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  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Planet Earth, on a small island known as Great Britain

    Work experience whilst living abroad?

    Hi all, was wondering if anyone could give me any suggestions.

    Have decided after much deliberation to embark on the epic journey that is a medical career, and aim to apply for a graduate entry degree this October. My biggest concern right now is that my application is useless without experience.

    Due to my current career path, I'm now working in the Netherlands on a contract that runs until September, and am finding it impossible to find anywhere I can do any sort of work experience/volunteering, due to the minor issue of not being able to converse in Dutch!!

    Any of you experts in all that is medicine have any bright ideas of what I can do?

    I am willing to use a couple of weeks holiday to fly back to the UK to get some un-paid experience in hopefully something relevent, but I'm not convinced this will be enough. I really think this issue will be detrimental to my application!


    MEng in Aerospace Engineering with Astronautics

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Contact the Red Cross. They provide a lot of training and they might be able to provide training in English. Also, contact the British Council, and see what they can offer.
    When I was in Slovakia, I contacted some clinics and asked if I could shadow, observe, talk to patients etc and they were surprisingly cooperative. Even got to do stuff like supporting the ortho patients to their cars [I was in an ortho clinic which was on the third floor of a building and they're not huge on either suing doctors or health and safety out there so it was a role I could easily step into]. It's worth contacting some clinics and hospitals in your area and seeing what's what. As long as you make it a regular commitment, you'd be fine.
    Ooh, one thing I did out in the SR was find a health tourism type clinic. English patients were there and I got to learn a few things even I didn't do that one very often. There's probably a few in the netherlands so definitely worth finding. You could definitely score some patient interaction time there.
    Also, why don't you use your vacation time to do a stint in Africa or the like and work on a project. Be it two weeks or a month, this could be useful and it's something you could plan in advance.
    Could end up at any one of these by 2010:
    King's College London. That'd be for 5 years.
    Hull or York. Again, this would be for half a decade.
    Leeds. I imagine that it's not quite five years actually, but that's the general idea.
    Cambridge. The idea here is that you spend three years and nine months becoming a doctor. That really is quite a bit less than 4 years.

    Might even end up at Oxford. I threw in PPP as a long shot. I like Biology that much.

  3. #3
    Member icecream's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    i think a lot of people in the netherlands speak english, i have a friend from the netherlands who speaks better english than dutch !! so perhaps you could give a few places a try and see if they are willing to accept you... otherwise i think the above idea is very good!
    A lazy student at Barts and the London SMD

  4. #4
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Planet Earth, on a small island known as Great Britain
    Thanks for the suggestions. I've promptly emailed the red cross.

    Ur right to say that lots of people over here speak brilliant English, but not everyone, so had assumed it would be a bit crazy of me to ask to work in a people-facing role. You are right to say I should give some places a try (though I always feel so ignorant contacting Dutch people in English, but I should really swallow my pride!). You never know, maybe they're crazy enough to agree to it!

    Thanks again.

  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Perhaps ask to shadow a surgeon or anaesthetist for a while? The doctors will definitely all speak English...Also for some volunteer jobs you wouldn't need too much of the language, e.g. assisting in hospital handing out meals, making beds etc - it could even really aid your language skills, sometimes it's good being thrown in at the deep end :-) As long as it's not something where you're desperatelty reliant on having long deep conversations! People go on electives all the time to places where they don't know the language and seem to get by...
    Also, it really is true that a lot of people in Holland speak English...You could also try tutoring at a more disadvantaged school, e.g. English...not directly medical but volunteering nonetheless!

  6. #6
    Junior Member
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    Apr 2009

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