International experience

Wayne State University School of Medicine students have the opportunity to travel and study abroad. Students travel to a variety of countries and participate in patient care delivery, health education and outreach and health care systems education.

Goals and objectives 

  • To gain knowledge of diseases that are uncommon in the United States
  • To observe and develop existing clinical skills
  • To broaden public health knowledge
  • To develop creativity in problem-solving
  • To deepen commitment to providing high quality medical services
  • To provide opportunities to explore alternate career possibilities
  • To gain experience in aspects of medicine beyond the core curriculum
  • To understand the relationship between medicine and society in another culture
  • To understand different health care systems
  • To develop an opportunity for research in international health and education

Students describe the International Clinical experience as a significant, expansive experience and report increased cultural competency and heightened clarity about career goals.

We recommend you start planning early and make a schedule of deadlines as some Universities require 12 months advance notice. A lot of things need to come together in order to participate in an international health elective and it's easy to get overwhelmed with paperwork. Consider the deadlines for:

  • WSU SOM applications
  • Overseas placement applications
  • Financial aid applications
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Proper immunizations
  • Passports
  • Visas
  • Travel insurance

After completing the below Guidelines to Choosing a Program, please contact Dr. Chih Chuang for approval at 313.577.3019 or

The administration of Wayne State University School of Medicine has the ultimate decision making authority to cancel or modify any and all international clinical experiences.

Short-term experiences

The World Health Student Organization at Wayne State University School of Medicine is comprised of medical students whose goal is to gain rich medical and cultural experiences outside of their immediate communities. We aim to teach students clinical knowledge, facilitate collaboration with peers and other medical professionals, and encourage engagement in dynamic learning environments. We also serve our community by teaching our fellow students about global health through the organization of speaking engagements and seminars.

Get Involved

During your four years at Wayne State University School of Medicine, you will become intimately involved with Detroit and it's hospitals. Get even more involved with the city you serve by participating in various community service projects. To learn more about specific WHSO activities, visit the events page.

Global Health

At WSUSOM we hope our students have the opprtunity to learn about global health through experiential learning opprtunities. We will be partnering with Child Family Health International to meet the most up to date standards for global health learning and engagement. We feel our students will be best served by having culturally rich experiences in communities to learn from.

Please visit the The World Health Student Organization at Wayne State University School of Medicine website and select Trips from the top menu to see the most current Trip locations and information.


If you are interested in donating to WHSO, you can email us at or visit our Donations page. The organization ais grateful for any help you offer!

  • Guidelines to Choosing a Program

    Wayne State University School of Medicine has a Memorandum of Understanding with these universities:

    • Technion Institute of Technology – Rambam Medical Center in Haifi, Israel
    • Christian Medical College in Vellore, India
    • University of Santo Tomas in Manila, the Philippines

    We are in the process of vetting several Universities around the world to establish academically sound, well-organized and safe bilateral exchanges.

    In addition, we have joined the Association of American Medical College's Global Health Learning Opportunities (GHLO) program.

    When evaluating international clinical experiences, determine the expected quality of the experience, identify a dependable contact person and a preceptor with a passion for education and service.

    Meet with the Director of Global Health and Education and identify a faculty mentor who has had international health experience for guidance. Priority will be given to electives that are well organized with a good track record.

    Review these resources to assist in identifying an International Experience:

    • Association of American Medical Colleges – Global Health Learning Opportunities
    • American Medical Student Association – International Health Opportunities
    • International Federation of Medical Students' Associations – IFMSA
    • American Medical Association (Login/ Account required) – Search for Medical Student International Health Opportunities
    • International Experiences offered through US medical schools
    • Your level of cultural and language proficiency
    • The period of time you have available (No student's will be approved for International Experiences during Match Week)
    • February and April are the months for International Electives
    • Housing needs and financial resources at your disposal
    • Verify elective fulfills criteria for academic credit – see Criteria for Academic Credit
    • Funding options (loans, scholarships, grants)
    • Immunization requirements, travel notices, and destination information – Center for Disease Control and Prevention – Travelers' Health
    • Entry/Exit Requirements for U.S. Citizens, travel warnings – U.S. Department of State – International Travel
    • Schedule appointment with travel clinic – University Pharmacy operates a full-service travel clinic, offering immunizations, location information, travel kits, and skin/clothing protection, also check with your health insurance carrier for benefits coverage. Health Departments and Travel Clinics
    • Visa application if necessary
    • Application for new or renewal of Passport if necessary – U.S. Department of State – Passports
    • Travel health insurance is required – Main campus has an option for travel health insurance which and be accessed here at: WSU: Study Abroad & Global ProgramsTravel Guard is an option for purchasing travel insurance and travel health insurance. The School's liability insurance provides emergency assistance through Travel Aid that all students are provided.

    After completing the below Guidelines to Choosing a Program, please contact Dr. Chih Chuang for approval at 313-577-3019 or

  • Criteria for Academic Credit

    ​​The following criteria must be met for an international elective to be eligible for academic credit by the department at Wayne State University School of Medicine:

    • The preceptor is board certified by the specialty board in which the elective is being offered or its equivalent.
    • The preceptor spends the majority of his/her time in the specialty which is being offered as an elective and supervises you in all clinical activities.
    • The preceptor must provide the University their curriculum vitae (CV).
    • The elective course must be described in detail with at least three (3) stated objectives.
    • International electives are to be done in university hospitals or clinics.
    • Potential risks to student health and safety
    • The availability of emergency care
    • The possibility of natural disasters, political instability, and exposure to disease and an action plan if these were to occur
    • A reciprocal statement of ethics: Our students will respect the ethical code of the international institution and our students will not be asked to perform any activities that may violate Wayne State University's ethical code
    • After completing Steps 1-5, meet with Dr. Chih Chuang The process may take several months to complete so make sure to start early.

    IMPORTANT: Once a program and a preceptor are identified, we much receive communication from them addressing the following.

    Academic credit may be granted for Public Health Independent Study Programs and will be evaluated on a case by case basis by the Director of Global Health and Education.

    Finally, for Dr. Chuang to grant academic credit for the international elective, every student must complete an evaluation form and meet with him upon return.

  • Travel Awards

    The Abdhish R. Bhavsar, M.D. Endowed International Clinical Experiences Support Fund (Bhavsar ICE Fund) has been established to support qualified students who also meet the criteria for an international travel elective.

    Each year, students from a pool of applicants will be selected to receive the: Bhavsar ICE Fund

    Abdhish Bhavsar, M.D. '91, an ophthalmologist, established the Bhavsar ICE Fund in 2018. Dr. Bhavsar believes that a well-traveled education enhances success as a physician. The award supports medical student travel for international experiences, with the goal of providing support to award recipients to make a positive and lasting difference caring for patients in underprivileged communities in developing countries.

    Application information, award winner update and details about the inspiration for the award are forthcoming.