Undergraduate Medical Education

Planning your Elective Time Line

First Year of Medical School or Two Years Before Departure:

  1. Choose when to go. A few students go the summer between first and second year, where as most students go after third year and delay graduation or at the end of fourth year after the match. As an MS I, the role usually is limited to public health projects such as health education or epidemiological studies. Clinical experience may be limited to an observational role. However, it may be a good time to practice a foreign language. After your clinical year, however, you can and should take advantage of the opportunities be actively involved in ward activities. Some of our students have performed minor surgeries and c-sections overseas. Dates you should be in the U.S. during your last year if you plan to go through the general match are:
    • Summer for the CPX exam (required for graduation)
    • Plan to take Step 2CK within 3 months of completing the 3rd year requirements and Step 2CS by the school deadline.
    • Letters of recommendation should be submitted to the OSA by mid-October.
    • Leave at least 1 month between November and January for interviews. Make sure complete your rank list of residencies by the deadline in February.
    • Be available and reachable for scramble day and match day.
    • If you wish to take more electives overseas, consider taking a whole year off or spreading your fourth year into two years. Alternating quarters paying tuition may prevent your loan grace periods from being used up. You must meet with Dr. Mandel to get his approval before all substantial schedule changes.
  2. Identify possible sites and request information
  3. Estimate program costs
  4. Identify possible funding sources
  5. Study a foreign language
  6. Join international health groups to stay current on new opportunities:IHMEC (also gives you 20% discount on travel insurance), AMSA, American Academy of Family Physicians, AMWA
  7. Check in with your OSA administrative Advisor. Inform your advisor of your plans (especially if your plans include taking a leave or extending your enrollment to a 5th year).

At Least One Year Before Departure:

  1. Select a site and final dates
  2. Begin research on the country's culture/customs
  3. Arrange to get academic credit. Review School of Medicine requirements for graduation (see your OSA administrative advisor for assistance).
  4. Develop a budget and apply for scholarships/grants. Remember the following deadlines:
    • January 31 for the Belgian American Educational Foundation and the AED
    • February for the University of Alabama School of Public Health Scholarship
    • April for the UCSD-Study Abroad Scholarships for the Summer and Fall
    • June 1 for the MAP-RDIF Scholarship and the CMDS Westra Scholarship
    • November for the UCSD-Study Abroad Schoalrships for the Winter and Spring
    • December for the Swedish Institute scholarships, and the CMDS Westra Scholarship
    • Many more have rolling acceptance but the earlier you apply the more funds they have
    • Attend orientation and preparation seminars. Consider taking an International Health course at UCSD or other medical schools.

Six Months Before Departure:

  1. Confirm OSA approval (see Adrianne Edwards in the UGME)
  2. Confirm site approval and make sure to carry extra copies of acceptance letter
  3. Identify an on-site faculty member who will evaluate your work
  4. Identify a SOM faculty member who will evaluate your work
  5. Make living arrangements
  6. Get airline tickets
  7. Reassess your funding
  8. Apply for a passport

Three Months Before Departure:

  1. Apply for a VISA if neccessary.
  2. Schedule immunizations. Follow the "Study Abroad Check-off List," and contact UCSD Student Health Service Travel Clinic (ext. 4-2122).
  3. Arrange for mandatory travel insurance (health and medical evacuation). Obtain mandatory Emergency Medical Assistance Policy, call 1-800-767-1403

One Month Before Departure:

  1. Send travel schedule to on-site supervisor and make pick-up arrangements if available
  2. Reconfirm housing arrangements if possible
  3. Begin packing clothing, supplies, medications
  4. Complete travel documents and photocopy them (passport, VISA, tickets, ATM and credit cards)
  5. Confirm that you have passed CPX (if you failed all or a portion of this Exam, you may not take an away clerkship that conflicts with remediation activities)

One Week Before Departure:

  1. Reconfirm flights
  2. Obtain travelers checks
  3. Leave contact and ititnerary information with friends and relatives
  4. Arrange for friend or family to pay all bills while away (Can leave signed checks for emergencies with trusted friend).

After You Return:

  1. Anticipate a let down/reverse culture shock
  2. Prepare your report (requirement of many scholarships)
  3. Certify with the SOM Registrar that evaluation forms were returned and credit was received for coursework
  4. Thank your on-site host
  5. Share your experience by filling out the UCSD International Elective Database form and submitting to MedEDTech.
  6. If fever or malaise develops go to Travel Clinic or other doctor and mention details of your recent travel.

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