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Can I have alternative accommodation?

Medics Away is very keen to keep students together. There are a lot of reasons for this, namely: its safer, more fun, easier to coordinate trips, keeps the costs of the elective to you lower, more fun (I’ve said that right? needs re-iterating I think) and helps form better bonds with the locals of each location due to repeat business for them. Where Medics Away has houses in locations (Peru and Ethiopia right now), students can request specific rooms if the circumstances pertain to it (i.e. a couple wishes to stay together). All accommodation provided on Medics Away electives is of a very high tourist standard. Please read the accommodation details for respective Electives for more details of what is provided in the elective package. Please read the Accommodation option in the Activity Breaks page for more details of upgrades or alternatives to what is provided on the elective.

Can I stay with my partner?

Medics Away elective fees are based on two students sharing, so of course it is perfectly fine for a couple to be accommodated together.

Do I pay for my accommodation whilst on my elective?

No, all accommodation is provided in the central elective locations and on all activity breaks. If students decide to venture beyond the range of the elective and the activity breaks provided, then Medics Away is not responsible for paying for your accommodation.

What accommodation is available?

The basic rate for the elective includes all your accommodation costs. Accommodation is based on two students of the same sex sharing a room. For a supplementary charge, Medics Away is able to provide you with single occupancy accommodation (available in only certain elective destinations). This charge is calculated based on the individual requirements of each student. Please refer to the Activity Breaks relative to the destinations you are interested in. If there is no option for single occupancy in the list, it is not likely to be available.

Will I need a sleeping bag?

You will not need a sleeping bag for any of the Electives or Activity Breaks. In Peru and Belize for instance, sleeping bags are provided (at a small charge of $10 USD, for cleaning costs) for treks and overnight ATM tours. Most other electives do not require the facility of sleeping bags.

Can friends and family join us on activities?

Family and friends are more than welcome to enjoy all the opportunities available to you on the elective. Fees for such services are calculated on an individual basis and depends on whether or not they require Medics Away to provide accommodation and/or Discovery Trips. Please have any friends or family fill out a Booking Form, specifying ‘Activity Break’ and the name elective student they want to join.

Can I do extra activities and excursions?

Yes. Please refer to the electives for more details of all excursion.

What is the difference between ‘Full’ & ‘Barebone’ elective?

A Full elective includes the usual aspects of the elective service (i.e. Accommodation, Hospital Rotation, Representation, etc.), but also includes Discovery Trips and occasionally language classes (i.e. the Peru elective) or transportation (i.e. the Bali elective).

A Barebone elective only includes the basic aspects of the elective (i.e. Accommodation, Hospital Rotation, Representation, etc.) ONLY. Barebone electives are designed for those students wanting a more economical elective or want to be independent of group activities. Students can still sign up for trips when on the elective, but we would prefer you simply chose the Full elective in the first place so that we can prepare our suppliers in advance. Medics Away recommends students participate in the Full elective as most trips students would always want to do anyway, they’re fun, with lots of other students and don’t really want to be missed.

Please be aware, the Bali Barebone elective does NOT include hospital transportation. Students who choose the Barebone option should either add transportation to their Itinerary at £50GBP for every two week period (i.e. sign up for a Barebone elective with Transportation) or inform Medics Away how they intend to transfer back and forth to the hospital on a daily basis (moped, bike, etc.) Medics Away strongly advises students to use the elective transport for safety and convenience.

Will I be charged for extra activities?

You will be charged for any activities beyond that which is included on your itinerary. Most students find the Full elective sufficient and don’t require any further activities. For those wishing to participate in Non Itinerary activities (i.e. SCUBA diving, etc.), the cost will be itemised and added to your final invoice. Please refer to the Itineraries sections for each elective to see what is and is not included in each elective option.

Can Medics Away help me complete documentation for our university?

