Clinical Experiences Abroad

Center for International Studies

Students enrolled in the Doctor of Pharmacy and Master of Physician Assistant Studies programs at MCPHS have a unique opportunity to satisfy their curriculum requirements—and enhance their résumés—by taking part in supervised clinical rotations and clerkships abroad, from Cape Town, Beijing, Seoul, and London to Bolivia, Mexico, India, and Peru.

These exciting five- or six-week clinical experiences are life-changing not only for students, but also for the communities they serve. As you build stronger communication skills and greater confidence, you’ll become a more well-rounded, resourceful, and marketable healthcare professional. Most important, you’ll return home knowing that you made a difference in the lives of your patients and their families.

A Day in the Life

You’ll start by shadowing physicians or pharmacists and their interprofessional teams as they lead rotations at local clinics and hospitals and even in patients’ homes. As you learn to adapt to the different healthcare practices, systems, and resources in your host communities, you’ll expand your global perspective, clinical expertise, and sense of empathy.

“Getting to see how another part of the world views and uses medications, as well as getting to share how we use medications here, was an amazing experience,” says Mitchell Fairbrother, PharmD, who completed a pharmacy rotation in Cape Town, South Africa. “We shadowed home-based caregivers who did wound care, medication adherence, and patient bathing. While I was with them, I answered patients’ medication questions.”

Near the end of his time abroad, Mitchell presented a hands-on learning module on proper hand hygiene to the home-based caregivers. “We taught them the steps, when and where, as well as the talking points to use to educate their patients. Based on the feedback, they seemed to really enjoy the presentation. I feel like we made a difference that will carry long into the future.”

Arianna Rossetti, MPAS, couldn't agree more about the rewards of international medicine. As an MCPHS International Ambassador, she spent some “of the best and most challenging moments” of her life during two clinical rotations in the remote mountain communities of Peru and the Amazon basin of Bolivia. “There’s no doubt that what I have learned will have a lifelong influence on how I practice medicine and so much more,” says Arianna.

During both clinical rotations abroad, she interacted with patients of all ages from a wide array of backgrounds and cultures. Arianna learned to ensure that she and her patients were on the same page by listening closely, paying attention to their unique needs, being flexible, and making an effort to understand their lifestyles, which were so different from her own.

“International medicine will push you, but the lessons are so unique and completely applicable to our practice here,” says Arianna. “There is no doubt I will be back to South America in the future—but next time, as a provider! I will always be thankful for this opportunity, as it will continue to shape my career and who I am as a person.”