Medical Elective: Grand Désastre

My medical elective is scheduled to start in a little over three months and I thought I was pretty sorted. I was to go to a wonderful little place in India. Everything except the flight tickets were good to go.

Guess it’s kind of a good thing I delayed purchasing the tickets, because those plans have now come to an end – for reasons beyond my control.

I should have known it was too easy.

Problem is, all the international electives have been filled up by now. Hah, did you know that Oxford and Harvard are filled up until the 2013/2014 season?

And those that aren’t filled up only accept LCME-accredited schools. Which translates to USA and Canadian. Which means not me.

And those that do accept South African students for electives are in countries that don’t speak my languages. I don’t have an issue with learning, but it’s kind of useless trying to take a history from a patient in English when they’d much rather speak to the French/Czech/German doctor.

And those that would have me, and speak a relative amount of English, like these quaint little clinics in Rwanda and Malawi… they’re poor. And need a financial contribution… which I don’t have.

So. It’s a bit of a disaster. I really wanted a taste of medicine outside of South Africa for this elective. I’m going to be stuck working here for at least six years after graduating, so some perspective wouldn’t hurt.

If you have any suggestions, now would be the time. I can work with the language barrier to some extent. And I can obviously pay for accommodation and such; but I’m a student. I don’t have a trust fund hidden somewhere.


  1. beckireads says:

    Wish I could offer you some help 😦 I hope you manage to find something.

    1. Thank you, Becki! I appreciate the thought.

  2. TrishaDM says:

    I just scoured the websites of my current school and my past school. Both require you to be in your last year of training and need at least four months advance notice. Foolish! I know the school I went to previously has made exceptions in the past with regards to timing and training year, but I don’t think it is often. It may be worth an email to check… If you want to check out a bit of North Eastern Canada (not everyone’s cup of tea).
    I hope something comes available. It is so frustrating when things like that get cancelled last minute (same happened to myself and several classmates) last year.

    1. Thanks for the advice, Trisha! I’ll check it out. I’ve been to Canada, but not the Northern parts. I assume it’s quite cold but I’m up for any adventure, really.
      I’m glad to hear I’m not the only person that’s experienced this kind of mishap.

      1. TrishaDM says:

        No problem. I really hope you find something.
        The weather in most of that area of northern Canada is fairly similar to the rest because it is on a similar latitude, just in the middle of the ocean. The northern areas are colder and places the school loves to send people, but even those places aren’t the far north where it gets ridiculous cold.

  3. Wait, I’m only seeing this now. This super sucks D: Have you managed to find anything at all? I really hope you get to work something out.

    1. Noooo, but if Semester at Sea for next year works out (which is relatively certain, just waiting for funding), then I will still get to visit India!

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