Europe Opportunities

The Center for Global Health can help students to pursue global health experiences in several European countries.  Please click on the country name to explore specific opportunities.  Under "Penn Med Student-Arranged Experiences" you will find information about a large number of additional activities that europePenn Med students have arranged on their own.


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Austria: The Max Kade Clinical Clerkships

Through the generosity of the American Austrian Foundation (AAF), fellowships are available to expose American medical students to medical practices in Austria, allowing them to gain experience in a different health care environment.  American medical students who have completed their required rotations (MS4) are eligible to participate in the Max Kade Fellowship program. Fellows spend one month (four consecutive weeks) rotating through a specific department at the University Hospital of Vienna, the General Hospital in Salzburg and/or other highly respected institutions.

The topic of study is to be chosen by the candidate and every effort will be made to accommodate the student in his/her area of interest.  In 2017, clerkships will be available in February, March, and April.       

  • Application (Deadline each year for submission to The Center for Global Health (CGH) is mid-August. Look for announcements in July/August.)

Please note that all applications must be submitted through The Center for Global Health. The process is as follows:

1. Visit the AAF website and review the information provided

2. Complete the application form.

3. Attach your application in an email to The Center for Global Health.

Your chances of being accepted in the program will be greatest if you are flexible on dates and assignments. February and March tend to be less in demand than April.

  • Funding
    The AAF, the Max Kade Foundation, and the host Austrian medical facility will provide a travel stipend and modest funds for room and board (not enough to cover all of your expenses and Europe is expensive) for the duration of the fellowship.
  • Allgemeines Krankenhaus
  • Vienna
  • Penn Med Students Reports & Advice: 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 20092008, 2007, 2006, 2004


England: Kings College London

Penn medical students are invited to apply for electives at Kings College London (KCL) .  The following must be submitted at least three months before the Penn student wishes to begin the KCL elective:

  1. KCL application
  2. King's Immunization Form
  3. 2 written references
  4. academic transcript

All the information and required forms can be found via the link below; please note that thanks to our reciprocal agreement, the fee is waived for Penn students.

England: The University of Oxford

The University of Oxford will take up to two students each year for a research rotation, primarily in microbiology, virology, immunology, or cell biology. Students should apply to the The Center for Global Health office.

  • Penn Med Students Reports & Advice: 2010, 2007


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France:  L'Envol

If you speak French fluently and enjoy working with children, you may be interested in volunteering at l'Envol, a summer camp for seriously ill children.  L'Envol is one of the Hole in the Wall Camps which began as a dream of actor Paul Newman who started the first one in 1988.

  • Funding
    Room and board are provided by l'Envol; The Center for Global Health would provide only the airfare portion (indicated in our funding section), only for students participating in a minimum of two sessions (24 continuous days). 
  • Application
    Follow this link and click on Dossier de candidature bénévole

France:  MICEFA

MICEFA (Mission Interuniversitaire de Coordination des Échanges Franco-Américains) is a consortium of 16 universities in Paris and its suburbs which coordinates the exchange of students between France and the United States.

  • Research: Penn medical students in years 1, 3, and 4 are eligible for research rotations. The minimum commitment is for two months.  Programs are shaped to match the interests of the trainee/student with an available laboratory or clinical department, as well as with an appropriate advisor. 
  • Clinical: Students in years 1 (as observer only), 3 and 4 are also eligible for clinical rotations. The minimum commitment for these is one month. 
  • Public Health/Clinical Combination: MICEFA has summer program that combines public health seminars, clinical observation, and, for those who are interested, French language skills. Please see information below:

More information and application are available at the MICEFA website. Students should apply through the The Center for Global Health office.


