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Considering a hands-on Global Health experience?

Administered by Canadian Organizations (including international organizations with a national headquarters in Canada)

Cross-Cultural Solutions

Médecins sans frontières / Doctors Without Borders
International Youth Internship Program (CIDA)
Canada-Africa Community Health Alliance
CSIH International Internships
Canadian Federation of Medical Students
Pueblo Partisans
Academics without Borders Canada/Universitaires sans frontières Canada (AWBC/USFC)

Administered by Non-Canadian Organizations

University of Stellenbosch, South Africa

Medical University of Graz, Austria
Child Family Health International
Global Volunteers
Project Hope
International Medical Volunteers Association
Operation Smile
Global Service Corps
Mayan Medical Aid
Nexos Voluntarios
World Health Organization - Internships
Association for International Development and Exchange (AIDE)
Matibabu Foundation Kenya (MF-K)
Work the World
Unite for Sight Global Impact Corps

Please Note: The information presented here was compiled by the Global Health Programs from various internet sites. As such, the Global Health Programs cannot guarantee its accuracy, completeness, or suitability. Individuals interested in pursuing an elective should seek confirmation with the organization directly.

Interested in an elective in another region of Canada?

Eastern Regional Medical Education Program
University of British Columbia
University of Alberta
University of Calgary
Dalhousie University
Memorial University of Newfoundland
Queen’s University
University of Manitoba
University of Toronto
University of Western Ontario
McGill University

Additional Resources

Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada

Visit this federal government website to research the region you are considering for an international elective. You will find current information on: travel warnings, pre-boarding, passports, visas, children and travel, frequently asked questions, etc.
The Global Issues page features a variety of information highlighting situations around the world of particular interest to Canadians living or travelling abroad. Travel Reports offer information on safety and security, local laws and customs, entry requirements, health conditions and other important travel issues.

Global Citizens for Change

Research the history, culture, politics, and climate of developing countries you are interested in. Assess whether you have what it takes to be successful in an overseas work placement. Past volunteers say it's worth doing your homework, before you even apply.


Idealist is a project of Action Without Borders, a nonprofit organization founded in 1995 with offices in the United States and Argentina. Idealist is an interactive site where people and organizations can exchange resources and ideas, locate opportunities and supporters, and take steps toward building a world where all people can lead free and dignified lives.

American Medical Student Association

For a directory of international opportunities

World Health Organization
To access the WHO World Directory of Medical Schools

Public Health Agency of Canada
For resources on environmental, climate, health, and safety information in many countries

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Another resource for up-to-date health and safety information abroad

University of Alberta International Health Elective Database
For a list of heath-related international electives

International Electives administered by Canadian Organizations

Cross-Cultural Solutions

As an international volunteer with Cross-Cultural Solutions, you can make a meaningful contribution, working side-by-side with local people and sharing in the goals of a community that warmly welcomes you. You're experiencing another culture like never before and really getting to know its people.

CCS offers international volunteer programs in Brazil, China, Costa Rica, Ghana, Guatemala, India, Morocco, Peru, Russia, South Africa, Tanzania, and Thailand. Wherever you choose, in-country staff welcomes you to the CCS Home-Base, your home away from home.

The Intern Abroad program provides a unique opportunity to have an international internship or work experience in the area of health, education, or social services. Based on years of success with students volunteering abroad and receiving academic credit, the Intern Abroad program provides a supportive and academic framework to the volunteer experience to carefully align it with your learning objectives.
More Information: www.crossculturalsolutions.org/

Médecins sans frontières / Doctors Without Borders

For more than 35 years, MSF has been providing medical help to people caught in many kinds of catastrophes: armed conflicts, natural disasters such as floods and earthquakes, epidemics of disease, and famines. All these situations call for rapid response with specialised medical and logistical help.

Areas of Interest: Emergency public healthcare, including medicine and surgery; mass vaccination campaigns; water and sanitation systems; therapeutic and supplementary nutrition; distribution of drugs and supplies; training and health education; organisation or rehabilitation of health structures; and medical assistance within existing health structures.

Most first missions are undertaken for a period of 9 to 12 months, although occasionally there are opportunities to volunteer for 6 months. This level of commitment is a requirement because of the degree of responsibility that MSF volunteers are expected to assume in their missions, the time needed to become acclimated to the projects, and the need for continuity among volunteers for the benefit of both our national staff and patients.
More Information: www.msf.ca/

International Youth Internship Program (CIDA)

Sponsor: Canadian International Development Agency
The International Youth Internship Program (IYIP) is an employment program for young Canadians between the ages of 19-30. If you’re a post-secondary graduate, you could be eligible for this chance of a lifetime to work in a developing country and contribute to Canada’s international development goals. Not only will this experience contribute to your personal and professional growth, your sponsor organization will lend a helping hand in your search for employment once your internship ends.
More Information: www.acdi-cida.gc.ca/internships

Canada-Africa Community Health Alliance

CACHA is seeking volunteers to offer their time in their area of specialization.
Expertise Overseas: Nurses, doctors, dentists, nurse practitioners, gynecologists and other health care professionals are welcome to join our next medical team going to one of our three host countries, Benin, Gabon, and Tanzania.

