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Leo's blog

There are always a few spare hours in the day.

Elective planning

It’s the end of what turned into a pretty busy term after returning to year 4, dealing with a new curriculum, new exams and most of all a lot more medicine to learn. It has been a good experience nonetheless. It’s been nice to go home over Christmas and have some time off to re – charge the batteries but time off also means potentially having an hour or two here and there to think about some things that are coming up in the next year or so.One of the things I’ve been trying to do this Christmas is starting the process of planning my elective. An elective is a period that is basically the highlight of most medical students courses. It’s an 8 – week period your given in 5th year where you complete a placement in any part of the world in any speciality you want, it’s your call. There is even some opportunity to travel afterwards as well. Having such a diverse range of options makes it quite difficult to decide what to do at times and I’ve had a number of different ideas about where I might want to go.

A lot of my friends in 5th year are very close to going on their elective and there seems to be such a variety of trips planned. Some are going to Australia, others to the the US, another bunch are going to the Philippines, while others are going to South America. A friend of mine who graduated last year went to Tonga for his. This was also featured on the welsh medium show, ‘Doctoriaid y foru’ on S4C if anyone fancies a look. You can go anywhere that the home office advises is safe to travel! In addition to having a free choice of where you go, what you do is also up to you. You can do an elective in any medical speciality, or even get involved in some research somewhere or aim for something a bit lighter but once again the beauty is that it lies with you.

The University are also very supportive in arranging electives and helping students get together the documentation they need in order to go on their respective electives. In addition, there is also some funding available to students as well. The University offers a number of grants but on top of that various medical organisations, royal colleges or different medical societies offer elective grants to students as well which helps as some elective placements can be pretty costly. The university also has a number of partner institutions as well where a more generous grant is offered and some students are even considered ambassadors of the University which can be a welcome addition to someone’s CV. All in all, I’m pretty excited about it!

I think I’ve settled I’d ideally like to go somewhere in Canada, I’m going to be sending off some applications soon and hopefully I should be in with some luck! I’ll be looking to do some more travelling in and around North America and central America as well if I have enough time. Your elective placement tends to be about 4 – 6 weeks but that means there is usually a period to get some travelling in as well which I’m also quite excited about. At the moment though it’s a year away and I don’t want to tempt fate it! It’s on my mind because of the fact a lot of my friends in the year above are about to leave for their electives. Its makes me regret intercalating sometimes, but hopefully once this year is done with, it will be right around the corner!

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