Miscellaneous Blog

VSLO and Electives Opportunities for
International Medical Students 

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This blog will discuss the Visiting Students Learning Opportunities (VSLO) and how can international students participate in the VSLO.

What is VSLO?

Visiting Students Learning Opportunities (VSLO), developed by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), is an online platform that connects medical students with host institutions offering elective clinical rotations. It serves as a bridge between students seeking diverse clinical experiences and institutions willing to provide them. In addition to electives, VSLO also provides a wide array of opportunities, including research training, and global health programs. These experiences enable students to develop a global perspective, enhance clinical skills, and foster cultural competence.

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How can I check if my Medical School is part of VSLO?

You can check the official VSLO® list of Participating Home Institutions here. The list can be directly searched by the institution’s name or even filtered to find all participating institutions in your country.

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Is VSLO open to international medical students?

Absolutely! VSLO welcomes medical students from all corners of the globe. While the program was initially associated with U.S.-based medical schools, it has expanded its scope to include international medical students. VSLO operates at an institutional level nonetheless, which means that your medical school must be part of VSLO so you, the medical student, can participate in these training opportunities.

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How can Medical Schools join VSLO?

To join the VSLO program, a designee from your medical school should follow the process outlined below:

  1. Begin by completing the interest form (PDF), which serves as your initial step toward joining the VSLO program. This form can be obtained here.
  2. After completing the interest form, submit it to visitingstudents@aamc.org via email. This will initiate the application process.
  3. The VSLO staff will promptly reach out to you to discuss the next steps and address any questions you may have. They will provide guidance throughout the application process, ensuring a smooth transition into the program.
  4. Once accepted, the VSLO staff will send a participation agreement and an invoice to the institution’s designee. Once completed, your institution will be officially welcomed into the VSLO program.
  5. The institution will be provided with software training to familiarize itself with the VSLO application system. Your institution will also be added to the VSLO website, enhancing its visibility within the medical education community.
  6. You can always refer to the VSLO official page for relevant updates.
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What are the annual fees for joining VSLO?

International Medical Schools are billed based on the World Bank income classification:

– High-income: $2,000

– Middle-income: $800

– Low-income: $200

When should I talk to my medical school representatives about VSLO?

As soon as you can! It is always preferable to start the process early since there’s no set application-to-acceptance timeline. In addition, individual host institutions classically close their application early on even on the VSLO platform.

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My institution is not part of VSLO, can I still rotate in the U.S.?

Sure! VSLO is definitely a blessing for international students looking for electives, but don’t get disheartened if you can’t join in time. Here’s an outstanding list of programs that accept direct applications outside of VSLO – Get the list here.

I hope this blog was helpful, here’re some other useful blogs on Medical Electives in the U.S.:

  1. How to Find U.S. Clinical Experience for FREE?
  2. Best Electives in the US

By Rami Elmorsi, MD

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