The University of Illinois is a world leader in research, teaching, and public engagement. Many hands – at home and abroad — make it so, and many benefit. Study abroad is one of the ways in which our students and others build and benefit from Illinois’ international engagement.
Our mission is to provide and facilitate a range of study and education opportunities abroad consonant in breadth and quality with on-campus Illinois curricula, offered for short or long duration according to curricular objectives and in consideration of students’ obligations, at a range of costs and with opportunities for scholarship or subvention such that study abroad opportunity is available to all students in good standing. Attention to students’ health, safety, and well-being abroad underlies all other considerations.
Our intention is that through study abroad we and our partners prepare students for global citizenship, guiding them to a greater understanding of world and domestic cultures and encouraging them to share that understanding with the hosts abroad and communities at home; that students gain or enhance area linguistic, subject, and cultural knowledge and competence; that students contribute to their host communities; and that students emerge wiser and more engaged citizens.
Student Reflections Heading link
Christian Medical College, India (2 weeks ER and 2 weeks Radiology)
I soon realized that although I was in a very different physical environment, I was still in a largely similar western medical environment. Although the crash cart was a rust bucket; the ACLS algorithms were still followed. Although the CSF samples had to be brought to the lab by a patient’s family; appropriate workup was still ordered. Although the ECG leads were placed with suction cups; the attendings still pimped the residents on the readings.
I was very impressed with the system CHAD had in place for maintaining community health. They identified communities which needed help, they established a low cost system of care, and they maintained appropriate follow up. Screening was done in the communities by physicians, progress was monitored in the communities by nurses, and only when necessary were patients instructed to seek more costly care at CHAD or CMC. This system successfully minimizes social obstacles which may otherwise limit these patients from seeking care.
While most of the medical care that I participated in in India was not too unlike what I have become familiar with at home, the environment in which that care is practiced is very different. Some of those differences were challenging like the advanced pathology or the overwhelming patient numbers. But other differences were pleasantly refreshing like the personalized systems of care established in poorer communities and the appreciation and respect of patients for their medical providers. This rotation was an excellent opportunity to not only further my medical knowledge and skills, but also to experience differences in other health care systems. It was an experience I will never forget, and I am so thankful to have had this opportunity.
Wendeng Orthopedic Hospital, Shandong Province, China
While many differences exist between the countries and healthcare models, the drive to provide the best possible care for patients is constant. Physicians are educated in an apprenticeship model similar to the United States and may spend their entire life working in the same hospital and providing care to their community. The mutual decision-making model is used and made with the patients best interest in mind. Education is emphasized with daily journal discussions and formal weekly journal clubs with physicians fluent in academic literacy.
As a future physician, my goal aims to provide a sustainable approach to providing economically viable care within the community and clinics for underserved populations and demographics. The challenges of delivering healthcare in an urban and rural setting–issues of access, cost, and culturally aware care–are at the forefront of medical practice everywhere as America possesses an aging, diverse population. These are the critical issues that are important to me and this rotation provided a unique perspective.
Christian Medical College, India (1 week pulmonary medicine, 1 week psychiatry, 2 weeks family medicine)
I learned that psychiatrists incorporate family members in treatment more than the United States. In India, if a family member is hospitalized in the inpatient psychiatric unit, their spouse or father or mother is also provided a room next door to keep an eye on the patient during their entire stay. Family members are always involved in occupational therapy with the patient too. I realized that you are not only treating the patient, but you are also offering guidance and education to their family members. I will learn to keep this “family” approach in mind whenever I am dealing with a patient who is from India.
During my family medicine rotation, I learned the true art of physical exam maneuvers. My first day, I witnessed the attending do a thoracentesis without any imaging, just pure physical exam maneuvers such as “percussion”. This was very eye opening to me, because as physicians we forget we have the “tools” to figure out problems just with our hands.
Overall, going to India has made me into a better future physician in many ways. It has allowed me to understand pathology in a way I have never understood it before. It has allowed me to be more confident with my physical exam maneuvers. Finally, it has showed me how crucial it is to truly understand your patients so you can fully heal them. Taking the time to ask patients about their cultural backgrounds is critical so no one is ever offended. and most importantly to allow for a speedy and comfortable recovery!
Christian Medical College, India (1 week ER, 1 week Dermatology, Venereology and Leprosy, 1 week Hand & Leprosy Reconstructive Surgery, 1 week Community Health & Development Program)
If I could describe the hospital in two words, it would be “sensory overload.” The hospital campus was vast, set at a busy intersection in the heart of Vellore. Amidst the sounds of honking horns and shouting vendors, every square inch of the hospital floors was teeming with either patients, relatives, physicians, nurses, hospital workers, or security guards. It took the first two weeks to fully get my bearings around the hospital grounds; however, the hospitality of the workers and security guards in guiding my disorientated feet never made me actually feel like I was lost. Although it seemed chaotic outside, I soon learned there was a fine balance that ran the hospital in a systematic way; patients were seen in turn, lines were somewhat formed, and no patient was left behind.