Medics Away is happy to assist you with completing your documentation. We have a database full of forms that students have asked us to complete for individual universities in the past; chances are we have the form you need already completed. If you ask, we can simply send it out to you. Often universities ask lots of questions that to be honest, would be difficult to answer even if you were part of the government of the host country. University forms need to be completed ‘as best as possible’. Universities are very used to having students travelling with Medics Away, so it should not be difficult to convince them about the validity of our service.

What documentation do we need to provide Medics Away?

Documentation is elective specific. Each location requires something slightly different. Medics Away will inform you on making a reservation exactly what documentation is required. Most documents can be scanned and sent via email. Please refer to each electives website information for more details of documentation required.

What flight details do I need to provide Medics Away?

Medics Away requires your full flight details including the name of the airline, flight number, arrival time and date and the destination. We only require the last leg of your flight details (i.e. the flight that arrives into the elective host country) and not all of the connecting flights. It is also useful to know the flight details for your departure journey (i.e. only the flight that leaves the elective host country and not all of the connecting flights). Upon making a reservation, you will find a form that allows you to register your flight details with us.

When should I buy my flights for the elective?

Students generally buy flights from between 6 and 2 months before their expected arrival onto the elective program. Most airline companies do not publish flights over 8 months in advance, so there is little point looking around for deals prematurely. A lot of people believe that the earlier you book flights, the cheaper they’ll be. This is not entirely true, as a lot of airlines reduce the fares having published them for a few months. Medics Away will provide you with a guide price of what to expect to pay for flights depending on the time of year. This is only available to students who have made reservations.

Am I expected to do night shifts or on-call duties?

You will not be expected to undertake night shifts or on-calls, but you can certainly sign up for some once you are in the elective country if you are keen.

Are HIV post-exposure prophylaxis packs provided with the Medics Away elective?

Medics Away cannot currently supply you with HIV PEP packs for your elective as these are very toxic drugs and need to be prescribed. Your university or local GP can help you with this. We recommend you do take your own PEP pack. Of course, in the event of an incident we can assist in many ways with respect to any needle stick injuries you may incur, and we have action protocols of our own that we follow in this situation, but on an official basis we do not supply you with these pharmaceuticals and so you must protect yourself as best you can. The 3 methods of protection are: Avoid unnecessary risky procedures in the hospital; Buy adequate Specialist Travel Insurance (BMA Elective Insurance); Purchase a HIV PEP pack (or at least one or two in a group).

Can I change my chosen specialty?

You can change your preferred specialty very easily by going to the Edit Profile page and simply changing the details there. The Medics Away database will automatically updated and the appropriate Representatives informed. Medics Away cannot always guarantee specialty choice, but we do our best to accommodate you as best we can. It is well known for students to hop between specialties also, so be sure to keep a keen eye out for any opportunities like this when you are on your elective, and don’t be afraid to ask either the UK team, your Medics Away Rep or your hospital supervisor for anything.

Can I do a research project?

There are plenty of good opportunities to do a research project. Previous students have done a few projects over the years and all have been very productive. You will have to consider whether ethical approval might be needed (i.e. are you going to have patients directly involved with the study or not?). To avoid having problems with this, you are well advised conducting a study that looks into patients records rather than speaking to them personally. You are best keeping the study as simple as possible. Quite often we recommend doing a case study on one particular disease and comparing between the host hospital and perhaps your own university hospital. How it presented, the investigations performed, what the management and follow up was and finally the outcome. Often we like students performing projects to come up with recommendations so that future Medics Away students can re-assess in years to come (similar to closing the Audit Loop). Please speak to a Medics Away member of staff for more details.

Can I have a personalised letter from the Hospital Director?

On making a reservation with Medics Away, you will receive 3 Confirmation Letter’s (a Personal, a University & a Hospital version) via email. These are written to such that they address each of the three customers of Medics Away and as such make up the contracts of agreement between the four parties involved with the elective (i.e. Medics Away, Yourself, Your University and the Host Hospital). These documents detail the relevant personnel in the elective country and should be sufficient for your university to verify your elective placement. Your elective is through Medics Away, and the hospital and other aspects of the elective are associated through the company, therefore it is appropriate that we approve the elective for you. I hope this is satisfactory for you, and I am sure your university will agree and accept these documents as proof.

