Future health professionals will need to be broadly-educated, mature, adaptable citizens who have had significant experience in the world beyond the classroom. Study abroad is an ideal vehicle for developing some of the skills and attitudes that are valued in the practice of medicine—flexibility, self-reliance, and sensitivity to other cultures. If you’re interested in study abroad, you should not pass up the opportunity for intellectual and personal growth.
- All premedical pre-requisite courses must be taken in the US. Most medical schools will not accept pre-requisites taken abroad.
- Many premedical pre-requisites are two-semester sequences, so studying abroad may require taking courses in the summer. While we discourage summer science course work, study abroad is a compelling reason to opt to take some pre-reqs in the summer. Discuss your individual situation with HPA advisers for guidance.
- For study abroad grades to be considered in your GPA for medical school, they must appear on a US-based transcript. This is possible if the study abroad program is sponsored by an American college or university.
When to go abroad?
- Summer will require the least adjustment of your course work, but will also preclude you from participating in internships and gaining clinical experience – two things that many premeds focus on during summers.
- Spring of sophomore year will require some advance planning, including knowing what concentration you want to declare early (if you’re A.B.).
- Spring of junior year will be logistically difficult if you are planning to apply for direct entry to medical school. Most Princeton students apply with a glide year between graduation and medical school, in which case this will not be an issue.
- Fall of senior year is discouraged if applying direct entry since medical school interviews tend to occur in the fall.
- Some students spend their glide year abroad, through Fulbright, Princeton in… fellowships, or other post-graduate opportunities.
- See the Study Abroad website or meet with a Study Abroad or HPA adviser to discuss your personal situation.
- See Study Abroad and the Pre-Health Student (pdf) for sample timelines.
What to do abroad?
- Princeton summer programs are a popular freshman summer option. They allow you to complete language requirements or pursue other interests in a small group setting. It can be difficult to gain competitive internships in freshman summer, so it’s a good time to head abroad.
- The International Internship Program offers numerous health-related summer opportunities for freshmen, sophomores, and juniors.
- WWS and EEB concentrators often go abroad through department-sponsored programs in junior year.
- The Office of International Programs offers other ideas for research and service abroad.
- It is not required that your study abroad has a health focus! If there are other areas you’d like to explore, you’ll still gain important transferable skills.
Popular Programs with Pre-Health Princeton Students
Academic semester abroad, science/medicine focus
- Denmark – DIS Copenhagen program in Medical Practice & Policy
- Kenya – Tropical Biology
- Oxford University Biochemistry exchange
- Panama – Tropical Biology
- Stockholm – Karolinska Institute Exchange biomedicine program
- University of Cape Town
- Zurich – ETH
Summer Study Abroad
Summer & Glide Year Fellowships
- Health Grand Challenge Internships (summer)
- Global Health internships through GHP (summer)
- Undergraduate Research Fellowships (summer)
- Princeton International Internship Program (summer)
- Princeton in Asia (summer & glide year)
- Princeton in Africa (glide year)
- Princeton in Latin America (glide year)
- Fulbright Fellowship (glide year)