Expertise in Canada: The organization also needs people to coordinate our activities in Canada. We need specialists to sit on one of our nine committees: Marketing, Fundraising, Members, Volunteers and Nominating, Medical Supplies, Benin, Gabon, Tanzania, Finance, and Policy and Procedures.
More Information: www.cacha.ca/

CSIH International Internships

Sponsor: Canadian Society for International Health
CSIH manages 6 or 7 month paid internships in global health and Health Systems Strengthening (HSS) in developing countries, when funding is available under the government’s Youth Employment Strategy through programs such as the International Youth Internship Program (IYIP) of the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). Currently, CSIH has 20 CIDA-sponsored interns in East Africa and the Caribbean gaining work experience with the African Medical and Research Foundation (AMREF), Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), Ministries of Health of Dominica and Suriname, Haven House (a women’s NGO in Belize), and the Smiles Foundation (SONRISAS) in the Dominican Republic. Please see Current Internships for details.

Government-sponsored interns have their international travel and pre-departure expenses paid for by CSIH and receive a modest stipend to cover their living expenses overseas. Applicants must be: 30 years of age or younger, Canadian citizens or permanent residents, unemployed or underemployed, and not enrolled at college or university while completing their internship. University and college graduates in public health, international health, international development and health-related computer and information technologies are invited to apply for specific internships posted on this website and promoted at Canadian universities and elsewhere. There are no paid internship opportunities available at the present time.
More Information: http://www.csih.org/en/internship/index.asp


Sponsor: International Federation of Medical Students' Associations
Nowadays 78 countries are involved in IFMSA SCOPE. In all these countries, there are 1003 Medical schools and 676 of them have an IFMSA Local Committee. The aim of SCOPE is to promote international understanding and co-operation amongst medical students and all health professionals through international exchange of students.

The exchange program offers students unique educational and cultural experience in addition to the regular medical curriculum. It also helps to broaden the students understanding of medical and social conditions in different countries. Currently over 6 600 international exchanges are made every year, and 78 countries throughout the world are taking part in SCOPE.
More Information: www.ifmsa.org/

Canadian Federation of Medical Students

The Canadian Federation of Medical Students (CFMS) is a national organization that comprises of over 8000 medical students pursuing their medical careers in 13 Canadian medical schools from coast to coast and provides specialized services, communication and representation to Canadian medical students.
More Information: website


HorizonCosmopolite offers international educational programs, creating opportunities to travel to other countries in hopes of allowing participants to experience realities that are different from our own. If you have specific skills and would like to put them to use, it is possible to develop a personalized program catered to your abilities.
More Information: www.horizoncosmopolite.com/Anglais/Frametout.htm

Pueblo Partisans

Pueblo Partisans believes that we live increasingly in a world in which most people are struggling not only for their physical survival but the survival of their identity. Instead, Pueblo Partisans believes in facilitating culturally relevant local responses. Technologies in the form of knowledge and tools cannot be simply transferred across time and space. Technology must be consciously adapted by its users.

Services: Information Technology Assistance; Action-Oriented Research; Culturally Contextualized Program Development; Community Organizing; Policy Advocacy; Community Consultations.
More Information: www.pueblopartisans.org/

Academics for Higher Education and Development – Universitaires pour l’éducation supérieure et le développement (AHED – UPESED)

AHED – UPESED assists in capacity building in higher education in the developing world, responding to the needs and goals of the host countries and institutions. It supports projects related to both academic and non-academic aspects of the development of tertiary education. This includes assisting in the development of new universities and colleges, and, in existing institutions, in establishing new departments, faculties, or research institutes and expanding and diversifying undergraduate and graduate programs.

Faculty volunteers participate in all these projects. Staff volunteers provide support for registration processes and procedures, computing and communications services, information systems and libraries, financial management, instructional media services, student services, the management of physical plant, alumni relations, fund-raising, health services, student and faculty housing, registration, student aid, etcetera. Administrative volunteers provide advice about establishing, expanding, and governing departments, faculties, and schools, and about the creation of new universities and colleges.
More Information: www.ahed-upesed.org/

International Electives administered by Non-Canadian Organizations

University of Stellenbosch, South Africa

Faculty of Health Sciences

The University of Stellenbosch offers elective opportunities for medical students. For more information visit the website at www.sun.ac.za/index.asp or click here: Requirements and Procedures for Supernumerary Studies [.doc]

Medical University of Graz, Austria

The Medical University of Graz has Erasmus cooperations with over 50 universities from 18 countries all over Europe. We are also proud of our tight and well-working relationships with medical colleges in Australia, China, Canada, Egypt, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Russia, Thailand, USA and Vietnam in which we exchange students doing clinical electives.
More Information: http://www.medunigraz.at/international

Child Family Health International

Child Family Health International (CFHI) is a global family of committed professionals and students who work at the grassroots level to promote the health of the world community. CFHI organizes international programs for medical students that focus on cultural competency in the health setting.

