The Pros and Cons of Having Your Medical Internship Abroad

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Having your medical internship abroad is the experience of a lifetime as long as you have gathered all the requirements such as Portugal NIF. Learning about the world beyond your space while enhancing your medical career is a unique feat. There are both pros and cons of having your medical internship abroad. Those who want to become medical assistants may take Online medical assisting classes and depending on your course, an internship may be required.

Pro: Cross-Cultural Experience

When you do your internship abroad, you get to experience different cultures. When you experience and interact with different cultures, you become a more refined and knowledgeable medical personnel than one who has only experienced their familiar territory.

For example, malaria is more prevalent in East Africa than in Western countries. If you were to have your internship in East Africa, it’d mean that you acquire knowledge regarding malaria because of its prevalence. You get to identify the symptoms quickly, learn the medical interventions, and discover the cultural practices included in naturally treating it.

When you return to your country of residence, you contribute a wealth of knowledge to your medical community regarding certain illnesses and the dynamics because of the cross-cultural experiences. Visit to learn more about internship opportunities.

Pro: A Unique Resume

Doing your internship abroad contributes to the uniqueness of your resume. When applying for jobs in your country of residence, your resume that shows cross-cultural medical experience may be one of the reasons you become one of the top candidates. This information on your resume portrays your open-mindedness and ability to be versatile while performing your duties, for example. This is the kind of information that recruiters may appreciate.

Pro: A Wide Network Base

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Doing your internship abroad means you widen your network base. Forming a wide network base means forming connections with medical personnel across the globe. Forming such connections means you increase your chances of getting invited to medical programs, launches, career promotions, and conferences, contributing to your growth and experiences.

Not only do you form connections with medical personnel, but with community members as well. Both sides of the coin contribute to each other in career and social development. You may find that you’ll apply for jobs that you may otherwise be unaware of such as becoming a doctor at one of the schools in the city you would have done your internship.

Con: You’ll Be Away From Family

Being away from family is one of the hardest dynamics of doing your internship abroad. You’ll form new alliances and friendships, but the absence of family might affect you. You may get homesick, meaning you have a deep yearning to go back home, which may affect your daily performance if not handled carefully.

To avoid intense feelings of loneliness, isolation, and homesickness resulting from family absence, you can consider making the most of technology to keep in touch. After a day at work, you can organize a video calling session with your family members or set aside lunchtime to share messages, depending on the time-zone difference. There are several ways to keep in touch with family members nowadays when you’re abroad.

Con: Language Barrier

The language barrier may be frustrating when you do your internship abroad. The language might be difficult to grasp, and you’ll also have to familiarize yourself with the cultural methods of communication that aren’t verbally communicated. For example, it’s rude to stare an older person in the eye when speaking to them in Southern Africa.

When speaking with older people, one is expected to look slightly away from the older person’s eyes or look to the ground as a sign of respect. However, you may have learned where you come from that looking a person in the eye shows you’re listening and actively communicating.

It may take some time to grasp such language dynamics, but it’s possible. You can consider speaking with local colleagues to understand these and also constantly observe how locals communicate with each other and follow suit.


Doing your internship abroad is an experience that you’ll benefit immensely from and need to plan for. The cross-cultural experience that you gain makes you a well-rounded medic. Your resume also stands out among the crowd as it may display versatility. You also build a strong network base. However, being away from family may be difficult during that time. You can always organize video and phone calls to maintain the bond. The language barrier may be frustrating at first, but you may soon get comfortable through observation and intentional learning.

As a rule of thumb, do some research on the country you’re going to. Consider the ideas mentioned here as you prepare.


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About the Author: Brian Novak