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Emergency Medicine & Surgery Internships

Emergency Medicine & Surgery Internships

This internship provides an incredibly rare opportunity for medical students to experience emergency medicine, including surgery. Emergency Medicine & Surgery interns are placed in hospitals and clinics in Arusha, and observe both simple and complex procedures being carried out. You’ll work closely with local surgeons with trauma systems, International Red Cross and field experience all across Africa.

Internship Highlights:
  • Learn how emergency surgery and trauma medical teams work in Tanzania
  • Observe both simple and complex procedures being expertly executed by African surgeons, and learn from surgeons afterwards
  • Gain practical healthcare skills and build your understanding in specific medical departments of interest to you
  • Enjoy spare time in Arusha, go on safari in the Serengeti, and explore world famous natural landscapes
Type of host organizations:
  • Public hospitals
  • Emergency rooms
  • Surgical departments
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Fully hosted experience from US$1,304
Includes accommodation & meals
Start dates every Monday
Minimum duration 2 weeks, up to 24 Weeks maximum
Explore Tanzania’s incredible national parks
Get job-ready with our Experiential Learning Curriculum
Internships align with UN Sustainable Development Goals
Eligibility requirements and Associated career paths
Eligibility requirement

Suitable for interns with at least one year of study in medicine, nursing or related field.

Language requirements

This internship is conducted in English. However, you can expect that some patient interactions will be carried out in local languages. Your supervisor will be available to debrief these sessions in English with you afterwards.

Associated career paths

Physician, Nurse, Surgeon, General Practitioner, Orderly, Medical Assistant, Emergency Doctor, Paramedic, Medical Consultant

Internship details

This internship provides an incredibly rare opportunity for medical students to experience emergency medicine, including surgery. Emergency Medicine & Surgery interns are placed in hospitals and clinics in Arusha, and observe both simple and complex procedures being carried out. You’ll work closely with local surgeons with trauma systems, International Red Cross and field experience all across Africa.

This is an in-country internship, with accommodation and meals provided.

As an Emergency Medicine & Surgery intern in Tanzania, you’ll gain first hand understanding of the requirements of emergency medicine in an African environment. These internships are designed and led by the Medical Internship Program Director in Tanzania, and are perfect for medical students looking to gain experience in emergency rooms and surgical departments, which are often reserved only for experienced medical professionals.

Interns cater to the wider Tanzanian community, shadowing Physicians in departments whose patients suffer from acute or traumatic injuries or illnesses. You will learn how staff manage their patients, while navigating the challenges of being understaffed and under-resourced. Interns complete a fixed rotation to observe surgeries and gain an understanding of how emergency and surgical departments manage patients and staff in an unpredictable environment. You won’t be active in surgeries or trauma treatments yourself, but you are able to reflect on procedures with doctors afterwards to learn about how they are carried out and ask questions.

It’s important for medical interns to be prepared for a very different healthcare system than what you may be used to at home. Healthcare in Tanzania can be under-resourced and under-funded, and patients may endure conditions that would be considered rare or unacceptable in your own home country.

While you may encounter culture shock, it is important to remain professional and compassionate at all times. You’ll be encouraged to consider your supervisor and in-country coordinator as valuable and knowledgeable resources and mentors. They’re in the best position to provide guidance and local context into the needs and challenges of the local community, and will be happy to support your learning experience throughout this internship abroad.

Due to the unpredictable nature of patient flow in clinics and hospitals, interns should note that the timing of treatments can be irregular. This means that there will be days which are very busy, as well as slower days if patient workload is lighter. Interns should be adaptable, proactive and willing to help where it’s needed. You will be welcome to discuss your schedule at all times throughout the internship, should you wish to pick up any extra hours. This is subject to availability and must always be discussed with your in-country coordinator, who would facilitate any necessary arrangements for you.

This internship is conducted in English but you can expect that some patient interactions will be carried out in local languages. In such cases,your supervisor will be available to debrief these sessions in English with you afterwards.

Outside of your internship, you’ll have the opportunity to discover for yourself why Tanzania is one of Africa’s most popular tourist destinations. The country is well-known for nature and adventure tourism, particularly its incredible safaris and wildlife reserves. People come from all over the world to visit Mount Kilimanjaro, Serengeti National Park, and the golden beaches of Zanzibar. Your in-country internship coordinator will assist you in advance to arrange day trips or longer excursions (such as multi-day safari adventures). If you’re planning your internship in Tanzania, don’t miss the opportunity to schedule an itinerary that incorporates these wonderful, unforgettable attractions.

It is important to note that the internship placements grouped as “Medical” require interns to make a Ministry of Health contribution. This supports the operation of placements and covers supervision for interns on medical-related placements. This contribution is not included in the internship program fee; it must be made directly, in-country, under the direction and guidance of the Program Coordinator in Arusha. Interns will not be permitted to commence their placement until this has been covered. The amount of the Ministry of Health contribution varies, as it is not the same for every clinic/hospital. However, to cover the contribution sufficiently, we ask interns to budget up to US$75 per week.

