Medical students

International Global Health Elective Opportunities

Completing an international global health elective as part of your training can be a rewarding experience. As you consider whether you may want to complete an international elective, it is important to think about your motivations and learning objectives.

The following policies can help you determine how an international elective may fit with your program, and what the requirements are:

Students considering an international elective are encouraged to book a meeting with the Manager of Global Health to discuss their learning goals and the elective planning and approval process.

It is possible for students to undertake an international learning opportunity, such as an observership, in the summer after Med 1 or Med 2. Students may also complete an international elective in Med 4 during their elective blocks. All international electives need to be reviewed and approved by the Office of Community Partnerships and Global Health and by the Undergraduate Medical Education Office. All students who are completing an international elective or learning experience as part of their training are required to complete the university’s predeparture requirements.

Partner Schools

Currently, the Office of Community Partnerships and Global Health offers international electives at the following partner schools:

Medical University Graz (Austria)

Graz, Austria

The Medical University of Graz (often called Med Uni Graz) is a center of innovative university medicine in the south of Austria. The Medical University of Graz strives to maintain, restore and improve the health and well-being of its patients on the basis of scientific expertise and research. Each core task of Med Uni Graz—clinical, translational and basic research; student education; postgraduate training and patient care—follows this guiding principle. Dalhousie Faculty of Medicine students are eligible for clinical rotations in a number of Graz departments at University Hospital Graz. Graz also offers some short courses that include lectures, interactive case discussions, and clinical rotations. Some departments require German language skills.

Current Opportunities

When we have partner programs actively accepting applications, details will be posted here.


IFMSA-CFMS International Exchange Program

International Exchange Program

Students may also apply to participate in the IFMSA-CFMS International Exchange Program. The program includes options for research and clinical observerships for four-week periods in the summer and includes opportunities in many countries around the globe. Applications typically open in September for placements the following summer.

Students accepted to the IFMSA-CFMS International Exchange Program are required to complete the Dalhousie Global Health office predeparture requirements.  

You are encouraged to advise the Global Health Manager if you are applying to the program.


Independent Electives

Approval Process

Medical students may also complete an independently organized international elective. Independent electives must be reviewed and approved by the Office of Community Partnerships and Global Health and by UGME.

You are strongly encouraged to meet with the Global Health Manager prior to submitting any applications to discuss your potential elective and the approval process.

You must complete and submit the Dalhousie Global Health International Travel Risk Assessment and Safety Plan [PDF] in order for your elective to be approved in principle.

Once you have approval, you can submit your application or finalize your placement with your host institution.  


Pre-Departure Process

Once an elective has been approved, all students must complete a number of predeparture requirements before their elective. Contact Elise Sammons if you have questions about these steps.

Pre-Departure Steps

  1. Finalize any application requirements for your host institution.
  2. Review visa requirements and licensing requirements and ensure you have submitted all appropriate paperwork and obtained the necessary approvals and documents.
  3. Complete required Dalhousie predeparture training through the International Centre.
  4. For some electives, additional predeparture training may be required or recommended. Discuss with the Global Health Manager.
  5. If applicable, review the Guideline for HIV and Related Illness Prevention.
  6. Discuss Travel Health Needs and Vaccinations with your Family Doctor and/or a Travel Health Centre
  7. Purchase Backpack International Health & Travel Insurance 
  8. Register with International SOS and download the app. More information about this process is available here:
  9. Register on the Government of Canada Registration of Canadians Abroad (for students who are citizens of another country, the equivalent in their country of citizenship)
  10. Complete the Global Health Education Registration Form (note that you will be required to provide proof of completing many of the above steps as part of that process)
  11. Email the Global Health Manager to advise that you have completed the predeparture steps.
  12. After your elective, you will be required to complete a debrief meeting and you may be required to submit a brief post-elective report.