Can I have details of the hospital?

Medics Away is unable to release information regarding the details of the host institutions. Students who make a reservation are given more details sufficient for their own and university’s requirements. Once a booking is registered, you will be supplied with a Portfolio, Confirmation Letters, a Risk Assessment and General Itinerary for the elective destination. All information provided is covered by the policies of the company detailed in the following links Privacy Policy, Accessibility & Terms & Conditions. Any individual found to be using information provided illegitimately will be immediately removed from the membership database and, if appropriate, have their reservation with the Medics Away program suspended.

Can we do the weeks of clinical rotations our university require of us?

You are able to attend the hospital for the entire duration of the elective and you can therefore fulfill all of your university requirements. Hospital Director’s are well accustomed to signing off documentation for elective students. It has been known for some students (especially from the USA) to gain credit for their medical course through Medics Away electives. For more information please Contact us for more details.

Can we take some time off?

Medics Away and the hospitals associated with the company, understands that students want to have some time to explore the surrounding country and not just in the weekends. We are happy for students to do this as long as they state clearly to the hospital and their clinical supervisor, exactly what time they would like off. The hospitals are well briefed as to what students want and will not be surprised about the suggestion of some free time, so do not be embarrassed to ask.

Can you fill in my University form for me?

The Medics Away UK team will be happy to complete your forms for you. Medics Away is even able to provide your university with Risk Assessments of all elective destinations, CVs of the Directors of all the hospitals we deal with abroad, CVs of UK based staff and we are happy to email and correspond with your faculty to ensure their satisfaction with the program. Please use the Contact page to inform us of any forms you need filling in, or email us your form to info@medicsaway.com.

Can you guarantee my place with the host institution once I book?

Yes, we can guarantee a place as soon as you have made a reservation and we can give you details of the host institution immediately. All information provided by us must be used with discretion, and only once we have a solid booking will we give you this information. For a solid booking we would prefer it if you purchased your flights in the near future, as this tends to commit students more.

Do the host institutions use Universal Precautions?

I can confirm that universal precautions are utilised as much as possible in all host Institutions. This would be a good audit topic for any student wanting to look into, and one that could be easily repeated (to close the audit loop) in years to come by future students.

How long am I expected to stay in the hospital?

Each student wants to spend a varying amount of time in the hospital, doing Discovery Trips and having free recreational time. Medics Away electives are very flexible and will accommodate for every students differing needs. A fairly average week on a Medics Away elective may include half a day (perhaps 8am to 12pm), five days a week in the hospital doing hospital rotations, with free time in the afternoon to do extra activities (i.e. Spanish classes, shopping, sight seeing, etc.) Students can voluntarily do more hospital rotations in the afternoon also. The weekends are normally kept for recreational activities and socialising.

Is the work ‘hands-on’?

The work you will do in the hospital will be much like what you will have probably experienced in clinical rotations at your university hospital. There will be a variety of activities including ward rounds, some theatre time, clinics, community visits and you will even have the opportunity to undertake a small retrospective study or audit. We encourage students to show some self-governance and be keen to present cases to the doctors in the hospital. You will also be able to perform basic clinical skills like taking bloods, performing examinations, thinking up management plans, etc... The details of the hospital’s expectations of you will be explained on arrival.

Is there any official teaching on the elective?

We are currently arranging for all electives between one and two hours formal teaching for all students a week, by an English speaking doctor in all of our electives. We did this in our Ethiopian elective last year as a test run, and it worked very successfully. Students got to learn a great deal about diseases that specifically affected that population and were able to get a better understanding for the work that was being done in each of our host institutions. This idea is still only an idea. It may take longer to instigate than one may hope, so we have not included this as part of the elective officially, so please do not be disappointed.

