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Volume 5, Issue 2  2 2018
Planning for Summer? Start Now

Planning for Summer? Start Now

The spring break is finally here, a time to look back at how the semester is progressing and to some the usual continuation of the studies. For anyone with a long summer break in June /July & August, this is the best time to think and plan for your summer activities being slightly away from books. Many opportunities await, right? 

While the opportunities in a hospital internship or a clinical rotation abroad are vast, the planning that precedes it is very key in ensuring a great experience.

Whether its by passion or by desire, whether its by school requirement or by individual drive the opportunities abroad await and while at it, remember prior planning is key. 

Here is a passionate Story from a recent Participant on a step by step reflection on her placement.


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My Heart is Forever Fuller!

My name is Kyle Howell. Since I was a child I dreamt of coming to Africa, a soulful desire. Now, with Elective Africa, I am in Kenya. The people are truly lovely. I am well cared for in my digs here with a cook, a driver to take me to and from the hospital, and a Coordinator here to help me with EVERYTHING else.

The government hospital is definitely for the poor. The last 3+ days I have been in Labor and Delivery where life is not taken for granted. Both clean and sterile gloves can be hard to find, no soap, no hot water... supplies in general can be scarce. 

Today while holding a woman’s leg and letting her squeeze my fingers with the pain of delivery, the ocean breeze gently blew through the window. In between contractions, I watched monkeys play outside. Happy to say the baby and mom are fine. I LOVE BEING A NURSE!!

I am still working in the ER. It is amazing. The doctors are fun and easy to talk with. The nurses are kind. Today I was starting an I.V. (Branula) on this young man with a broken ankle. I would get it just under the skin and he would pull away. The doctor was helping hold his arm. I talked to the patient about relaxing. Finally he did and it went right in. The doctor said she never heard someone talk to a patient like that. She was amused. And I am glad we are learning from each other.

My time here is almost over. Way too short!! On Sunday I took the day to go up the coast to snorkel. The swimming was wonderful. But the dressy seafood was the BEST! It was so nice to get out of the city.

Saying goodbye to Kenya  

Kenya is an amazing country, the people here are proud, their hearts are open, and everyone gets along. Sadly, my time is ending. The experience through Elective Africa was intense and fulfilling.

I spent the last 4 days of my placement on Safari. 3 days in Masai Mara and 1 day in Nakuru. Holy MAGICAL! The photos are a small glimpse of this experience. I am so grateful the Kenyans have reserved so much land! And the Masai living near the park area are a huge part of this effort. They guarded our camp and we spent a few hours with them. They don’t like people to take their photos however, we were invited in and they happily agreed. But no photos outside of this!

Really, the best way to travel for me is to volunteer. Through this experience I had authentic interactions with the locals. A peaceful, intelligent, industrious, authentic people, the Kenyans. My heart is forever fuller!!

Kyle Howell is a RN undertaking her Nursing Elective at Coast Provincial General Hospital, Mombasa, Kenya.

You too can be part of this great unique experience in a differentiated hospital setting in Kenya and Tanzania.

Apply today at

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From Us to You

  1. Customized Placement - Your hospital internship is tailor made to meet your set objectives and the guidelines set by your school. You will work under the guidance of healthcare professionals who will ensure you get valuable hospital work experience in a unique hospital setting. FIND OUT MORE
  2. Group Travel - Life was meant for good friends and great adventures.Talk to your friends and colleagues and travel together. You will not only have fun together but you will also get a USD 200 rebate for referring your 4 friends. Create best memories. INTERESTED? LET US KNOW
  3. Pay in Instalments - Travelling abroad can be a costly affair when you factor in the program fees, air tickets, travel insurance and so many other travel related costs.We understand this fact and that is why you can give your payments in instalment on the program fee for as little as you can gather at no additional cost. The balance of your fees just needs to be settled 1-month prior your program start date. Firstly you will need to secure your slot by paying a reservation deposit of USD 350. You can then request for your instalment breakdown. GET AN INSTALMENT PLAN
  4. Come for a Placement Only - Join us for 2 – 4 Weeks Placement and pay only USD 500.Under this Package, Elective Africa will process your placement at the hospital only and organize for you mentorship and supervision. You will however cater for: 
    • Hospital Placement fees
    • Accommodation and meals.
    • Transport – both airport transport and local areas transport 
    • Visa fees and any volunteer activity fee. 




