Medical student Going abroad

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Travel arrangements


The currency you require may need to be ordered in by your local post office or bank. Avoid poor exchange rates at the airport by ordering your money in advance!

Make your travel plans as early as possible!  

Try to avoid carrying large amounts of money with you. Traveller's cheques are useful however very outdated. Try a currency card that you can load electronically, ensuring it works worldwide at all cash points. It may also be worth making arrangements for access to funds for any emergencies.


Travel insurance

It is very important that you take out travel insurance for the whole period of your elective (including cancellation) especially if you are travelling outside the EU. BMA Services offers a range of policies including an elective insurance policy for BMA student members - call 0845 010 1120 for a quote.

It is important to have both an EHIC and a valid private travel insurance policy.

If your elective is in an EU country you should apply for free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), which offers you access to reduced-cost medical treatment in order for you to continue your stay.

The EHIC might not cover everything that would be free on the NHS but you should be able to get the same treatment as a resident of the country you are visiting. The EHIC is not an alternative to travel insurance. It is important to have both an EHIC and a valid private travel insurance policy.

Find out more information on this and countries with which the UK has a reciprocal healthcare agreement from NHS Choices.

Visit NHS Choices - Cover your healthcare abroad

Apply for a European Health Insurance Card


Passport and visa requirements

You should check well in advance of your departure that your passport is up to date and will not expire during your period abroad. Most countries require that you have at least six months left on your passport when entering the country.

You should also check whether the countries you are going to (or through) require a visa whether tourist, business or working. Your insurance may be void if you do not have the correct type of visa for your elective. Do your research on your destination country well in advance of your departure date.

A letter from the medical school or the hospital you are visiting on headed note paper stating who you are and what you are doing can often help with visa applications and may also help when you are abroad.

Learn more about traveling abroad from the UK government website