Program Deposit Payment
Summer 2023 and Winter 2023/24 Healthcare Internships Abroad
Suite 300 #2080
Washington, DC 20016
United States of America
Frequently Asked Questions
How is IMA different from other internship or study abroad programs?
With IMA, you have designated mentors and support available to you 24 hours a day looking after your needs. You are provided with a structured schedule of lectures, hospital rounds, community outreach, and clinical work. Your transportation is taken care of by our private drivers, and your personal safety is our priority at all times.
What are the requirements to participate in an IMA program?
IMA focuses our programs on students who are in the pre-health phase of their education or are actively in medical, nursing, dental, or physician assistant programs. We have found that our most successful internships come from those who are actively involved in a health-based education program, who have completed physician shadowing or medical volunteer programs at home, and who are capable of communicating what motivates them towards a career in healthcare.
How does an IMA internship abroad help me get into medical school?
Medical schools like to see that their candidates have gone the extra mile towards learning as much as they can about the medical profession. This is proven to them through volunteer work, working in the medical field prior to their pursuit or a medical degree, or the pursuit of opportunities that allow them to learn more about the field of medicine. An IMA internship gives an opportunity to shadow medical professionals in both the best and worst of environments. It helps you gain resourcefulness and a true realization of the importance of medical care throughout the world.
Are there any residency or citizenship requirements?
While we are an American based organization, we work with volunteers from around the world and do not have any citizenship or residency requirements.
When can I go?
All of our programs operate from May to February and internship positions often fill up months in advance. You may view current Program Dates and Fees on our website.
How long should I go?
Most students participate in our programs for four to six weeks. We recommend that students complete programs that are at least two weeks long. Students seeking to gain exposure in several departments and/or specialties should consider spending at least four weeks in country.
Where does my money go?
International Medical Aid is a not-for-profit organization based in the United States. Your Program Fee is used to cover costs associated with your placement including arranging housing, transportation, food, mentor salaries, hospital fees and administrative costs. The remaining revenue is used to fund IMA’s Global Humanitarian Initiatives. This unique model allows us to continue providing vital medical aid to targeted communities in a sustainable way without reliance on outside donors.
What does your program fee include? Will there be additional registration fees? What other expenses should I plan for?
IMA’s Program Fees are inclusive of all in-country expenses; including accommodations, chef-prepared meals, placement related transportation, hospital fees, travel insurance, and unlimited wifi access; allowing interns to more confidently study abroad and enjoy their experience. Program Fees do not include international airfare.
Do you provide accident and medical evacuation insurance for interns?
In the case of an accident or a life-threatening illness, it is important for volunteers to have proper insurance coverage. A medical evacuation from a developing country could cost upwards of $100,000. IMA provides each of our interns $1,000,000 of accident and medical evacuation insurance at no additional cost. Please note that this coverage is extended as a courtesy and we still recommend that all students carry comprehensive health insurance, professional liability insurance (if needed) and trip cancellation and trip interruption coverage.
What will I be allowed to do in the hospital?
International Medical Aid strictly adheres to the Association of American Medical Colleges’ Guidelines for Premedical and Medical Students Providing Patient Care During Clinical Experiences Abroad. We recommend that all prospective applicants review this information before applying. In succinct terms, our participants will not be allowed to do anything in our programs abroad that they would not be permitted to do in the United States or Europe. Our Pre-Medical/Pre-Health students will be strictly observing patient care and will have the opportunity to shadow the management of complex diseases that are not often found in the United States. Participants will gain experiential exposure to the differing healthcare delivery models found around the world, and will often be involved in IMA’s mobile medical clinics and humanitarian outreach programs. Additionally, our local physician mentors regularly conduct seminars on region specific topics in global medicine.
What does a typical work day look like for program participants?
Interns will typically spend 6-8 hours in the hospital and have down time in the afternoons for activities and local excursions. Interns are welcome to participate in one night shift per week as well. Weekends are free for excursions or treks; alternatively, you are welcome to work in the hospital on the weekends. Once admitted, you will work closely with your Program Mentor to develop your program schedule. You may view a sample programs schedule by clicking here.
