Colour, adventure and unforgettable new experiences abound in the latest entries in the MDU's elective photo competition.

The MDU mailbox was brimming in 2017 with photos capturing the incredible experiences our student members had on elective – from close encounters of the animal kind and stunning scenery to simply experiencing life through the eyes of the locals.

Here's a selection of just a few of our favourite submissions. If you'd like to share a photograph from your elective (and go in the running to win an £80 Amazon voucher) find out how to enter on our Facebook page or on the MDU website.

elective photo Aishaini Jogarajah

A photo taken in the Valley of Fire State Park in Arizona, USA.

Photo credit: Aishaini Jogarajah

elective photo Andrew Martin

Facing south-west at approximately 4400 metres on Kilimanjaro on the fourth day (of six) of my expedition to the summit reached the next day at 6am. The mountain in the backdrop is Mount Meru, which is 4562m high. I climbed Mt Kilimanjaro in the middle of a six-week placement there with two Germans and two Kiwis that I’d met while working in the nearby KCMC hospital in Moshi. It was a fantastic experience and definitely the highlight of my trip.

Photo credit: Andrew Martin

elective photo Anna Fairclough

A particularly nosy llama at the Big Birds B&B, Waitomo in New Zealand. This hostel had loads of wacky miniature animal breeds – donkeys, horses, even cats, as well as a normal-sized Victoria the Ostrich (hence the Big Birds). In the background of the photo you can just make out the miniature cow and highland cattle being fed by my elective partner. I love this photo because it always reminds me of the many wonderfully unexpected experiences I had on my elective!

Photo credit: Anna Fairclough

elective photo Chloe de Souza

As part of our elective travels in Southern Africa, we did a road trip around Namibia and stopped off at the infamous Dune 7. As the highest dune in the Namib desert, the trek up may be tough but offers absolutely spectacular views at the top. While trekking along the beautiful golden sand, Luke Anderson was unknowingly illuminated by a ray of sunshine which I happened to capture just at the very moment he stepped into the light.

Photo credit: Chloe De Souza

elective photo Davyd Greenish

I took this while exploring the temples in Siem Reap. The monkeys were fascinated by the shutter on the camera, allowing me to photograph their perplexed expressions incredibly close!

Photo credit: Davyd Greenish

elective photo Elysha Malhi

Visiting an elephant carer home in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Trekking through this landscape was more beautiful than we could capture; the people were so friendly and feeding and bathing the elephants was an experience we'll never forget.

Photo credit: Elysha Malhi

elective photo Gurvinder Singh

The title of the picture: 'Reflections'. Location: Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia.

Photo credit: Gurvinder Singh

elective photo Helen Collins

This photo was taken in Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia after a group of us from Newcastle Dental School completed our dental elective in Cusco, Peru. We spent the majority of the day taking photos and playing with the perspective. The juggling photo was my idea and it took quite a few attempts to achieve!

Photo credit: Helen Collins

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elective photo Hugo Beaumont

This photo was taken in Ella, Sri Lanka, on the long walk home after a gruelling trek up Ella Rock. The train track provided the easiest, straightest route home, and as the loud trains move slowly, we weren’t in any danger of being hit. The photo to me captures the essence of Sri Lanka: the hot sun, beautiful landscapes and lush greenery.

Photo credit: Hugo Beaumont

elective photo James Welchman

I spent some of my elective with YWAM medical ships onboard the YWAM PNG, a ship that provides primary care, dentistry and ophthalmology services to remote coastal communities in Papua New Guinea. This photo was taken one morning after sailing into Amazon Bay, Central Province. Many mornings we would have a few curious locals checking out the ship on their canoes.

Photo credit: James Welchman

elective photo Jennifer Bisland

We travelled to the Mayan Jungle from our elective placement with the Red Cross in Cancun. It was an awakening contrast to see that just two hours outside a city with such advanced medical care, the Mayan people, who have no access to doctors or hospitals, relied so heavily on this local man, a practitioner of alternative medicine, the Sacpacal. He is a healer and uses stones and blends of herbs to treat his patients.

Photo credit: Jennifer Bisland

elective photo Jillian McKenna

I spent my elective in Tel Aviv, Israel on an internal medicine rotation. One weekend, I went to Jordan with several other elective students I had met to visit the site of Petra. This photo was taken at the Place of High Sacrifice at sunset, which overlooks one of the Temples of Petra. At the top, we ran into some Bedouins who had hiked up with their donkeys to also admire the changing colours of Petra. It was one of the most beautiful sites I've seen in my life!

Photo credit: Jillian McKenna

elective photo Josh Hinds

This photo was taken in Tangalle, Sri Lanka, where I was fortunate enough to have my elective. Unfortunately we got caught up in the severe flooding that rocked the south-west of the country, and saw rains like nothing I have seen before (and I'm from Manchester!). Fortunately this night the sky was clear, and with very little light pollution, the Milky Way was visible and I was able to capture this rather different 'selfie'.

Photo credit: Josh Hinds

elective photo Joshua Michaels

Akumal Bay, Mexico, watching as turtles drift from the bay into the shore. I stumbled upon this little guy as I was snorkelling a short distance out to sea. He kept peering out from the water to catch a glimpse of beach life. Such tranquil and sociable animals. They were hardly intimidated by me as I swam up to them.

Photo credit: Joshua Michaels

elective photo Liz Pearce

Champagne Pool at the active geothermal area of Wai-o-tapu in Rotorua, New Zealand; so named due to the tiny bubbles seen in the hot pool. I spent my elective in the A&E department and my daily commute took me past steaming pools (and road drains!) with occasional wafts of sulphurous fumes.

Photo credit: Liz Pearce

elective photo Rebecca Griffiths

I took this photograph while scuba diving on the Great Barrier Reef. The dive site was called Castle Rock and was situated on the Agincourt Ribbon Reef. The fish is a type of clown fish, possibly an Amphiprion akindynos.

Photo credit: Rebecca Griffiths

elective photo Rob Willmore

This is a photo taken while on my elective in South Africa. During some down-time from the trauma unit, a few friends and I spent a weekend exploring Drakensberg National Park, a beautiful mountainous region south of Johannesburg. During one of our hikes we came across a beautiful waterfall and took a second to admire the view. Looking down I caught a glimpse of orange... Who would have thought you could find a crab halfway up a mountain at over 2400 metres of altitude?! I slipped my waterproof camera underwater and got this rather fun close-up snap of a Natal River Crab in the bubbles of the waterfall.

Photo credit: Rob Willmore

elective photo Stuart White

'Mountain Gaze - 9 weeks of skiing, mountaineering and trekking in New Zealand, all the while being in awe of the Southern Alps. This photo was towards the end of our time in NZ after our ski elective at Mt Hutt, as we caught the sunrise over Mt Brunner in Mt Cook National Park.

Photo credit: Stuart White

Have you been on elective recently? Did you take a photo that captures the essence and experience of your time there?

The MDU elective photo competition is open to all student members enrolled at a UK medical school. Send your photo, along with a brief description of the scene and location, to

Every two months, our judging panel chooses a winning entry – and rewards the winner with an £80 gift voucher.

For more information on how to enter, visit our website. You can also see all the previous entries and competition winners on our Facebook page.

This page was correct at publication on 15/01/2018. Any guidance is intended as general guidance for members only. If you are a member and need specific advice relating to your own circumstances, please contact one of our advisers.