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Students - Planning your elective

Make it a trip to remember

Your elective is most likely to be one of the highlights of your time at your school. You will have the opportunity to go almost anywhere and find out more about a range of medical specialities.

Planning your elective can be a daunting task. To help, Wesleyan have put together this guide to help you start planning your trip.

Start planning early

You should start planning your elective as soon as you can. Competition is high and waiting lists can be long for some placements. Bear in mind that some areas are so remote that communication can be slow.

Finding the right contact?

The hospital website usually has a contact name and details of the elective process. This can sometimes involve a form of payment. It's always worth contacting the hospital if you still can't find this information.

Key info you need to provide

When making initial contact, ensure you write a short covering letter and supply your CV.

Your covering letter should include:

  • The dates of your elective
  • What you want to get out of your time/why you are applying
  • Which year of medical school you are in
  • Where you are studying and formal proof of this
  • Contact details
  • Reference.

Waiting for confirmation

It can take several weeks before you get a response, you may decide to email the hospital if you haven't heard back for some time.

It's important that any confirmation you receive is given in writing to evidence this. Electives do fall through sometimes, so always re-confirm your arrival date to the hospital before departing. 

Expenses checklist

To help with your budgeting you should make a list of all the potential costs.

  • Flights
  • Accommodation
  • Elective travel insurance
  • Visa
  • Food
  • Immunisations
  • First aid kit
  • Rucksacks and clothes
  • Transport
  • Phone cards or mobile bills

Financial support

With the long list of costs you incur before and during your elective, it's worth contacting organisations to ask for financial support. Try demonstrating how your elective is relevant to the organisation you're applying to.

Potential organisations could include: 

  • Your medical school - they will know about bursaries, grants, awards and scholarships available for students
  • Charities
  • Pharmaceutical companies
  • Local businesses
  • Banks
  • Religious organisations 
  • Specialist job agencies for part time work before you travel.

Make sure you have everything covered before you embark on your elective. Getting the policy to suit your needs can be difficult, but it's essential you are covered correctly.

Wesleyan can arrange elective insurance to cover the needs of students arranging elective overseas.

As well as benefiting from a comprehensive travel policy the special elective cover includes:

  • Final exam re-sits - cancellation/curtailment cover £1,500
  • Needlestick/sharp injury £10,000
  • Emergency medical biological fluids £5,000
  • Emergency Medical Expense £10 million


Stay healthy:
Some countries will require vaccination records in order to process your visa so make sure you get your vaccinations done in plenty of time.

Stay safe: Most elective assignments are safe, however it's important to check the potential risks before you travel. To find out about a country's current situation visit

Be realistic: Before you work abroad you should be realistic about your expectations of the working conditions. Patients will be treated differently abroad and the working conditions may not be to the standard of the UK.

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Wesleyan Assurance Society and Wesleyan Bank Ltd are authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. Wesleyan Financial Services Ltd, Wesleyan Unit Trust Managers Ltd, Practice Plan Ltd and DPAS Ltd are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.  Advice about investments, insurance and mortgages is provided by Wesleyan Financial Services Ltd.

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