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How an International Internship Can Boost Your Medical School Application

An internship with Projects Abroad can help students gain new clinical, procedural, and cultural skills in overseas medical facilities

A Projects Abroad intern from the US learns how to examine vital signs on a fellow intern at a medical placement in Vietnam

A Projects Abroad intern from the US learns how to examine vital signs on a fellow intern at a medical placement in Vietnam.

NEW YORK – October 14, 2015 – Applying to medical school is a long and challenging process for students aspiring to be doctors in North America, often lasting a year or more. Careful planning and organization are critical and applicants spend a lot of time participating in activities that will help their resumes stand out from the crowd and demonstrate their commitment to medicine. Projects Abroad, a volunteer organization that has been facilitating medical placements abroad since the mid-90s, has seen thousands of students use an international internship to enhance their applications.

“One of the most important things a student on a medical career path can do is to gain as much clinical and research experience as possible before and during the application process,” comments Christian Clark, Deputy Director of Projects Abroad USA. “Participating on a medical project in a developing country and getting involved in activities like outreaches in rural communities show that you have a passion for medicine and are dedicated to helping others. In addition, you have the added benefit of being able to speak during interviews about the cross-cultural skills you gained and the conditions and treatments you observed overseas.”

Finding the right program can be a potentially stressful experience. Fortunately, Projects Abroad makes the process an easy one from start to finish. Students looking to intern abroad choose from a wide variety of Medicine & Healthcare projects in several different areas, all of which run from one to four weeks or more at any time of the year. Start dates are flexible and participants can choose when they depart and return. Once a student has applied, the organization organizes all the details of the placement, from the medical facility where students will be interning, to accommodation, meals, and insurance.

Projects Abroad also offers short-term trips with fixed dates over spring break every year. Alternative Spring Break Trips, which are scheduled to coincide with the major university breaks, are a great option for pre-med students with busy schedules. These trips take place over one week and each medical-related program offers a comprehensive experience of the field.

Kacie K., a pre-med student majoring in Cognitive Science, traveled to Guadalajara to participate in the Public Health in Mexico Alternative Spring Break Trip. “With my plans to go into the medical field, it is very important for me to have hands-on experience with patients to make sure that health promotion is what I want to go in to,” she said. “During the medical outreaches, each volunteer was paired with a doctor, who assisted us along the way. The medical sheets that we filled out for patients included the patient’s family medical history, daily hygiene, what they eat, their symptoms, and their own medical history. We also took their blood pressure, heart rate, weight, height, BMI and checked their lungs and throat. The doctors helped us come to a diagnosis and decide whether or not the patient needed medicine.”

With a Projects Abroad Medicine & Healthcare internship, not only do students gain new skills to boost their resumes, they also have the opportunity to get involved in community service and learn about a different culture firsthand through living abroad. For more information on interning with Projects Abroad, please visit www.projects-abroad.org/volunteer-projects/medicine-and-healthcare.

About Projects Abroad

Projects Abroad was founded in 1992 by Dr. Peter Slowe, a geography professor, as a program for students to travel and work while on break from full-time study. The program had its genesis in post-USSR Romania, where students were given the chance to teach conversational English. After a few years just sending volunteers to Eastern Europe for teaching, the company expanded to sending volunteers of all ages around the world on a wide range of projects.

Projects Abroad is a global leader in short-term international volunteer programs with projects in 28 countries and recruitment offices in the UK, Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Holland, Hong Kong, Norway, Poland, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden and the United States.

For details on volunteering abroad, visit Projects Abroad’s web site at www.projects-abroad.org.

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