Would you like to have a preclinical or clinical experience in a developing country health system to enhance your medical, nursing or public health education?

Our Health Electives in Vietnam for international students in medicine, nursing, public health and other health sciences offer a variety of preclinical, clinical, global health and research opportunities at Vietnamese hospitals and host organizations. Placements are tailored to your qualifications and interests. Clinical rotations are particularly available to final-year medical students who desire to meet their medical school elective abroad requirements.

Host sites include university teaching hospitals, other select urban and rural hospitals and health centers, as well as local NGOs.

In addition to the placement, you will benefit from a pre-placement orientation, a weekly classroom or field session with interdisciplinary training, and a weekly formal supervisory meeting.

Custom placements are available year-round, with flexible durations (minimum 4 weeks). A special summer placement option (5 weeks or 9 weeks) starts on June 30 and includes a group excursion.

  • Combine a highly relevant global experience with professional skills development and cultural immersion.
  • Work with Asian colleagues and develop your intercultural communication skills, confidence and adaptability.
  • Gain new insight through a unique Asian perspective on healthcare in developing countries.
  • Explore the progress and challenges towards development of a leading Asian success story.
  • Broaden your personal and professional network, and build lasting international friendships.


What’s Included?

  • Placement and supervision at a host institution
  • Pre-placement orientation
  • Weekly interdisciplinary training session
  • Weekly meeting with the placement supervisor
  • Accommodation – either in a host family with breakfast and up to 5 dinners per week (what to expect) or at a local guesthouse with breakfast
  • Personal meet & greet at the airport and transfer to the host family or guesthouse
  • 24/7 emergency support by GEI staff


What Isn’t?

Not included are the transportation to/from the destination airport (including international airfare and taxes), visas, immunizations, health insurance, transportation outside of the orientation days, meals outside of the orientation days and the homestays, personal expenses and other extras.

Academic credits

Academic credits are available in some cases at an additional fee from the U.S. academic school of record.

Enrollment requirements

Students should have already acquired a theoretical foundation and preferably a practical skill set in their discipline. To be eligible to apply for this course, students can be enrolled in medicine, nursing, public health and other health sciences. Enrollment is generally reserved for juniors, seniors and graduate students, or by consent of the faculty sponsor. Professionals are welcome to apply for participation without credits.

Course requirements and student evaluation

  • Course participation and engagement (40%)
  • Weekly reflective journal or blog (15%)
  • Placement report (15%)
  • Essay relating to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (30%)


In-country coordinator

Thuy Phan, our Vietnamese Country Manager, is the main coordinator for clinical rotations and other health placements. She has a Master’s degree in Gender & Development Studies from the Asian Institute of Technology in Bangkok and previously worked as Vice Director of the Center for Social Research and Development in Hue. She also gained experience as a Visiting Lecturer in different parts of Vietnam.


The course gateway is downtown Saigon, the bustling city center of Ho Chi Minh City’s District 1. The area is known for its maze of little restaurants, cafés and shops. Placement options include the university teaching hospitals in Ho Chi Minh City and Hue, further hospitals in other towns in Central Vietnam, including in Quang Tri Province, as well as various NGOs both in South and Central Vietnam. Students live either in a host family or at a local guesthouse.