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Funding your elective

Ten steps to bring you closer to your destination

  • By: Gaurav S Gulsin, Peter W Johnston
  • Published: 17 October 2011
  • DOI: 10.1136/sbmj.d5851
  • Cite this as: Student BMJ 2011;19:d5851

“I am really pleased because I have managed to sort out my elective in Fiji. I’ll spend two months working with a great supervisor and I’ll see a completely different way of practising medicine. But cost will be a problem and I really need to find a way to fund it.”

This scenario is common to medical students all over the world. The combination of eager students and willing supervisors to host international electives means that educational and unique electives are possible. The cost of fees, travel, accommodation, and health insurance, however, can be a barrier to progress. Couple this with student debt and a tough economic climate, and the reality of your dream elective can quickly evaporate. Building a budget for an elective is feasible but requires knowledge, planning, and organisation, along with determination and nerve.

Many different sources of funding exist for medical student electives. Societies, companies, universities,

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