
NoNoNoNoWent travelling on the weekends of my elective.
Shanghai is ~1hr away from Hangzhou by high speed rail, tickets are not too expensive (approx $16 AUD one way). Trains come very often too, once per hour.
Other cities are also very close to Hangzhou and can be reached by train, e.g. Suzhou.
2018Ryan Cho Ray Hospital Vietnam Ho Chi Minh City N/ATropical Disease & Emergency 25/12/201719/01/2018I applied directly through the host institution/universityURL:
Email: [email protected]
Send them an email - they take applications up to 3 months before (would recommend sending it about 4-5 months before to make sure all the paperwork gets completed) 92 weeks in Tropical Diseases (TD) followed by 2 weeks in Emergency Department (ED). The Tropical Diseases Department is a really friendly place, and they have a lot of younger doctors who can speak relatively good English which means that they can teach and explain a bit. You will see a lot of conditions which you will almost never see in Australia like malaria and dengue. Days start at 8am and you are only expected to be there in the morning, which finishes at 11am (most of the time you will be done by 10am). Most patients only speak Vietnamese, but more often than not there are other Australian elective students who can speak Vietnamese.
ED is very different to Australia with a much higher flow of patients. ED doctors are more shy about speaking English, but there are one or two who are very enthusiastic about teaching and practising their English. Morning shifts are from 8am-2pm, but you can leave at any time you want. Cho Ray Hospital is the biggest trauma centre, so you will see a lot of motor vehicle and construction accidents. Good chance to practice sutures. There will be a few confronting issues like the minimal use of pain relief and sedation, but patients tough it out pretty well. Overall, a good experience with a lot of time to explore Vietnam and enjoy the culture.
Vietnamese, English (limited)Interesting cases and conditions, short days, really nice and approachable doctors (especially in Tropical Diseases Department), decent teaching. Good chance to practice suturing in ED and see lots of common cases as well. Different approaches to diagnosing diseases.Wearing the white coat - not nice when it gets more humid, but air con helps. Sometimes doctors in ED are very busy, but in general, mornings are a good time to learn.Stethoscope, lab coat (hospital does provide for loan), clinical dress, laptop, enthusiasm 🙂YesTropical Diseases Department asks everyone to do a case presentation (in English). They are pretty chill about it, but bring your laptop (internet is generally faster in Vietnam than Australia - personal experience).
ED is a different but very good experience. Other medical students said that they enjoyed their surgical and anesthesiology terms as well (I think they got pretty hands on with it).
YesAUD$450-500 (costs 2,000,000 VND / week) Approx. AUD$4500All approximate values:
Application fee - AUD$500
Flight - AUD$1000
Accomodation - AUD$1500
Food, travel, spending - $1500
YesWAMSS (Financial hardship) Scholarship, Bank of Queensland - FutureFocus NoNoYesCentral Vietnam - Da Lat, Nha Trang, Da Nang, Hue,
South Vietnam & Mekong Delta
Would recommend Da Nang - nice beaches, temples, amusement parks. You can fly there from Ho Chi Minh City and explore the surrounding area as well (easily can go to Hue for a day trip).
Da Lat is also nice, but can only get there by driving / bus. Nice mountainous area with a really beautiful climate, but there isn't a tonne of things to do.
2018Rachael University of Glasgow Scotland Glasgow Beatson West of Scotland Cancer CentreOncology (+ small amount of palliative care) 08/01/201802/02/2018I applied directly through the host institution/university to apply early (at least 8-10 months in advance) as it is very popular 10I had an amazing time. Spent time with all of the different tumour teams in clinics/on wards/treatment areas. Also spent a day in a hospice with palliative care team. Everyone was very friendly and very keen to teach and involve you English Clinics (particularly lung cancer, lymphoma, and urological cancers). Being at hospice with palliative care team None! Usual clothes you’d wear to hospital (NHS has very strict bare below elbows policy), stethoscope YesNobody expects you to be an oncology expert, so don’t worry if you know nothing. They’re just happy if you’re interested. They’re happy to let you leave early/take Fridays off to go exploring Yes£100~$4000Return flights ~$2500
Accomodation in Glasgow ~$900
Living costs/enjoying myself ~$1000
NoNoNoYesExplored Scotland, Amsterdam, London Really easy to explore rest of Scotland/UK and Europe No
2018Rebecca Work the WorldTanzaniaDar Es SalaamAmanaO&G18/12/201829/12/2018I arranged my elective through an elective agency (e.g. Work the World) the WorldSimple application, pay the deposit and they will have a timeline of when information is due and they will contact you plenty of times8I spent 2 weeks in O&G, it was amazing experience with everyone being very friendly and willing to get me involved. It really makes you appreciate how good how health care system is in Australia. English and SwahiliHands on experience and being able to deliver babies. It could feel very isolating when everyone was speaking Swahili and all I could do was introduce myself. The standards at the hospital, in terms of patient privacy and consent and the general state of the hospital was confronting. Scrubs, gloves, sanitising gel, disposable aprons, donationsYesIt was an amazing experience, you just have to go in with an open mind and realise that it is not going to be what you are used to back home. Yes$3,790~$6,500The cost for work the world includes accomodation and meals on most days. NoYesNoNoThere was the opportunity to go on safari, but I missed out because there wasn't much popularity at the time because it was at christmas time. There is also the opportunity to go across to Zanzibar, with the project coordinator knowing a person over there, who will take good care of youYes
2018Thisuri Northern Provincial HospitalVanuatuLuganville, SantoN/AED, internal med, O&G08/01/201802/02/2018I applied directly through the host institution/university to send multiple emails AND phone calls. Apply early and be patient, they are very slow to respond ("island time").8Exciting experience in an under-resourced community. NPH has plenty of opportunities for procedural skills and assessing patients by yourself in ED, good ward round teaching from clinicians and a range of patient cases including non-communicable and infectious diseases. Unfortunately, NPH no longer allows medical students to do deliveries so O&G was a bit disappointing. Most patients know at least a little English so communication was not a huge problem. All the staff speak fluent English and medical notes are in English.
There were a lot of elective students at NPH while we were there, probably too many for such a small hospital. This meant ward rounds could get absurdly big so more difficult for learning (>5 students for ward round of 6 patients at times). Also meant students couldn't do the speciality they wanted for the whole time because we had to share around hospital wards between the students. On the other hand having heaps of students is awesome for organising group trips and hanging out!
Most days we spent 3-5 hours at the hospital and had afternoons to explore Santo. Easy to get around on foot/by taxi/ mini bus for resorts, beaches and snorkelling spots. Also good diving, hikes and weekend trips along the coast or to the smaller islands
English, French, BislamaEmergency- assessing patients, seeing a range of cases from resuscitations to minor ailments. Also enjoyed exploring Santo!
Staying at Hibiscus Motel- this is the best place which was mostly full of medical students from all around while we were there. It has everything you need- wifi, hot water (temperamental), kitchenette (might want to bring spare chopping board, bowls, tea towels, storage containers), small fridge and freezer. The lady who runs it is wonderful, does your laundry once per week and will organise any sight seeing trips you want to do 🙂
Insects! There is Malaria (though apparently rare) and dengue. We didn't see any cases while at the hospital but there was a dengue outbreak after we left. Bring lots of insect repellant. Also be prepared for spiders, cockroaches etc Insect repellant
Scrubs (you can borrow from the hospital accommodation), also ok to wear long skirts/shorts with light tops for girls and shorts with short-sleeved shirts for boys.
Good shoes for hospital- sneakers/ birkenstocks are fine. The walk to the hospital is uphill and it often rains.
Umbrella/ rain jacket
Hat, lots of sunscreen
Bathers and extra towels
YesContact NPH really really early- emails and phone. We paid ~$350 elective fee to the hospital before we went.
Book accommodation early- Hibiscus motel booked out and some students couldn't get in this year.
Yes$350$3000Accommodation-$350 (Hibiscus was 2000 vatu per night per room, up to 3 people in a room)
Flights-$1400 (including weekend stopver in Vila and ~3 days in Sydney)
Food not too expensive- fresh produce at the market and butcher is cheap, imported stuff at the supermarket is more pricey, eating out is similar to Perth prices.
YesPF SobotkaNoNoYesPort vila, SydneyPort vila is worth going to do, but 1-2 days is more than enough. Activities are similar to what's available in Santo and perhaps not as good (snorkelling, diving, hiking). Over the weekend, markets/shops/ most foreign exchange places in Port vila are closed after lunchtime Saturday so factor that into your plans.
In Santo itself, heaps of snorkelling, diving, beaches, cool nature-y things to do- very easy to organise once you are there. Not a lot of forward planning needed.
2018Gemma University of DundeeScotlandDundeeNinewells HospitalInfectious Disease08/01/201802/02/2018I applied directly through the host institution/ straightforward instructions, just follow them. Staff are pretty helpful with email enquiries but sometimes take a while to reply. 7Ninewells is a tertiary teaching hospital in a rich country (UK) and I was on a ward-based placement so the experience was very similar to being on the wards in Australia. The hospital is run almost identically to the hospitals at home in Aus. I was attached to the Infectious Disease team and got a good mix of teaching/consultant ward rounds, normal ward rounds, ward jobs, clinic and free time. I was basically allowed to go and do whatever interested me (going to theatre with ID patients, seeing TTEs etc). Also saw a fecal transplant which was fairly revolting but medically extremely interesting. The hospital generally is used to having students around so most departments are very accommodating if you want to observe stuff. EnglishFreedom to go and do things I thought were interesting (theatre with ID patients etc). Fecal transplant was awesome. Got stuck doing ward jobs a lot of the time which is good practice for intern year but not very medically interesting. There were a LOT of other students on the team at the time I was there (from Uni of Dundee med school - 4 4th years and 3 5th years) which made ward rounds pretty crowded and competition for patients fierce.Normal clinical clothes and equipment (ie. steth). The hospital will organise accommodation for you at the nurses quarters which is attached to the hospital, very convenient. They are very strict on bare below the elbows so pack short sleeved tops. Cold weather gear normal for the UK. You can buy anything you forget or don’t bring so don’t worry too much. The accommodation was very basic so we all went to Tesco the first day to buy pillows and blankets to make our stay a bit more comfortable. Bring a towel or buy one when you arrive. Ladies, try to get clothes with pockets - no women here carry bags round the wards and I don’t know how. I just carried my tiny handbag anyway but got some funny looks. YesTake good note of the differences in antibiotic prescribing practices between Aus and UK - this was one of the things I found most interesting! Know about sepsis. All of the consultants give good teaching so don’t miss consultant ward rounds. There will be lots of other students there from Uni of Dundee but I was kind of treated as special because I was on elective? Like got to go to morning briefing and stuff which the other students didn’t. Because it’s a teaching hospital with millions of students, there is often teaching on - ask the 5th year students and the FY1 (intern) doctors when their teaching is. Yes£200Around $3500Flights $1750, accommodation £250 for 5 weeks, insurance around $150, food and other stuff maybe $1000? I have a British passport so didn’t need a visa, apparently this was v expensive, others can tell you more about this. NoYesNoYesLondon and visiting family in other parts of ScotlandDundee is kind of in the middle of Scotland so not a bad base for sightseeing around the highlands. No
2018Natasha Albany Regional Hospital AustraliaAlbanyN/ASurgery18/12/201728/01/2018I applied to the Rural Clinical School (Rural WA electives only)10Was treated like an intern. Got to see any patient in the whole hospital that I wanted, got to go spend a lot of time in ED, clerk patients, learnt periop considerations (fluid balance, common intern calls from nurses, constipation, pain management). Scrubbed on almost every surgery - surgeons were great teachers , sat in on a few clinics as well (although you can avoid this if you want). Got in on orthopaedics and O&G cases as well. Got taught a lot by the general medical teams (basically anyone who was around would grab you and teach - and show you all the interesting patients). Also, the junior doctors, nurses and allied health had multiple social events to get involved in.
Ward rounds at 7.30, 8 on Thursdays, weekends you could come in or not - your choice, no elective surgeries but you can ask the reg to call you if emergencies come in. I was pretty keen to hang around so I would sometimes do night shifts, ward cover until 10pm, and most days I would stay until the intern left at 5.30. I could've left earlier most days if i'd wanted to. Also, I got all public holidays off.
EnglishSo much practical experience. Great teachers.Nothing. Just a note that I had my own accommodation in Albany and I don't know what costs would be for other people. EnthusiasmYes- get someone add you to the whatsapp group
- albany is beautiful, if you haven't been before there is heaps to do and see around town (eg. natural bridge, the gap, chainsaw drive, denmark - elephant rock and greenspool + wineries)
Noi have family in albany so $0NoNoNoNoNo
2018Sharmini Seoul National University HospitalSouth KoreaSeoulN/AVascular/Transplant Surgery 08/01/201826/01/2018I applied directly through the host institution/university was an amazing opportunity to learn more about the korean culture and their medical systemKorean and EnglishBeing able to assist with the surgeries NilWarm clothes! It gets super cold during winterYesJust a word of caution, it definitely helps if you're able to speak a little bit of Korean as most of them are quite shy to speak in english. Nonetheless they do try their best to explain the procedures being done in english; whenever possible 🙂 No$1500NoNoNoNoDefinitely recommend visiting Namsan tower and the palaces No
2018Madison University of StellenboschSouth AfricaCape TownTygerberg Academic HospitalEmergency08/01/201802/02/2018I applied directly through the host institution/university email the international office5Good exposure to infectious disease. Not much guidance but if you don't mind waiting around, you can practice clerking and doing procedural skills. Can leave pretty early so there is lots of time to explore Cape Town English, Afrikaans Interesting rounds, simulation training Poor guidance and support Stethoscope, tourniquet, notebook, scrubs NoWould recommend a place that is closer to the city if going to Cape Town. It's about a 25 min drive from the hospital to the city Get as involved as you can! Yes$1000 for four weeks $4000$2000 flights, $1000 elective, $1000 accommodationYesStudy Abroad ScholarshipYesNoYesTanzania, Zanzibar, Johannesburg If going to africa, GO ON SAFARINo
2018Brittney Northern Provincial Hospital, VanuatuVanuatuLuganvilleN/AED/Gen Med/Paeds/O&G08/01/201805/02/2018I applied directly through the host institution/universityDr Basil Leodoro [email protected] / Lester [email protected]Get in early, and if you haven't had a response within a couple of weeks be as persistent as you can8It was great - only half days at the hospital, very willing to teach, lots of things to see and do on the islandBislama, EnglishThe patients, the under-resourced nature of the hospital, Not being able to catch babiesScrubs, comfy sandals, adventure gear, LINCS stuff (basic medical supplies)YesSee my blog - http://www.vanuatumedicalelective.wordpress.comYesaround AUD$400Approx $3kNoYesNoNoNo
2018Yang National Taiwan University HospitalTaiwanTaipeiN/ANeurosurgery/Emergency18/12/201714/01/2018I applied directly through the host institution/university