Objectives: Foster learning and service that sparks transformational personal change for all involved; work to achieve sustainable solutions in healthcare services and disease prevention; emphasize respect and understanding across cultures; facilitate the sharing of medical resources, knowledge, and experience; and give priority to underserved communities.
Contact: 415-957-9000, or toll free at 866-345-4674
International Programs Inquiries: students [at] cfhi [dot] org
More Information: www.cfhi.org

Global Volunteers

Global Volunteers is a private, non-profit, non-sectarian, non-governmental organization engaging short-term volunteers on micro-economic and human development programs in close partnership with local people worldwide. Working at the invitation and under the direction of local leaders, volunteers help create a foundation for world peace through mutual international understanding.

Health care professionals are needed to provide patient care to impoverished children and their parents. Because access to medical services in developing communities is often limited, health-care volunteers are needed to provide basic services such as diabetes screenings, tooth extractions, well-baby checks and pre-natal exams in local clinics, village dispensaries, and in homes through outreach programs. While the needs and the working conditions are very basic, your 'hands-on' contribution can be life-changing.

International service programs are integrated into study abroad curricula, semester coursework, field research, and independent study components on many campuses.
More Information: www.globalvolunteers.org/

Project Hope

Interns have, over the years, played an important role in Project HOPE's educational programs. Most interns participating in Project HOPE's international programs are in or finishing a master's-level academic program or are medical students.

Project HOPE offers international internships based on the needs of specific country programs. The duration, timing, and financial support available for international internships are determined by the program's individual requirements and resources. Applications submitted for unspecified assignments will be kept on file, and will be matched against future opportunities, as new assignments become available.
More Information: www.projecthope.org

International Medical Volunteers Association

Volunteers may choose from a variety of groups sponsoring medical aid work. They range from tiny informal associations to huge multi-national organizations with multi-million dollar budgets. Many groups have a religious affiliation. Institutions of higher education, national governmental and world governmental organizations such as the World Health Organization support these activities both directly and indirectly through training, research and supplies. The impact of volunteer work varies from country to country.

The huge need for health volunteers throughout the globe means that people with almost any skill can find meaningful assignments. The medical personnel most in demand by relief agencies include surgeons, pediatricians, family practitioners, nurses, pharmacists, public health educators, maintenance / repair personnel and laboratory technicians. However, with a little research, people with almost any medical or medical support skill will find productive and rewarding assignments.
More Information: www.imva.org/

Operation Smile

At Operation Smile, the volunteer network makes a difference in the lives of children everyday. Volunteers reach out to each child, generously offering their time, their knowledge and their skills to assist in raising funds and awareness, or to participate on our medical teams.

Medical mission volunteers must be credentialed by Operation Smile prior to joining a mission. If you have not been credentialed by Operation Smile, please fill out the Medical Volunteers Online Application Request.
Specialty: Plastic Surgeon, Anesthesiologist, Pediatrician, Pediatric Intensivist, Biomedical Technician, Speech Pathologist, Child Life Specialist, Dentist, and Nursing.

Operation Smile is pleased to offer medical mission opportunities to medical students in their fourth or final year. This year’s (July 2007- June 2008) missions have been filled. Applications for the approximately 20 positions available in the 2008-2009 academic year are due no later than July 18, 2008.
More Information: www.operationsmile.org

Global Service Corps

GSC community training and development programs are offered year round, from two weeks to one year, in HIV/AIDS Education and Prevention, Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security, International Public Health, Orphanage Care, and Teach English Abroad. Through the development of these community training programs, GSC has also attained NGO status and is a respected international development organization.

Many GSC volunteers have received academic credit for completion of a nine-week internship. The key to gaining academic credit is beginning the process early and working with a professor or academic advisor to create your academic program. Professional in-country staff in both countries can help you reach your goals and learning objectives. Global Service Corps (GSC) offers students International Internships for each of its programs in Tanzania and Thailand.
Contact: Renee N. Lucier DeCelle, (518) 442-3525, RLucier [at] uamail [dot] albany [dot] edu
More Information: www.globalservicecorps.org/site/

Mayan Medical Aid

Mayan Medical Aid is a non-profit organization. It was founded in 2004, with the express purpose of funding medically related projects to benefit the Mayan Indians of Guatemala and Southern Mexico.

