Remote Work

International Electives and Placements

There are many ways to get involved in an international placement. Some students organize their placements independently, others through an exchange organization, while others have joined physicians from Northern Ontario on their international medical trips. 

Choosing where to go          

Setting up an Elective or a Special Educational Experience (SEE) independently

  • Once you have confirmed that an institution can take you on as a student either for an elective or a SEE, several NOSM forms are required to be filled out and submitted.
  • Note that these forms must be completed and submitted at least 4 weeks before starting placement.
  • Forms should be sent to You can also send your questions here with regards to whether the institution or placement you are hoping to complete would be acceptable. 

IFMSA exchanges

  • What is the IFMSA exchange?
    • Briefly, the International Federation of Medical Students’ Associations ( is a world-wide organization which (among other mandates) offers students the opportunity to experience a unique medical and cultural immersion in various countries worldwide via international medical student exchanges.
  • What is the exchange all about? 
    • Exchanges are four-week long placements in either a clinical (SCOPE) or research (SCORE) setting. Exchanges are either bilateral, where the exchange student also hosts an incoming international student and consequently does not pay for costs of living while on exchange, or unilateral, where the outgoing student pays out of pocket for housing and food while abroad.
  • Who can participate?
    • Any medical student at NOSM provided they have four weeks minimum of elective time available in their schedules.
  • How do I get involved?
    • First, read up on the FAQs about exchange opportunities and the application process. Then, fill out the online application. 
  • Please note that the deadline for IFMSA exchanges is coming up in October! Check-back frequently for information updates.

NOSM partnerships with international medical schools

  • NOSM has agreements with a number of international schools. Here are a few examples:
    • Medical School for International Health
      • NOSM students in year 4 are able to apply for electives to go to Israel or to different international sites (the sites vary by year). Learners are able to go to Israel during any month of the year. The time period for the other international electives vary, usually between January-March. Check out the MSIH’s website for more information.
    • Patan Acedemy of Health Sciences in Nepal. 
    • Walter Sisulu University in South Africa. 
    • Flinders and University of Queensland in Australia.

Before you leave          

Pre-departure training sessions

  • All medical schools in Canada are now required to provide pre-departure training to their students – this training is MANDATORY for all medical students traveling abroad for electives. 
  • Pre-departure training is an important part of preparing to go abroad, as international electives may place students in potentially harmful or ethically challenging situations. The training includes topics such as personal safety, cultural competency and ethical implications of international electives.
  • NOSM’s pre-departure training will be held in March of each year. Keep checking the website for more updates as they become available!

Travel Health and Vaccinations

  • Some vaccinations that you may require must be given according to a schedule, so contact the travel clinic as soon as you know your destination to ensure adequate time is available for your vaccinations. Keep in mind travel clinics tend to be busy so it might be a few weeks before they can fit you in for an appointment. At your appointment be sure to ask about prophylactic medications, if applicable, such as anti-malarials, broad spectrum antibiotics in case of gastroenteritis, or medications to help with altitude. 
  • East campus students: Students on the East campus can contact the Northeastern Ontario Travel Clinic to become vaccinated prior to traveling to their destination. The consultation fee for NOSM students is FREE!
  • West campus students: Students on the West campus can contact their local Thunder Bay Health Unit to become vaccinated prior to traveling to their destination. 

Once you return          

Post-departure debriefing is scheduled to take place in the fall. More information to come later!