For questions, please contact:
Ms Iwen Chang
Email: [email protected]
Tel:+886-2-23123456 ext 88753
N/AEmail I-Wen (or whoever is in her position), she will send you the NTU Application Form which you will have to sign, she will also send you a "Letter of Agreement and Recommendation" which you will need to get your elective coordinator the sign. When completed, send everything back to her (including UWA letters, insurance, CV etc. etc.).

She will then reply in a month's time (depending on how fast the faculty you are interested in responds) to give you the all clear. If she doesn't, you can kindly remind her at around the 1 month mark.

If you have applied to stay at Alumni Hall on the Application Form, a hotel-like accommodation for international students, then she will send you another document to sign. Then just sign it and email it back.
92 wks at neurosurgery 11/10
2 wks at emergency 4/10

Neurosurgery was fantastic, my supervisor (Mr Tsuang Fon-Yih, I might have butchered it) was very friendly and fun. Recognises international students probably just wants to travel and sight see. Gave plenty of opportunities to leave early. But he also gave me his full 2 week schedule and pointed out the 'fun activities' at night which usually involved drinking or travelling to a branch hospital 2 hours away from Taipei and spending the night there (I got my own double room at a 4 star hotel paid by the hospital). So put your hand up if you feel like going, but I wasn't pressured into participating at anytime. Also made friends with some of the interns and residents (registrars) who took me around Taipei during their time off, which I thought was very generous of them.