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Get the Insights you Need

Exceptional Experience

Elective Africa allowed me to undertake my final year medical elective at Coast Provincial General Hospital in Mombasa, Kenya. The pre departure support was exceptional and I felt well prepared for the experience. The hospital challenged me academically and provided me many opportunities for improving my clinical skills. Accommodation was very comfortable and staff were always available to help with daily life in Mombasa. In addition to the hospital, Elective Africa facilitated Swahili lessons, visits to local communities and orphanages (and even Christmas lunch!). I can also recommend Skydive Diani and Baracuda Diving Centre for weekend adventures!

Nicholas Corr: Medical Student at Sydney Medical School, Australia

Placement Hospital: Coast Provincial General Hospital, Mombasa, Kenya 



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5 Ways to make your Statement of Objectives Count During your Hospital Internship

Travelling abroad for a medical elective, premedical shadowing internship or any other healthcare placement is both an adventurous experience and an educative expedition. Different scholars, school advisors  and study abroad advisors express the consistent view that a hospital internship abroad is unique for its helps the students to:

  • Immerse in a new and different culture hence equipping them with essential empathy through dealing with people of different culture and patients with varied conditions.
  • Lean more on different disease patterns which is clinically eye opening
  • Gain clinical experience which is essential for strengthening of skills as well as a clear view of whether the clinical work and the profession is what they want to delve into.
  • To broaden their knowledge through a global view of issues relating to health and healthcare.

While this points are true for any abroad healthcare experience, the importance of have an objective guided learning can never be overstated.

A statement of objectives is a documents that points out to the specific objectives that one seeks to achieve while in their placement. This stipulates the desired areas of learning as well as the desired experiences that one should have while on placement.

To make your experience count and most importantly to make your objectives for the placement count the following are the 5 recommended ways:

  • Match your objectives with the school requirements

The school provisions for a clinical placement or a shadowing internships are an important prerequisite. This ensures that you use the objectives to meet school requirements and hence can use the experience to seek for credit.

  • Write down your objectives and communicate it to your provider

While it is easy and convenient to communicate your objectives in phone conversations and chats, it’s important to write and share them in a document which can be retrieved and referenced this way you also get to continually examine if you are achieving the objectives as set out.

  • Discuss your objectives as part of your pre-departure and pre- experience

While travelling broad, an open book mindset is a great tool, one ought to be open to the possibilities of the real experience and what they have set out to achieve. Discussing your objectives with the provider helps you to be open to the realities of the system you are to experience and further match your objectives with what the systems present.

  • Keep revisiting your objectives

To ensure you are achieving what you are set to achieve its important to continually check on your objectives alongside your daily, weekly experiences. Checking your objectives ensures that you stay focused on what you intend to achieve and see if there is an area in your program that you need changed.

  • Evaluate your program

Objectives are as good as their summative evaluation, while you have completed your placement abroad it’s important to evaluate the degree and extent to which your objectives were met. This may help you to write a report to your experience and summarize your experience to seek credit for this internship.

Objectives are as important as the placement, having them and following them as much as possible in your experience is important to ensure you have the best experience abroad.  

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5 go to Resources when Researching on your Placement Abroad

Travelling abroad for a placement is a both fun and stressful affair but it doesn’t have to be. I don’t know about you, but am that kind of person that really does research before purchasing a product or a service just to know what am getting into before hand.

