7 Convincing Reasons To Pursue Your Medical Internship Abroad

In the past, an internship abroad was often seen as a luxury and can only be experienced by those with enough time and money.

A Doctor

A Doctor

But, times are changing.

Today, grants and bursaries from charity organizations and colleges are now making the international internship increasingly accessible and affordable to any medical student. Also, internship programs, like Medical Aid, collaborate with an extensive network of private and public hospitals in various countries to provide rewarding, hands-on internship experience for medical students

Read Also: Many US Hospitals Are Depending on Donations for Their Financial Health

But, if you’re thinking twice about getting a medical internship abroad, here are some reasons and benefits to convince you of pursuing an international internship:

  1. Expand Your World View

By doing an international internship, you’ll be able to experience and perceive the different ways other countries provide healthcare. It’ll challenge all the skills and beliefs that you’ve acquired in your home country, whether you’re assisting in a rural African clinic with limited medical resources or mixing ancient herbal medicines in Thailand.

You’ll develop a new empathy for the cultural differences, traditions, and ways of medical practice that sit outside of or directly opposite your medical learnings. As you become more grateful for what you have access to in your home country, you can also start challenging yourself and developing professionally.

  1. Work With Diverse People

You’ll be meeting a broad network of people during a medical internship abroad—from fellow international students you’ll live with, to specialists you’re going to shadow and learn from, to the different patients you’ll interact with every day in the hospital. It’ll surely be a diverse experience.

You’ll learn how to interact with people from all walks of life, sharing memories with them that’ll last a lifetime. Also, the connections that you make with these people can contribute to or lay the foundation for your broad network of professionals.

  1. Develop Interpersonal Skills

If being a college student hasn’t helped you with your confidence yet, then, an international internship definitely will.

Deciding to intern abroad is a huge step out of your comfort zone and allows your interpersonal skills to develop significantly. You have the chance to improve your awareness of the world, as well as develop your communication skills to be able to interact confidently with colleagues daily.

Also, you’ll develop your problem-solving skills, and become more independent and adaptable. By the time you return home, you’ll be a more confident person who can handle the real-world challenges of the medical field.

  1. Easy Transitioning To The Workplace

Speaking of handling real-world challenges, employers often remark that new graduates are lacking key social skills. Young medical professionals have theory and knowledge transferred to them through universities and colleges, however, they still need to work on how to integrate into the working environment.

Thus, there’s arguably no better solution than taking up an international medical internship. As mentioned before, interning abroad can help develop your interpersonal and soft skills. It allows you to improve your awareness and experience the real world first-hand. The gained experience allows young professionals to be comfortable in the workplace in a short amount of time.

  1. Boost Your Resume

In general, all medical interns are expected to complete various tasks in a clinic or hospital setting under the supervision of a mentor. However, working as an intern abroad can help set you apart from others since you’ll learn to meet the expectations of the healthcare setting in a different country than your own.

Since the systems and practices vary from one country to another, your global perspective and experience will be a valuable asset in your career and an impactful element on your CV. Employers highly favor graduates with international internship experience, immediately distinguishing you from other young, new graduates.

Read Also: Heart Surgery Abroad: Congenital Heart Defects Cost of Treatment

  1. Learn A New Language

Living abroad, regardless of how long, is the perfect chance to improve or learn new language skills. You don’t have to enroll in expensive language classes, by simply participating in an international internship, you can immerse yourself in the language you’re trying to learn.

For instance, if you want to get better at Spanish, you commit to really learning the language by interning abroad where Spanish is the mother tongue. You can practice and study the language every day, watching local TV programs and news, and hearing native speakers use it to communicate every day in both formal and informal settings.

This immersion process can expedite your fluency much faster than learning and studying the language in a classroom for a couple of semesters. Plus, you’ll have much more fun in the process.

  1. Explore New Places

An international internship isn’t just about working all the time. While your primary focus is to work and develop your medical skills, you can still schedule your weekends for traveling and exploring new destinations. You’re not just another tourist who’ll be gone in a few weeks, but a traveler who’ll be in constant touch with the locals for months or even a year.

You’ll be able to visit local markets, understand various lifestyles and cultures, binge on local cuisine, and explore heritage sites and other popular destinations. You’ll also have the chance to visit remote villages and areas and see the hidden wonders and beauty of their own. If you can, you’ll also have the chance to check out the neighboring cities or even countries.

Preparing For International Internship: 4 Tips To Consider

So, if you’re finally convinced that an international internship is worth every doubt and fear, here are some tips when preparing for an international internship to, at least, minimize the stress:

  1. Polish Your Resume

The first thing you need to do to prepare for an internship abroad is to make yourself the best candidate you can be. Your CV or resume is the very first impression of you that international internship organizers or potential employers receive.

This single (or double) page needs to speak volumes about who you are, what you’ve done, and what you’re hoping to achieve through the international medical internship. If you’re unsure how to polish your resume, the Internet offers lots of resources and resume tips to secure an international internship.

  1. Find The Right Country

If you wish to experience a specific culture or are already homed in on a language, then, choosing a country to intern in will be a no-brainer. However, there are certain aspects, such as safety and living costs, that’ll influence your internship outcome and time abroad. In general, however, developing nations offer the best opportunities for medical interns.

With that said, some of the best destination countries for medical interns include:

  • Nepal

This small, beautiful country in the Himalayans will give you a chance to learn firsthand about the most basic healthcare systems in a developing country.

  • Czech Republic

Getting a pre-medical internship in the Czech Republic will give you a unique look into the universal healthcare model while working into the nitty-gritty of real-world medical work. This means you’ll experience a lot of growth and work closely with mentors.

  • Philippines

Like Nepal, the Philippines is a third-world country and there’s a striking disparity in the distribution of health resources. This gives you a lot of opportunities to grow and think on your feet in a place where there aren’t enough health workers to go around.

Read Also: Wrongful Death From Medical Negligence: 4 Things To Know

  1. Unpaid Vs Paid Internship

Your financial burdens can be reduced significantly by choosing a paid medical internship. Depending on the country you choose, there are various laws about payments for trainees, interns, and working students. While interns aren’t paid as much as local, full-time employees, a small allowance or stipend can help you tremendously.

Some employers also factor in room rentals or shared accommodations for interns and even provide a small meal allowance.

If you’re okay with an unpaid medical internship, then, you’ll have more choices. Social work centers, non-profit organizations, and other organizations without high-profiting business models don’t pay interns. While there’s no monetary benefit, you can get a more meaningful experience by learning and volunteering for a cause that you’re passionate about.

  1. Think How Long

So, how long should you stay in a foreign country and intern?  There are two common factors to determine the intern period—comfort and university graduation.

If you’re in the midst of your studies, then, you need to speak to your professors and program directors to find out how you can adjust your courses. Extending the time you’re away simply means you’ll graduate a little later than your peers. If this isn’t a problem, then, you can go for a longer international internship. The international work experience and cultural exposure will surely be worth your time and become a valuable asset for your future.

Now, if you’re someone who gets homesick pretty quickly, then, there are internships that often last a month or two, and, then, they just continue in their respective home countries afterward.

Ideally, international internships should last at least three to six months in order for them to be meaningful. This should provide you with enough time to learn about medical work and build a social network.

Read Also: Moroccan Healthcare: Foreign Doctors Can Now Practice Medicine in Morocco


An international internship is a once-in-a-lifetime experience you won’t regret. Although leaving the comforts of your home and moving to a foreign place for months or years isn’t an easy choice, you’ll thank yourself for the experience in the long term.

Moreover, it shall help you discover yourself and develop personally and professionally while opening your eyes to the industry from a global perspective!

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