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International Opportunities During Residency

Foreign residency rotations enable resident physicians to become immersed not only in different modalities of medical care, but in the culture and traditions of each respective country as well. Due to the prevalence of some illnesses in only certain regions of the world, international electives can expose residents to a greater variety of pathology and disease. The structure of U.S. graduate medical education (GME) may present some challenges to the inclusion of international rotations into GME curriculum. There are, however, many interational programs available that provide residents with a rich and diverse experience abroad. To aid in your search, a resource guide, currently available electives and general resources for planning rotations abroad are listed on the left. International electives generally fall into one of three categories:

  • Clinical electives: allow the resident to encounter a variety of clinical conditions, common illness, diagnostic tools, methods of treatment, local social limitations and cultural biases.
  • Community health electives: usually an ongoing project focused on a specific community health need, identifying and utilizing the available resources and monitoring the final outcome.
  • Research projects: often an epidemiological study that requires defining a population and variables, which will then be developed into a hypothesis and tested for accuracy.

Please note: The AMA does not endorse or partner with any of these organizations. Individuals interested in pursuing a residency or elective program abroad should contact these groups directly. The AMA-RFS strongly urges each international traveler to investigate their foreign contacts and organizations thoroughly. It is critical that travelers take all appropriate precautions to ensure their personal and financial safety. Additionally, this resource is intended only for U.S. physicians interested in going abroad for supplemental medical training. If you are a physician training or practicing outside the U.S. and desire to come to the U.S. to practice medicine, you may visit the International Medical Graduates Section Web site for pertinent information.