Medical Electives for Final-Year Students

Medical Electives for Final-Year Students

Opportunities for Medical Students

At Vine Trust, we provide incredible opportunities for students with medical, dental, nursing, and other health-related training to participate in unique medical expeditions on board medical ships in the Peruvian Amazon or the Tanzanian Lake Victoria region as part of their Junior Elective.

Students can rest assured that their involvement is fully supported by local in-country programmes: Vine Trust has over twelve years of experience in connecting student volunteers with long-term health partnerships in both Peru and Tanzania.

Over the years, we’ve had many students from fifteen countries participate in expeditions as part of their elective placements.

On these expeditions, medical volunteers will engage fully in activities that are mutually beneficial to both the crucial work and support that takes place on the ships and to their own individual and professional development.

They’ll also experience first-hand the positive impact of the sustainable international and community empowerment practices that our partners implement to improve the lives of everyone in these areas.

Please note, our partners have requested that spaces on each medical expedition are limited to a maximum of two students per trip, so as to ensure that they can provide adequate supervision and guidance. We recommend that students complete their applications as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.

What Will I Do on an Expedition?

There are different types and lengths of expeditions that students can participate in.

However, regardless of whichever particular trip you register for, you’re guaranteed to spend a significant proportion of your expedition working alongside a local team of health professionals.

You’ll learn from this experience as you work with local communities and health authorities to provide primary medical services to those living in remote and isolated places and experience the ways in which they provide empowering health education services to local communities.

We work with our in-country partners to support two healthcare programmes. These are:

Amazon Hope Medical Programme (Peru)

Jubilee Hope Medical Programme (Tanzania)

For more information on these programmes, check out this link.

What Skills Will You Learn?

Working under the leadership, guidance, and supervision of highly experienced Peruvian and Tanzanian health professionals, students will be given the opportunity to:

* Work as part of a multinational team of healthcare workers,

* Receive teaching from the local team on diagnosis and treatment of conditions,

* Understand more clearly the challenges of delivering health services to remote communities,

* Experience the multiple benefits of implementing sustainable development practices in these communities,

* Participate in patient consultations,

* Learn about the local culture, including how these factors impact the health of people in the region.

What Can I Do on an Expedition?

Medical expedition opportunities for students fall into four different categories:

1. Standard ship expedition (Peru and Tanzania)

2. Extended ship expedition (Peru only)

3. Ship plus local health facility expedition (Peru and Tanzania)

4. Ship plus clinic/language placement (in collaboration with a partner organisation in Peru)

A Rundown of Each Expedition-Type

    Standard Ship Expedition:

    This has been the most popular expedition for students over the years. Lasting fourteen days, with approximately ten days on the ship, volunteers can join any of the expeditions scheduled during the year in either Peru or Tanzania.

    Extended Ship Expedition:

Similar to the ‘standard’ expedition, but you will remain on the ship for approximately 20 days.

    Standard Ship Expedition + Time in Local Health Facility:

Before or after spending time on the ship for ten days, our local partners can help make arrangements for you to participate in activities at a local health facility (hospital, clinic) in Iquitos (Peru) or Mwanza (Tanzania).

Arrangements for this kind of expedition depend upon the number of spaces available at the corresponding clinics, and supervision will be provided by the health facility’s personnel, not Vine Trust or its partners.

Contact Vine Trust for more details if this is something you would be interested in doing as part of your time in Peru or Tanzania.

For even longer periods of time in Peru, Vine Trust recommends combining visits to the ships with opportunities provided by the Medical Electives organisation there.

    Standard Ship Expedition + Clinic/Language Placement (only in Peru):

As well as visiting the medical ship, students can participate in an excellent intensive medical Spanish programme provided by The Medical Elective Network and accredited by the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP).

The Medical Electives Spanish language programme is based in Trujillo and is taught by both physicians and language teachers, covering both general Spanish and medical Spanish.

You will get a taste of the primary health care services which are provided to local communities (and which you’ll see when on-board the medical ship) at the course’s weekly community health fairs.

For more information, please visit:

To enquire about any of these options or just to get more details about medical elective opportunities, contact us at the Vine Trust office:


Phone: 0131 555 5598


“I think the model Vine Trust have is really inspiring for students and encourages them to think about electives in the way we would want”

Dr Chris Willott, Programme Director, MSc Global Health at King’s College London

“As a medical student it’s been an amazing opportunity to test my core skills. Whilst the boat is impressively resourced, most investigative and imaging modalities common in the UK are unavailable in the Amazon, so learning how to without those things has been invaluable”

Medical Student, 2023

“Volunteering with Vine Trust has been a very rich experience that exceeded all my expectations. I thoroughly enjoyed every aspect of my time on the boat from the unbelievably fun and friendly team to the exceptional hospitality and energy in the clinics. It is a truly unique opportunity being able to spend several weeks travelling down the Amazon on the Vine Trust medical boat.”

Medical Student, 2023