Students on a gap year internship work at an outreach in Sri Lanka.

4 Medical Gap Year Internship Ideas

A short list of things to do in your medical gap year

By Nadia Moore | 27th November, 2019
Updated on 26th July, 2023

You can feel it deep within your bones - you need a break from your studies. In fact, you need a few months, or even an entire year off before your medical degree starts. How about going overseas to do meaningful work, meet new people, and take part in experiential learning? You can do this and so much more on one of our ethical gap year programs for pre-medical students.  

Here are four things to do during your medical gap year.

Live like a local overseas

One of the best things about embarking on a gap year is the chance to meet people who have completely different cultures and lifestyles. We love seeing stories from our alumni about the people they befriended at their placement and in their host families! A gap year internship is no exception. 

It will bring you into contact with a diverse group of people. Expect to meet people that speak languages you may never have heard of before. After some time, you’ll start to appreciate the local cuisine, and you’ll maybe have inside jokes with the corner shop owner. You may also get quite skilled at navigating areas with little help from maps on your smartphone. 

If you're interested in learning a language with a professional teacher while you're overseas, speak to our friendly Project Experts to see what we can arrange for you. 

Top Tip: Try and network with medical doctors, nurses, and public health professionals while overseas. Chat with them about their work and the healthcare system in their country. You could also interview them as part of your medical research!

A family hosts a medical gap year student in Peru.

Test your knowledge and skills on the ground

At this point in your studies, you probably know every crack, smudge, and dent on your classroom walls. You’re a dedicated academic and we salute you!

At some point, you need to test those academic skills with real-world cases and lived experiences. Take part in experiential learning on one of the following medical gap year programs in: 

You can travel to places like Kenya, Argentina, or Vietnam. In these countries, you’ll work alongside local professionals who’ll give you insight into the country’s healthcare system. We focus on making these programs as safe as possible, and our in-destination staff are around to offer you 24/7 assistance. 

Top Tip: If you want more clinical exposure and hands-on work, join a Public Health Project or a Medicine Project with a strong outreach component. Need a reference letter or a certificate of hours after your time with us? Let us know before your trip so we can organise it via our teams on the ground.

A Tanzanian child is examined by a student on a medical gap year program.

Pay off those debts and save some pennies!

We’ve said it before in our Top 5 Things To Do In A Gap Year post and we’ll say it again: using your gap year to make some extra cash or working to pay off your debt/s is an excellent way to spend your gap year. 

Washing cars, working at your local shop, or hosting a cake sale can all bring in the moola. Not only are you making money, but you’re gaining work experience and let’s be real: any work experience looks great on your CV. Here’s an idea: use the year of work to save towards a goal like a medical internship overseas. 

Work experience will boost your employability and make you stand out when applying for a job in the medical field.

Tip: Need some fundraising inspo, check out this guide for a few nifty ideas.

Take a leaf out of Greta’s book

If you have the time to do it, use your medical gap year opportunity to do something completely different from your studies!

At the 2019 U.N. Climate Action Summit, Greta Thunberg held accountable leaders of countries, but also the average person. The Swedish teen shows us that being young is no excuse - we are ALL called to save our planet. Whatever work you do or no matter your background, we can all make a difference.   

If you’re wondering how you can make a tangible difference for our planet, how about starting small? Here are a few ideas from our own staff; they’re achievable and easy to begin:

  1. “Try to buy more locally produced food instead of imported food.” - Julia K.S.
  2. “I cut down on fruit and veg waste by feeding leftovers to my rabbit.” - Dan S.
  3. “I've cut out all meat and most fish from my diet, I always carry a metal water bottle and I have swapped my car for my bike as much as possible.” - Dom D.
  4. “Use animal-cruelty free toiletries and beauty products.” - Jen S.
  5. “Don’t put your fruit or vegetables in plastic bags, rather put them in a basket or in a mesh bag.” Matilda L.

Top Tip: Take part in a Wildlife Conservation Program or in a Marine Conservation Program. This is an excellent way to give our furry, scaly, shelled, or feathery friends a better chance at survival. The longer you stay overseas, the more work on the ground you can do.

Students observe animals on a Conservation Program in Botswana.

Extra tip: Meet other volunteers and interns from each part of the globe

If you’d prefer to travel with others, you’re welcome to join one of our group trips that run over set dates. On our Team Trips you can expect to: 

  • Team up with people your age to work toward the same goal
  • Get 24/7 support from our in-country staff.
  • Receive a full and exciting itinerary of cultural and social events. 

If you want to take part in project work that spans the entire year, consider joining our Global Gap program. You’ll work in places like Ghana, South Africa, Thailand, Peru and Nepal. Expect to work with the youth, ride the waves on our Surfing Project, or help preserve coral reefs in warm waters.

Make your gap year matter

Whatever you decide to do, make your medical gap year opportunity one to remember. Make it a year that encourages you to live better, meet new people, and boost your medical skills.  

Are you still asking yourself: “what should I do in my gap year before medical school?” Get in touch with us for more information - we’re happy to answer your questions, or simply fuel your gap year ambitions!

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Want to know more about your gap year options?

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