What clothes do we need for the hospital?

The hospital will expect you to wear smart-ish clothes. They don’t expect you to be dressed to impress as it were, but sufficiently smart not to look like you have just walked in off the street. You are advised to take a white coat (just a light one) which you may be expected to wear during ward rounds, etc. If you have requested a surgical rotation then you may consider taking a pair of scrubs. Do not pack too many smart clothes as a lot of your time will be spent exploring and you will regret it if you have a bag full of your nicest gear. It’s only going to get crushed in the bottom of your bag, and won’t look very smart once you get home. Anything you forget to take with you, you can simply buy in the markets and shops of the town you are in.

Do I need any specialist insurance or is ordinary travel insurance sufficient?

We recommend BMA Elective Insurance because we do not consider standard Travel Insurance to be adequate.

How do get BMA travel insurance and Indemnity insurance?

You will need to have insurance that will cover any needle stick injuries, etc. We recommend taking out Elective Insurance with the BMA Elective Cover, which is very comprehensive. However, this will not cover you for indemnity matters arising from clinical practice undertaken anywhere in the world. This can be obtained free of charge from the MDU providing that you are member. You can visit their website and go to the MDU Elective Indemnity page. The Medical Protection Society also provides this, again free of charge. Join via their website using the MPS Student Application page.

Can we have our invoices issued now?

We will issue you with your invoice now, but you may wish to sign up for other extra Activities between now and your departure date, so the invoice total may change (i.e. domestic flights, etc). In this situation, we can just adjust the invoice according to the Activities you have requested and the amount you have already paid. Payments can be made at any time, as long as we have the balance completed before your departure date.

Can we pay in instalments or all at once?

We would prefer it if you sent us full payment of the elective all in one go by cheque or bank transfer. We are looking to open up credit card transactions in the future but we currently are unable to accept credit cards. If you would like to pay for the elective in instalments we can organise a payment schedule for you. This can be over any period of time and for any instalment amount. You must complete the balance for the elective before traveling to the host country.

Can you provide me with a cost breakdown?

I am sorry to say we do not supply cost breakdowns, in the same way that no other travel company will provide them. Our charges are based on the cost of the individual electives, commissions paid to our representatives, overheads (past, present and future), a rescue fund for students who find themselves in trouble, our charitable activities and our profits, most of which are ploughed back into developing better and more extensive electives. If it is any consolation to you, none of the people running the company have drawn any salary for the past 5 years and this is the first year the company will make a profit. If there was no profit, there would be no service – that’s the American way.

Does Medics Away require a deposit to secure an elective?

Medics Away does not require a deposit to secure a place on any of the elective programme. Some Activities for some electives do have non-refundable deposits associated with them (i.e. Inca Trail in Peru), but most do not and the general elective package (not including extra activities) are mostly deposit free.

Students are more than welcome to cancel their elective with Medics Away at any time in the ‘Pre-Elective’ period. If you travel, you pay. If you don’t travel, you don’t pay. We advise any students thinking about travelling with Medics Away to simply submit a Booking Form, receive Confirmation emails and become part of our overlap document for other students to see. This has many benefits as it will encourage others to book making the elective more fun, it will allow Medics Away to organise you and the groups better, it will provide your university with proof that you have an elective organised. If you choose not to travel with us, simply inform us of your change of plans and we will be than happy to remove you from our booking lists. You do not have to give a reason, but sometimes it’s good for us to know, we can occasionally help to enable a student to travel when previously they were not.

What if we cannot go on our elective?

In the unfortunate event of being unable to go on the elective (either due to a change in circumstances or not passing exams) then Medics Away will refund all of your payment and nothing will be deducted. If you opt for extras that are non-refundable, then the cost of these will not be refunded. As payment is not expected until near the date of your departure, then quite often Medics Away can just cancel your elective before you have even made payment. Medics Away does not expect any deposit to secure a place on the elective program.