Plan your own perfect elective

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Making your elective as easy as 1-2-3

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Access our tips on making the most of your elective - we have guides on everything from funding ideas through to document checklists.

What students are saying

“Electives Network is such a useful site for planning an elective. A great place to start for someone with no clue where they'd like to go!”
Amelia Cussans
“My questions were dealt with swiftly and was able to get in contact with those who had done the elective themselves”
Rebecca Huang
“Very helpful in choosing destination and planning elective”
Rose Penfold

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Still not sure if The Electives Network is right for you? Check out our FAQs below…

How do I plan my elective?
Planning your elective can be great fun even though it can seem daunting at the beginning. The important thing to remember is that you have the opportunity to really test yourself but also really enjoy yourself, so plan early and be creative about where you go. To plan your elective, we suggest you sign up to The Electives Network and have a think about where you might want to go in the world. Our website has detailed country profiles which help you gauge if it is the place for you. We also have an inspiration section which helps you think about doing something a bit different on your elective. With detailed planning guides and tips to help you keep on top of the planning check-lists, we’ve taken the stress out of the planning. Most importantly though we have the details of how to apply to over 3,000 medical placements around the world so you will be able to ensure you find the perfect placement for you.
What can I do during my elective?
You will have guidelines set by your university for what you can do on your elective and you should follow their guidance closely to ensure you achieve the necessary criteria to pass your elective. University guidance varies and there isn’t a one-size fits all. However, the TEN website has inspiration, contacts and support for planning all kinds of electives. From non-clinical healthcare placements like management electives, placements in publishing and advocacy to treks in the Himalayas, you can find it all on TEN. Remember, whichever elective you choose, or wherever in the world you go, you should not be acting beyond your competency.
What is an elective?
An elective is a practical placement that students can take during their studies. Medical electives are aimed at healthcare disciplines and so TEN caters for nursing, midwifery and medical electives. Most elective periods are between six and eight weeks, and are placements based at clinics or hospitals. An elective is an amazing opportunity to round your studies and prepare you for life after you’ve qualified. In a lot of ways, an elective is a great way to start your career – so make sure to use all the resources available to help you plan your perfect placement.
Will I have to pay for my elective?
In short, yes, you will have to pay for your elective but how much you pay for your elective can vary widely. If you have a small budget your main costs will be the accommodation, food and travel. If you think carefully about where you want to go and prepare in advance, you can keep these to a minimum. Many placements you can apply to for free and you can take your elective there with no cost at all. So, if you are on a small budget log into the TEN site and see thousands of placements that have no application fees or placements costs and keep you elective costs to a minimum. Of course, there are some placements that charge a small fee which is often taken as a donation to the hospital. At TEN we recommend you think carefully about paying these fees and try to make sure that these payments are making their way back to the hospital or clinic and not to unscrupulous administrators or ‘elective organisers’. You may also be asked by some clinical placements to pay an administration fee. These can be quite high so be prepared if you are going to popular hospitals to budget for these costs. Finally, there are multiple organisations out there that will charge you a fee to organise your elective for you. As a rule, we don’t recommend this course as at TEN we think you can find everything you need easily to organise your elective yourself and we advocate the experience over the profit. However, if you feel overwhelmed by having to organise your elective and you really want to pay someone to give you more help and support then the TEN team have carefully vetted and compiled a list of charities, profit and non-profit organisations that have signed up to our minimum standard requirements so you can be reassured that they will deliver what they promise.
Where can I go on my elective?
Here’s the fun part – providing your academic institution agrees to your planned placement choice, you can go anywhere on your elective! At TEN we have over 3,000 medical elective placements in over 160 countries so you should be able to find somewhere you want to go! We also have helpful country profiles and quick facts guides that enable you to get a taste for the country and information on the healthcare on the ground. We also have case studies from previous elective students around the world, and these can help you narrow down your search.
What’s the best place to go on my elective?
TEN we don’t believe one size placements fits all - we think a personalised placement gives you the best chance of having an experience of a lifetime. We believe you can plan an elective you can integrate who you are into your elective planning so if you have always wanted to travel somewhere or do something then your elective is a great time to give it a go. From diving medicine to aerospace medicine, we have lots of different ideas to help you find something that is personal to you and makes the best of your elective opportunity. Remember your elective shouldn’t be like a packaged holiday it should be an expression of the medic you would like to become or an opportunity to do something you will never get to do again. So, make the best of your elective opportunity and use The Electives Network to plan your dream elective.
