Telling strangers not to shave: not everyone speaks English
Going on elective wasn't all fun for Layla McCay. She didn't have a clue what was going on, though she wouldn't have been able to tell her Japanese hosts that. Contrary to the sometimes lazy outlook native English speakers have, maybe you ought to learn the language before going.
When choosing where to do your elective, there are many things to consider: should you go to a local hospital or abroad? How about a third world country? Which specialty? Should you go alone? I recommend adding a further consideration to your list: should you go to an English speaking country? As someone who did not, I feel qualified to describe some of the pitfalls, as well as the potential benefits.
My decision was largely due to having recently read Memoirs of a Geisha, as well as my interest in nephrology. With the opportunity to spend a month anywhere in the world, I decided upon Japan. I secured a place at Osaka University Hospital, and found three “homestay” families to live with.
I thought I had better learn some Japanese. I bought a Teach Yourself guide and progressed slowly. I wasn't too worried, however; having visited several other non-English speaking