ED have structured classes with the 5th/6th years, then ED shifts which you are expected to attend. While you can leave early, the ED coordinator shifts in and out to check on the attendance of students. ED felt like work, 9 am - 4/5 pm, gym, food, sleep, repeat. My supervisor for ED unfortunately was only around Taipei for 2 days/week. The ED doctors also rotated through their ED sub-departments everyday, so you will never see the same group of doctors 2 days in a row. They also give you an optional ambulance shift. Mine was 6-10 pm on the last Friday of my elective. #Notworth

Fortunately I had made some friends during my time there through my accommodation and the hospital, and extra curricular activities became group activities. Me and another UWA student was sharing a room at Alumni Hall, there were a few other students from Sydney, Japan and living on the same floor so a few door knock later, we were chilling and chugging beers together. Some of the junior doctors took me hiking, we had some dinners together and they showed me around the night markets of Taipei, which were all very enjoyable. If you wish to travel further, you may go via train, which is fairly convenient to access. On the last weekend I traveled to Hualian, a town on the east coast of Taiwan, from there I went to a tourist attraction called Taroko National Park. The view was great, and I spent half a day by myself and a full day with a tour group.
Mandarin, English, HokkienNeurosurgery,
Sight seeing/travelling around Taiwan,
Drinking with the neurosurgeon and friends,
Emergency, long-ish hours for an elective, coordinator checks on your attendance, very little attention given to you by the ED doctors.White coat is compulsory (if you have a short version, bring the short version)

New Taiwan Dollars/MasterCard/Travel card
YesWould not recommend ED, esp to non-Mandarin speakers.Get an EasyCard and top it up. It pays for metros, 7/11s, and most of the restaurants in the food court under the hospital.

If you are staying < 1 month, grab the 1000 taiwan dollars sim card from the airport (~40 AUD) which gives you unlimited data for 30 days.

Might be good to know a bit of Mandarin. Medicine is taught in English in Taiwan, but everyone speaks in Mandarin, with English technical terms inserted randomly throughout the conversation. That being said, most doctors can still communicate in English and hold a conversation.

Cheap gym ~5 min walk from the hospital, think it's about $2 per entry, good facilities, mostly students.

Buy the train tickets early. There are fast and regular trains, the fast trains' tickets sell out fast but it can half your travel time.

Learn a bit about your specialty before your arrive.
YesUSD $75, paid upon arrivalAUD 2800 not including food/shoppingAccomodation: NT 800 per day for the first 10 days, NT 600 per day afterwards ~AUD 900
Flight return: ~AUD 1400 (Air Asia)
Elective fee: NT 2500 per week (4 weeks ~AUD 450)
NoNoNoYesChina, BeijingNo
2018JillienKeio UniversityJapanTokyo Keio University Hospital Neurology and Paediatrics08/01/201805/02/2018I applied directly through the host institution/university if able to apply as UWA isn’t a partner University (if you are, you’ll have to pay an elective fee of ¥2100/day). Applications/documents only accepted about 3 months before your elective date. 8Paediatrics was great - doctors went out of their way to hold ward rounds in English, and you rotate across several paed specialties! Neuro didn’t use English as much but you are paired with one doctor who you follow everywhere and translates for you; you can also join neuro clinics.English; Japanese Very organised - both paeds and neuro made timetables for the exchange students. All doctors very helpful with translation and explanations! Admin officer in charge of international placements also very helpful with all your queries. Also loved the freedom to travel around Tokyo at the end of the day (most days finish at 4pm, sometimes 6-8pm if meetings) and to travel outside of Tokyo on weekends! Long days sometimes - paeds has weekly meetings 6-8pm and biweekly 4-hour Ward rounds; neuro has evening handover meetings 1-2 times a week.White coat to wear on the wards
Notebook (lots to learn and write); laptop optional (neuro might give you homework)
YesGet organised early!
Consider what you want to learn and let Keio know so the doctors will focus on that.
Definitely recommend paeds! 2 weeks of paeds may be too short.
Yes¥39900 (¥2100/day)Approximately $3000Elective fee ¥39900; flights AUD$1500 (return); accommodation (if have dorm vacancies = free, otherwise self-organised) ¥63000 with ¥30000 deposit (of which ¥20000 is returned) at a share house; insurance free with AvantYesPF SobotkaNoNoYesOsaka and Kyoto (Japan)Weekends are free to travel; lots of easy day trips from Tokyo (but can get pricy!).
If travelling for a good chunk of time before/after the elective, get a Japan Rail Pass.
2018Elyse Victoria HospitalSt LuciaCastriesN/AEmergency Department08/01/201802/02/2018I applied directly through the host institution/university[email protected]Email as early as possible9Poorly equipped ED with a huge focus on clinical medicine EnglishShort days, heaps of free time to explore/island hopN/ANormal clinical clothes/stethoscopeYesStay at Ruby's Haven, amazing accommodation with great hosts and conveniently close to the city/busesYes200 euroDidn't add it up with all the extra travel YesStudy Abroad ScholarshipNoNoYesUSA, Barbados, MartiniqueSpend a few days in MartiniqueNo
2018Jack Kompiam District HospitalPapua New GuineaKompiamN/AWhole hospital01/01/201830/01/2018I applied directly through the host institution/university email Dr David Mills at [email protected] and ask him about completing your elective at Kompiam. It was a ridiculously easy process for us!8Its a reasonably hard working elective at an under-resourced rural hospital in the developing world.
We basically worked as junior doctors, helping out on ward rounds, scrubbing in in theatre, doing ward jobs and reviewing all new admissions.
It was brilliant for gaining skills of history taking, examination, formulation, and, in particular, clinical reasoning. Also great to get a chance to do some scrubbing and anaesthetics in theatre.
Lots of infectious disease and trauma medicine.
Pigeon and EnganAdmitting/clerking patients on our own.
Being on call for emergencies overnight.
Getting to go "on patrol" to a nearby village.
You have very limited access to communicating with home. We bought sim cards to access data, but this was very slow and really just allowed for messenger. A sense of adventure.
Lots of movies/tv shows downloaded on your computer or hard drive.
Probably check with LINCS about taking donated medical equipment over.
YesGet involved, talk to everyone, expect to be in minimal contact with the outside world.
Don't worry about all the people holding machetes and axes. We never felt unsafe.
NoIt was like $25 a night each for accommodation. That was it. I think about $3000, including a week in Cairns. NoNoYesBank of Queensland Specialist (BOQS)YesCairnsAustralia or the Pacific really are about it. No
2018Cathy Cho Ray HospitalVietnamHo Chi Minh CityN/AEmergency & Tropical Medicine01/01/201826/01/2018I applied directly through the host institution/university

Tel: 84 8 38 554137 – ext: 2392 Fax: 84 8 38 557267
E-Mail: [email protected]
8Great for students wishing to experience medicine in a different culture / developing country + have a holiday. Doctors at Cho Ray are lovely and so are the patients. Yummy, cheap food everywhere and lots of shopping to be done!Vietnamese, English- Seeing differences between Vietnam's and Australia's healthcare system
- Seeing different presentations than here in Australia e.g. many snake bites, motorbike injuries
- Meeting new friends from America, Interstate, Switzerland, Austria etc. (there are many international students and doctors at this hospital)
- Not being able to take part in clinical work (high rates of Hep B + no hospital protocol for needlestick injuries)- Application documents as per link above
- White lab coat (doctors and students wear coats like in the US, if you don't have one you can borrow one from the hospital), stethoscope
- Mosquito repellent
- PEP prophylaxis if you intend to undertake clinical work
- Hep B, Yellow Fever, Typhoid vaccination, maybe Rabies vaccination as well
Yes- It helps if you can speak Vietnamese. Most doctors can speak English, but the majority of patients DO NOT speak English (besides the occasional international patient). Recommend going with someone who can speak Vietnamese if you don't, otherwise this could be frustrating/disappointing for you.

- I was advised to not do any clinical work (e.g. suturing, cannulation, assisting in surgery), as Cho Ray do not have protocol/guidelines for needlestick injuries. You can do this stuff if you wish, but it's at your own risk.