As there are countless patients to see in a day, each patient is only seen for about 5-7 minutes. Yet the patients are never frustrated, and the physician makes sure that all of their concerns are addressed before sending the patient off.
Quetzaltenango (Xela), Guatemala, Medical Spanish at Miquel Angel Asturias Spanish School
Each day started with 5 hours of intensive one-on-one Spanish lessons followed by either time in a government run free community clinic located 30-45 minutes outside the city or activities and lectures aimed at expanding our understanding of conversational Spanish and/or Xela as a community.
The one-on-one teaching quickly allowed us to move past the rudimentary “what do you study” and “name your favorite foods”, to discussions on the challenges and approaches to medical care in Xela. Often our conversations would comment on the similarities in care with regard to high rates of diabetes and heart disease seen in our communities, but also provided insight on the challenges Guatemala faces with regard to conditions less commonly seen in the populations I have worked with in the US.
I would be remiss if I did not mention the incredible generosity of my host family who not only provided me with place to stay and three meals a day for 3 weeks, but also with patience while I practiced my Spanish around the dinner table. Although there is still so much to learn, I am immensely grateful for this unique and invaluable experience to build a base in my Spanish language skills. With this base, I am excited to continue to expand my Spanish skills and to continue to practice with my future patients.
Christian Medical College, India (Inpatient and Outpatient clinic work)
Each week I worked on different service which was beneficial for experiencing a wide breadth of doctor-patient interactions, disease presentations and unique management/therapeutic interventions. The doctor-patient interactions in India were very different than in the United States. Patients in India were very respectful and thankful of the doctors, valuing their time (albeit very brief) and their medical recommendations. However, patients had to wait long hours in large queues for very short appointments without much privacy.
The disease presentations were also interesting, as the private patients presented for prevention or with early staged diseases while the public patients presented very late in the disease course. This was an opportunity to see first-hand how low income, low health literacy and socioeconomic disparities can drive pathology.
This trip also helped to solidify global medicine as an interest of mine. Even as a medical student I felt that I was making a difference for the patients.
Christian Medical College, India (did not specify departments)
Cultural and social determinants play a significant role in patient compliance and disease prevalence. I left India with a vastly different perspective and point of reference about the challenges faced in both the healthcare field and surrounding community. This experience has made me more aware of the social challenges faced by patients that ultimately affect their health, disease state, and compliance with treatment, and I hope to carry this with me as I enter the healthcare profession.
was surprised by the similarities in healthcare practices and surgical procedures when compared to the US. It made me realize that effective healthcare and evidence-based medicine can be achieved in countries and settings where resources and technology have not yet caught up with more developed countries.
UI International Externships Heading link
The University of Illinois College of Medicine is the nation’s largest medical school. Its diverse student body of 2,600 students hails from a wide variety of cultural and economic backgrounds. The college’s three campuses — in Chicago, Peoria, and Rockford — take advantage of the state’s urban and rural environments and offer numerous opportunities for clinical training and research. UIC offers many opportunities of international externships for current medical students. Students can apply for international externships through the University of Illinois or through the IFMSA International Externships Program.
Procedure for Scheduling Electives at Non-LCME Accredited Medical Schools
Electives at non-LCME (Liaison Committee on Medical Education) accredited medical schools are usually electives offered by foreign medical schools, i.e., “international electives.” However, this category can also include scholarship experiences at hospices, hospitals, clinics, public health facilities, etc. In general, the procedures for scheduling these electives are similar to those for scheduling electives from LCME medical schools as described above. The major difference is that more extensive documentation of the elective is usually required to justify the experience as substantially contributing to the student’s medical education.
Students should provide a complete description of the experience including activities, objectives to be met, time spent, location, supervising faculty member, and mechanism for evaluation. In addition, a description of the institution itself should be included in the documentation. This can sometimes be photocopied from the school’s catalog and typically includes information about number of faculty, patients, facilities, etc. These electives also require additional review and authorizations by UIC COM.
It is strongly recommended that students who wish to take these elective experiences contact their Academic Advisor in the Office of Student Affairs at the earliest possible time. Information on international health electives is available on the American Medical Student Association (AMSA) website and the AMA Office of International Medicine website.
About IFMSA Heading link
The International Federation of Medical Student Associations (IFMSA) is an established federation of medical student associations from across the world. IFMSA is recognized as an important non-governmental organization and collaborative partner by WHO, UNESCO, other UN agencies and several NGOs, such as the Global Health Forum. Through IFMSA over 7,000 students participate in clinical clerkships (available to all levels of medical students) every year. IFMSA exchanges are well-established and offer medical students the opportunity to further their training by studying medicine in a different cultural context, in a clinical elective across the world.
Annually, thousands of future physicians attempt to complete a course of international study; thousands more profess an interest in learning more about the issues that shape our global health dynamic. Yet medical school curricula are full, and typically offer limited opportunities and services for students with international interests.
