Medical training abroad during the foundation programme

These pages will help you consider whether medical training abroad, as part of your foundation programme, is an option for you, and when to go. 

Can I do some of my foundation programme abroad?

Some foundation schools will allow students to go abroad for part of their programme, while others will not. If you are considering training abroad during foundation you should check with individual foundation schools before making your application.

    • most Foundation Schools will not give permission for F1 to be completed overseas
    • in some cases, if you are a non-UK or non-EEA citizen, a Foundation School may allow you to apply for a programme in your home country. This needs to be planned at least 8 months before you start F1. It is likely that you would need permission from both your medical school and foundation school
    • you should bear in mind, however, that if you decide to return to the UK to complete F2 (second year of foundation programme) you may need to apply in open competition for vacant F2 posts
    • if you wish to take a break between F1 and F2 you may have to use a specific application process
    • some Foundation schools place a limit on the number of trainees who can take time-out in any one year
    • you would also have to bear in mind that there is usually no guarantee that you can return to take up your previously agreed F2 post – you may have to go where you are placed
    • it is only possible to complete an F2 abroad in some foundation schools, visit the UKFPO website for more information. 
    • it would need to be approved beforehand by your foundation school director. This may involve long and complex negotiations with your intended employer abroad. The programme needs to be in an English-speaking hospital that meets a range of criteria and is an appropriate setting to achieve the required F2 competencies
    • in some countries training programmes do not start at the same time of the year as in the UK. (UK Foundation programmes start in August.) This needs to be taken into account
    • know your Foundation School demands and criteria for recognising F2 abroad. UK Foundation schools require you to complete 3 x 4 monthly rotations. Hospitals abroad may run things differently, so you might have to negotiate to see if they can accommodate or adapt to your requirements
    • you would need to manage your return to the UK by ensuring that while you are abroad you can access information on applying to specialty or other employment opportunities
    • be sure that F2 abroad will fit your longer term objectives. It is unlikely that you will start your F2 on 1st August, as your paperwork may not be ready so soon after you’ve been signed off for F1. This could delay your ability to start a specialty training post the following year
    • you could discuss your career options with your foundation programme director or local HEE office/deanery careers service
    • contact your Foundation School to try to find a trainee who has done their F2 training abroad and who could give advice about their experience. If someone you know has done F2 abroad they might be able to give you country (and city) specific advice
    • read our real-life story about a trainee who did her F2 year in Australia
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