IFMSA exchanges


Each year, more than 15.000 medical students embark on a journey to explore health care delivery and health systems in different cultural and social settings. This is achieved by providing a network of locally and internationally active students that globally facilitate access to research and clinical exchange projects, which usually last four weeks. Through IFMSA programming and opportunities, the aim is to develop both culturally sensitive students and skilled researchers intent on shaping the world of science in the upcoming future. These exchange programmes are a key promoter of intercultural understanding and cooperation amongst medical students and health professionals.

What is this about?

The International Federation of Medical Students’ Associations (IFMSA) has a professional medical exchanges programme that can be an incredible elective experience.
The programme hinges on making medical placements abroad affordable, ethical and equitable. This is achieved by running exchanges on a mainly bilateral basis i.e. two students swap countries; and as it is a non-profit organisation, you may only what it costs. Pre-departure and upon arrival training is mandatory, and post-exchange debriefs are highly encouraged.

How much does it cost, and what does it include?

The cost depends on the cost of living of the receiving country, but you can expect to pay between 300-500€ for the experience, plus your flights/transport there. This money goes towards the placement with a clinical supervisor, accommodation, one meal per day and possibly a social programme with other students on exchange at the same time.

Who can go and when?

This is aimed at medical students in the UK who have started clinical placement, and as the exchange season runs year round (March to March), you can go anytime, for a 4 week period.

Seeing as it’s a student-led organisation, can I trust that it is a high quality medical placement?

Academic quality is a major focus of the exchange programme: every student has an allocated clinical supervisor, and a handbook with tasks to complete. At the end, you receive a certificate of completion. In addition, many countries run educational activities alongside the medical placement – examples include clinical skills workshops run by older students or doctors, or global health training sessions by IFMSA trainers.

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