Travelling abroad for a hospital internship is not something that you wake up one day, book a flight and voila! You are at the hospital working! No! It doesn’t work like that. It needs proper planning and thorough research. You need to know what you are getting yourself into. For instance, where will you be living during your stay abroad, who will help you find your way round the new location and most importantly country? How safe is your destination? These are just but a few questions that one asks before undertaking the venture.

If you are planning to undertake a hospital internship the following resources will come in handy during your research process.

  • Past Students

You can get a glimpse of what it is like to undertake hospital internship abroad feels like. And what better way than talking to students who have undertaken the program? Having been involved in the planning process, travelled and worked with the healthcare professions in a different hospital setting, they are the best resource you can use to work on your budget, settle on your destination and even decide whether travelling abroad is worth it in the first place.

  • School Advisors

Your school advisor should be your go to person all the time since they have a broad knowledge on placements abroad and what can be best for you. They can also come in handy in referring you to some of the past students/ students in your school who have undertaken the program. 

  • Online Placement Program Directories

There are a number of platforms that have database on opportunities for internships, volunteering and study abroad. From this database you are able to choose what will meet your set objectives and even read reviews and ratings given to the provider. These platforms also provide great information on how you can plan for your study abroad, how to budget and even what to pack for your trip. Here are a few directories that you can get started with; America Medical Students Association International Health Opportunities Directory (AMSA IHO), Go Overseas, Go Abroad, The Electives Network and Study Abroad.

  • Placement Organizers

You can go a step further and contact a placement provider/ organizer. You will find their details on the online travel abroad listings. You can contact them to request for more information on what their program entails and their fees. With a sample of three providers you can be able to comfortably settle for one that will meet your set objectives. 

  • Country’s Embassy

You don’t travel just for the sake of it. One of the considerations is to ensure that you are going to safe and secure location. You can get this information on the relevant embassy sites for an update on what is going on in your country of interest. With this information you can then decide on whether or not to proceed with getting your flight tickets to a particular destination during a certain duration.

All the best in your planning. Please don’t hesitate if you have any questions on your planning for hospital internship abroad.

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Having a Social Life while Undertaking a Hospital Internship Abroad

One of the most interesting things about hospital internships abroad is the immersion to a new and different culture. It is also one of the elements that make travelling abroad authentic and unique. This is because every location has its own uniqueness. For instance if you decide to travel to Kenya, which is found at the East part of Africa, you are bound to experience a diverse culture considering the country consists of over 46 tribes, each with its unique way of living.

Having a social life while undertaking a hospital internship abroad will help you to not only discover and enjoy the beauty of the host country but also to put your life into perspective. The end outcome is a more open, compassionate and appreciative individual.

Here are some ways to have a social life abroad

  • Interacting with the local people

“Most travel, and certainly the rewarding kind, involves depending on the kindness of strangers, putting yourself into the hands of people you don’t know and trusting them with your life.” Says American writer Paul Theroux .

While abroad, surround yourself with the people either within or without the hospital, and who knows, you may create some long life friendship. You are likely to experience language barrier, but don’t let this bar you from having fun. Learn a word or two and use it with the locals.  You can visit their markets where you are bound to interact with a lot of people in addition to getting souvenirs for your family. You can also try the public transport, which is a thrilling experience. In most Africa countries, the use of public service vehicle is still rampant. In Kenya they have been dubbed ‘Matatu’s ‘ and Arusha they are referred to ‘Dala dala’ these are normally used as the major means of transport for connection to estates, towns and counties. Apart from having the experience of travelling in these means of transport, you are also going to learn more on their culture.

  • Integrating into the community

“We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm, and adventure. There is no end to the adventures we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open,” says Jawaharial Nehru. Am sure you’ve seen or heard a number of stories about Africa. Talk of poverty, drought, you name it. Beyond these calamities are lovely communities with unique cultures to be discovered. To get the best of your host community, integration is key. Try their food as well as learn their recipes, learn their language, attend their events, learn their music and dance.

