Canada participates in a bilateral international exchange program where medical students undertake clinical electives or research projects in a foreign country for a period of four weeks. In 2017, over 150 Canadian medical students participated in the IFMSA-CFMS exchange program. Local Exchange Officers at each Canadian medical school facilitate the process for outgoing Canadian medical students, as well as for incoming international medical students.
These clinical or research exchanges are either unilateral or bilateral. In bilateral exchanges, the total cost is $1000, which covers the program fee, accommodation and a stipend during the exchange, and a host to organize the elective abroad. However, if you are able to provide free accommodation for an incoming international student, you will be reimbursed $600 of the $1000. In unilateral exchanges, there is a set program fee of $400, in addition to a variable cost for accommodation, which is paid on arrival at the host institution. Flights are not included.
Every year, the CFMS National Exchange Officers attend an international meeting to sign exchange contracts for the upcoming year. This meeting generally takes place in August, so the list of countries to which Canadian students can go on exchange will not be finalized until then.
Countries to which Canadian students have previously gone on exchange are listed below:
Bilateral Exchanges: Austria, Bulgaria, Chile, Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, Finland, Germany, Ghana, China, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Lithuania, Mexico, Portugal, Serbia, South Korea, Switzerland, Taiwan, Tunisia, Turkey.
Unilateral Exchanges: Brazil, Bulgaria, Chile, Czech Republic, Germany, Ghana, Hungary, Iceland, Malta, Mexico, Nepal, Serbia.
Electives and research projects are available in a broad array of specialties and areas. See here for more information on CFMS exchanges. Applications for CFMS exchanges can be found here.
Please note that students are selected by lottery, as spots are limited, and that the application deadline is firm, with no exceptions. Country program descriptions as well as exchange conditions can be found here. Exchange conditions vary by country and should be researched before ranking preferred countries. Research projects can be found here, but they are subject to change.