- The training department is closed on New Year's Day so recommend that you apply to start after New Year's.
Yes$2 million VND per week (about $110 per week) - pay in full at the beginning$1700Flights: $1000 (Singapore Airlines)
Accommodation: Stayed with family
Travel insurance: $300
Elective fee: $400
YesWAMSS (Financial hardship) ScholarshipNoNoNoNo
2018Melinda Association for Health and Welfare in the Nilgiris (ASHWINI)IndiaGudalurGudalur Adivasi HospitalGen med, gen surg, obs/gynae, paeds01/01/201826/01/2018I applied directly through the host institution/university quite quick to respond, will actually read your application to find out what you're interested in 9You are very well taken care of by the staff running their elective program, really inspirational work and lovely people in the organisation. Really good experience in terms of community health for marginalised peoples, and the doctors are very good teachers. Hands on in theatre however due to language barriers your participation on the ward is mostly limited to observation. Field visits to the villages are a pretty special experience, and you have the oppurtunity to do some teaching for the nursing students there which was also really quite special. All doctors and most nurses speak english, patients speak predominantly tamil with some malayalamField visits to remote villagesNot being able to talk to patients without having a nurse translateYour stethoscope, student ID, consider contacting LINCS as the hospital will appreciate donations of medical supplies. Clothing covering shoulders and pants for any gender are suitable on placement - women may benefit from buying salwar in India. A jumper is necessary as it can get quite cold there. YesMost information is on the website and they're quick to respond if you want to email them any questions, when you're there you might get offered to do some teaching to the nursing students and the affiliated school students - make these short with lots of pictures.Yes1,600 AUD - covers food, accomodation, most transportabout $3000elective fee of 1600 covered most things apart from flights and extra travellingNoYesNoYesBangalore, mysore then Kochiwe flew into bangalore, travelled down to mysore, got a cab from the hospital to gudalur then left via kochi afterwards. This worked out pretty well. The area around the hospital is gorgeous and weekend trips can be arranged during placement, the staff will help with this and will subsidise some trips.No
2018HannahUniversity of Malta Medical SchoolMaltaMsidaMater Dei HospitalPaediatric Surgery08/01/201802/02/2018I applied directly through the host institution/university was a really straightforward process, send in the application form and the application fee is not paid until you are actually accepted9I went to Malta with another medical student and we both had a fantastic time. We knew nothing about Malta before this elective and it has such a rich history and beautiful sights. The paediatric surgery team was really friendly and we were able to see patients and scrub in on surgeries as much as we wanted. We had most of the afternoons off to explore and since Malta is so small, you can see the whole island via the public bus. We had great weather despite being winter, the mornings would start out cloudy but would clear up and there was very little rain. The fact that it was winter also meant that all of the tourist sights were easy to get in to. Everybody spoke English really well. English, MalteseExploring Malta, welcoming teamWard rounds did tend to be conducted in MalteseStethoscope Yes- Definitely visit the other islands (Gozo and Comino) and if you're brave enough, bring bathers to go swimming (although it's winter it was worth it!)
- The bus system can get you almost everywhere, if you're organised get a Tallinja card (the Maltese smartrider) sent to you in Australia before you go
- You can use Malta as a base to visit other European countries (we went to Sicily one weekend which was fantastic)
Yes375 Euro (~$588)$4073Flights: $2200
Airbnb: $1135 (for 5 weeks)
Fees: $588
Insurance: $150
2018RamaUniversity of British ColumbiaCanadaVancouverVancouver General HospitalICU08/01/201804/02/2018I applied directly through the host institution/university early, there's lots of paperwork. Save up, it's very expensive. 10Lots of medicine- many hours at hospital. In Canada, there are no interns and final years fulfil the roles of interns so there's many opportunities to do procedures and consults.English. Increased responsibility and opportunity to do procedures.It never stops raining in Vancouver in winter. Never.A raincoat. Realistic expectations. Lots of motivation. Lots of money.YesIf you have lots of money saved up and you want to work your arse off, then this might be your elective!Yes$8000AFMC Portal $500, UBC $700, Visa medical $400, Other miscellaneous application costs $150, Flights $2200, Accommodation $1500, Weekly expenditure 4*$250. Total of $7000-8000 for the 4 weeks. Travel insurance was still free with Avant at the time I applied for it.YesStudy Abroad ScholarshipNoNoYesWhistler, British Columbia.No
2018Clark Sir Run Run Shaw HospitalChinaHangzhouN/AGastroenterology and Emergency Medicine08/01/201802/02/2018I applied directly through the host institution/university form to fill in, may need to email [email protected]6Everyone is nice to you, but your mileage will vary if you don't speak Chinese. It can vary department to department as to who can speak English. Most of the time you can knock off early and go exploring.Mandarin, EnglishNice doctors, freedom to leave when you want. Language difficulties.Nothing specific for this elective. Usual travel stuff. A VPN + some google alternatives (such as baidu maps). YesEmail the host institution often to make sure everything is organised. NoFlights: $800 Accom: $750 YesPF SobotkaYesNoYesXianju, Shanghai, TiantaiUse ctrip to book trains and hotels. You can't book buses online but as long as you are outside of Chunyun (spring festival travel period) you can generally turn up on the day and buy the ticket. No
2018Brian University of British ColumbiaCanadaVancouverVancouver General HospitalIntensive Care08/01/201804/02/2018I applied directly through the host institution/university You need to apply via the AFMC Student Portal - it's a national centralised portal for Canadian electives
- You get up to 5 preferences
- It's expensive to apply! Just arranging the elective was $1325, and then ~$750 dollars worth of additional compulsory paperwork
- Applications open 6 months prior to your start date, if you apply within a month, you should get first preference!
9If you want a cruisy elective, please don't apply for any Canadian electives, you've been warned! With that said, you will gain an immense amount over a 4 week elective in Canada, and you will definitely feel a lot more prepared to be an intern! You will be treated like a junior doctor and be expected to work the same hours as the residents (~50-70 hours per week). For ICU, it's a 7am start and days finish between 4:30 and 7pm, depending on workload. Over the 4 weeks, you will also have to do 4-6 on call shifts, which mean you work the full 24 hours and go home 7am next morning (and have the rest of the day off of course!). You will be expected to manage patients, but you'll also get the chance to do advanced procedures such as arterial lines, central lines, chest tubes, lumbar punctures, bronchoscopy, intubation etc. Weekends are usually yours but some people get rostered for on-calls over the weekend, it's luck of the draw! Staff are in my opinion, much more friendly than those back home in Australia and also much more willing to teach!English- Procedures! Arterial lines and CVC are almost guaranteed, and are skills that even some RMOs don't get the chance to do over here. If you're lucky you'll get to do even more advanced stuff
- Quality of teaching, there are so many opportunities for teaching during the day, so get around it!
- Staff were super friendly and supportive
- It's a challenging elective
- You get to wear scrubs (10/10 comfort)!
- Vancouver is a beautiful city to explore, and you can even make a trip to Whistler if you have time!
- It's really easy to get around Vancouver, public transport is 10/10
- Long hours
- Sometimes you will lose your weekend to an on-call shift
- It takes a while to get used to the North American names for drugs
- Vancouver rains a lot
- Travelling and exploring will have to be either on your weekends, or before/after the elective. It is rare to leave early during the week and no-showing to a shift will almost certainly get you a SPAN
- It's expensive, flights to/from Vancouver, accommodation are not cheap
- Rain jacket and down jacket
- Boots
- A comfy pair of sneakers
- Stethoscope
- The form you need to get signed off
Yes- $7,000 should cover all the elective, accommodation and flight costs comfortably. This will get you flights on a decent airline and a good quality AirBnB within 5-10 min walking distance from the hospital. Budget anything for food/travel/activities on top of this.
- Get a place close to the hospital, the only thing you want after a 24h shift is Maccas and bed
- Watch some videos on how to do an arterial line/CVC/other procedures before you go there, it's good to have an idea of how to do a procedure before you attempt it
- Be vocal and ask for opportunities to do things, if you ask you'll get!
- Freedom Mobile do prepaid SIM cards with data and calls, you should definitely get one before you start, since the teams all use WhatsApp to communicate
- There is a gym at Vancouver General Hospital you can sign up for, so you can keep that summer bod going for when you get back to Perth
- Please get a good rain jacket, down jacket and waterproof boots. It rains. A lot.
Yes$2,000 for all the relevant fees to secure elective $7,000AFMC Portal Access - $500
Elective - $525
Compulsory malpractice insurance - $300
Travel visa (just a regular travel one you don't need a working/medical visa) - $100
Compulsory medical check - $600 (this ones the most bullshit thing you have to pay for)
BC medical licence - $50