Germany: RISE

RISE is a summer internship program for undergraduate students from the United States, Canada and the UK in the fields of biology, chemistry, physics, earth sciences and engineering. RISE offers unique opportunities for Bachelor students to work with research groups at universities and top research institutions across Germany for a period of 2 to 3 months during the summer. RISE interns are matched with doctoral students whom they assist and who serve as their mentors. The working language will be English. All scholarship holders receive stipends from the DAAD to help cover living expenses, while partner universities& research institutes provide housing assistance. To apply:


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Ireland:  Royal College of Surgeons, Trinity College, University College

Penn faculty have special contacts at a number of universities in Ireland. They can help the interested student to arrange 1-2 month clinical experiences in Dublin at the Royal College of Surgeons, Trinity College, or University College Dublin and in Cork at University College Cork.  Interested students should send an email to The Center for Global Health indicating the type of clinical elective/s that are of interest and the month/s during which they are available for this activity. 

For research experiences, students should expect to devote 8 weeks.  Interested students should prepare a copy of their CV together with an indication of research interest and the dates during which they can participate in research.  These items should be attached in an email to The Center for Global Health

  • Penn Med Students Reports & Advice: 2009


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Netherlands: The University of Groningen

The University of Groningen is a small Dutch university whose biology department was founded by Petrus Camper in the 18th century. The University of Groningen offers the Petrus Camper Award to up to 3 Penn medical students annually who go there for a research rotation of at least 6 weeks (1st, 3rd and 4th year students are eligible). Students may participate at any time during the year. The following research projects are available:

  • Behavioral and Cognitive Neurosciences (BCN)
    * Stem cell differentation for therapeutic use in neurodegenerative diseases
    * Neurobiological mechanisms of stress induced brain pathologies
    * Glial cell biology
    * Cognition: use of fMRI in schizoprhrenia and empathy research
    * Epidemiology of psychiatric disorders
    * Experimental clinical research on neurlogical diseases
  • Histology and Cell Biology
    * Mucosal immunity
  • Medical Microbiology
    * Determination of Herpes simplex virus type 2 prevalence in different risk groups
    * Anaerobic bacteria in health and disease
  • Medical Oncology
    * In vitro investigation of the role of apoptosis in the (drug-) sensitivity of tumor cells. Is there a general pathway or are there tumorspecific differences? Immunocytochemical/ immunohistochemical techniques will be used to establish the role of a pathway in a specific tumor (cell line).
  • Nutrition and Metabolism
    *Gastroenterology in relation with diabetes; digestion and fermentation of starch Techniques used: stable isotope technology and proteomics
  • Pathology
    * Hodgkin's disease; immunological investigations
    * Transplantation; immunological and molecular investigations

It may also be possible for students to participate in fields of research other than those listed above.

  • Funding
    The Petrus Camper Award provides a stipend of € 1150 (check for $ equivalent). You will receive the award in cash on your first day of orientation at Groningen.  It is recommended that you bring a lock and/or money belt for safe-keeping of the money.  Please note that students must pay all travel, room, and board (N.B. Reservations of rooms will be made by the University of Groningen -- total room cost for the six weeks will be between € 500 and € 600; in addition, there is a € 325 deposit that is returned at the end as well as a non-refundable housing office administrative charge of € 175). 
  • Application
    Applications are to be submitted to The Center for Global Health by January 14 via email attachments included with your Global Health Experience Planning Form. Applications have two parts (each should be a separate document attachment in the same email):
    1. A one to two page statement addressing each of the following four elements:
      • which of the research projects listed above interests you the most
      • how your prior experience has prepared you to work on this research project
      • what you think you could contribute, and
      • how this experience will complement your medical education
    2. Your curriculum vitae, including:
      • full name
      • mailing address
      • email address
      • birthdate
      • birthplace
  • Award Announcements
    Award announcements will be made by February 15.


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Poland & Germany: Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics

FASPE (Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics) is an innovative initiative begun in 2010, designed to challenge medical students to consider contemporary ethical issues facing their profession, using the Holocaust and the conduct of their historical peers in Nazi Germany as a framework for study.  Fellows spend time in New York, Berlin, Krakow, and Oświęcim (Auschwitz).  All program costs, including international and European travel, lodging, and food, are covered.  The program for FASPE Medical usually runs for two weeks from late June to early July. 

Applications become available in early fall.  Candidates of all religious, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds are encouraged to apply.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact Shiri Sandler.


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Spain:  Facultad de Medicina de la Universidad de Alcalá

The Facultad de Medicina de la Universidad de Alcalá offers research and clinical opportunities to Penn medical students. 

