What to take on your elective

veena aggarwal

It's a common mistake to take too many clothes and unnecessary items. However, these items have been recommended by other students:

Basic items

  • Mobile phone and charger.
  • Plug adaptor for your destination country.
  • Passport photos.
  • Money belt.
  • International driving licence (available from AA or RAC).
  • Photocopy of your passport.

In hospital

  • Stethoscope.
  • Latex gloves.
  • Mirror, probe.
  • Oxford handbooks.


  • Medical kit.
  • Sunscreen.
  • Contraception.

You can download a comprehensive item checklist from TEN.

Carrying medical supplies

Some organisations may ask students to carry extra medical supplies and equipment. Be aware of any restrictions in the places you're travelling to. The general advice is to obtain a letter from your host hospital requesting medical supplies and a letter from your university confirming you are a student and carrying supplies for your elective placement, making it clear you're carrying a donation.

You should always pack your own bags and check the contents of packages you're asked to carry through customs.

Do they still expect you?

It may be some time since you were in touch with your host organisation, especially if you organised your elective well in advance. Reconfirm everything with the hospital about a month before departure to check your arrangements are still in place.

Tips from TEN

Some students want to focus their elective on a placement that will benefit their intended career path, others want to broaden their medical experience and see care in a different part of the world. Whichever way you plan to take your elective, why not think about doing something different?

TEN has links with a variety of providers who can make your elective an event that you cherish and remember, whether you want to go on an adventure, do some humanitarian work or just get immersed in a different culture. We think it is important that you get the most out of your placement and that you find something that really suits you, which is why we offer a Something Different section on our website.

Something Different is one of the things that sets TEN apart. You don't have to search through endless Google results to find one type of activity - we've listed them by type, which makes it easier if you haven't quite decided what your 'something different' is going to be. And the best part is, we're always seeking new partners and options, so if you don't see something you like the first time, it might just be there next time you log on.


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This page was correct at publication on . Any guidance is intended as general guidance for members only. If you are a member and need specific advice relating to your own circumstances, please contact one of our advisers.


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