Medical internships have been around for years. Every year, countless medical interns from the United States are deployed to countries with less capable healthcare systems to learn and experience working in various settings.
This collaboration is one of the best global health initiatives examples, with private and public sectors working together to address general and specific health issues. International medical missions also fall under these activities.
An internship abroad can help you as an aspiring medical practitioner in several ways. Find out how by reading the rest of this article.
Why Do A Medical Internship Abroad?
Health is a basic need. Unfortunately, not all countries can establish and maintain robust healthcare systems to combat infectious and preventable diseases. Global health initiatives (GHIs) are formed to address public health concerns.
Global health initiatives aim to build and strengthen a country’s capability to effectively handle diseases like malaria, tuberculosis, acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), and, more recently, COVID-19.
Preventive measures help lower mortality and morbidity rates, including immunizations, information drives, strengthening human resources, health promotion, etc. These campaigns require motivated and capable individuals who can assist local practitioners in fulfilling specific roles.
Participating in various global health initiatives is a good entry point for individuals who want to experience overseas medical internships. Organizations like International Medical Aid offer such internships where participants can learn more about their field and improve their skills and capacities.
1. An Internship Abroad Lets You Experience Working in Another Setting
Healthcare systems and practices vary from country to country. You’ll earn valuable experience observing how doctors, nurses, midwives, and other professionals provide vital services—especially with limited resources.
Whether assigned to assist in an impoverished community clinic in Peru or an urban hospital in Kenya, you will better understand how best to handle specific situations most sensibly.
2. An Internship Abroad Provides Insightful Lessons
While an intern, you’ll be working with qualified and experienced professionals. Grab the opportunity to absorb whatever practical knowledge you can get from them, especially the ones that aren’t typically taught in school. Even if the healthcare system in your home country operates differently, take time to ask questions and analyze how you can apply your learnings and experience after completing your stint.
3. An Internship Abroad Helps You Decide Your Career Path With Confidence
Several career paths are available in the medical sector. As such, it’s challenging to determine a career choice without gaining first-hand experience. With an overseas internship, you’ll have a chance to wear different hats. For instance, you may be assigned to provide hygiene promotion or first aid training to children and communities.
By taking on different tasks, you’ll know which healthcare issues you want to address and determine which medical specialization to pursue.
4. An Internship Abroad Boosts Your Soft and Hard Skills
Enhancing your hard and soft skills is vital regardless of whether you pursue a medical career or another profession. A medical internship abroad teaches you to leave your comfort zone and discover more about yourself.
- Practical Skills: As an overseas medical intern, you can apply theories and concepts in challenging and unfamiliar situations.
- Interpersonal Skills: You’ll have to deal with people from different backgrounds, beliefs, and cultures, which will help improve your communication and interpersonal skills.
- Problem-Solving Skills: Working with experienced medical professionals abroad improves your problem-solving abilities, an opportunity that may not be available in your home country.
- Confidence: Living alone in another country teaches you to trust in yourself and enables you to test your abilities.
Developing these traits is necessary for becoming a successful medical professional.
5. An Internship Abroad Expands Your Personal and Professional Network
An overseas internship lets you meet different types of medical professionals and students with whom you can connect for personal and professional purposes. These connections can be highly beneficial once you obtain your license and seek employment.
If your internship experience has profoundly impacted you, consider returning to your host country to work in a different capacity.
6. An Internship Abroad Exposes You To Different Customs and Cultures
Traveling has several benefits. It provides a sense of adventure, helps you gain invaluable life lessons, and contributes positively to your physical and mental well-being. While an internship abroad isn’t necessarily all play, you can always find the time to explore the place and experience local culture, food, and customs.
An overseas medical internship provides opportunities to learn invaluable life and career lessons. As an intern, you get to experience working in a different setting and gain skills and knowledge you can use as you embark on a rewarding, exciting, and challenging path as a medical professional.