  • Understanding their way of life

“Perhaps travel cannot prevent bigotry, but by demonstrating that all peoples cry, laugh, eat, worry, and die, it can introduce the idea that if we try and understand each other, we may even become friends,” says American writer and civil rights activist Maya Angelou. With an open mind you are capable of not only understanding your host’s way of life but also be able to appreciate it. For instance how do the people in Coastal Kenya do their greetings? With time even as you work at Coast Provincial General Hospital you will learn that greetings depend on time, seniority in terms of age and familiarity with the person at hand. This is similar in most communities in Kenya and Tanzania.

  • Undertaking volunteer activities

“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others,” says Mahatma Gandhi. You have an opportunity to impact on someone’s life through  volunteering your skills, time and love. In return you are going to not only learn their language but also improve on your life skills like cross – cultural aptitude. You can also form a social group with the local community e.g. sports group where they go for swimming or playing football in the evening, have walks together.

Elective Africa provides you a great opportunity to have a social when abroad. With numerous activities ranging from local area excursions, Swahili lessons to volunteering, one is able to get immersed into the culture of their hosting community.

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What if a Problem Arises while on a Placement Abroad?

It can be quite a nightmare if that placement abroad that you have always dreamed of turns out to be what you never expected. You may ask yourself, how? Doesn’t seem like it can happen, right? Well, in my years with Elective Africa, helping students and volunteers organise for placements abroad, I have encountered such cases where participants or rather students get frustrated by the experience of what they get.

We cannot fully avoid problems in life or even in our healthcare placements abroad; one or two things may go wrong but this doesn’t mean that the underlying issues cannot be solved or managed. Let me take this case scenario; as a medical elective student you start your placement in a hospital in a country like Kenya for example and from the word go, you realize that once you come to the hospital for your rotations you do not get any mentorship or supervision from your mentors at the hospital and if you get any, it is very minimal such that you are not gaining any knowledge at all, or you even realize that you being in your senior clinical years, you do not get the opportunity for supervised hands on experience at all. So what do you; instead of communicating this to your supervisors at the hospital or informing your placement organisers, you decide to get angry and go silent on the issue, only to wait for the last minute when your program is ending to give a negative feedback of the whole program, stating how bad the experience was, how you regret to have undertaken the program and so forth.

In this article,I want to challenge you; how about if in such a case you would have taken charge of your placement and be at the center of it all.

  • Do not wait until the last minute to inform your placement organizer of the problem

At times the local healthcare professionals might be very busy with their work and at times forget that they have to mentors or rather involve you. How about the first or second day after noticing such an incidence, you talk to your supervisors and mentors or to your placement organisers and clearly state the problem as it is and remind them of your objectives to undertaking the placement. This way you have solved a problem at its very early stages, saved yourself from getting a bad placement abroad experience.

  • Don’t be afraid to approach your mentors or supervisors

Again some participants may be afraid to approach their mentor or supervisor incase of a hiccup. Always remember that you have the right to have a good experience and it all depends on how proactive you are in each and every situation.

  • Cooperate with your placement provider and supervisors to come up with a solution

Once you have approached your mentors, supervisors or placement advisors, be open minded to solve the problem and stay positive. Giving a lot of stress may cause some negativity and cause frictions. So work hand in hand with them to provide a solution. It doesn’t mean just because a hiccup occurred, a solution cannot be found, but remember it all requires an open mind and the willingness to cooperate so as to find a solution.

As someone once said, “ stop waiting for things to happen, go out and make them happen” so make sure that you are proactive and work towards getting the kind of placement abroad experience that you would like to have.

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Upcoming Webinar: Your House Abroad

Join us in this 30 minutes info-session and learn more on

  • Your House while Abroad
  • Your Safety 
  • Having Fun while at it

Date and Time: March 28th at 1pm (EST) JOIN US

Quote for the Month

Wealth, if you use it, comes to an end; learning, if you use it, increases. ~ Swahili Proverb 

Swahili people are mainly found in Coastal Kenya and Tanzania

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