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The host institution will often provide a booklet for elective students or suggest a contact who can give information and sometimes arrange free accommodation. Even if this is the case, try to gather additional background information to avoid any nasty surprises - like taking sterling travellers cheques to an area where only dollars are accepted.
When comparing prices check whether your travel agent is registered with ATOL and the airline is registered with IATA; whether there are student discounts available, if there are hidden costs such as airport taxes; flight times and durations; and whether the flight is direct or not.
In addition to making indemnity arrangements you should ensure you have adequate travel insurance. There are many organisations that offer travel insurance and it is always a good idea to compare costs and policies. If you intend to take part in any potentially dangerous sports such as scuba diving or skydiving make sure your cover extends to these activities.
We strongly recommend that our members purchase travel insurance.
As you will be away for an extended period of time it's important to consider how you're going to access your money: cash, travellers cheques and credit/debit cards.
Most travellers carry a combination of all three. Many cash cards now also come with an international withdrawal facility, such as Maestro, which will allow you to withdraw local currency from your bank account at home. Fees for this facility vary so you should check with your bank in advance.
Make sure your passport is valid for the length of your stay. Some countries insist that it should be valid for six months after your intended date of return. Many countries refuse entry to anyone without the proper paperwork. Sometimes, you will require separate written permission to travel within a country. Check well in advance with the embassy or high commission and apply for visas in plenty of time.
Remember, many embassies and consulates refuse to issue visas on the spot, even to those who apply in person. Some embassy websites have visa application forms that you can download. HM Passport Office has information on renewal and validity requirements.
Access a searchable directory of embassies and consulates throughout the world.
If you're worried about the stability of a country you intend to visit seek advice from the Travel Advice Unit of the Foreign & Commonwealth Office.
It can be worth registering with the consulate or embassy of your host country. If there are any problems during your stay which require repatriation, the British Consular staff will know your location.
Before you go on your elective it's important to make sure you have adequate indemnity in place. Your elective host may ask you for written confirmation of your professional indemnity, or may even ask you to pay for your indemnity. As a student member, you can seek our assistance if problems arise from your involvement in the clinical care of patients during your elective*. We can also help with indemnity for claims arising from any Good Samaritan acts you perform.
Depending on local legislation and indemnity arrangements, your host hospital/practice may be liable for your acts and omissions. We recommend you find out the position from the hospital/practice you're visiting.
When you've decided on the destination for your elective it's important to get a letter from the DDU confirming your elective indemnity. You can do this by logging in to theddu.com/mymembership Just enter the destination and dates of your elective and a confirmation letter will be produced. You can then download and print or email the letter. Alternatively, you can have it posted to the address we have for you. This will provide you with written confirmation of your indemnity arrangements with us.
In general terms, if you stay within the limits of your knowledge and experience during an elective overseas or in the UK, and work under the direction of an appropriately qualified practitioner, it's unlikely you will encounter any legal or dento-legal problems.
*Contact our membership team before you go. Visit theddu.com/yourelective for full benefits for students on elective.
This page was correct at publication on . Any guidance is intended as general guidance for members only. If you are a member and need specific advice relating to your own circumstances, please contact one of our advisers.