If you are an international medical student, i.e. one who’s not studying at a Canadian university, then don’t even bother applying for a medical elective at the University of Western Ontario.  I sent in my application near the beginning of 2010 along with the hefty fee of $500 CAD for a 4-week elective.  When applying for electives anywhere you need to apply well in advance so that the schools can find a spot for you, plus it gives you plenty of time to organise visas and find accommodations.

After I sent in my application with the fee in the form of an international money order in Canadian funds I was expecting some sort of confirmation either via telephone or email that my application has been received just like they promised on their website.  However, that was not the case at all.  I didn’t even get a generic email!  Naturally I was pissed but waited for about a month until I called them to ask what was going on.  Even calling them was a hassle.  I stayed up late for about a week due to the time difference and called them several times a day until I finally somebody picked up.  To my astonishment the secretary told me that she didn’t know who I was and it wasn’t until I told her to look through her pile of mail was when my application appeared.  They hadn’t even processed it!  Then she told me to wait a couple of months while they organise a spot for me – but that wasn’t a guarantee.

After waiting patiently for about 9 months in total and my elective date fast approaching – I never heard from them again.  I tried calling and calling.  I spent lots of time listening to the answering machine.  Apparently they only take calls between the hours of 2pm and 3pm local time or some ridiculous shit like that.  In the end I just gave up and said goodbye to my $500.  Luckily I had organised another elective in the meantime and I’m so glad I did because I ended up doing what I wanted to do in the first place in a beautiful city learning from awesome attendings.  The lady, who shall remain nameless, who supposed to be organising the visiting medical electives at UWO needs to be fired because she was useless.