Flights (Cathay Pacific) - $2200
AirBnB (Split an apartment between 2 people) - $1,500 pp
STA Travel Insurance (only get this if you think you are at risk of supps, otherwise there are cheaper alternatives) - $450
Food/Activities - $2,000
NoYesNoYesNew Zealand, Sydney, Hong KongIf you want to go to Whistler, book everything early, it fills up quick! It's also expensive, so budget generously!No
2018Jon Oxford University Clinical Research Unit (OUCRU)VietnamHo Chi Minh CityN/ATropical Diseases08/01/201802/02/2018I applied directly through the host institution/university before the deadline. You will receive the outcome of the application in early September. Best to check when Chinese New Year (Tet) occurs as it is not possible to have a placement a few days before and after. 8Most of the elective placement was ward rounds and observation. The ward rounds can be really, really short so its great if you want to leave early and explore. The staff are friendly, and its a fairly relaxed environment. Most of the elective requires you to be proactive; you will be given a timetable and contacts whom you can contact to arrange ward rounds and clinical tutorials. I was lucky enough to also get a lab tutorial where we were taught about the various lab equipment the unit uses to analyse microbes.English and VietnameseThe relatively unstructured timetable allows you to go to whatever ward round you like. So long as you email/talk to the lead clinician its usually all good. If you make friends with the Vietnamese doctors, who all speak good English, you can also do lumbar punctures under guidance- pretty awesome!

If you go near Tet, the unit also has a nice celebration which you can attend. A lot of delicious food and fun times.
Sometimes the Drs can be slow to get back to you when you want to arrange stuff. I found out there was a few other things going on but wasn't told (but found out via twitter after I got back home).Stethoscope, lab coat is providedYesTake the time to ask what sort of research is being conducted they are leaders in ID research in Vietnam and SE Asia. Also follow OUCRU on twitter so that you are up to date with whatever events are going on throughout the Unit.

Also don't forget to download the Grab app- its like an Asian version of Uber which you can use to get cheap motorbike rides to hospital (~$1-2 per ride)
No$3000Flights $1100
Accommodation $1100
Spending money $800
YesPF SobotkaNoNoYesSingaporeHo Chi Minh is a great base to explore the south of Vietnam. The city itself takes only a few days to explore and can get a bit boring if you are staying there for a month. Try and plan trips outside- I think OUCRU wouldn't mind you exploring and taking days off (esp. Fridays). Places to go: Vung Tau, Da Lat, Da Nang and Hoi An.No
2018Tess New Somerset HospitalSouth AfricaCape TownN/AEmergency Medicine18/12/201712/01/2018I applied directly through the host institution/university[email protected]
Susan Rodriques - Foreign Elective Officer for New Somerset Hospital
N/AGet in quick for South Africa, it's SUPER popular
Apply directly through New Somerset Hospital, not through University of Cape Town (there were restrictions on international elective students when we applied, but New Somerset took us with no issues)
You do NOT need a visa if you're an Australian citizen and you're staying less than 90 days (ignore the High Commission in Canberra)
9Fantastic hands-on experience, given a lot of scope to do things yourself, clerk patients, order investigations and do some management
Great team environment with supportive and friendly staff/seniors
Exposure to unique and 'third-world' medicine i.e. stabbings/gun trauma, TB, HIV
Accommodation in the nursing quarters is right next to the hospital - pretty basic but very secure, very clean and a good place to meet other students
English, Afrikaans, Xhosa, ZuluHands-on experience, team work in a really busy EDCould be really chaotic at times (psychiatry patients sleeping in chairs for days, drunk patients wandering around, blood from chest drains on the floor), sometimes struggled to find a senior for support/to answer questions when it was busy, but once they knew you needed help they would come and helpYour own scrubs! I had to pinch some off the German students who were leavingYesCape Town is an amazing city to stay in, very affordable, relatively safe (just be sensible, don't walk by yourself, basic safety stuff) and beautiful surrounds i.e. Table Mountain, Cape Point National Park, beaches, great food/shopping options right near Somerset Hospital etc. etc.
Easy to take a day or two off to go explore the Cape (hire a car, visit the Stellenbosch wine region)
Yes$450(ish)$3,500(ish)Flights were approx $2000 return (always expensive that time of year Perth-SA)
Fee for Somerset was $450
Accommodation was $15/day for 4 weeks = $420
Insurance was free through MIPS
Plus food, various touristy things/entertainment/shopping in Cape Town
(I also tacked on a 2-week holiday through the rest of the Cape after my elective with a fancy safari package and car hire, which took it way over $3500,)
NoYesNoYesMore holidaying throughout the Western Cape regionGO ON SAFARI (check the best time of year for Krueger if you can afford to fly up that way)
Visit Stellenbosch (the wine region) it is gorgeous
2018ReyWork the worldNepalPokharaManipal hospital and Gandaki Medical CollegeOphthalmology and Emergency med07/01/201803/02/2018I arranged my elective through an elective agency (e.g. Work the World) the WorldWhat I did first was express my interest initially on a destination but not pay it immediately. The work the world staff will contact you regarding your interest and you can help you narrow down several destinations based on your budget or what you would like to do7Pokhara is a beautiful place to do your elective. Destination wise it has the best views of the Himalayan mountains with Anapurna mountain ranges visible as soon as you walk out the house! There is plenty of outdoor activities to do from mountain treks, paragliding, white water rafting etc. Or for the more reserved beautiful temples to visit.The Phewa lake is also a nice backdrop if you wanna go canoeing. The Lakeside is a common tourist destination so many foreigners are there which is pretty safe and night life is good with cheap drinks.

Accommodation is provided by work the world in a large share house. With other people from across the world. Mainly from AU when I was there since it was our break. I found the friendship and companionship in the house the best part of the experience. Breakfast and dinner is provided by excellent chefs who you can request certain meals especially if your vegan or vegetarian (most people in Nepal are). There is also added 24 hour security. You do have to do your own hand washing since no wash machines but doing it on the roof top with the Himalayan view is just sweet simple stuff. Alternatively you can hire people to do your washing in the town for a cheap fee can't quote a price cause I never used.

Hospital wise Manipal is a huge private teaching hospital and can get cold in the morning since it is out in the mountains and not much internal heating. The ophthalmology department is well equipped with slit lamps, however there is not much hands on opportunities apart from Schimmers test, mainly observation and opportunities to join in with teaching as well as watch cataract surgeries. It can get a bit quiet but ED is next door so they are happy for you to visit other departments.

Gandaki medical college is a smaller private teaching hospital which is undergoing renovation. The emergency department is much larger than Manipal despite being a smaller hospital. There is plenty of opportunity for hands on in terms of getting signs by doing examinations, more helpful if you can give brief instructions which you get taught in language lessons. Plenty of late presentations of chronic diseases, trauma and infectious diseases such as typhoid, but much less during the winter. It can get a bit quiet and so you can visit Obstetrics department next door and watch babies get delivered which I am told is quite different.

During my time they have a few festivals on so there is opportunities to join in festivals the clinics are closed on public holidays but ED is always open then.

All hospitals are accessible by bus. Manipal takes about 1 hour by bus but like 15min by taxi which is more expensive. The public transport has no set time so they come sporadically. They can go on strikes which means no public transport which is apparently uncommon (it happened while I was there) if you ever get stranded the wtw house staff can be contacted by mobile and they can pick you up.
The staff at the work the world house speak English. The hospital staff and students speak english and all of the notes are written in English. Most patients however wont be able to speak english if they are older but most young people can. You are also given an opportunity to learn to speak Nepalese before and during the elective as work the world provide language lessons and youtube videos. They even have a print out page with common medical terms in nepalese and they provide you with a work book during language classes so there is plenty of opportunity to learn if you like. If you can learn a few phrases it makes it easier to make friends with the interns and junior doctors who appreciate your effort.The companionship and friends that you make at the work the world house. There is a real sense of comradery as you go to the hospitals and is good have opportunities to debrief. Also the day trips, bar hopping and treks you do with the housemates are great and memorable!

The picaresque mountain views which can't be understated. If you want to go to Nepal go to Pokhara. Kathmandu is surrounded by hills so you can't see any mountains!

