Over the past decade, student participation in international health has moved beyond individual elective terms in developing countries to collective responses led by student international health organisations. There are now at least 10 such organisations, with more than 500 medical students participating at a local or national level each year. Student international health organisations can deliver short- and long-term benefits to developing countries, while equipping students with skills such as leadership, teamwork and cultural sensitivity. Activities include delivery of medical equipment, fundraising, educating university communities, and acting as advocates for social justice. We believe Australian medical schools must formally incorporate international health into their curricula, drawing upon the experiences of schools in Europe and North America.