The organization intervenes with an eye toward sustainability and only implements projects that are in keeping with the culture of the Maya. The objective is to train workers from the community to be successful.
More Information: www.mayanmedicalaid.org/global_health_ed.htm

Nexos Voluntarios

Nexos Voluntarios is a non-profit organization that provides unique opportunities for caring individuals to make a significant contribution to the development of Peru's poorest communities by living and working as volunteers in the country.

Nexos Voluntarios offers a comprehensive and personalized program; matching the specific interests of volunteers with non-profit development projects. Volunteers receive full field support as well as mentoring from corporate and academic leaders, peer cooperation from a local volunteer and/or direct advice from NeVo professionals.
More Information: www.nexosvoluntarios.org

World Health Organization - Internships

As the acknowledged leader in global public health issues, WHO is committed to building future leaders in public health. WHO's Internship Programme provides a wide range of opportunities for students to gain insight into the work of WHO. Every year a limited number of places for internships are available.

To take part in the programme, we look for the following minimum eligibility criteria:
• Applicants must be enrolled in a degree programme in a graduate school (second university degree or higher) both at the time of application and during the internship
• Applicants pursuing their studies in countries where higher education is not divided into undergraduate and graduate stages must have completed at least three years of full-time studies at a university or equivalent institution towards the completion of a degree. Undergraduates (for instance, students pursuing a Bachelor's degree) are not eligible to apply
• A minimum of 20 years of age
• Possess a first degree in a public health, medical or social field related to the technical work of WHO.
• Fluent in the working language of the office of assignment

Important Dates: To be considered for a Summer internship, applications are accepted between December 1 - January 31 each year. To be considered for a Winter internship, applications are accepted between September 1 - October 31 each year.
More Information: www.who.int/employment/internship/en/

Association for International Development and Exchange (AIDE)

AIDE was created in 2007 in order to allow Alliance Abroad Group to expand its reach and to give back to the local and global communities, as well as create socially responsible citizens. AIDE now operates independently from Alliance Abroad Group, but continues to draw from its 16 years of expertise and experience in program management and support.

AIDE's Mission: Through education and the exchange of ideas and people across borders, AIDE will build a worldwide community of global citizens who will be part of an ongoing intercultural conversation. AIDE will be a catalyst for change in the world by building bridges between individuals from diverse cultures.
More information: www.aideabroad.org/

Matibabu Foundation Kenya (MF-K)

Matibabu Foundation Kenya (MF-K) is a homegrown health NGO founded and registered under Section 10 of the Non–Governmental Organization (NGO) board in March 2006. MF-K strives to empower the rural, hard-to-reach and vulnerable communities to be responsible for their own health. Currently, MF-K is operating in Western Kenya with its head office in Ukwala town, Ugenya District. It also has a Liaison Office in Nairobi.
We offer integrated community based health and development services including preventive, promotive, rehabilitative as well as curative services. MF-K compliments Government efforts through innovative approaches for the community and by the community to ensure sustainable service delivery.
MF-K is working towards having cutting edge model hospital with an in-built Training and Research Centre that ensures knowledge and skills transfer and documentation of learning for effective quality improvement.
More information: http://www.matibabukenya.org/, or download the Matibabu Foundation Volunteer Handbook [.pdf].

Work the World

Work the World organise elective placements and projects overseas for medical students, nurses, midwives, dentists and physiotherapists. We work with you to design a placement that matches your interest, take away all the hassle of organising it and make sure you feel 100% prepared and supported throughout.
More information: www.worktheworld.com.

Unite for Sight Global Impact Corps

Global Impact Corps: A Comprehensive and Unrivaled Global Health Experience
Unite For Sight's Global Impact Corps is an immersive global health experience for students and for professionals. What do Global Impact Fellows do? Global Impact Fellows support and learn from the partner clinics' talented medical professionals who are social entrepreneurs addressing complex global health issues. Through hands-on, structured training, Global Impact Fellows gain a comprehensive understanding about best practices in global health and social entrepreneurship. Global Impact Fellows gain skills and are nurtured to become new leaders in global health, and they receive a Certificate in Global Health & Program Delivery.
More information: www.uniteforsight.org/volunteer-abroad

Interested in an elective in another region of Canada?

Eastern Regional Medical Education Program

ERMEP was established in 2002 by Queens University School of Medicine and the University of Ottawa, Faculty of Medicine to facilitate the rural and regional placement of medical students in South Eastern Ontario.

Rural medicine offers learners a unique opportunity to maximize their learning experience by providing direct exposure to patients in a structured environment with a one on one preceptor-ship model. In this setting many of the medical disciplines are represented including Family Practice, Emergency Medicine, Obstetrics, General Surgery, Anesthesia, Internal Medicine, Pediatrics and others.
More Information: www.ermep.com/