The wtw staff are all nice and approachable they really make it go so smoothly. The food is fantastic Nepalese cuisine but they also can cater to other cuisine if you ask. Props to Karuna who basically knows the best places to eat, shop for discounted souvenirs etc.
I hate to say it but ophthalmology was quit disappointing since it was mainly observation which can be pretty boring after a few days. Cataract surgeries which are great occur infrequently though.

The smog which isn't bad in Pokhara but in Kathmandu which you have to go through first is really bad.

People who are afraid of dogs might not like it so much as there are a lot of stray dogs some overly friendly, but hardly saw any aggressive dogs. Rabies vaccine would be a plus. However, there is a hospital for tourists which has HIV medications among other things. I didn't get any HIV meds since I enquired about this with the wtw staff prior to going.

The work the world staff will send you a list of items that they recommend you bring. You have to bring your own disposable face mask and gloves one box of each is enough though.

Pack warm clothes; things you can layer on as it can get chilly in the morning but can be pretty hot at night. Trekking boots if you are an avid trekkers.

Lab coat is worn by doctors and students. Clinical clothing underneath. Recommend to bring two pair of scrubs so you can alternate them and wash the other.

Vaccinations wise I had rabies, which is super expensive but it's for life. I brought azithromycin antibiotics. No need for Malaria meds since it is too high up.
YesDon't wear Kathmandu brand gear it's how they can distinguish who is a tourist and who is a local.

Be prepared to haggle for goods cause locals will bring the price up if they think your a tourist.

Consider what you want out of your placement if you want hands on experience perhaps choose surgery or obstetrics as these are more catered towards that.

When you take a taxi in Kathmandu get a prepaid taxi. You do not need to tip them even if they ask you to. This never happened in Pokhara but found it happens a lot in Kathmandu.

To prevent yourself from getting food poisoning stick to vegetarian food options.

Go for 5 weeks if you want the added village experience since you need a minimum of 2 weeks per department and the village placement only lasts 1 week. Those who did it enjoyed it for the local experience more so than the medicine.
YesThe full price which was about 3.8K without airflights. You can fundraise it or just put it on HECs$5000 I spent a week in Kathmandu prior to starting (do not recommend doing that)NoNoYesJapanYou can do a mountain trek on Poon hill which at shortest is 3-4 days or longer.

There are a few good tourist sites and activities. The peace pagoda is good to visit on a clear day you can have a beautiful view of Pokhara, Phewa lake and Anapurna mountain range.

Australian base camp has good mountain views. Sarangkot has nice mountain views during sunset and sunrise, it also has paragliding.

WtW staff has can organize and recommend some local tourist activities such as whitewater rafting and safaris.

Lakeside is the tourist hub of Pokhara has some pretty decent bars and cafes, OR2K is pretty good. There is also a nice outdoor cinema which screens every night which is was really nice!
2019Marissa LohUniversity College LondonUnited KingdomLondonWhittington HospitalObstetrics & Gynaecology07/01/201901/02/2019I applied directly through the host institution/university straightforward process - just be online as soon as applications open (date and time will be provided in the link, usually late Feb/early March for the year after) and fill in your details (name/passport number/university etc).10Obs & Gynae is an incredibly diverse specialty - both medical and surgical with radiology also. Throughout the month I was able to clerk patients at obstetrics triage and the Early Pregnancy Diagnostic Unit, observe ultrasonography, attend gynae clinics and observe & assist in gynae surgeries, elective & emergency C-sections and deliveries on the Labour Ward and Birth Centre. Additionally, we participated in teaching ward rounds on the antenatal and postnatal wards (where we examined each patient and had to present to the consultant), and attended obstetric medicine/high risk obstetric, gynae onc and fetal medicine clinics, as well as antenatal clinics (where we were allowed to see our own patients). We also attended tutorials for UCL students. It was an incredible month!EnglishExcellent learning environment - everyone (doctors, midwives, nurses, sonographers) was so friendly and really wanted us to get the most out of the month. UCL students also received amazing teaching (consultant tutorials every day in small groups) which we were welcome to attend (not to mention they were very high yield). Observed and participated in a wide range of clinics and ward rounds - greater breadth compared to what I saw here in Perth, and the highlight was being able to see women in antenatal clinic, then obstetrics triage, and finally seeing them deliver and meeting their babies in the postnatal ward after - true continuity of care.Long hours - day #1 I was there until 11pm, most days I left around 6pm! It's completely your choice of course, but as an elective student they find plenty of things for you to get involved in and there was an (unspoken) expectation we'd be there every day. Sometimes the elective felt a bit unstructured (UCL students had a strict timetable of which wards/clinics to go to), but this also meant we had more flexibility.Warm clothing, otherwise usual clinical items - stethoscope, pens, notebookYesLondon is an incredible place to live for a month (and a Europe trip is very easy to do either side of your elective, or weekend trips are even easier)! I stayed near the hospital in an Airbnb which was really useful. Make the most of everything, get involved, and have some time to explore the city also - you'll love it 🙂Yes800 poundsApprox $5000 (plus money on food, transport, musicals + extra for travelling around Europe)NoNoNoYesBudapest, Milan, Frankfurt, Cambridge, Paris, Amsterdam and BerlinAnywhere within Europe is so easy to get to via train/plane!No
2019Mudra ShahRoyal Manchester Children's HospitalEnglandManchesterNARespiratory Paediatrics07/01/201901/02/2019I arranged my elective with a Clinician that I contacted or knew10Application was done directly to the consultant, emails can be found on the hospital website. That is the same with most NHS hospitals. This hospital is pretty keen to have students! We had 4 weeks there (4 students applied, in diff departments at the hospital.) On respiratory, we got to see cystic fibrosis, general resp patients (not bronchiolitis), long term ventilation and ICU. You also attended clinics were you got to see PCD, TB, Asthma and CF annual reviews. Furthermore, I was involved with data analysis for a research project= bonus. Would 100% recommend. English! (+bogun Manchester accent)The welcoming nature of all the consultants and the exposure to such a vast variety of conditions.Nothing!Clinical clothes, warm jumpers (dont need them in hosp), steth, happiness?YesApply early so you can get a letter of confirmation soon and call them if need be. Their application process doesn't start till Oct (super late for us) but if you hound them enough, they can get you a conditional letter of approval which is all you need. You will also need 2 references for the placement. Another bonus, you only need a visitor visa for this- which you can get on arrival in the UK.NoFlights $1800 (we travelled around Europe as well), Accomodation $1500 each, no fees. Insurance- BOQ travel insurance, free if you purchase your plane ticket with their card! Covers supps.As above. YesStudy Abroad ScholarshipYesNoYesEurope 🙂Europe, London, Bristol, Lake District, Edinburgh, IrelandNo
2019Jordan KorolFaculty of Medicine, University of RuhunaSri LankaGalleKarapitiya Teaching HospitalPaediatrics/General Surgery10/12/201805/01/2019I applied directly through the host institution/university their website is an application form for you to fill out for elective, as well as all the specialties offered and any elective information. The website commonly doesn't seem to work in Australia so try different browsers/days/etc until you get on to it. Harish Pathirana was the contact at [email protected] if you have any issues.
Don't be concerned if it takes up to a month for them to reply- that seems to be very common for many elective places. They will give you all the information on payment and visas, however it can get a bit complex so feel free to get in touch for any questions
8Galle is a great place if you want a cheap and relaxing elective. The hospital is so used to having numerous elective students at a time that they are happy to let you do as you please and still sign you off. For a third world country the facilities are quite reasonable and you'll always feel safe, however there are still many practices that will shock you compared to Australian hospitals. The doctors are brilliant and really make an effort to do lots of teaching on ward rounds.All teaching is done in English. You will need the local students to assist in speaking to patients as most don't speak EnglishSri Lanka is an incredible place to travel. Super cheap and just starting to become a tourist destination. Galle is on the coast with great surfing and lots of amazing places nearby to travel to.It is very hard to get involved due to the number of local students (up to 30 students will be on a single ward round). Speaking to and examining patients can be quite difficult due to the language barrier.Full clinical clothing. All students have to wear a white lab coat over the top
Hand sanitiser as hygiene practices aren't flash
It is incredibly humid all the time so bring lots of cool clothes
YesGeneral Surgery was a great placement to experience the differences in medical practices between Australia and less developed countries. Had heaps of autonomy to wander between theatres and get involved if you wanted. The Consultant in charge of elective students is very friendly and tries to help you as much as possible. He gives you this full timetable for every day but only go on his rostered trauma day and the other couple of days he is in hospital if you want to relax/travel. You are meant to get a log book signed every day but he just signs it all off at the end. We usually spent 3-4hrs on 3-4 days/week there.
Paediatrics was a bit less involved. Rock up for ward rounds in the morning, join with a doctor and then get signed off after the round and go chill for the day. There are heaps of local students on the ward if you want to stay and examine patients with them.
2 options for accommodation:
- Stay near the hospital. Can highly recommend Sunnyside Homestay. Beautiful family who have a large area of land 5min from hospital with a separate apartment next to the house you can stay in. They will drive you to the hospital each morning and give you lots of tips on the city, travel, etc.
- Unuwatuna. Small town situated on the beach about 20min from the hospital and Galle centre. Is where most tourists stay with great beaches, bars and restaurants. Particularly good if you don't want to spend much time at the hospital and more at the beach.
Yes200USD (about $300)$1500Elective Fees: $300
Flights: $900 return
Accom: Very cheap. We paid $300 each for a month
Insurance: Free with MIPS
NoYesNoYesWent to Vietnam and Cambodia after. Is a 3.5hr flight from Colombo to Kuala Lumpar and then can access all of SE Asia.Within Sri Lanka we travelled each weekend. Hikkaduwa, Mirissa, Matara, Weligama are all coastal towns within an hour of Galle that are beautiful. Have to spend a weekend in Ella- about 5-6hrs inland. Plenty of other places to travel before and after your elective if you want (Sigiriya, Kandy, etc)No
2019Jacalin Huynh National Institutes of Health United StatesBethesdaN/ANeurosurgery 07/01/201901/02/2019I applied directly through the host institution/university N/AThere is an online application form that will require a cover letter, recommendation letter and a letter of approval from your home university. The recommendation letter must be from a person who is part of the medical faculty and has seen you both academically and clinically (so you can consider your GP preceptor, I asked my tutor from the GP rotation), so it's best to get this organised early as they may need some time to write it up for you. Otherwise, this is a relatively straigtforward application. 9At the NIH, you're expected to fulfil the role of an intern. So each morning, you're expected to arrive before the senior trainee registrar to print the patient list and catch up on all updates and discuss a plan with the registrar when they arrive. In clinic, you're encouraged to see patients on your own, and in theatre, you're encouraged to scrub in and assist on every case. The NIH receives rare and challenging cases from all over the world, and it is truly a blessing to be part of each case. English The most enjoyable aspect of this elective is the opportunity to see the transformation of patients from being confused and drowsy to alert and communicating well after surgery. In addition, active participation in each surgical case allowed me to develop surgical skills such as cutting, suturing and assisting in theatre. It's such an active role compared to the role of a medical student in Perth, that it pushes you to use your initiative, and think for patients. The hours were the least enjoyable aspect of this elective. I had to wake up at 4:30am each morning to arrive at the office at 5:30am, and I would leave around 6 or 7pm in the evening on the weekdays. You are also expected to go in on the Saturday til 12pm. So this meant very little time travelling besides the weekend if you've got the energy and I fell asleep standing in theatre sometimes. All the neurosurgeons were males, and at times, it was a bit intimidating. You definitely get quizzed in theatre, and they expect you to practice skills such as surgical ties to assist in theatre. In addition, the security at this institution is very strict, so without a badge (which can take 2 weeks to process), you needed to go through a security checkpoint with your passport every morning. White lab coat YesIf you're interested in any specialty, this place contains some of the most well known doctors in any specialty, and it would be worthwhile to ask for a recommendation letter for future reference at the completion of your rotation at the NIH. NoN/A$5000NoYesNoYesNew York It's a 4 hour bus ride to New York, and the transport is not expensive at all! Otherwise, there's plenty to see nearby; including the White House, National museum of american history and lots of restaurants to eat at (just be aware of the tipping culture there!) No
2019Charlie LefroyUniversity of Toronto CanadaTorontoSt Michaels Neurosurgery/Neuro-opthalmology 14/01/201908/02/2019I applied directly through the host institution/universityhttp://afmcstudentportal.caAFMCLong application process. Make sure you know all the steps you have to do well in advance of applying.
9Neurosurgery in Toronto was a great learning experience. You get a lot of hands on experience (writing notes, clerking patients and scrubbing in theatre). They start early in the morning (5:30am-6am) and usually leave at about 6-7pm. Although this is how long they worked each day, they never said that your attendance had to be 100% and you could leave early if you wanted to. You were welcomed to come in on call and on the weekends, although you were never allocated these shifts.

