Global Network

Participating institutions in the Visiting Student Learning Opportunities™ program that send and/or receive students globally. The AAMC recognizes that with ever-increasing globalization in medicine there is growing interest on the part of medical students and medical schools to integrate international electives into their medical education. Global experiences enable students to interact with different patient populations, develop cross-cultural understanding, and learn about health systems in other nations.

Participating Institutions in the Global Network

New Timeline for International Institutions Applying to the VSLO Program’s Global Network

Effective July 1, 2019, the VSLO Program will review applications received from international institutions on a quarterly basis, according to the timeline below.

Application Timeline for International Institutions

Applying to the Global Network
Effective July 1, 2019

Application Received By AAMC                    Institution Notified
From               To                   
January March April
April June July
July September October
October December January


The VSLO Global Network Meeting 

Every year, VSLO holds an annual regional meeting to foster an opportunity for institutions to connect and engage with one another to support international student mobility and shape global medical education.

Learn more about the VSLO Global Network Meeting in Peru that took place in October 2019. 


Resources for Global Learning

Advising Your Students for Opportunities Abroad

The training modules below are helpful for students participating in an international learning opportunity. Subject-matter experts in global health education and study abroad have developed these resources, which are free for students’ use.

Selecting a Program and Preparing to Go Abroad

Child Family Health International (CFHI) and Medsin-UK
Choosing an International Elective: A Roadmap for Your Decision
Tuition: Free
The tool highlights the importance of predeparture training and preparation, health and safety considerations, and the ethical considerations of working in health care internationally. The tool is intuitive, concise, and informative. The site links to many valuable external resources, including global health competencies, other preparedness checklists, and academic papers on global health learning experiences.

Boston University School of Medicine
​​​​​​​Practitioner’s Guide to Global Health Boston University School of Medicine
Tuition: Free, but requires email and username to register for the self-paced courses
The three-course Boston University program is one of the most comprehensive training modules for students preparing to go abroad, living and working abroad, and returning home from abroad. The courses are multidisciplinary, interactive, and evaluative to prepare students for effective and safe engagement in global health learning experiences. Each course consists of an overview and pretest followed by intuitive and detailed information that is supplemented with video content, transcripts, and reflective questions.

  • Course 1: The Big Picture
    Time: Should be completed 6 to 12 months in advance; approximately two hours to complete
    Themes: Choosing an elective or experience, global health ethics, safety
  • Course 2: Preparation and on the Ground
    Time: Should be completed one to three months in advance; approximately four hours to complete
    Themes: Logistical planning, cultural awareness, safety
  • Course 3: Reflection
    Time: Should be completed toward the end of the experience, just before returning home; approximately two hours to complete

Simulation Use for Global Away Rotations (SUGAR)
Preparation for a Global Health Elective: A Peer-Reviewed, Educational Module for Medical Residents
Important resource: GCHEMP Preparation Packet for Global Health Electives
Tuition: Free
This module is intended for use by medical residents in advance of their participation in a global health elective, though most of the information is also relevant to medical students seeking opportunities abroad. The information is largely tailored to students/residents from the United States traveling to a developing country. The module provides specific and practical guidance on every step of the global elective process—contemplating, choosing, and preparing for a global health elective; participating in the elective; and debriefing after completion of the elective. The five sections of the module pay special attention to logistical considerations, clinical needs, professionalism and cultural humanity, and sustainability.

University of Minnesota, Health Careers Center
​​​​​​​Global Ambassadors for Patient Safety (GAPS)
Tuition: Free
The GAPS workshop was created for both prehealth and health professions students who want to participate in a learning experience abroad. The workshop incorporates content from many guidelines and standards and links to additional resources for students. The workshop is designed to help prepare students for a global health experience by focusing primarily on the ethical considerations of engaging in a global health learning opportunity. It also emphasizes a student’s obligation to participate only in activities for which he or she is trained, to understand the social determinants of health, and to understand the cultural and social frameworks of the communities in which he or she will be living and working.

