A volunteer measures the heartbeat of a young girl during her medical internship abroad for high school students.

All you need to know about our medical internships abroad for high school students

The A - Z of our international medical programmes
By Isabel Silva | 29th May, 2019
Updated on 06th October, 2021

Choosing a future career can be difficult, especially if you’re still a teenager. All you’ve known is school and the subjects you’ve been able to learn. But is that enough to help you define the career you’ll choose for the rest of your life? This is why we offer you the opportunity to experience potential career fields through our High School Special internships abroad.

These projects are incredibly useful, especially if you’re considering a career in medicine. What better way to find out if medicine is really for you, than shadowing doctors and seeing medical work firsthand. And the bonus is that you’ll have real-world experience on your CV that’ll benefit future medical school applications!

How do I get medical experience as a high school student?

Our Medicine internships for high school students are designed for teenagers in mind. They coincide with your summer holidays and follow a set itinerary. This means we plan everything for you, so all you need to do is focus on your internship and enjoy the social activities we’ve organised for you.

So what is the goal of these internships? To teach you basic medical skills and give you first-hand insight into what life is like as a medical professional. You’ll work as an intern in a medical facility in a developing country.You’ll learn about the different healthcare challenges patients face and how medical professionals work with limited resources.

You’ll join other teenagers from all over the world and our staff will be by your side every step of the way. You’ll become part of a global network of aspiring medical professionals. 

Here are a few of the things you and other high school students will experience at your medical placement overseas:

A high school student measures blood sugar during a community healthcare outreach in the Philippines.

Gain experience and learn basic medical skills before university

The first step to become a doctor, nurse, or any other medical professional is to learn the basics. As part of our medical work experience abroad for teenagers, you’ll learn directly from professionals. They’ll teach you basic skills during workshops and you’ll shadow them as they treat patients in medical facilities or the community.

Some of the valuable skills you’ll learn include:

  • Measuring blood sugar levels
  • Measuring blood pressure
  • Administering injections
  • Stitches
  • First aid
  • Disease and illness prevention

Worried about not being able to stand blood or open wounds? While you’re shadowing medical staff, you might have the chance to observe various medical procedures. In some of our programmes, you might:

  • Observe surgeries, such as abdominal, ENT, dental, or open-heart surgery
  • Observe C-sections and natural births
  • Shadow medical professionals during ambulance night shifts
  • Assist with eye tests and use the x-ray machine

Learning is only a small part of the process. And we offer more. We’ll give you the opportunity to practice your new skills. You could give injections to oranges, practice stitching on pig skin, or measure blood pressure at community healthcare outreaches.

“Honestly, I always said blood or raw wounds didn’t bother me but at the same time I didn’t really know if it did or didn’t bother me. In the clinics that we were put in, I was exposed to flesh wounds and blood and I really got to know myself and I discovered I could handle blood. I learned so many things within the clinic and during our workshop lessons. Things like how to stitch, what type of stitches to use, and how to give injections, which we did on a piece of fruit and a pig leg.”
- Faith L, Medicine in Peru
A local doctors explains medical tests to volunteers in one of our medical placements overseas for high school students.

Assist doctors and nurses on outreaches to improve access to healthcare

For us, it’s important that we make a positive impact in the communities we work. For this reason, you’ll get to assist doctors at various community healthcare outreaches.

Many of the communities in which we work don’t have the necessary funds or transport to seek medical care. Without regular screening, illness could go undetected until symptoms become severe. This is why we bring free basic medical services right to their doorstep.

You’ll help with routine health checks under supervision of medical professionals. You’ll use the skills you and the other high school students learned in your medical work experience workshops.

In 2018, our interns helped local healthcare staff screen over 7,650 people in countries like Ghana, Mongolia, Sri Lanka, Kenya, Bolivia, Peru, Tanzania and Belize.

Other medical initiatives included:

  • Health checks for 1,130 children, elderly and disabled people in Cambodia
  • Diabetes screening for over 200 people in Bolivia

With all the information you’ll gather, doctors can refer patients to seek further treatment.

“The volunteers were very willing to learn, were very observant, respectful and used their initiative. Having them here during the summer, which is usually the busiest period of the year, reduced the staff workload as the volunteers were very helpful, engaging and willing to assist in any way they possibly could. Because of their enthusiasm, they were given tasks to do such as preparing cotton balls, weighing
and checking patients’ blood pressure, which allowed more staff to focus on other tasks”.
- Nurse Lawrence from a health centre in Jamaica
High school volunteers take a rest during a medical outreach in Mexico.

Participate in awareness campaigns to spread the word about disease prevention and more

As mentioned above, you’ll learn all about the diseases and illnesses that are prevalent in the country you’ll work in. You’ll use the knowledge you’ve learned during your medical project to create awareness campaigns with the other high school students. These campaigns are important aspects of the project as they educate communities on disease. You'll share information about causes, symptoms and treatments for these various common illnesses.

This awareness work will increase general well being of the local community. And there’s no limit to the information you can share!

You can teach children effective teeth brushing techniques. You can talk to students about preventing diabetes and other non-communicable diseases through a healthy diet and exercise. You'll help people learn how to avoid mosquito-borne diseases like malaria, and actively remove mosquito breeding grounds. Any information you share will improve quality of life.

As part of the awareness work last summer, our interns:

  • Inspected 126 family homes in Jamaica and Sri Lanka and eradicate mosquito breeding grounds
  • Distributed dengue fever information leaflets to 500 community members in Sri Lanka
  • Spoke to the residents in 99 houses in Belize, and handed out brochures to raise awareness of mosquito-borne diseases
  • Removed potential mosquito breeding grounds along 5 main roads in Sri Lanka
A high school student teaching children how to brush teeth during our medical project abroad for teenagers.

Have the time of your life!

Last but not least, you’ll share this experience with other high school students from all over the world. This is a great opportunity to make new friends and build up an international network of future medical professionals.

We do more than just organise an internship with likeminded people, we also make sure you get to explore the country! Our great staff will prepare:

  • Social activities
  • Cultural events
  • A weekend trip

Depending on where you intern, these can include safaris through national parks, a day at famous temples like Angkor Wat, or a trek to find the most beautiful waterfalls. You may even get to try your hand at salsa, learn how to make Chinese dumplings, or spend the day in a traditional Maasai village. We want you to truly embrace cultural exchange!

A group photo of high school volunteers and staff before a medical outreach to gain medical work experience abroad.

We’ve thought of everything. These programmes will help you decide if a medical career is something you truly want. It’ll push you in the right direction while allowing you to be a part of something bigger: our efforts to improve healthcare in developing countries.


Are you ready to discover what you’re capable of? Take a look through our High School Special Projects to decide which one is the best fit for you.

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Want to know more about our Medicine internships for high school students abroad?

Get in touch with our Projects Experts. They'll be happy to answer any questions you may have.

09 801 2518

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