The morning usually started with a ward round for an hour followed by theatres for the rest of the day. Two theatres ran with one usually focusing on brain cases with the other on spinal. Spinal surgeries were often difficult to see and limited room around the table, so I didn't scrub in that often. The brain cases were easier to see and gave you more opportunity to do something. Clinic also ran concurrently and you essentially were another doctor. You saw your own patients, reviewed the CT/MRI scans and then presented to the attending and dictated the notes.

I also spent a lot of time in the neuro-opthal clinic that all throughout the week. The attending was very keen on teaching and I did a lot in the clinic. You also were called up to the wards to review cases.

All of the doctors at the hospital were very nice. They have a very different view of medical students in Canada as compared to Australia. You are involved a lot more in the team and given more independence.
EnglishIndependence, hands on surgical skills?Long hoursPositive attitudeYesGreater independence and confidence Canada is a great elective if you want to challenge yourself and learn a lot. Be organised in the application process. Yes~1.5K~7-8KYesPF SobotkaNoNoYesCanada anad AmericaCanada is surprisingly cold in the middle of winter. A warm jumper, jeans and shoes would be recommended. No
2019CarlManipal Teaching HospitalNepalPokharaManipal Teaching HospitalGeneral Med, ED, Peads, Orthopaedics, ITU28/01/201913/03/2019I applied directly through the host institution/university email, they're keen to get elective students in as it helps them raise funds1A friend and I arranged to spend our entire 6 week placement at Manipal having read outstanding reviews from students who had previously spent their elective at this hospital. Sadly our experience was a far cry from the experience reported on websites such as TEN.

On our first day we met with Drs Sharma and Duttagupta who were responsible for arranging elective placements. After a bit of a chat they directed us to the cashier who would take our placement fee and then had a porter take us to our departments. We had no further contact with them or their department during our stay.

We were attached to a Gen Med ward. I had previously been told that I could be attached to a tropical diseases department but on arrival I was told that, being at altitude there was, as you might expect, no tropical medicine department. On the ward we were introduced to a fairly surly registrar who showed us around the ward and never spoke to us again. The ward itself consisted of roughly 5-6 bays with 6-8 beds in each. One thing I will say in their favour, they have an absolute surplus of staff on each ward, with General Medicine having no less than 8 nurses and 5 junior doctors present at any one time. Sadly, these staff members are an underutilised resource and they seem to spend most of their days sitting around waiting for a consultant to grace them with their presence.

Sometime between 8am and 10am a consultant will sail into the ward and, without speaking, his team will fall in behind him as he does his rounds. These rounds last roughly 10 minutes as they rarely waste time on such things as speaking to the patients or their junior doctors. They then leave as quickly as they arrived and are not seen again until the following day – sometimes they go to outpatient clinics, more often than not they just seem to leave the hospital for the day. It is then the job of the juniors to decipher the instructions written in English in the patients’ notes in order to figure out what the consultant wanted them to do – and woe betide them if these orders are not carried out! As while the consultants will not talk to their juniors, they will certainly shout them down in Nepali-English in the middle of the ward round if an arbitrary investigation has not been carried out.

At any rate, once the consultant leaves the ward he is not seen again until the following day and in their absence nothing else seems to happen on the wards – partly due to the fact that patients have to pay for their own investigations and therefore tests are ordered sparingly. As a result we were generally encouraged to leave once the rounds were complete, which meant we were usually back in Lakeside having a beer by lunchtime. Naturally, we tried to engage with staff and offered to take part in clinical activities on the wards but genuinely there was nothing happening once the ward round had ended and even the local juniors used this time as an opportunity to take naps.