What kind of patient interaction can I expect if I am limited to shadowing?
Your patient interaction will be limited by the medical personnel you are shadowing and how much training and experience you have. You will neither be asked nor expected to do anything you have not been trained to do prior to your experience abroad. Everyone comes into this journey with different training. Your peers might be able to do more because they have the experience and training to do so. For example, if you have not been trained to draw blood, you will not be asked or expected to do so whereas one of your peers might work as a phlebotomist and will be asked and expected to help with blood draws regularly. There are some volunteer opportunities while on your journey that can provide you with more interaction, like teaching children how to brush their teeth or improve their hygiene. Everyone’s experience differs.
How can I get the most out of my shadowing experience?
The best way to get everything you can out of your shadowing experience is to ask a lot of questions and to keep a journal. Asking questions can serve more than one purpose: it can get you answers and it can help you bond with the doctor who you are shadowing. Any relationships you can cultivate with members of the healthcare profession can serve you well later, as these are the same people who will be writing you letters of recommendation for medical school. The journal you keep can remind you of the details of your observations during your volunteer internship.
What departments will I work in?
We generally start our volunteer interns in the Emergency Department, as this is the busiest part of the hospital. It is where most of the admissions come from, and can provide you the most rounded experience of what practicing medicine is all about. The second traditional rotation is in the maternity department. If your stay goes beyond two weeks, then we will work to place you in a department that mirrors your career aspirations. We offer rotations in anesthesiology, cardiology, epidemiology, general surgery, internal medicine, pediatrics, orthopedics, and other specialties.
If I shadow a surgeon, what kind of experience can I expect?
If you choose surgery as an area of interest and shadow a surgeon during your time with us, you will have the opportunity to observe surgery while standing just a few feet away. You will not be taught procedures, nor will you be expected to perform any. However, for an aspiring surgeon, this shadowing experience can provide you with the knowledge that it is the right specialty for you.
What kind of challenges might I encounter that don't happen in hospitals and clinics at home?
The greatest challenge you may encounter would be a lack of supplies or equipment for diagnostics. This is where you will see medical care at its most basic. This is where a lot of our interns discover the most rewarding experiences. Seeing how doctors operate in the most drastic conditions can be the most rewarding of experiences.
What types of educational experiences can I expect beyond shadowing?
As part of the program, you will be attending lectures and simulations throughout your rotations in the morning hours and participating in medical and hygiene clinics during the afternoons.
What is the structure of your programs? Will there be in-country support? Will my family back home have a single point of contact in case of emergencies?
Interning in a foreign country can be a rewarding and life-changing experience but it can also be quite challenging. It is important for interns to assure their chosen organization provides structured experiences with ample local support. For families and loved ones back home, it is equally important that such organizations provide a single-point of contact that can be reached in case of an emergency. IMA’s programs balance structure with ample local guidance and 24-hour, U.S.-based support for interns and their loved ones.
How are flight arrangements handled?
Most interns prefer to book their own flights. However, our team in the United States can assist with your flight bookings at no additional cost. If you would like us to help, please let us know and we will take care of the bookings on your behalf.
What is your post-exposure protocol? Will there be post-exposure prophylaxis kits readily available? Are these kits included in the program fee?
The risk of exposure to infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS is often greater when working in parts of the developing world. Volunteers must assure that prospective organizations have established protocols in place in the event of exposure. IMA is committed to the safety of our interns and has developed stringent protocols and training programs, which work to minimize the risk of exposure. In the case of exposure, IMA has physicians on-call 24 hours a day to provide timely PEP at no expense to our volunteers.
What vaccinations will I need for trips to East Africa?
As for the pre-trip vaccinations and medications for malaria prophylaxis, we recommend that you consult your primary care physician or a travel medicine specialist for detailed information. We also recommend reviewing the CDC Health Information for Traveler’s to Kenya. If you or your doctor have any questions once you have examined this document, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.