Advice from a Brandeis Pre-Med student
My experience as a pre-medical student in South Africa was incredibly rewarding. Working in local health clinics in Cape Town, interacting with local doctors, and working in a community health setting served to broaden my understanding of medicine and health care. These experiences introduced me to the broad range of opportunities in the field of medicine and international health. I learned that developing countries, as much as they need doctors, also need other health care resources requiring different types of public health professionals.
Living and working in Cape Town helped me better determine my goals and aspirations in the field of public health and medicine. I met a number of people, doctors, social workers, and community volunteers alike, that had tremendous dedication to social justice and global development.
Studying abroad during your time at Brandeis University can be very rewarding both academically and personally. An overseas experience can complement and enhance both your general program of studies and your premedical interests. Many pre-professional and science majors, with careful planning, manage to fit in a semester or a year of study abroad during their four years at Brandeis University. Summer study abroad programs also offer a great way to gain cross-cultural skills, participate in a health related internship program, and improve one's foreign language abilities.
Many students with specific pre-professional interests can, with careful planning, arrange for a semester or a year of study abroad during their four years at Brandeis University. There are several options to consider when thinking about study abroad in premedical studies. They include:
- taking premedical courses abroad
- doing fieldwork and internships in a health-related field,
- or taking general electives toward your Brandeis University degree
Below are programs that fit those options.
Pre-medical Studies Overseas
When choosing to pursue your pre-medical course work abroad, students should be careful about which classes they choose to do overseas. Physics is the most common and most acceptable course to do abroad. Other course work is year long and unless you study abroad for the full year, can be complicated to schedule.
Most British and Australian universities offer excellent coursework in the sciences.
Fieldwork and Internships
Many overseas programs now offer science courses, fieldwork and internship opportunities, both for credit and on a volunteer basis. Students can choose from all regions of the world and focus on a variety of topics. Programs that have been popular with Brandeis students in the past include:
- Ben Gurion University, Beer Sheva, Israel
- Boston University Internship programs in Beijing, Dresden, Dublin, London, Madrid, Paris, Sydney and Washington, DC
- DIS - Medical Practice and Policy & Public Health, Copenhagen, Denmark
- University of Haifa, Haifa, Israel
- School for Field Studies programs in Costa Rica, Kenya, & Mexico
- SIT Study Abroad programs in Public Health in Brazil, Chile, Kenya, South Africa, and Switzerland
General Study Abroad Programs
For students who wish to explore topics beyond their premedical interests, all 250 programs on the current Approved List (that is, study abroad programs approved for academic credit at Brandeis University) will provide a rewarding overseas experience.
Premedical Students who wish to study abroad should begin planning early, and may need to arrange their time away from Brandeis University around the application process to medical school. Several tracks are possible depending upon how flexible you are. Premedical students who are contemplating studying abroad are urged to meet with the Pre-Health Dean to discuss their options in more detail. You can also receive individual counseling on all of your study abroad options by setting up an appointment with a study abroad staff member in the Office of Study Abroad.