Research:  The research opportunity is in immunology and is available to MS1, MS3, and MS4 students.  No knowledge of Spanish is required as the members of the research group speak English. Single rooms on campus in Alcalá may be available at a cost of 460.20€ per month.

Clinical:  The clinical opportunity is a possibility for MS3 and MS4 students with an advanced command of the Spanish language.  Students may spend one or two months.  Most electives are in Alcalá, with a few additional electives in Madrid (30 km from Alcalá) and Guadalajara (15 km from Alcalá) .  Single rooms on campus in Alcalá may be available at a cost of 460.20€ per month.

  •  Electives in Alcalá
    • General Internal Medicine
    • Medical Oncology
    • Autoimmune Diseases
    • Rheumatology
    • Dermatology
    • Endocrinology
    • Hematology
    • Nephrology
  • Electives in Madrid (Ramon y Cajal Hospital)
    • Gastroenterology
    • Dermatology
  • Elective in Guadalajara
    • Cardiology
  • Application
    Applications must be submitted via The Center for Global Health. Please open the application form in Word, fill in on your computer, print and sign, and submit the hard copy to The Center for Global Health.


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Switzerland: UNAIDS, Geneva

The global public health program for the control of HIV/AIDS is conducted by UNAIDS, a joint program of the WHO (World Health Organization), United Nations, UNICEF, and other multinational organizations. UNAIDS conducts programs for the surveillance, evaluation, and control of AIDS in many countries around the globe. Much more information is available on the UNAIDS website.

UNAIDS has an internship program to bring in students for short term (minimum of 6 weeks  and maximum of 3 months) assignments in Geneva where they can participate in one of the many activities dedicated to the operation and evaluation of HIV/AIDS public health programs around the world.  The purpose of granting internships is to allow carefully selected post-secondary students who are registered in academic programs, to participate in the work of UNAIDS, and enable them to deepen their knowledge and understanding of UNAIDS' goals, policies and activities.  This is an excellent opportunity for students interested in the management of global programs that address public health needs on a worldwide basis. Interns work at the Secretariat in Geneva at UNAIDS headquarters.  Interns are expected to devote themselves full-time to the work assigned to them.  No remuneration of any kind is offered and the intern is responsible for covering expenses for travel, subsistence, and health insurance, etc.  UNAIDS provides accident insurance coverage only.

Switzerland:  WHO, Geneva

Internships are available in a wide variety of areas related to the technical work of the World Health Organization (WHO).  Most WHO internships are based at Headquarters in Geneva. If you are interested in applying for an internship in a regional or country office, you can find information on the WHO website to help you apply to those offices directly

  • WHO internships run from a minimum of 6 weeks up to a maximum of 12 weeks.
  • Internships are not paid.
  • Interns can participate once in the WHO Internship Programme.

Click here for more information and to carefully review the application process.

Penn Med Student-Arranged Activities:  Reports & Advice

  • Armenia: Armenian Volunteer Corps Yerevan (2012)
  • Czech & Slovak Republics (2006)
  • England: Imperial College London (2012)
  • England:  St. Mary's Hospital (2008)
  • England:  University of Cambridge (2005)
  • England:  University College London (2005)
  • France:  Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Toulouse (2006)
  • France:  Purpan Hospital Inserm Lab in Toulouse (2005)
  • France: Institut Curie France (2009)
  • Germany:  Herzzentrum Hospital in Leipzig (2006)
  • Germany: Universitatsklinikum Aachen (2012, 2009)
  • Greece: University of Athens (2010)
  • Netherlands: University Medical Center Utrecht (2013)
  • Poland: Wojciech Ozimek Medical Practice Warsaw (2012)
  • Portugal: CoimbraPediatricHospital (2006)
  • Romania:  Childrens Foundation (2006)
  • Russia:  HIV Survey in St. Petersburg (2005)
  • Spain: Hospital Universitario La Paz in Madrid (2012)
  • Spain: University of Malaga (2014)
  • Sweden:  Sahlgrenska University Hospital, Gothenberg (2006)

Last updated:  June 21, 2016

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