Get in Touch
High School Special volunteers pose for a photo after a medical outreach at a school in Kenya

Medical Volunteering for High School Students

All you need to know about our international medical programs

By Isabel Silva | 28th February, 2019
Updated on 01st November, 2023

What makes our medical volunteer opportunities for high school students special?


What are the goals of our summer medical volunteer programs for high school students?

Our Medicine internships for high school students are designed for teenagers in mind. They aim to do the following:

  • Teach you basic medical skills and give you first-hand insight into what life is like as a medical professional
  • Provide opportunities to intern in a medical facility in various departments while living in a new country
  • Show how medical professionals diagnose and treat patients
  • Teach you about the different healthcare challenges patients face and how medical professionals work with limited resources.
  • Spread awareness about medical issues and healthy lifestyles
  • Help you decide which areas of medicine you want to pursue in the future

What will you do on a medical internship abroad?

There are a variety of medical internships available for High School students. They all provide medical training and allow you to learn about local hospitals and outreach work. However they have different areas of focus. You can choose from:

Medicine and Healthcare - Gain experience in a hospital setting 

Dentistry - Shadow dentists at their surgery

Public Health - Visit different locations and communities to provide healthcare. 

Physiotherapy - Shadow physiotherapists at hospitals and spinal injury centers.

Here are a few of the things you and other high school students will experience at your medical placement overseas:

1. Gain experience and learn basic medical skills before college

Students lean how to take HIV tests

The first step to become a doctor, nurse, or any other medical professional is to learn the basics. As part of our medical work experience abroad for teenagers, you’ll learn directly from professionals. They’ll teach you basic skills during workshops and you’ll shadow them as they treat patients in medical facilities or the community.

Some of the valuable skills you’ll learn include:

  • Measuring vitals, such as blood pressure and blood sugar levels
  • Administering injections and stitches
  • Providing first aid care and support
  • Disease and illness prevention

While you’re shadowing medical staff, you might have the chance to observe various medical procedures. In some of our programs, you might:

  • Observe surgeries, such as abdominal, ENT, dental, or open-heart surgery
  • Observe C-sections and natural births
  • Shadow medical professionals during ambulance night shifts
  • Assist with eye tests and use the x-ray machine 

Learning is only a small part of the process. And we offer more. We’ll give you the opportunity to practice your new skills. You could give injections to oranges, practice stitching on pig skin, or measure blood pressure at community healthcare outreaches.

“Honestly, I always said blood or raw wounds didn’t bother me but at the same time I didn’t really know if it did or didn’t bother me. In the clinics that we were put in, I was exposed to flesh wounds and blood and I really got to know myself and I discovered I could handle blood. I learned so many things within the clinic and during our workshop lessons. Things like how to stitch, what type of stitches to use, and how to give injections, which we did on a piece of fruit and a pig leg.”

- Faith L, Medicine in Peru

2. Assist doctors and nurses on outreaches to improve access to healthcare

For us, it’s important that we make a positive impact in the communities we work. For this reason, you’ll get to assist doctors at various community healthcare outreaches.

Many of the communities in which we work don’t have the necessary funds or transport to seek medical care. Without regular screening, illness could go undetected until symptoms become severe. Your participation in our summer medical volunteer programs helps provide free basic medical services to communities in need.

You’ll help with routine health checks under supervision of medical professionals. You’ll use the skills you and the other high school students learned in your international medical internship workshops

In 2018, our interns helped local healthcare staff screen over 7,650 people!

Other medical initiatives included health checks for 1,130 children, elderly and disabled people in Cambodia.

With all the information you’ll gather, doctors can refer patients to seek further treatment.

"My favourite part of my medical placement was the ability to talk to the doctors; whether it was explaining a patient’s situation, or helping me to figure out how to do the perfect stitch. Every day was different and this made my experience so much more interesting and helped solidify my desire to pursue a medical degree."

- Kaylie E, Medicine High School Special in Argentina

3. Participate in awareness campaigns to spread the word about disease prevention and more

As mentioned above, you’ll learn all about the diseases and illnesses that are prevalent in the country you’ll work in. You’ll use the knowledge you’ve learned during your medical project to create awareness campaigns with the other high school students. These campaigns are important aspects of the project as they educate communities on disease. You'll share information about causes, symptoms and treatments for these various common illnesses.

This awareness work will increase general well being of the local community. And there’s no limit to the information you can share!

You can teach children effective teeth brushing techniques. You can talk to students about preventing diabetes and other non-communicable diseases through a healthy diet and exercise. You'll help people learn how to avoid mosquito-borne diseases like malaria, and actively remove mosquito breeding grounds. Any information you share will improve quality of life.

As part of the awareness work last summer, our interns:

  • Inspected 126 family homes in Jamaica and Sri Lanka and eradicate mosquito breeding grounds
  • Distributed dengue fever information leaflets to 500 community members in Sri Lanka
  • Removed potential mosquito breeding grounds along 5 main roads in Sri Lanka
  • Presented at public health conferences in the Philippines

4. Have the time of your life!

Last but not least, you’ll share this experience with other high school students from all over the world. This is a great opportunity to make new friends and build up an international network of future medical professionals.

We do more than just organize an internship with like-minded people, we also make sure you get to explore the country! Our great staff will prepare:

  • Social activities
  • Cultural events
  • A weekend trip

Depending on where you intern, these can include safaris through national parks, a day at famous temples like Angkor Wat, or a trek to find the most beautiful waterfalls. You may even get to try your hand at salsa, learn how to make Chinese dumplings, or spend the day in a traditional Maasai village. We want you to truly embrace cultural exchange!

"Overall, my time in Ghana was the best month of my life and I made friends I hope to never lose. The experience I gained in the medical field was invaluable and it solidified my desire to go into a medical profession. I hope to return to Cape Coast next summer to visit the many friends I made there, and I also hope to continue volunteering with Projects Abroad. I encourage anyone interested to consider going to Ghana. Who knows? It could quite possibly change your life."

-Victoria, Medicine High School Special in Ghana

These programs will help you decide if a medical career is something you truly want. It’ll push you in the right direction while allowing you to be a part of something bigger: our efforts to improve healthcare in developing countries. And you'll achieve it through the support of our helpful staff and volunteers from around the world.

Are you ready to discover what you’re capable of ? Take a look through our High School Special Projects to decide which one is the best fit for you.

Enquire Now

If you'd like more information about our medical projects and high school special trips, contact one of our team today!

Fields marked with * are compulsory!

Share this article:

Don't forget to spread the word and let us know what you think on Facebook and Twitter!

Want to know more about our Medicine internships for high school students abroad?

Get in touch with our Projects Experts. They'll be happy to answer any questions you may have.

(+1) 619 320 2424

Our accreditations