How do I afford my elective?
The costs of your elective can seem impossibly high, especially if you are already on a tight budget. But cost doesn’t have to be a prohibitive factor in you planning your elective. The Electives Network provide an elective bursary and we have a list of elective grants and bursaries from other organisations we also have multiple hints and tips about applying for funding and ensuring that without too much effort you can generate the cash you need to fund your elective. If you give yourself enough time to plan (start about 18-12 months in advance of your elective period), and be smart about your planning, you can save yourself a lot of money
Can I go abroad for my elective?
Traditionally it was intended for students to get abroad on their elective, and it is still an option that most students opt for. Your elective is a great chance to learn from other healthcare systems, see conditions and diseases you otherwise wouldn’t have access to, and to experience medicine in a completely new environment! With over 3,000 placements worldwide, TEN has got something for everyone.
What does The Electives Network do?
The Electives Network is a non-profit organisation that was created by medical students to provide medical students with electives help. We have been operating for nearly twenty years now and our team have a great deal of experience and knowledge that will help you make the best of your elective. We provide you with an online platform that helps you search through our extensive database of over 3,000 elective placements on over 160 countries worldwide. We also have lots of helpful advice, resources and information to help you to plan your perfect elective.
Where can I find funding for my elective?
Your university, the Royal Colleges, healthcare organisations and charities, and here! The TEN team have pulled together a library of funding opportunities. We ourselves offer an £800 cash bursary for the winner of our 2020 essay competition, and runner-up cash prizes (now open to all TEN users from anywhere in the world). Sign up for the details and to enter the competition!
When you find funding opportunities, we suggest you apply! You will be surprised by the lack of competition – you might be in with a chance of funding your elective solely on grants.
Can I stay at home for my elective?
Staying at home, or in your home country, is certainly an option! And it can be the best option for a lot of students – you can often save a lot of money and still have the perfect placement. Your elective is also a great option to network, to experience a completely new speciality and to spend time learning about what inspires you. You might find some placements close to home that surprise you on the TEN website. An elective at home is also a great option to have as a contingency, should your plans fall through.
How much does an elective cost?
You will need to consider when planning your elective is how much you are able to budget, and how much your elective will actually cost you. Almost all electives will have some associated costs – even if you stay at home or in your home country. You can use the case studies and student experiences on the TEN website to get a rough idea of the costs – maybe of these have really helpful tips and information. Once you have a good idea, you can start looking through some funding options. The team at TEN understand that electives can be unfairly expensive, so we have worked hard to put together a library of funding opportunities. We ourselves offer an £800 cash bursary for the winner of our 2020 essay competition, and runner-up cash prizes (now open to all TEN users from anywhere in the world). Sign up for the details!
With Brexit, can I still plan an elective in Europe?
Currently, there is very little information available from the EU or the British Government about how electives between Europe and the UK will work. As the TEN team suggest with any and all elective planning, make sure to plan your placements early and always have a second option in mind. As soon as we have any information on the situation, we will post on the TEN website, on our social media platforms and/or signpost students.
What visa do I need for my elective?
The TEN team cannot give exact advice on visa information or applications, but we can help you find the correct information. As visa requirements change so frequently, and TEN users come from all over the world, it would not be possible for us to keep up with these changes and give you the most accurate information. But don’t panic! Thousands of students before you have successfully planned their perfect electives – and providing you give yourself enough time to plan, you will soon be on your way to an amazing placement!
What makes a great elective?
New experiences, fresh insight, diseases/conditions you’ve never seen before, a chance to explore something you’re passionate about, developing skills and rounding your education and training – and many, many more aspects of your elective will make it great! But to get to that point, you need to be prepared for the planning process. Luckily, TEN has step by step information to guide you all the way through the process, so that you can have a great elective, wherever you choose to go!
Why should I use The Electives Network?
The Electives Network team are the experts in helping students plan their elective placements. Every year thousands of students from around the world plan their perfect elective using our resources. We are a small non-profit organisation that values electives, global health and healthy, positive student experiences.