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Doctors without Borders and Projects Abroad Comparison

Many volunteers and interns ask us, "How is Doctors without Borders different from Projects Abroad?" Projects Abroad is not affiliated with Doctors without Borders. There are several important differences between Projects Abroad and Doctors without Borders.

Doctors without Borders is a medical humanitarian organization that delivers emergency medical aid to people affected by armed conflict, epidemics, natural disasters, and exclusion from healthcare. The organization recruits medical and other professionals to care for and treat people in crisis around the world.

Projects Abroad has a different focus. We offer pre-med and medical students the chance to learn directly from doctors in medical facilities abroad. Our Medicine & Healthcare internships and Medical School Electives help individuals learn about medical practices in a non-emergency context. They also get an insight into the healthcare challenges people face around the world. We also offer placements for medical professionals interested in volunteering abroad.

Differences between Doctors without Borders and Projects Abroad

A medical student doing an internship as an alternative to Doctors without Borders learns to suture

There are a number of important differences between Projects Abroad and Doctors without Borders.

  • Requirements: Doctors without Borders requires you to be skilled and qualified. Generally, you need to be a doctor, nurse, logistician, or water-sanitation expert with at least two years of experience. Our Medicine & Healthcare programs are open to students from the age of 16 up. The majority of our programs focus on learning and observation, so we don't  require previous medical experience.
  • Context: Doctors without Borders brings medical care to areas where the need is greatest. These areas are often caught in crisis such as armed conflict, natural disasters, and endemic disease. Projects Abroad does not work in crisis or emergency contexts.  We only work in in stable situations monitored by our full-time, trained staff.
  • Timeline: Doctors without Borders processes applications in several months. An assignment generally lasts nine-to-twelve months for most professions. Projects Abroad accepts applications in several weeks and an assignment generally lasts anywhere between two-to-eight weeks.

Doing a Program like Doctors without Borders 

A medical student examines x-rays with a doctor in Vietnam during his internship abroad

If you are interested in doing a program like Doctors without Borders, but lack the necessary qualifications and experience, we recommend a medical internship. Learn directly from doctors abroad and work under close supervision at community outreaches.

We offer programs in various medical fields, such as General Medicine, Nursing, Public Health, Physical Therapy, and more. You can also explore the countries where we work.

Here are the programs we recommend for specific age groups and levels of qualifications:

If you have questions about pursuing an experience like Doctors without Borders, get in touch with our Program Advisor. They can help you select the program that best fits your goals, interests, and skills. You can also read reviews from our former Medicine & Healthcare interns.

"I had many life changing experiences in the hospital and expanded upon my current medical knowledge, learning things that I can bring back to America and help me tremendously. To be able to have had these experiences before I even graduate college is amazing and I am certain that I want to pursue a career in medicine."

Jenna Cosentino 
Medicine and Healthcare, Medicine in the Philippines
Explore how volunteering abroad and interning abroad works with Projects Abroad.

Experience: Over 20 years of organizing overseas volunteer projects.

Flexibility: You choose your start date.

Variety: hundreds of worthwhile projects to choose from.

Support: Full-time staff close-by in every destination.

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