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The Christian Medical College in Vellore, India, has an elective program for medical students that attracts medical students from around the world. Some 80 to 100 students per year participate in the program with as many as 20 to 25 from the United States.
The program itself is rather flexible, aimed at students in their fourth or final year of medical school. Essentially, the foreign students joins their Indian counterpart at the medical college in the course of study that interests them. The College allows up to three months for foreign students with official government approval. Those who come as student observers can stay up to four weeks with the possibility of extending it an additional two weeks at another, associated school/hospital.
To be recognized as an official participant in the elective program and receive certification from CMC, permission must be obtained from both the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and the Medical Council of India. This takes from 6 to 8 months, so students considering applying for the program should do so with that lead time in mind. If a student wishes to go to CMC/Vellore for the elective program but there isn't sufficient time to ge the permission in advance, they should contact the Vellore Board USA office to find out what other options might exist.
There is one other area worth noting, and that is doing research in India. Some students are interested in being involved in some study or project while in India. However, there is some historical sensitivity to foreign nationals coming to India to do research projects of their own, collect specimens, and write up and publish the results without any reference to Indian counterparts or co-investigators or any transfer of technology. There are government restrictions which must be met. If you are thinking of a research component to your experience at Vellore, you should contact the Vellore Board USA which can explain the policies and restrictions and put you in touch with the appropriate people to help plan and approve such an experience.
The Vellore Board USA helps to facilitate the program specifically for medical students in the USA and Canada. If you are interested in more information or have questions, you can write or send email to us (please be sure to include your postal address) and you will be sent further information. We also have copies of the necessary forms if you are interested in applying. We can help you start the process by sending the application forms. The actual decisions are made in the Principal's office in Vellore. Students from elsewhere in the world can write directly to the Dr. Jayaprakash Muliyil, Principal, Christian Medical College, Vellore 632 002, India, to apply for this program.