International experiences and clinical rotations provide medical students with a variety of opportunities and exposure to different cultures, health systems, populations and medical practices.
While the university aims to train physicians, pharmacists and health care researchers for and from Ohio, there are many benefits to studying overseas as a medical student.
Benefits of an International experience
International clinical experiences provides students with:
Exposure to a wider variety of illnesses
International clinical rotations and experiences broaden a physician’s medical knowledge through exposure to patients with diseases not endemic to their home region, and to the more severe stages of illness seldom encountered at home.
Improvement of skills
International clinical rotations and experiences also foster an improvement of physical examination and procedural skills, due in part to less availability of extensive laboratory testing, accessible consultants, and expensive diagnostic imaging.
Education on different health systems
Rotating abroad, either as a medical student or as a resident, you learn a considerable amount of information about patients’ experiences under different legal health care structures. Given possible upcoming changes in the American health care system, it could be additionally helpful to have experiences in practical clinical work overseas to better understand the context of the changes.
It sounds simple but doing a clinical clerkship overseas can provide a unique cultural understanding that affects your subsequent training. In a 2009 survey published in Academic Medicine, residents stated that two years after completing an international clinical rotation, the experience continued to positively impact their awareness of cultural and socioeconomic factors and clinical and language skills. Additionally, the survey found that experience with different medical systems can help participants gain better cultural understanding of medical care.
Victor M. Torres, M.A.
Office of Global Engagment
Northeast Ohio Medical University