Volunteer in Hospitals Abroad

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A Guide to Volunteering Abroad in Hospitals

Volunteering in hospitals abroad is a wonderful real-life opportunity to gain hands on experience in the medical field. Volunteer work in hospitals can range anywhere from pediatrics to physical therapy to mental health counseling and general patient assistance, meaning almost anyone can find a placement and contribute to the inner workings of hospitals abroad.

Why Volunteer Abroad in Hospitals

Being in good health is invaluable, so volunteering in hospitals abroad is an ideal way to gain work experience while helping people with some of the most important and pressing needs. Medical staff members are highly regarded in most countries, so volunteers are well respected and admired by patients. Additionally, since volunteers will interact with locals daily, they can expect to make genuine connections and get to know the local way of life.

Unfortunately, people will always be sick or need medical attention and care, so volunteer work in hospitals will always be needed around the world. The silver lining of this is that people who are interested in volunteering in hospitals will always have opportunities available.

Volunteering abroad in hospitals gives aspiring medical professionals an edge when applying to medical school or future jobs. Whether you are new to the medical field or have been in it for a while, experience volunteer work in hospitals abroad is an irreplaceable addition to your resume. Comparing different health systems throughout the world will provide medical professionals with knowledge that will better prepare them to care for their patients in the future.


Countries in Africa, South America, and Southeast Asia are in the most need of international volunteers in hospital settings, as these regions are most susceptible to major health issues, disease outbreaks, and illnesses. However, countries in Europe are also in need of volunteers in hospitals as well. Volunteering in hospitals abroad, and stepping outside of your home country, will no doubt provide you with new insight into alternative medical practices and healthcare systems.

South Africa is one of the top countries that seeks international volunteers to work in local hospitals. This is due to the fact that HIV and AIDS have been a very prominent and widespread issue within the local population for several decades. Those who volunteer in hospitals in South Africa can expect their work to surround issues related to HIV and AIDS, whether providing treatment to patients or creating awareness, education, and prevention campaigns to educate communities about the spread of the illness.

Peru is another top location for volunteering in hospitals abroad. Since Peru is made up of many rural areas, volunteers are often placed in less developed medical facilities. Volunteer work in hospitals in Peru will therefore be a great opportunity for volunteers from developed countries to be exposed to more impoverished communities that lack basic health care.

Cambodia is a main country of concern for medical professionals seeking volunteer work in hospitals abroad, especially considering the average life expectancy for both males and females is under seventy years of age. Much of the country is severely underdeveloped, so volunteer work in hospitals located in Cambodia will cover all aspects of hospital services.

Many doctors in the United States and Western Europe now come from India. This is due to the fact that the country has experienced economic growth recently, which has coincidently stirred the development of many medical facilities. However, despite this positive growth, volunteers are still deeply needed to work in hospitals in India, especially when you consider that one in every five new tuberculosis cases in the world is diagnosed in India. Volunteers have the opportunity to be placed in either rural or urban hospitals in India, where they may be exposed to the use of both traditional and western medicine.

As a European country of choice, Croatia is a good place to volunteer abroad in hospitals considering it has long held universal healthcare coverage. Primary health issues in Croatia include cardiovascular diseases, obesity, and cancer. Volunteering in hospitals in Croatia will expose volunteers to a unique healthcare system, as well as modern treatment practices and medical facilities. With its close proximity to other European countries, volunteers may consider visiting other countries as well.

Volunteer Work in Hospitals

Volunteers can be held accountable for many different tasks but some of these might include shadowing medical professionals, assisting with clerical and administrative work, or teaching health education classes.

Shadowing current medical professionals is the main area of volunteer work in hospitals abroad. Since first-hand learning is almost always the best way to come across current issues, witnessing it in the field is a priceless experience. Medical professionals will act as mentors to volunteers throughout their time volunteering in hospitals abroad.

Volunteers with extended health care experience or a medical degree may even get the chance to directly diagnose and treat patients, which includes prescribing medication. These volunteers will have the chance to dive deep into their field and establish stronger connections in the community at the same time.

People new to the medical field can get their foot in the door by helping with administrative tasks, such as filling out paperwork, scheduling, and helping with patient intake.

Hospitals can be a daunting place to work, in any country, so volunteers working in hospitals should be prepared for just about anything. Every shift, placement, and hospital is different, so volunteers should do their research on what type of experience and placement is best for them.

Volunteer work in hospitals abroad can last anywhere between one week to one year (or longer!). It is most beneficial to spend as much time volunteering in hospitals abroad as you can, so you can have maximum exposure to the field and the local health care practices.

Most volunteer programs in developing countries that place volunteers in hospitals do not require any previous experience, although some basic knowledge of the field is preferred (either academically or professionally). On the other hand, more developed countries will most likely require some previous medical or healthcare experience. Depending on the country where you are volunteering abroad, you may also need some background knowledge of the native language.

GoAbroad Insider Tips

Stand Out From The Crowd: Volunteering in hospitals abroad provides individuals with a competitive edge in the medical field. Experience in different medical and health systems is a great professional asset to have when returning home or going to work in another country.

Make A Connection: Alongside professional experience, volunteers can also expect personal growth while working within local communities. Whether working with the same patients day after day or treating new ones each day, hospital volunteers will be able to foster relationships with locals and sometimes get to know them on a deeper level.

Academic Relevance: Some volunteer work in hospitals abroad may even provide academic credit for your hours, depending on where you are earning your degree, so volunteers should check with their home university to see if credit is possible. Regardless of credit, volunteers will be able to use their real life experience volunteering in hospitals abroad and relate it to their academic work back at home; it’s a win-win!

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A Guide To
Volunteering Abroad in Hospitals


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