Is a medical internship in China right for me?
If you already have a year of medical studies behind you, start building your internship hours by joining our Medicine internship in China. It is never too early to start gaining valuable work experience, especially in the field of medicine.
This internship also gives you the chance to learn about traditional Chinese medicine. You’ll learn about the concept of yin and yang, and how traditional medicine is used together with modern medicine. This will give you something interesting to talk about in interviews and applications.
You can join the medical internship for a minimum of two weeks. We recommend staying for longer than two weeks, to learn as much as possible and work in more departments. We accept interns all year round so you can choose the dates that fit your schedule.
What will I do at my medical placement in China?
You’ll work in a hospital and shadow doctors to expand your practical medical knowledge. Here are a few of the activities you will be involved in:
- Shadow and learn from qualified medical staff in one of the most established hospitals in Shanghai
- Learn about medical specialisations by interning in different departments in the hospital
- Explore traditional Chinese medicine and how it is used in today’s modern society
Your work will be split in three main areas:
Observe doctors during rounds and consultations with patients
Find out what it is really like to be behind the desk in a doctors consultation when shadowing the local medical staff. You’ll follow the doctors closely and you can use this opportunity to ask questions about cases and the work they do. They'll also teach you how to diagnose and treat the diseases and conditions you see.
Learn about medical specialisations by interning in different departments
You’ll gain medical work experience in China by shadowing medical staff as they treat patients in different departments around the hospital. This will give you a better idea of which specialisation you’d like to pursue in the future. Seeing and learning about various procedures in different departments will give you plenty to talk about in interviews and essays.
Learn about traditional Chinese medicine
While working with the doctors in China, you’ll learn more than modern medical techniques. You’ll have the chance to learn about traditional Chinese medicine.
The Chinese believe that two opposing principles, yin and yang, must remain in balance within a patient’s body. They believe that an imbalance between yin and yang is what causes disease. You'll see techniques like acupuncture and cupping, and learn about the uses for different herbs.
What type of medical placements are available in China?
Expand your knowledge base of the medical field by interning in different departments around the hospital. There are many departments open to you for observation and the medical staff are happy to show and teach you about the work they do. Depending on the placement you are at, you can choose from the following departments:
- Internal medicine
- Traditional Chinese medicine
- Gynecology and obstetrics
The longer you intern for, the more departments you will be able to spend time in. This will give you a better understanding of what each department entails. It will give you a better idea of the specialisation you wish to pursue in the future.
Where will I be working in China?
As a medical intern, you’ll work in some of the most established hospitals in China, based in Shanghai. Although one of the oldest hospitals in Shanghai, it is modern and has departments that cover nearly every ailment. You’ll shadow doctors as they cater to the public in and around the city.
With its neon lights, high-rise buildings, and the 24 million people living within its borders, Shanghai is one of the busiest cities in China.
A typical day on the Medicine Internship in China
Start your day bright and early as you and the other interns and volunteers prepare breakfast in the apartment kitchen. Finish your breakfast, prepare your lunch, and grab your lab coat before heading out the door. On your first day, our staff will accompany you to show you the way.
You are expected to be at the hospital and ready to work between 7.30am and 8am, Monday to Friday. You’ll finish up around 4pm. You may leave after lunch if the hospital isn’t busy or you can stay later if there is a surgery you’d like to observe. Your lunch break is an hour long. Use this time to eat your packed lunch from home, get to know the hospital staff and other interns, or go through your notes.
Every morning, you’ll meet up with the doctor you’ll be shadowing. They are there to supervise and assist you throughout your medical internship. Each day, you’ll begin by observing them as they complete their rounds and checks in on the patients who spent the night. After rounds, you’ll sit in on consultations.
Some of the treatment methods may not be what you are used to seeing back home, especially if traditional Chinese medicine is used. This is a great way to learn more about holistic medicine and alternate ways of easing a patient's discomfort or treating symptoms. Depending on the doctor’s schedule, there is also a possibility to observe during surgery.
If you head back to the apartment after your day has ended, you can meet the other volunteers for a home-cooked meal or try one of the many little restaurants. A dumpling cooking class is also a great way learn new skills and fill your belly! During your free time, you can pick up some souvenirs from the many street markets, visit the water park, or plan a weekend trip to the great wall of China.
What are the aims and impact of this project?
The aim for this internship is to allow you the opportunity to gain experience and learn from qualified medical staff in another country.
Techniques and medical practises differ worldwide. The goal set out in our Medicine Management Plan is to expose you to this and widen your knowledge of the medical field. This will also teach you how to work in another country, with a culture different from your own.
Every task you are involved in will serve as a learning experience but it will also expose you to the medical field in a rapidly developing country.
Join our Medicine internship in China and positively benefit your studies and future medical career.
Medical electives for students
This project is also perfect for university medical and healthcare elective students. The real-world insight and knowledge you gain will help shape you as a future medical professional. You will also learn to work with different people and get a broader perspective of global healthcare systems and issues. This benefits your career for years to come. We can organise a placement that meets all of your university's requirements.
We set out the aims and objectives of our projects in documents called Management Plans. We use them to properly plan the work you’ll do. They also help us measure and evaluate our achievements and impact each year.
Ultimately, our Management Plans help us make our projects better. This in turn means you get to be part of something that makes a real impact where it’s needed. Read more about our Management Plans.
Measuring our impact
Our projects work towards clear long-term goals, with specific annual objectives. Every volunteer and intern we send to these projects helps us work towards these goals, no matter how long they spend on our projects.
Every year we take a step back and look at how much progress we've made towards these goals. We put together a Global Impact Report, which documents our achievements. Find out more about the impact our global community of volunteers, interns and staff make, and read the latest report.
Leisure activities and free time
China is a vast country so it’s no surprise that it offers a wide variety of different tourist activities. While you’re volunteering, there will be plenty for you to do in the evenings and over the weekends.
What’s extraordinary about China is the contrasts of ancient and modern, rural and urban. You’ll find gleaming skyscrapers, like the Oriental Pearl Tower, only a short distance from the tranquil Yuyuan Garden.
There’s plenty to explore in the city, but it’s also worth taking a trip to the countryside. There you can trek along the breathtaking silk route or visit a Buddhist monastery.
A trip to China wouldn’t be complete without touring the country’s many natural wonders and World Heritage Sites. This includes the Great Wall of China, the Yangtze River, and the Terracotta Army.
With plenty of other volunteers in China, you’ll have the opportunity to travel with others and explore as a group. Or, if you prefer, you’re welcome to do your sightseeing independently.
Safety and staff support
Your safety and security is our prime concern. We have many procedures and systems to ensure you have the support you need to enjoy your trip with peace of mind. Our Projects Abroad staff are available 24 hours a day to help, and will be on-hand to make sure you settle in well at your accommodation and placement. If you encounter any problems, they will be available to help at any time.
Find out more about safety and backup.
Meet the team in China
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