An elective represents a unique opportunity for medical students to experience healthcare in a setting unfamiliar to that in which they are accustomed to studying, or in a place or field of specific interest. This is classically in a low resource setting, but may also be to experience a specialist field, a place the student is considering working in the future, or for a variety of other reasons.

Medical Student taking blood pressure during awareness campaign event Medical education is education related to the practice of being a medical practitioner; either the initial training to become a physician (i.e., medical school and internship), or additional training thereafter (e.g., residency, fellowship and continuing medical education).

A placement in a particular specialist setting may allow students insight into a potential career path, or allow students to participate in the research or implementation of new treatments or practices.