Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry

The Ethics Involved with Going Abroad

The Division of Community Engagement would like to ensure that all electives abroad follow important ethical guidelines. It is required that any student completing an international elective must attend pre-departure training as well as a post-departure debrief. In addition, first year students are encouraged to participate in public health based projects rather than clinical electives as with limited medical training it would be unethical to practice certain procedures in a foreign setting. The University of Alberta hopes to build strong connections with the communities that students visit in order to help build sustainable projects that truly benefit the host country. Further understanding on the ethics of going abroad is provided in both the pre-departure training and Community Engagement Global Health Education / International Health elective.


The Faculty of Community Engagement offers a bursary to students who complete the pre-departure training and Global Health Education / International Health elective as part of their preparation for going abroad. The value of the bursary changes every year based on the current budget. If students receive a bursary, they must present a poster at the Global Health Fair.

To be eligible for the travel bursary, the following criteria must be met:

  1. The student must be a current undergraduate in the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry.
  2. The student will take a clinical or non-clinical elective that is a minimum of 4 weeks in duration.
  3. The student must be going to one of our Field Stations or to another location found by the student (and approved by Dr. Konkin) and have met the application deadlines to do so (the deadlines for both will be announced at a later date).
  4. The elective must be completed in a low-medium resource-limited or culturally special setting outside of continental North America.
  5. Consideration will only be given to students who have attended the 12-Hour Community Engagement Global Health Education / International Health elective prior to an overseas elective (only needs to be taken once during medical school) as well as the predeparture training.
  6. A bursary application, including a travel budget, must be submitted on or before the deadline (usually late April or early May)
  7. If eligible for the bursary, a report in the form of a poster must be submitted upon completion of the elective at the Global Health Fair (last week of January).

Field Stations

The Faculty of Community Engagement and student Community Engagement Team are currently working to strengthen the international electives available to medical students. Recently, pre-clerkship students have completed electives in Peru, Ecuador, Taiwan, Zambia, and Cambodia, and a fourth-year student completed an elective in Uganda. For a list of field stations that the University of Alberta has offered in the past please see the following site: Field Stations.