My name is Munesh R. Nenwani and I am currently doing my House-job at a tertiary care hospital in Pakistan. I want to share my first hand experience of doing electives in the UK that some students might be looking for.
How things started:
I was in 4th year of MBBS and it was during summer vacations(June, 2018) when I started searching for electives abroad. Luckily, I found a website named “The Electives Network” (https://www.electives.net/splash) where I signed up and it had myriad of NHS hospitals which provide you electives for a specific period of the year. You will have to write emails to the HR and wait for their response.
The other way is, you just randomly google different hospitals in the UK and open their websites, find a department of your choice and email their consultants to supervise you for 4 weeks. You have to be relentless as well as patient. The process isn’t as easy as it sounds. Some hospitals may not give you any response at all.
Moreover, not all hospitals ask you to pay any amount. I chose the one which offered me free electives. As far as English language proof is concerned, I got a letter from my university, which stated that our course is entirely taught in English and that sufficed.
My experience at the Hospital:
I landed in the UK in May, 2019 when I was in Final year and having my summer vacations. I started my clinical attachment in Cardiothoracic Surgery at New Cross Hospital, The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust. I have my relatives living in there and chose this hospital by virtue of this as it was near to their residence. If you have no kith and kin in the UK, you can opt for any hospital and city depending on your choice.
During those 4 weeks, I attended a battery of heart and lung surgeries in the OT, scrubbed quite a few times, did ward rounds with my consultant, attended his clinic on every Wednesday, took active part in an audit on post-surgical patients, met various people from different cultures and countries and eventually got my Letter of Recommendation(LOR) which will decidedly reinforce my CV for future endeavours. Needless to say, doing electives abroad will certainly spur you to chase your ambition, know the NHS before you actually start working in there.
Travelling around in UK:
At the outset, it will take some time to acclimatize to the entirely new environment. You’ll be fine in a week.
On every weekend, I’d carry my rucksack and embark on a journey to a new city. I went to Birmingham, London, Manchester, Brighton, all these are in England. I also went to Wales which is another country in the UK and and was gobsmacked by its calmness and also the enthralling mountains. You must carry an umbrella in your bag every time you step out because you don’t know when it will start pouring. Apart from that, I am a Cricket fan and fortunately got ticket of a world cup match b/w England and Westindies at Rose Bowl Stadium, Southampton. I was supporting England btw.
Which visa category to apply for?
If you are a medical student, you’d need Short-term-student-visa(6 months). If you have graduated, you might need a Visitor Visa. STSV is for undergraduates. Getting a visa is more crucial than anything. Do all things immaculately.
First, STSV costed me around 90£(20K PKR). It is the airfare ticket which costs you an arm and a leg. Return ticket was more or less 550£ (1 lac PKR). If you have any relatives in the UK like I had, you don’t need to worry about your accommodation and meals. Some hospitals also provide you accommodation. However, if they don’t, you’d need to rent a room/house near your hospital which would roughly cost you 300-500£ and 3 meals a day would cost you approx. 12-15£/day. Big cities like London are pretty expensive and there is no getting around it. Keep in mind a sum of 2.5 – 3.5 lacs PKR for whole trip.
Bottom line is, when you wish to do an elective abroad, money shouldn’t be a problem for you.
I hope things are quite explicit to you now. Let me know if I could be of any more help.
Dr Munesh R. Nenwani email: firstname.lastname@example.org