• Flight: book in advance to save costs (try kayak.com to search for cheap flights)
  • Make sure you know what ground transport is available to get to your destination (e.g. bus from Kampala airport to Namirembe guesthouse)
  • Arrange for someone to meet you when you arrive (send them your itinerary and make sure you have each other’s contact info should plans change)
  • Passport valid for at least 6 months longer than proposed return date
  • Visa: enquire from elective site the type of visa necessary (e.g. study vs. work)
    • Apply early!
    • The site should provide you with a letter of acceptance which you can submit with your visa application
    • Visit the website of host country’s consulate general for country-specific visa requirement
  • Local transport: how will you travel to work each day – hire car? taxi? walking distance?


  • Location (Doctor’s quarters, stay with a local family, hostel, bed & breakfast)
  • Cost (discount for longer stays)


  • Dietary needs/allergies (e.g. vegetarian, strict celiac diets may not always be possible to maintain)
  • Will cooking facilities be available?
  • Cost


  • Telephone and/or mobile phone (SIM cards are usually quite cheap to get in other countries…just make sure your cell phone takes SIM cards!)
  • Consider the time difference – find out the time zone here
  • Internet access


  • Currency converter
  • US dollars are usually widely accepted and often easier to exchange than traveller’s cheques (but be careful with carrying lots of cash on person)
  • Credit cards: be sure to notify your credit card company BEFORE you go of the dates and locations to which you will be travelling
  • Interac/debit cards may not be widely accepted; check with your bank before you go and make sure you have a back-up plan for accessing money


  • Check out this directory to find out what voltage, frequency, and socket type you’ll need


  • Letter of acceptance from elective site
  • Letter of approval from Department of Pediatrics
  • Licensure
  • Make a photocopy of passport, flight itinerary, accommodation and contact info (including cell phone #, local landline #, address and email) for family/friend, Department of Pediatrics and host-site preceptor to have on record
  • You may also want to write down your credit card information for someone at home to keep safe


  • Consider preparatory language training – free access to Rosetta Stone, an online language learning program, is coming soon!
  • Be aware of cultural customs and practices (e.g. women not to wear short skirts in public or not wearing shoes in a temple)


  • Remember that you are not only representing yourself, but also the entire UBC Department of Pediatrics!
  • Impressions last a long time and may impact the long-standing relationships we have with many of our partners
  • This free online course from John Hopkins, Ethical Challenges in Short-Term Global Health Training, consists of a series of ten cases to introduce you to ethical issues that may arise during training experiences abroad
  • Read Professionalism 101 from Child Family Health International


  • Debriefing
  • Written report on experience describing how objectives were met etc (to be added to database)
  • Presentation if possible
  • Evaluate site for future involvement

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