Global Scholar
Global Scholar offers three courses for all students studying abroad, not only medical students. It provides guidance on (1) preparing to go abroad; (2) studying abroad; and (3) continuing international learning at home. Course participation requires a login.

Ethical Considerations

Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics and Stanford Center for Innovation in Global Health
​​​​​​​Ethical Challenges in Short-Term Global Health Training
Tuition: Free
This course is designed for students embarking on a global health research, service, or learning experience. It presents a series of 10 cases to examine various ethical issues that students may encounter abroad; examples include Developing Cultural Understanding, Recognizing Burdens, and Understanding Informed Consent for Research. Course material is also relevant for faculty members, advisors, and home and host institutions.

American Medical Student Association (AMSA)
Global Health Ethics Student Curriculum
Tuition: Online pdf content is free
The curriculum addresses predeparture and postreturn research and clinical opportunities abroad. Handouts are provided if a facilitator conducts workshops with a group of students. For a student working through the curriculum independently, the student resource guides include curriculum objectives, sample cases of research or clinical ethical challenges, and annotated discussions and additional information for consideration based on the provided cases.

Forum on Education Abroad
The forum’s institutional members include U.S. colleges and universities, overseas institutions, consortia, agencies, provider organizations, and foundations. The forum focuses on developing and implementing standards of good practice, encouraging and supporting research initiatives, and offering educational programs and resources to its members. Its mission is to help improve education abroad programs to benefit the students who participate in them. It is achieving its goal by establishing standards of good practice and quality assurance programs, improving education abroad curricula, and promoting data collection and outcomes assessment—all to advocate for high-quality education abroad programs.

Culture and Language

Simulation Use for Global Away Rotations (SUGAR)
Culture: The Original Vital Sign
Tuition: Free
This module is intended for use by residents, particularly from the United States, who plan to complete a rotation abroad. Most of the information is equally relevant to medical students interested in participating in a global health elective. The module helps users define culture and its importance and to understand some of the nuances of experiencing a culture that differs from one’s own. The module emphasizes the importance of recognizing one’s own perspective, avoiding judgment, understanding the signs and risks of culture
shock, and practicing cultural humility. Throughout the module, students are encouraged to reflect on their own experiences, expectations, and perceived challenges that may accompany going abroad, working in a resource-limited medical setting, and returning home. The module also provides different frameworks for understanding culture and reflecting on “culture shock.”

Unite for Sight
Cultural Competency Online Course
Tuition: Free
The course is designed to impart an understanding that going abroad includes immersion in a different culture and that volunteers can have personal impact in clinical and international settings. The course consists of 11 modules that discuss culture, experiences of culture shock and reverse culture shock, understanding differences in beliefs and practices, and developing cultural humility. Working through the modules simply requires reading the text, but the course presents useful, concise information in addition to references for further reading.

Global Accreditation and Recognition Standards

Increasingly, accreditation and recognition of accrediting bodies globally is of great importance. Since regulations often change, continual monitoring of national and international regulations is critical. Below are two key resources for international schools and faculties of medicine.

World Federation for Medical Education (WFME)
Basic Medical Education WFME Global Standards for Quality Improvement

U.S. Department of Education’s National Committee on Foreign Medical Education and Accreditation (NCFMEA)
NCFMEA evaluates the standards of accreditation applied to foreign medical schools and determines the comparability of those standards to standards applied to medical schools in the United States. A determination of comparability of accreditation standards by the NCFMEA is an eligibility requirement for foreign medical schools to participate in the William D. Ford Federal Direct Student Loan Program.

​​​​​​​A related U.S. Department of Education website that identifies international institutions authorized to administer foreign student aid is

Training for Participating Institutions

The Visiting Student team provides comprehensive training on the application service, to ensure a smooth transition for our participating institutions. The trainings address management of both the U.S. and Global networks.

Search for Electives

Browse our catalog of away electives at participating host institutions by location, keywords, specialty, and more.

Find Participating Host Institutions

Find a complete listing of participating host institutions. 

Find Participating Home Institutions

Find a complete listing of all participating home institutions. 

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