Clinical observership program for medical students and professionals with a refugee background

Course code
Student fee
Course fee (excl. housing)
Course Level
This course is closed and you can't apply anymore. Please check our other courses.

This program offers refugees with a medical background an opportunity to further develop themselves in the medical field. We provide a steppingstone for refugees by introducing them to the Dutch health care system and developing new skills and competencies supporting them to keep them involved in an academic environment and get ready for the next step in their career.

This 2-month summer program offers an opportunity to participating in one of the selected Utrecht Summer Schools, followed by an observership at several clinical wards of the University Medical Centre Utrecht (UMCU). The program is divided into two parts: 

Summer School  
In the first part of the program you will follow a 1-week medical Summer School. You can choose one of the following courses:  

Observerships & lectures
The second part of the program exists of a 6 weeks observership at different wards of UMC Utrecht. Below you can find an overview of the learning objectives for the observership. The observerships in this program are different from clinical internships. Clinical internships involve physical examinations and direct interaction with patients. Because of language barriers, this is not feasible within the Dutch clinical context, and the emphasis will be on observing physician-patient interactions and care. Of course, there will be room for reflection and discussion and when you speak Dutch, more interaction is possible but we can’t offer a clinical elective. 

During the observership you will be present at the clinical wards on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday. On Wednesday and Friday, lectures are organised. The participants will receive a varied program including clinical skills training, evidence-based medicine assignments and masterclasses from guest speakers from various disciplines. Every week a feedback-session will take place where we reflect individually and with the group on the learning objectives of the program and the program itself.

Please note: this program does not offer entry into the UU medical school program. 

Additionally, the students will get a buddy (a 5th or 6th-year medical student) that will help the students with questions about working at UMCU or other general questions.

Read more about the program in this article and watch the video of the program in 2022:… 

Course director
Dr. Annet van Royen, Program director Medicine & Dr. Joyce Browne, assistant professor Global Health

Target audience

This UMCU summer refugee program is open to all refugees with a medical background in the final year of the medical studies. Also postgraduate clinical trainees can apply as well as refugee doctors with a degree that are currently following a program to gain a BIG registration.


Aim of the course

The learning objectives for these observerships are: 

  • Monitor how a physician interacts with patients, with an emphasis on how physical examinations are performed, and clinical decision making in collaboration with patients. NB: Please note the majority of consultations will be conducted in Dutch. Depending on the available time and consultation room dynamics, translations to English can be provided by the consultant during or after the consultation. 
  • Observe (inter-)professional communication and interaction between the physician and other members of the health care team and hospital administration. 
  • Observe the healthcare in a Dutch Hospital. 

Study load

Before the observership starts, selected participants will receive a syllabus including recommended materials and expected knowledge at the start of the observership, assignments, assessments, and useful information about Utrecht University. During the course, full attendance is required.


Course fee:
Student fee:
Student fee
Fee covers
Course + course materials + mealplan
Housing provider:
Utrecht Summer School
Extra information about the fee

This program is a collaboration between the UU Faculty of Medicine, University Medical Center Utrecht (Julius Global HealthWilhemina Children's Hospital), IFMSA Utrecht, InclUUsionand Stichting voor vluchteling-studenten UAF, providing help and funding for this program.  

The UMCU summer refugee program offers the following support: 

  • Summer School Course and a placement for the observership 
  • Accommodation from Utrecht Summer School during the full length of the program*   
  • Weekly stipend to support living

What is not is included: the transport costs to travel to the Utrecht Summer School Housing

*In case you already live in Utrecht and you are able to travel to UMC Utrecht within 20 to 30 min., you can consider not to make use of the Summer School accommodation. Please do note that some observerships start at 07:00h or 07:30h in the morning and it is important to arrive in time. The days usually end latest at 17:00h.

If you would like to make use of the Utrecht Summer School student accommodation, please make sure to check this page. You can check on or after Sunday 2 July 2023, after 12.00 (noon). More information regarding the check-in will be shared with you in the pre-departure document. 


Extra application information

Unlike others Summer Schools, a selection takes place for this program. You are NOT automatically admitted to the program if you apply via this portal.
Due to the limited number of places a selection procedure is in place. Please read the information in this section well before you apply.

Participants will be selected based on the following criteria: 

  • Final year medical student or postgraduate clinical trainee with a refugee status or a doctor with a degree in the process of requiring a BIG registration.
  • Fluency in English (C1 level)
  • Summer school eligibility criteria: please assess this in checking your preference course. 
  • You must be available during the full length of the program in July and August
  • Urgency: priority for students who can use this experience to finish their medical training (as evidenced by a statement from their home university) and/or refugees that know they will be in the Netherlands for a longer time and can guarantee their full attendance in July and August. 

Selection procedure
Students apply with a motivation statement and CV through this summer school portal. 

Motivation statement - please answer the following questions:  

  • Why would you like to apply? 
  • What are your 5-year aspirations, and how can this program contribute to this? We can understand that there is a high degree of uncertainty given your future situation. Nonetheless, we would like to know more about your dreams and aspirations, and how these align with what we could offer. 
  • Which Summer School would you like to participate in, and why? What would be your second course of preference? 
  • What experiences do you have in clinical internships/observerships? 
  • Confirmation statement that you meet all of the eligibility criteria (see above)? 

CV- for recommendations on how to create a CV, please see for example these websites: or 

Please make sure your application includes all points as described above. Due to the expected high number of applications, we will only select people that include all necessary information in their application.

The timeline for the deadlines is as follows:

  • 26 March: Deadline for completing the form at the Summer School portal including your CV and motivation.
  • 3 April – 7 April: In this week you will hear if you are selected for a selection interview. We will also inform you when you are not selected. 
  • 10 April – 21 April: Weeks of the selection interviews.
  • 24 April – 28 April: In this week you will hear if you are selected to participate in the program.
  • 1 May – 30 June: In this period we must be able to reach you well by e-mail and WhatsApp so we can work on the preparations for the program.
  • 3 July - 25 August 2023: start and end-date of the program. Full attendance is required.

For this course you are required to upload the following documents when applying:

Motivation Letter

Contact details


Application deadline: 
Registration deadline
26 March 2023