Scholarships and Opportunities Heading link
The “Joly-O’Morchoe Exchange Fellowship Fund” was created by the former Regional Dean, Dr. Charles C.C. O’Morchoe of Poulsbo, Washington.. Dr. O’Morchoe made this gift in honor of his late wife, Dr. Patricia Jean O’Morchoe, his grandfather, Charles Jasper Joly, and his grandfather’s cousin, John Joly (see further details below). The Joly-O’Morchoe Exchange Fellowship is for students enrolled at the University of Illinois College of Medicine and from the School of Medicine at the University of Dublin, Trinity College.
The Joly O’Morchoe Scholarship allows a student from each of these institutions to study abroad at the other institution for at least a four-week period. Each year, a student from the UI-COM will receive a stipend to spend 4+ weeks at Trinity College (http://www.tcd.ie/ ) in Dublin.
- M4 student in good academic standing
- Ability to accept the terms of the program
- Ability to travel abroad
Applications should include:
- A curriculum vitae
- Official transcript
- Brief proposal on how the experience is expected to enhance your career in medicine
- Specific plans for what you will accomplish while at Trinity (Ex. elective clerkships, research )
Fellowships will be awarded to students based on their academic merit and on their potential for career advancement through study abroad. Students selected for a Fellowship award shall have an excellent academic record and shall have demonstrated a level of commitment and responsibility commensurate with that deemed appropriate for study at another institution.
Application Deadline: March 1, 2024
Submit application materials to:
Dr. Ara Tekian
Associate Dean for the Office of International Education
About the Scholarship
Drs. Patricia Jean and Charles C.C. O’Morchoe are graduates of Trinity and have served on the faculty of both Trinity and the University of Illinois. Charles C.C. O’Morchoe was elected a fellow of Trinity in 1966. Both were Professors at the University of Illinois from 1984-1998. They have devoted their professional careers to administration, research, teaching and service within the higher education setting. They have consistently demonstrated concern for and interest in the academic success and career development of students and have served as role models to countless students at Trinity, the University of Illinois and other institutions in which they served.
Charles Jasper Joly graduated from Trinity and subsequently joined its faculty where he became The Andrews Professor of Astronomy.and The Royal Astronomer of lreland from 1897 to 1906 when he died at an early age from typhoid fever. He is best known for his many publications on the subject of quaternions. He was elected a Fellow of Trinity and a Fellow of the Royal Society. John Joly also graduated from Trinity and joined its faculty where he became Professor of Geology and Mineralogy, a post he held from 1897 to 1933. He is considered to be one of Trinity’s most distinguished scientists in its 400 year history having published some 300 articles on topics as wide ranging as geology, physics, color photography, botany and cosmic radiation. He too was elected a fellow of Trinity and of the Royal Society.
Additional Scholarship Opportunities
While you are in medical school, there are opportunities to carry out summer research, receive funding for your medical studies and to apply for a funded year abroad during or after medical school. The best approach to finding funding is to think creatively about yourself and your goals. As you search for funding sources remember that diverse aspects of you may connect with awards such as the nature of your research, your ethnic background, the country your research is taking place in, your career goals, etc. Be persistent and patient and you will likely find awards to help you.
MICEFA – Clinical Electives in Paris, France
MICEFA is currently accepting applications to their medical exchange program, which aims to bring 3rd and 4th-year medical students to Paris to experience a comparative approach to medicine and public health practices. This is applicable to any student who may be interested in carrying out a clinical elective in Paris.
MICEFA can place you in the clinical elective of your choice. Some of the most popular electives chosen are Internal Medicine, Neurology, Oncology, Infectious Disease, Pediatrics, Emergency Medicine, Dermatology. This list is not exhaustive so do not hesitate to reach out to Heather Mortimer-Charoy, if you are looking for a specific elective or a sub-specialization.
Electives must be a minimum of 4 weeks. Students may request one elective for 4 or 8 weeks or two 4-week electives in different specialties.
Partnering French Universities
- Paris VI – Faculté de Médecine – Pierre et Marie Curie (UPMC)
- Paris VII – UFR de Médecine – Paris Diderot
- Paris XI – Faculté de Médecine Paris-Sud
- Paris XIII – Paris-Nord – UFR Santé, Médecine, Biologie Humaine
- Université Versailles Saint Quentin en Yvelines – UFR Sciences de la Santé
- Approval by home institution (UI COM)
- 3rd- or 4th-year medical student at partnering North American university.
- Students must have at least an A2 (lower intermediate level of French) to be able to participate in the program. Some universities (UPMC and Université Paris Diderot) as well as certain fields of study (Emergency Medicine) will require a higher proficiency of French (B2). MICEFA is able administer a French Language Placement test.
Application & Deadline
Download the application from the MICEFA website. The completed application with supporting documents should be returned to your UI COM international coordinator. UI COM will submit the completed application to MICEFA. Electronic submissions are accepted.
Application must be submitted at least 3 months before elective request date.
For more information, contact:
6 rue du Douanier Rousseau
75014 PARIS, FRANCE
+33 1 40 51 76 96