Typical Schedule

  • Schedules vary based on the exact nature of each internship. Interns should prepare to be flexible with their schedules, but expect between 6-8 hours of internship activities, Monday through Friday, including possible weekend work (optional).

Career Benefits

Emergency Medicine & Surgery interns learn from a qualified and experienced supervisor, and can be involved in:
  • Shadowing and observing local professionals

  • Attending simple and complex procedures

  • Supporting medical professionals

Professional development opportunites:
  • Experience pre-operational preparation and post-operative care

  • Build your understanding of Emergency Medicine

  • Supervision and guidance from practicing medical professionals

  • Build your cultural intelligence, as it pertains to healthcare and cross-cultural communication

  • Gain practical skills and boost your employability, with guidance from Intern Abroad HQ’s Experiential Learning Curriculum to support your learning and cultural intelligence.

Tanzania photo gallery

”My role as an intern involved taking patient vitals, filling out patient intake charts, triage observation, and/or grabbing medical equipment/resources when doctors are in need.”

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Program fees

It’s free to apply for this internship. Once we have reviewed your suitability and accepted you onto this program, you’ll need to pay a deposit of US$449 to confirm your place. The remaining balance of your Program Fee (less your initial US$449 deposit payment) will be due no less than 60 days before your internship start date.

Non-medical internships

Duration
Program Fee (USD)
2 weeks $1,304Equivalent to $93/day
4 weeks $1,569Equivalent to $56/day
6 weeks $1,779Equivalent to $42/day
8 weeks $2,044Equivalent to $36/day
10 weeks $2,254Equivalent to $32/day
12 weeks $2,464Equivalent to $29/day
14 weeks $2,984Equivalent to $30/day
16 weeks $3,264Equivalent to $29/day
18 weeks $3,544Equivalent to $28/day
20 weeks $3,824Equivalent to $27/day
24 weeks $4,384Equivalent to $26/day

Medical internships

Duration
Program Fee (USD)
2 weeks $1,404Equivalent to $100/day
4 weeks $1,669Equivalent to $59/day
6 weeks $1,879Equivalent to $44/day
8 weeks $2,144Equivalent to $38/day
10 weeks $2,354Equivalent to $33/day
12 weeks $2,564Equivalent to $30/day
14 weeks $2,884Equivalent to $29/day
16 weeks $3,164Equivalent to $28/day
18 weeks $3,444Equivalent to $27/day
20 weeks $3,724Equivalent to $26/day
24 weeks $4,284Equivalent to $25/day
  • Accommodation
  • Meals
  • 24/7 in-country support
  • Airport pick-up
  • Program orientation
  • Dedicated support before, during, and after your internship
  • In-country guidance for social and tourist activities
  • Sourcing and securing your internship placement
  • Personalization of your internship plan
  • Coaching from your supervisor
  • Documented portfolio of your experiential learnings
  • International reference letter
  • Certificate of Internship Completion
  • Visa (if required), flights, travel insurance (mandatory), vaccinations, criminal background check
  • Transfer back to the airport at the end of your internship program
  • Optional extras, such as language lessons
  • Souvenirs and leisure activities during your free time
  • Personal spending money to cover basic expenses such as drinks, snacks, laundry, public transportation, and any meals not included in your Program Fee
  • A deposit of $449 USD is required to secure your internship
  • It is important to note that the internship placements grouped as "Medical" require interns to make a Ministry of Health contribution. This supports the operation of placements and covers supervision for interns on medical-related placements. This contribution is not included in the internship program fee; it must be made directly, in-country, under the direction and guidance of the Program Coordinator in Arusha. Interns will not be permitted to commence their placement until this has been covered. The amount of the Ministry of Health contribution varies, as it is not the same for every clinic/hospital. However, to cover the contribution sufficiently, we ask interns to budget up to US$75 per week.
  • Balance of your Program Fee is due 60 days before your internship start date.
  • All payments attract a 5% transaction fee to cover international banking fees and currency charges.
  • Terms and Conditions apply.

Arrival and Orientation

Programs begin every Monday and participants may choose to spend a minimum of 2 weeks, up to a maximum of 12 weeks. Interns are advised not to book their flights until they have first registered to confirm their participation. Ports of entry to the program include the local Arusha Airport (ARK) or the Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO). Airport pick up is included in the program fee. Transportation from the airport to the intern accommodation is approximately 30 minutes from Arusha Airport or 60 minutes from the Kilimanjaro International Airport. Alternatively, interns who arrive to the program overland (i.e. from Dar es Salaam in Tanzania) may be picked up from Arusha’s bus terminal.

Once interns have arrived, they are greeted by a representative of the local team and transported to the accommodation in Arusha. Accommodation is covered by the Program Fee and includes the Sunday night before the internship program orientation is held on Mondays. Orientation is provided by our local hosts and covers important details concerning introductions, support, culture, customs, safety, rules and expectations, things to see and do, and more.

