Medical Gap Year

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Whether you are a medical student in the middle of your medical education and are asking yourself “why am I doing this?” or you have simply wanted to explore a new path in life and medicine sounds exciting, consider doing a medical internship abroad for your gap year! By following this path, you will have the chance to not only learn more about the human body, travel and add experience to your resume but most importantly you will help people that are in urgent need of medical assistance.

Medicine/Nursing: This is a perfect opportunity for all doctors and nurses-to-be. Such an internship will give you a chance to observe what you have learned in the classroom in a clinical setting. Shadowing a physician in a hospital and observing procedures will give you a glimpse of what to look forward to in your medical career. Furthermore, learning and seeing first-hand more about health on a global scale will undoubtedly be a very inspirational once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Medical Research: For the more academics-oriented gap year volunteers who are interested in studying different diseases and treatments, a medical research gap year might be a perfect fit. Such opportunities are likely to be found and funded through American academic institutions, which makes it possible for you to still be involved in the research even after your return from abroad.

HIV/AIDS Awareness: Combatting HIV and AIDS is one of the biggest and most difficult health battles that humankind has yet to win. Although by the end of 2012 close to a million of the people living with HIV from low and middle income countries received antiretroviral therapy (ART) thanks to various HIV/AIDS medical and awareness campaigns, there are 19 million other people who are eligible for ART but still lack access to the drugs. By participating in an HIV/AIDS awareness program abroad that doesn’t necessarily require a medical background, you can help thousands or even millions of people get access to the drugs they need. (AIDS)

Disabled Care: Helping and living with mentally and/or physically disabled children is a challenge, even with the technological advances and medical access in the Western world. So you can only imagine how difficult the lives of disabled children from developing countries are. The best part for this type of medical gap year program is that, as long as you are interested in working with children and maybe have some relevant experience, you can easily work in a school, orphanage or hospital and improve the quality of life of deserving small humans.

Health Education: Prevention is another crucial part of medicine that doesn’t require extensive post-college medical education. The work of people who choose to spend their gap year doing health education internships usually consists of conducting health education classes with people of all ages at hospitals, schools, workplaces or public forums. The most common topics of the education classes are often safe sexual and reproductive health, healthy diets and sanitation.

When applying for a medical internship, give yourself plenty of time in advance to do research on the region and/or the type of internship in which you are interested. Also, don’t wait until the last moment to fill out the application – you will be surprised how rigorous certain applications may be. There are a number of providers offering medical internship programs that are great for gap year students. Some of these include:

Volunteering Solutions

Volunteering Solutions is a leading volunteer and internship program provider offering programs in multiple countries around the world. Check out their Healthcare Internships in Nepal, in which interns work with nurses and doctors in public and private hospitals. The internships are 1-3 months and the program activities vary depending on the student's knowledge and skills.

Gap Medics

Gap Medics, a top provider for programs for aspiring medical workers, whose Physician Shadowing Program in Tanzania is a unique opportunity for pre-med students to spend 1-4 weeks in a Tanzanian hospital. Students can choose between shadowing practitioners specializing in the fields of dentistry, pediatrics, surgery, and obstetrics.

Eli Abroad

Eli Abroad is a prime provider for medical internships. Their Medical Internship in Ecuador is a perfect fit for any pre-medical and medical student who is interested in improving their Spanish skills and learning some medical vocabulary in Spanish. Interns are placed in a Ecuadorian hospital based on their skill-level and experience.

Frontier

Frontier is a leading provider of volunteer and gap year programs in various countries around the world. They offer internships as part of the Nepal Children's Hospital Medical Project, where participants work at a health center that provides complete healthcare and medical services to the local community. Day-to-day activities vary, depending on the experience and knowledge of the participants.

African Impact

African Impact is a well-established provider of volunteer and intern programs in a number of African countries including Tanzania, Kenya, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The majority of their programs are opened to inexperienced volunteers who go on home visits, assist in local hospitals with basic medical, and administration tasks.

Many of the medical internships are semester-long, lasting 3 months, and can be found through US universities who partner with a university or a health institution in the destination country. Talk to your professor, the department chair of the pre-medical or medical program at your school, the career center, and the study abroad office.

Additional Resources for Medical Internships include:

Contributed by Tina Mangelova

Showing 46 Programs

Czech Republic

Czech Hospital Placements Program
Is there a more prestigious specialty in medicine than neurosurgery? The Department of Neurosurgery specializes in treating t...

Costa Rica

International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ
No matter what your level of experience in the world of healthcare, IVHQ has ways for you to get involved and help make a dif...

Nepal

Volunteering Solutions
Interns in Nepal will get the opportunity to work in public or private hospitals. As you work with doctors and nurses, you wi...

Sri Lanka

Volunteering Journeys
Get hands-on experience working on a medical placement in India, Nepal or Sri Lanka. We offer medical electives abroad to pre...

Costa Rica

Tico Lingo
When deciding between vital choices about the wellbeing of a patient, any medicinal expert would say that having the full ima...

Guatemala

INLEXCA
Low income communities have very limited access to good health services, and this is where this project comes in. We partner...

Kenya

African Impact
Should you be a medical professional, medical graduate, desire to spend a gap year in Africa or simply have a passion for hel...

Ghana

Plan My Gap Year
PMGY offer a wide range of safe, meaningful, affordable medical volunteer projects from 2-weeks to 6-months in Ghana, India,...

Thailand

Volunteering Solutions
Internships in Thailand with Volunteering Solutions come in two different options: medical or journalism. Both internships ar...

Ecuador

Child Family Health International
Observe, learn, and experience Ecuador’s healthcare system first-hand through CFHI’s multiple immersion programs. You will co...

Ireland

Learn International
Ireland has a growing economy, where interns, are welcomed into a variety of sectors to enhance cross-cultural exchange and e...

England

Gap Medics
Gap Medics is a specialist company dedicated to arranging pre-health shadowing programs for students applying to medical scho...

Nicaragua

Global Works
During this pre-med/public health focus program, students participate in activities with the Nicaragua Ministry of Health (MI...

China

Default Program Teaser Image
China Global Connections
China Global Connections specializes in connecting China to the global community through providing international internships...

China

ARCC Programs
Leave the traditional classroom far behind as we journey to China, Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand. Gap Asia is a unique blend...