Working/Volunteering Abroad - Suggestions Wanted

I’m just finishing up my post-bacc - if I live thru O-Chem I’ll be done in a few weeks. (Yipee!) Then I’ll be beginning my “lag” year (while I apply) and am trying to figure out how I want to spend that time. Ideally, I’d like to work abroad in some medical environment. My main problem is that most of the international opportunities are “volunteer” and are pretty expensive to get involved in. Can anyone recommend specific organizations for either paid entry-level positions abroad, or volunteer programs that are reasonable or subsidized? Thanks for your help.

Congratulations on your near completion of pre-reqs. Here are some websites - you can easily find others via google (may take some time to filter through the massive number of hits). Hope you find these helpful…

Oh yeah, I thought of another resource you could tap into:
I gathered from another post that you are completing your courses at Columbia - You should feel free to inquire about volunteer work and/or paid work at their offices of international health or school of public health or international studies or something similar. Maybe some prof is looking for a research aid at an offsite location??
Also, don’t forget to visit the career services offices and ask for binders/websites/resources that you could use to find a short-term international posting, etc. Sorry this is rushed… But, I hope you get the gist.

Excellent ideas! Thanks!

You could try government or international health agencies. There might be short term internships or fellowships that you can apply for. (WHO for example)

Do you know what part of the world you want to work in? If you speak any foreign languages, that would be helpful.
And does it have to be paid? If you can provide the airfare and spending money yourself, there are lots of volunteer opportunities that will give you food and a place to stay. Here is the problem: these opportunities might not be strictly medical. I think it’s more common to find hospital volunteers in wealthy countries. And where medical help really IS needed they want doctors and nurses. But there are orphanages and community organizing projects in a lot of countries, if those sound interesting to you. If you can raise part of the money, you can get involved.
I think where it gets expensive is when you want to go with a formal program. On the other hand, if you identify a “sector” that you want to work in, and make a few contacts, you can come up with your own project where all you’ll pay for is the basics, no program fee.

Hi Mdmd,
Congrats on almost finishing your prereqs. I’m almost starting my prereqs and I am so excited/nervous. Anyhow, I think this definitely can be done, you just really need to be proactive about it. I knew a guy who arranged do some sort of elective during his residency in South Africa. He said it’s pretty unusual but not that hard, you just really need to do your own legwork. You might also try calling some organization (like Doctors without Borders or hte Peace Corps) that you know don’t have a position for you, but might know some other organization that could use your services. Good luck!