A quick note on language – the rounds are naturally carried out in Nepali as few of the locals are bilingual and almost all of the nurses, registrars and consultants are Nepali. The juniors, however, having trained at the attached, Indian-run medical school, are invariably Indian or Sri Lankan, and speak virtually no Nepali. Shockingly this means that in the absence there is no way for anyone to communicate with the patients

To change things up we attended several other departments during our stay – paediatrics, orthopaedics, ITU, ED and even sat in on some neurosurgery (they are used to having elective students and nobody seemed to mind us wandering into their departments and joining their teams). Our experience in each of these departments was exactly the same; short ward rounds with nothing much going on afterwards, with the exception of ED. In ED at least, there was a steady flow of patients to see and if you were fortunate enough to attach to one of the more confident junior doctors you could assist in clerking and performing clinical tasks. Sadly, as there were in excess of 25 other elective students at the hospital at any one time (most of them Australian students travelling with ‘Work the World’) once it became clear that ED was the place to be space for us in the department became somewhat of a commodity. Ultimately I probably spent no more than 3 days in ED during my 6 weeks.

On week three of our placement, two of our friends from med school arrived to join us at Manipal having spent three highly satisfying and educational weeks in India. They spent a day at Manipal and immediately made arrangements to leave and go back to India such was their disappointment at both the complete lack of anything to do and the lack of engagement from anyone in their departments.

In conclusion, if you want a low-effort elective where you can get your logbook/attendance log signed-off on arrival so that you can go on a jolly around Nepal for a few weeks, Manipal is a perfect choice. However, if you were hoping to learn ANYTHING about medicine, take part in research, or improve your clinical skills, Manipal should be avoided like the plague!
English, Nepali, HindiHanging out at LakesideThe sheer lack of engagement from senior clinical staff e.g. Watching a Consultant try to treat a DKA with Amoxicillin, despite my protestations that fluid and insulin would probably work better. Hiking boots - get signed-off quickly and go travelling around this beautiful country insteadNoIf you want a low-effort elective where you can get your logbook/attendance log signed-off on arrival so that you can go on a jolly around Nepal for a few weeks, Manipal is a perfect choice. However, if you were hoping to learn ANYTHING about medicine, take part in research, or improve your clinical skills, Manipal should be avoided like the plague!Yes$200 for 4 weeks, $100 for two additional weeks£800YesNoNo
2020Lauren Masi Mundo Verde Electives PeruPeruCuscoHospital EsSaludInternal Medicine/GP07/12/201903/01/2020I arranged my elective through an elective agency (e.g. Work the World) VerdeApply early through their website as they are notoriously slow to reply to emails. We worked out later in the year that the best way to reach them was through WhatsApp10It was VERY light on the clinical exposure so if you are after a heavy medical elective where you actually learn lots of stuff, chose something else. Our 4 week program was arranged and we had 2 scheduled weeks of clinics with the rest of the time allocted to spanish lessons, cultural experiences (e.g cooking classes, homestays, salsa classes) and some sightseeing in Cusco (Machu Pichu 5 day trek, Southern/Sacred Valley tours).

The medical elective part was interesting although more GP than the internal medicine promised. It was Int Med outpatients and all 4 of us were with the same doctor in the same room at the same time. Given our lack of spanish we observed histories, were given an english synopsis by the doctors and then took turns examining the patient, posing a diagnosis and management. There was no exposure to clinical procedures. It was still really interesting to see how a medical practice runs in a low income and poorly resourced setting and the medicine itself was interesting.

We also spent 3 days (2 clinical days due to the weekend) in Huyro a small rural village 4 hours from Cusco. This for me was the highlight of the trip and the best exposure we had to medicine and some really interesting pathology. No-one spoke English so there was a lot of Spanglish happening!!! A chance here to see the different multidisciplinary aspects of rural health and we rotated between sitting with the GP, child-health nurse, pathologist, psychologist. There was also the chance to do some procedural stuff e.g SC/IM injections, cannulations etc
Spanish, one doctor spoke good english and translated Living in Cusco - it was a great city!!NoneVery casual clin clothes (black jeans etc), stethoscope, medical spanish phrase bookYesAny questions chuck me a messageYes$2800 USD ($3300 AUD in Dec 2019) - Included elective placement, accommodation, tours (5 day Machu Pichu Trek, Cooking Class, Salsa lessons etc) $7500YesStudy Abroad Scholarship, PF SobotkaYesNoYesBolivia, Argentina, Chile No
2020Cohen GohSt Luke International HospitalJapanTokyon/aGeneral med, Dermatology, Radiology, CV surgery06/01/202031/01/2020I applied directly through the host institution/university is very organised, just follow the instructions on the website9Superb. Everyone is friendly, polite, humble and look after you very well. You never have to worry of feeling left out, or nobody cares about you. Even the consultant is very humble and nice. We always had lunch together in the cafeteria and chat and joke. The cafeteria has super cheap food with quality better than in Perth. I got super lucky as the consultant from my team brought me out for a day trip in Shibuya and Tokyo tower. She is in General Med and she is very kind. She can also speaks good english. GIM has quite a few doctors with good english (Not every doctor can speak english well). The hours can be quite long, I finish at around 5-6pm most days, with the earliest 4pm, unless you're in surgery where they are really busy.The doctors have limited English but they try The relationship I built with the other doctors - because They are mostly quite young and fun to hang out with. Very friendly and some will teach you a lot. They will also talk to you and get to you and if you're lucky they bring you out for dinner 🙂 If you enjoy the language, the culture, the food, this is a great place.the hours. During dermatology, I had to stay back till 5 and sometimes 7pm. They kinda expect us to. The team is very nice but with limited english, it can feel like a lot of waiting sometimes, because you are waiting for them to translate to you. I only know a bit of japanese So throughout the whole consultation i was clueless until the doctor explained to me. But I dont really mind the long hours as you get used to it after a while. you dont really have much to study anyway (unless you want to), so you can get home and shower and sleep (choose a nearby location!)stethoscope. and for guys, a tie and a labcoat is necessary. I recommend thin shirts too, because the hospital is really warm.YesJapanese language always comes in handy whenever you travel to Japan. but especially so if you are working with japanese. even knowing a few words for the patient history such as 'pain', 'diarrhoea', 'fever' in japanese can be so helpful for you to figure out what the patient has. The doctor does not always explain everything to you, and they have very limited amount of english. So it is good if you can understand a few vocabs.
Given the long hours, I managed to do some self studies. Use the time wisely in the hospital instead of waiting around. You can learn some of the japanese words, read about the condition or even just manga during your free time. Live somewhere closeby , like in Tsukiji it will make your life a lot easier. Food is widely available, and they are all walking distance.
Business hotel is a good choice if you are staying a month here. Hostel and capsule hotels can be very noisy at times and disturb your very important sleep. Good luck!
No4000On average:
1500 for flight
2500 for hotel (business hotel - best option i reckon)
elective - free
insurance - UWA provides
food - very cheap, you're looking at like $5-6 a meal in the hospital
NoYesNoYesVisit the entire Tokyo!
Some of the best places:
Ueno (museumsss)
Mt Fuji
if you are staying for extra 4-5 days, go to Kyoto and Osaka
Try all the japanese food,
Sushi zanmai, ramen, wagyu beef, gyudon, katsudon, soba, udon
any shops do way better food than in perth, but if you are picky - go to
the critiques are really hard - any restaurant with more than 3.5 stars are considered worth trying.
try their onsen, try their arcade, try everything
try staying in the capsule hotel for one day if you are staying in hotel
2020Jenna BeetonWork the WorldPhilippinesIloiloWestern Visayas Medical CentreInternal medicine & Paeds30/12/201925/01/2020I arranged my elective through an elective agency (e.g. Work the World) the World 1Very disappointing elective. It was very difficult to get involved with the teams and I was unable to do anything hands on at all. Most of the day was spent by myself reading patient files and trying to then find the patient and consent them for an examination (much harder than it sounds in the Philippines!)Mostly local language with patients although most of the doctors and many of the patients are able to speak some English I enjoyed the accommodation and food that was provided The clinical placements. It felt as though the teams did not want us there. Teaching was incredibly limited. Overall felt like a waste of time. Lab coat
N95 masks
Masks & gloves as may not be provided
NoDon't go through Work the World! If you want hands on experience, consider completing your elective in rural WA as I definitely got much more from it than this elective. Yes$7000YesStudy Abroad ScholarshipYesNoNo