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STEM, PREMEDICINE, & ALLIED HEALTH
It is a common misconception that students interested in STEM fields, premedicine, and allied health professions cannot study abroad. Studying abroad will not only help you place your academic curriculum in a global context, it will also help you become a more culturally competent medical professional. With careful, advanced planning with the Director of Premedicine and Allied Health and your Education Abroad Adviser, you can find a program that will help you meet your academic and professional goals while staying on track to complete requirements.

THINGS TO CONSIDER
  • How far along are you in your STEM, premedicine, or allied health curriculum? This, combined with your progress toward Ways of Knowing and major requirements, will help you and your Education Abroad Adviser determine which program options would work well.
  • When and where do you plan to take entrance exams, such as the MCAT or DAT? When do you plan to study for this exam?
  • Confirm that the start/end dates of the study abroad programs you are considering do not conflict with entrance exam dates, application deadlines, and interviews.

ETHICAL CONSIDERATIONS
While abroad, you may have the opportunity to shadow medical professionals or to volunteer at clinics and hospitals. Besides enhancing your overall experience, this is a great opportunity to expand your understanding of heath care practices outside of the U.S. context.  

When you shadow medical professionals or volunteer at clinics and hospitals in the United States, there are ethical guidelines and rules in place to ensure your safety and the safety of those around you. However, rules may differ depending on the country. When participating in health care programs abroad, consider the following questions:
  • Am I adequately trained for this, and do I have access to adequate safety equipment?
  • Is there proper supervision?
  • If things don’t go accordingly, how will this affect the lives of individuals with whom I’m working?
If anything is outside of your comfort zone, it is okay to respectfully decline an opportunity or to state, “I don’t know.” Safety should be your first priority. 
 
If you anticipate that your program will expose you to health-related activities (e.g., clinical shadowing, an internship at a medical facility, etc.), we recommend that you take the Global Ambassadors for Patient Safety (GAPS) Workshop. This is a free online tool regarding ethical standards that is offered by the University of Minnesota.

Davidson Student Testimonials:

South Africa & Zambia
"When I first arrived [at Davidson], I did not think that I would be able to study abroad because I had heard that it was challenging to go abroad as a science major. However, I am now a senior, and I have been abroad for two summers. . . . I think that every pre-med student should take the opportunity to go abroad at some point, whether it is for a semester or a summer. It broadens your perspective and gives you the chance to take classes not offered at Davidson."

Zambia & Ecuador
"Prior to enrolling at Davidson, I had limited experience in a clinical setting. I had only shadowed a few doctors in Dallas, but I was still motivated to travel and discover the various nuances of medicine in other countries. Juggling varsity tennis and the pre-med curriculum didn’t serve as barriers, per se, but rather forced me to jump through more hoops and [meticulously] plan before my time abroad.?"

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Last modified 12/07/2020

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