Where are the Best Undergraduate Medical Internships?
Calling all Meredith Grey, Patch Adams, and Dr. House wannabes! Are you an undergraduate pre-med student looking to break into medicine but worried about the dreaded “prior experience” requirement? There is one solution: medical internships for undergraduates! Whether you’re a bio major applying to med school or an undecided freshman looking to test the waters, medical internships for undergraduates abroad will be the perfect next step for you.
There are so many reasons to do a medical internship abroad, so it’s no surprise that there are just as many program providers and internship options. Not all undergraduate medical internships are in developing countries, but the majority are in order to serve a higher purpose: further educate pre-med students and help those in need. The lack of access and funds for basic health care means the patients with whom interns interact will often be suffering from diseases and conditions people rarely see in developed regions. Talk about getting real experience. Read on for the best of the best!
Top Medical Internships for Undergraduates
If you’re ready to take your education to the next step, accumulate some awesome travel tales, and make lasting friendships like J.D. and Turk, check out one of these top undergraduate medical internships abroad (in no particular order):
Work the World are the experts when it comes to healthcare placements abroad. Specializing in tailored placements, this provider offers medical, nursing, occupational therapy, pharmacy, dentistry, radiology, physical therapy, and midwifery internships. Their placement destinations range from the from the Philippines to Peru, offering a range of clinical opportunities around the developing world. The program fee includes a totally tailored placement, private housing with other healthcare students, local language lessons, 24/7 in-country support from a team of locally hired experts, including a “legendary” chef who'll prepare your meals. As clinical placements run from Monday through Friday, you'll have evenings and weekends to travel these beautiful countries. Sign up now!
2. ELI Abroad
A nonprofit providing some of the best medical internships for undergraduates, ELI Abroad sends thousands of young healthcare professionals abroad every year. Their internship placements range from medical and veterinary to nutrition and public health, and are known for being very affordable. The cost includes housing with either a local family or in a shared apartment or dormitory, and most placements include meals and local language classes.
Because abroad medical internships with ELI have so many different placements, there are options available for clinical medicine for both pre-med students and professionals, as well as non-clinical health including nutrition, physical therapy, and public health. Whether you have limited experience or you’ve been studying up for many years, you can apply for an ELI Abroad internship to boost your career!
You can guess based on the name of this program that their internship options are tight. World Internships offers both medical and midwifery internships in ten different countries, and placements can be in hospitals, clinics, or international medical centers. Some placements even offer special interest training, and allow interns to work in departments as specific as surgical, pediatric, or neurological.
World Internships really focuses on engaging the local communities, so interns can expect to work both inside and outside of clinical work and take on public health projects or work in community medical centers. The program cost includes either a homestay or apartment-style housing depending on the country, and they even offer small scholarships to help participants cover program costs. Get started with World Internships now.
Focusing more on the public health and education side, Cross-Cultural Solutions offers Global Health Internships for six weeks every year in either India, Peru, Guatemala, Tanzania, and Ghana. Interns work towards building sustainable public health systems and educating communities, and specifically address water access, sanitation and cleanliness, and lack of educational resources for those struggling with malaria and HIV.
The program costs include shared housing with other program participants in air-conditioned and mosquito-netted rooms with home-cooked meals prepared by the on-site chef. How are you going to possibly pick between six weeks in Ghana helping to rid diseases or six weeks in India delivering public health campaigns? (You could do both for an über experience, all you have to do is enroll!).
A leader in the volunteer world, Projects Abroad also offers tons of internships in the healthcare arena. This program is particularly great for current students, as interns can use their experience for university credit afterwards. Why sit in a boring classroom when you can fulfill your academic requirements by shadowing a doctor in Cambodia? Because these internships are aimed at college students, the focus is on gaining experience and do not require previous experience in the area. Newbies, rejoice!
Interns have the choice between medical, nursing, midwifery, dentistry, therapy, pharmacy, and nutrition internships, from Vietnam to Jamaica, and will enjoy observing local healthcare professionals working at hospitals, clinics, and outreach facilities. Prices include accommodations, meals, health insurance, visa support (if applicable), and work-related transportation.
As you can guess, this internship route is very specific and perfect for anyone looking for a challenge. The Czech Hospital Placements Program is specifically designed to provide real-world experience in one of the largest hospitals in Europe under doctors, nurses, dentists, physiotherapists, and others. Unlike most professional settings, the CHP provides interns with study materials related to each department to ensure participants are as prepared as possible before coming to the hospital. Can’t beat an internship that comes with a free crash course!
The CHP is open to any English-speaking student ages 17 to 26 and offers short-term hospital work placements all year long. The program costs include a minimum of 25 hours per week shadowing your team, accommodations in the Prague area, food, study materials, and on-site tutorials up to three times per week. Enjoy learning at a rapid rate and observing professionals during surgeries, treatments, and patient interactions, all from a major Czech medical center!
Despite the name of this program, volunteer projects only scratch the surface here. Volunteering Journeys also offers medical internships in India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, and Peru for both medical students and professionals. At a minimum of four weeks long, these internships are geared towards getting as much hands-on experience as possible while totally immersing yourself in a new culture.
Interns have the choice between general placement or something more specialized, and can also manage outreach work and clinical camps in nearby villages with local doctors. Internship placements are 100% customized and fit within academic requirements for students, so you can even get credit for your experience! Accommodations and meals are included in the program cost as well as placement fees at the medical institutions. Why haven’t you applied yet? Do it now!
With 30 different health care programs in ten countries, Child Family Health International is a champ when it comes to undergraduate medical internships abroad. Labeled as internships, clinical electives, away rotations, service-learning, and global health externships, this program heavily combines all types of health care exposure not just to clinical practices, but also public health, social services, human resources for health, and social determinants of health on a global scale.
Each placement is customized to the intern’s education level, as well as their overall interests and goals. All you have to do is apply to get an idea of the type of placements available that fit your interests. An official partner of the American Medical Student Association, CFHI welcomes students over the age of 20 from all fields and levels of education, and their options range from pediatric care to remote island medicine. Yes, you heard us right— get college credit to work in a clinic on the beach!
What’s So Great about Internships for Premed Students?
Beyonce might not want no scrubs, but you know exactly what you want in life and with your career. Regardless of where or how you intern abroad as a pre-med student, you are embarking down a life-changing and meaningful path, and helping others in the process! So, who’s a scrub now, Bey? There is no better way to get experience than by working with actual health care professionals, and doing it in a global way is the cherry on top of the sundae.
Make the most of your experience abroad and ensure that you’re choosing the right program for you by reading reviews for medical internships for undergraduates, reaching out to program alumni, and, ultimately, comparing your favorite programs with MyGoAbroad. Then, scrub up and hit the ground running!