Twelve tips for effective international clinical placements

Med Teach. 2007 Nov;29(9):872-7. doi: 10.1080/01421590701784364.


As universities adopt an increasingly international focus, student health professionals are keen to gain clinical experiences in other countries. Such clinical placements provide students with the opportunity to share their knowledge and at the same time acquire new clinical and cultural skills. The experience gained will not only enhance their clinical practice overseas, but will also enhance it in their home country where they are likely to work with people from culturally, linguistically and clinically diverse backgrounds. Careful preparation and adequate supports are critical if students and the host institutions are to gain maximum benefit from cross-cultural clinical placements. The tips below are based on an ongoing collaboration between the Indian Institute of Cerebral Palsy, Kolkata, India and The University of Sydney, as well as recommendations from the burgeoning literature on international clinical placements. The authors are from both the sending and the receiving institutions, and have found that close collaboration between the home and host institutions along with student reflection, evaluation and the opportunity to integrate new knowledge with other clinical experiences are keys to a satisfactory outcome for all concerned.

MeSH terms

  • Cultural Competency / education*
  • Education, Medical / methods*
  • Education, Medical / trends
  • Health Occupations / education*
  • Humans
  • India
  • Interinstitutional Relations
  • International Educational Exchange / trends*
  • New South Wales
  • Preceptorship / methods*
  • Preceptorship / standards
  • Preceptorship / trends
  • Students, Health Occupations / psychology