Making The Most Out Of A Medical Elective In A Developing Country

by A Guest Author

Five Tips To Make Your Medical Elective A Success Story

Medical electives are important to medical students who hope to graduate from medical schools.  It is a time to learn a lot under little pressure, without the intimidation of exams. It is also a perfect time to tour the world, as one explores environments outside his or her country of origin.

Many medics ask questions such as: “What do I need to do so as to make my medical elective a success story?” In this article I seek to address a few issues.

1.      Start preparing well in advance

Once you have settled on a specific country, it is a good idea to start getting ready quite early. In some instances things go wrong, and if you had not given yourself ample time you might be disappointed for a very long time. Early preparations afford you the time to gather all the things you need for the trip. In addition, if there are quandaries you still have enough time to solve the problems. This way you are all set, and the risk of having to cancel the elective term is minimized. In your preparations, please take time to know more about your destination, including the weather, time zone, transport systems, currency and the people.

2.      Have your financial calculations in order

Knowing how much you are likely to spend while on a medical elective is vital. Of course, the more you have the better it will be for you. However, there is a minimum amount of money which you must have for you to live comfortably. Developing countries tend to be cheaper than developed countries, and hence most people will not have an issue with this, though it is always good to have a rough idea of the cost of living. While doing your financial calculations, it is worth to factor in some leisure activities. Developing countries have some beautiful places which make the trips complete, and it is usually fulfilling to visit a few nice joints.  It is wise to place a few calls in advance so as to know how much it will cost you. Do not carry too much in cash, and always have a backup plan. Make arrangements to have your currency converted at a reasonable rate.

3.      Have a local contact person

Contact persons will definitely make your stay more comfortable. Other than providing you with basic information about the place you have chosen to do your elective, they will help you in sorting a few issues as well as taking you around the place as you familiarize yourself with your new surroundings. The fact that this person has lived in the place you will be doing your elective means that he or she is in a good position to sort you out, even in situations which you might consider dire.

4.      Have all your documents in order

Personal documents such as ID card, student pass and a passport are very important. The VISA that is appended to your passport gives you the right to be in a certain country without the fear of being at loggerheads with the authorities. It is good to take care of these documents. Always ensure you have copies of the originals in a place where you can easily access them. If it is not absolutely necessary, do not carry the original documents with you. Loss of any one of them can have serious implications such as deportation, and it is such a bad encounter that it is best avoided. You will be safe if all your documents are safe.

5.      Vaccinate yourself against diseases which are endemic in your destination

Prevention is better than cure. You had better take precaution than be sorry. Travelling to developing countries can be a health risk which can be eliminated if you take appropriate measures to prevent diseases. Vaccination against Hepatitis B and Yellow fever is emphasized in most countries, while malaria prophylaxis is advocated for those who are travelling to malaria endemic zones. You definitely do not want to go down with a serious illness during your elective term, for it seriously compromises your experience. It creates an anxiety which is hard to deal with and makes learning difficult. It is only prudent that you protect yourself.

About The Author:

William Smith has participated in several medical elective programmes over the past few years and strongly recommends for medical electives in Africa, Asia and or America.

This post was written by A Guest Author

This post was written by a guest author. If you have high quality, useful information to share with students, send us an email or click Write For Us to learn more. And in case you're wondering - yes, you can promote yourself in this fancy author byline.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Mary Betza October 24, 2012 at 11:14 am

Thanks , I’ve just been looking for info about this topic for ages and yours is the greatest I’ve found out till now.


Chad Agrawal October 24, 2012 at 11:19 am

Nice, glad to hear it 🙂


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