Medical volunteering and internship programs are an excellent way to learn about medical and healthcare practices abroad while also gaining valuable experience to boost your studies or career.

What you can do on a medical or healthcare program abroad

Depending on your background and qualifications, as well as program needs and availability, there's a wide variety of ways that you can get involved with medical volunteering and internships abroad. A few of these can include:


  • Observing or shadowing medical professionals in a hospital, clinic, or other facility

  • Providing basic support and companionship to patients in assisted living facilities or other healthcare and medical centers

  • Providing hands-on support to medical professionals in departments such as maternity, pediatrics, pharmacy, radiology, and more

  • Getting involved with community healthcare campaigns, such as dental checkups, vaccinations, and other services

  • Planning and presenting community outreach and education workshops in hygiene, nutrition, disease prevention and care, and other subjects

Qualifications for medical and healthcare programs abroad

Medical volunteering and internship programs are not just for qualified professionals! There are lots of ways for students and other volunteers who are interested in medical and healthcare programs to get involved and provide support for communities in need.

As you research medical and healthcare programs abroad, keep your expectations realistic: if you are not qualified to do something in your home country, don’t expect to be able to do it abroad. There are many ways to gain new skills and experience while ensuring the people you work with receive the best care possible by trained and licensed professionals.

If you have no background experience in healthcare or medicine, you may find that community education volunteer programs are the best fit for you. Through these programs, you will help to organize and present workshops and trainings in subjects such as dental hygiene, reproductive health, and disease prevention at schools, community centers, or at events. There also are lots of opportunities for volunteers with or without background experience in medicine or healthcare to provide support and companionship to patients, particularly at assisted living facilities.

If you're a pre-med student or in your first or second year of medical school, you may want to check out community outreach programs as well as basic clinic or hospital volunteering opportunities. If you're volunteering at a medical facility, your role may be mostly observational - you can shadow a doctor, nurse, or other professional - but there may also be opportunities to assist with basic tasks such as sorting medications, organizing and updating patient records, taking vitals, stitching, and more.

And if you are in your second or third year of medical school, or if you are a medical professional, you may take on a much more hands-on or specialized role. This can range from providing direct care in a hospital or clinic, to training emergency responders, to organizing and taking part in community outreach and education programs, and much more.

Other programs that you can choose from include emergency response, different types of therapies, mental health and psychology, and other fields relating to healthcare and medicine.

Why you should volunteer or intern in medical care or healthcare abroad

As a medical volunteer or intern, there are so many ways that you can make a difference!

Not only will you gain new skills and insights into medical and healthcare practices in a different country, but you also can provide much-needed care and support for communities in need. A few ways that our partners engage volunteers and interns include:

  • Providing assistance in understaffed or overcrowded hospitals and clinics, allowing local professionals to provide better care to patients

  • Organizing community healthcare campaigns, which educate local people about proper hygiene practices, disease prevention, and more

  • Providing basic companionship and support to patients who have experienced trauma, who are in need of long-term care, or who are stigmatized for their condition

If you would like to make a difference while learning and gaining new skills, check out the many different healthcare and medical volunteer programs and internships that you can be a part of right here on Abroadly!

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