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Accommodation and WiFi

Interns in Arusha are accommodated together on one of the city’s most top-rated guest houses, located in a quiet and friendly neighbourhood (just 15 minutes from town center). Living is safe, clean, modern and comfortable, including 24/7 gated security, housekeeping, and a live-in local coordinator. (Laundry services are not included but can be arranged directly for a small fee). Amenities include hot showers, WiFi, and satellite television (in common areas). Interns can expect to share a bedroom with 1- 5 other guests, of the same gender. Bathroom facilities are shared. Private/en-suite room upgrades are subject to availability and must be arranged directly with the local team, once registered.

Meals

Interns in Arusha include breakfast and dinner, prepared and served Monday to Friday at the guest house accommodation. Typical dishes in Tanzania are influenced by seasonal produce and the dinner menu is usually set according to a weekly rotating schedule. For example, dinner meals may cover Wali Rosti (rice and meat stew), spaghetti bolognese, Wali Umboga (rice and vegetables), pilau, and chapati maharage (a thin wholemeal pancake cooked on a griddle, with beans). Dinner dishes are accompanied with salad. Breakfasts consist of fresh seasonal fruit, fried eggs, and bread with spreads (plus tea and coffee). A filtered cold water dispenser is available in the common area for use to reduce the amount of plastic bottle use. Bottled water​ ​is​​ ​readily available in Tanzania and volunteers should budget approximately US$5 per week for this (2 liters per day). Please be sure to let us know of any specific dietary requirements that you have in advance (i.e. allergies and intolerances), so that we may ensure your hosts are aware and make recommendations to you accordingly. However, it is important to note that the provided meals will not reflect what you are used to eating at home and flexibility is required. Interns are encouraged to budget extra spending money for any special snacks/treats.

Activities and tourism

There is an array of activities to enjoy during your stay in Arusha, as well as touristic excursions to attractions within Tanzania. Located on the “safari circuit”, the internship program is based near to some of Africa’s most beautiful environments, including Serengeti, Mount Kilimanjaro, the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, and Arusha National Park on Mount Meru. Whether you’re content with local entertainment, such as Maasai markets, cafes, music, nightlife, and cinema, or you’re planning to book in big ticket items such as overnight safari camps and mountain trekking adventures, our local team will assist you with itinerary advice and planning.

Day trips

Day trips are popular among interns and perfect for taking advantage of the weekends during your internship. Depending on the excursion, the rates can range from US$60 up to US$450, including round trip transportation and lunch. (The more expensive day trip rates cover transportation to destinations that are further afield, such as Serengeti and Ngorongoro. Note that the day trip cost will typically exclude additional gate entry fees, which may be subject to change). While you’re planning your internship in Tanzania, don’t miss:

  • Arusha National Park: Near Mt Meru, the park offers easy game drives and scenic walking tours, where you can discover beautiful streams, waterfalls and rivers.
  • Tarangire: This destination offers the chance to spot the Big Five. Keep an eye out for herds of elephants, lion prides, giraffes and many more animals within their natural habitat.
  • Lake Manyara: This lush oasis was once described by Ernest Hemingway as “the loveliest in Africa”. Relax on a peaceful game drive and enjoy the vista of buffalo, flamingo, lions, impala and more.
  • Serengeti: One of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, the famous Serengeti ecosystem extends right up to Kenya.
  • Ngorongoro Conservation Area: Located in northern Tanzania, the region is home to the Big Five and boasts the vast, volcanic Ngorongoro Crater - a breathtaking natural wonder.
  • Metaruni Waterfalls Hike: Go trekking to the waterfalls through the foothills overshadowed by Mt Kilimanjaro. Enjoy lunch in the town of Moshi.
  • Hot Springs: It’s a longer drive to visit the natural hot springs in Moshi, but worth the trip! Soak in the warm waters against the backdrop of Mount Kilimanjaro.
  • Maasai Culture Tour: Visit a Maasai homestead for a friendly guided experience and meet members from the impressive nomadic tribe, who retain their unique cultural identity.
  • Snake Park: Check out a variety of snake breeds, from small grass snakes to cobras. The park is also home to other species of birds and amphibians and features a Maasai market.

Overnight safari tours and trekking

If you want to plan a Tanzanian adventure before or after your internship, we can assist you to arrange overnight camping safaris of the Northern Circuit (Tarangire, Serengeti and Ngorongoro), as well as a Mount Kilimanjaro trekking package (all inclusive six day climb). Extended safari tours are popular and two all-inclusive options offer either camping or lodge accommodation. Pricing details can be provided to interns once they have registered.

Essential country information

Capital Dodoma
Population 47.78 million
Languages Swahili and English
Currency Tanzanian Shilling (TZS)
Time zone UTC+03:00
Weather and climate:

In Arusha, where the Tanzania internship programs are based, the warm season typically lasts from January till late March. During this period, the average daily high is around 81°F / 27°C. The cooler season is from mid May till late August and the coldest month of the year is usually in July, when the low reaches around 56°F / 13°C. The dry season is considered to run from late May through till mid November. Rainfall can occur during the rest of the year, December through April.