Whatever you want your elective to be, the key is to think and plan ahead - and most importantly, dream big! Alexa Cunningham from The Electives Network offers some advice.
Going on your elective can be a once in a lifetime experience. It can change how you practice medicine, influence your choice of specialty, and for some it can reshape their view of the world.
Luckily, as an MDU student member you are not on your own. The MDU has been partnering with The Electives Network (TEN) for the last fifteen years to help students plan their electives.
The Electives Network is an amazing online resource, which allows you to search through a database of over 2,800 placements in over 150 countries. It's a unique facility set up by a medical student for medical students, and contains case studies, feedback and funding advice alongside numerous other benefits tailored to help you.
The elective you choose is an opportunity to tailor your student experience and get a leg up on the applications you will have to write in the future. So when you start planning, do everything you can to make your elective tailored to your own interests and your own unique skills.
Think carefully about what your priorities are; do you want to focus on location, specialty or cost? Or are you looking to incorporate a particular experience into your elective? Many students think about doing some activities like trekking, skiing, diving or mountain climbing whilst on their elective. Have a look at the 'Something Different' section on The Electives Network website and read through the case studies to get some interesting ideas.
TEN's interactive planner can help you to search within the date range you would like to go, and for placements that provide your preferred specialty. You will be able to browse through some of the most renowned hospitals in the world, or even find a hidden gem.
Find out about the healthcare system in countries you are interested in and, above all, make sure that your universities permit students to travel to that location. It's always a good idea to check that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office states that the particular areas you are planning to travel to are safe.
Try to make a list of places you would like to go, specialties you might want to do further on in your career. Think creatively and think big! Medicine has a role in most walks of life, so if you want to work in a Hollywood film studio, visit Everest base camp, or practice sports medicine at a World Cup, you can…with the right planning, resources and amount of time!