Author Archives: Nathan


Before Christmas a post was made asking for students to sign up to become year 2 committee members for a conference that was still in its planning stages. As we are constantly reminded that we need to strengthen our CV we naturally grasped the opportunity. After a few meetings, SSC week 3 was upon us and the conference was beginning.Editorial Room

As a year 2 committee member we were asked to become ‘blog editors’, meaning that we would review the work of the bloggers and submit them to the blog along with pictures from our conference photographers. At 3:30pm the editorial board met, consisting of the two staff leads: Dr Hibbitts and Dr Brennan, the two year two representatives and three year five representatives. We were extremely happy by the flow of blogs created both by the final year students and by year two student bloggers. All had  great content and there was even a bilingual post which was great to see!


The Elective Collective

A group of Yr 5 Cardiff Medical students got together to discuss the merits and downfalls of the elective period with some eager Yr 2 Medics. The theme being where they are going and how they’ve managed to get it booked.  The speakers had chosen 3 quite different countries and all had some excellent advice to share. The electives countries were: New Zealand, India and Vanuatu (a little group of Islands west of Fiji)

The talk seemed to be a hit with all the 2nd Years as everyone listened intently to the advice being given at the front. They also had some good questions too. “Are the electives mandatory?” and “Is there any funding available?” answers being Yes to both questions but a lot more detail was given by the 5th Years who were more than happy and able to respond.

Some very valuable information was shared during the talk but there were a few Key take home messages that they wanted to share:

  • Go where you want to go, don’t rely on your friends wanting to go to the same place as you. Everyone is different and may want something different from this experience. Urban or rural, abroad or at home.
  • Start arranging early. The earlier the better if possible. Some placements are very lucrative to others so the longer you leave it the less chance your opportunity will still be there. And email everyone you can as some people may not respond to your emails or emails from website may not have been updated. Also flights will be much cheaper!

Bottom line is that electives are there for you to experience healthcare that you may never have the chance to again. And there’s always the opportunity for a bit of a holiday too. Enjoy.

Rhys Billinghurst – 5th Year Medical Student

Perspective on Elective

With Cardiff’s year 5 students just days away from going on their medical elective,  now is the perfect time for them to share advice with those that have an elective to forward to. A room full of Year 2 students turned up to hear what three year 5 students had to say.

Charlotte Orr will be travelling to Tanzania very soon. Having not done much travelling herself it was a big decision to go to a developing country and she was able to inspire the year 2’s to think about making the same bold move.

Tanzanian experience;

  • First language is Swahili
  • Little electricity
  • No running water
  • Peak malaria season
  • Busy!
  • Cooked for over coal fire

Next up was Sophia Thompson who will be going to Sri Lanka.  Using the Electives Network website she found a hospital that did electives and that was also close to the beach! Sophia was an example of a student who was using people who lived local to the hospital to stay with- a great way to save money!

Our final year 5 student came with lots of tips for our year 2’s;

  • Stay with friends or family abroad
  • Plan early,  particularly if you want to go to Canada or America
  • Start saving as bursaries are hard to get and are of little value
  • Some locations will require Visas
  • There’s no shame in staying in the UK

A tip that all three students gave was to try and organise as much of your elective independently as you can!  This is because although organisations do most of the planning for you it comes at a high price!!

Hannah Cranch – Final Year Student

Exciting Elective Workshop

Successful elective workshop with the 2nd years, lots of interesting questions and an opportunity for us to discuss our exciting elective plans, the world is your oyster!! Talk of New Zealand, The Solomon Islands, Sweden, Nepal and Rhyl. Every placement will have something to offer.
Key advice from our discussion:
  • Get the map out early!
  • Think about finances and where money is going to come from
  • Have a back up plan!
  • Chat to older students
  • Looking at the MDU’s free The Elective Network website
  • Ask any doctor you meet on placement – every one has had an elective!


Rachael Parker – Final Year Student