International Electives

Though many experiences define Columbia and the strength of its clinical training, perhaps none is more challenging than the away elective at Edendale Hospital in Kwa Zulu-Natal, South Africa, where residents can spend one month during their PGY-3 year. Edendale Hospital opened its doors under apartheid in 1954. Today it has roughly 900 beds, staffed by the departments of medicine, surgery, OB/GYN, pediatrics, and orthopedics. The hospital is a part of South Africa’s national health system and serves about 1 million primarily Zulu patients in and around Petermartizburg, the capital of Kwa-Zulu-Natal.

Edendale is a regional hospital, simultaneously providing primary care to the immediate population and serving as a referral center for smaller rural hospitals and clinics. It delivers integrated and comprehensive health services in partnership with the local communities through programs designed to assist the population’s most vulnerable individuals.

The hospital has an established internal medicine program, and visiting residents are integrated into the inpatient service. Serving a predominantly impoverished population, Edendale’s patients suffer from familiar ailments as well as advanced HIV, tuberculosis, and the infectious diseases unique to rural Africa. Residents work with Zulu healers, make house calls in remote regions of South Africa, and work with local community groups to improve their healthcare infrastructure.


In addition to the hospital experience, the month in South Africa affords plenty of time to explore the rest of Africa. From the Hluhlue/Umfulozi Game Reserve to the beaches of Durban, the region offers a wide range of once-in-a-lifetime experiences and adventures.

From Our Residents

Residency at Columbia has given me the opportunity to be part of a system that welcomes diversity and quickly makes you feel at home. It has certainly been a privilege to work in a setting that fosters underserved communities and mediates exposure to treat a wide array of disease in a challenging learning environment driven towards growth as well-rounded physicians while providing high quality patient care.

- Dennis De León, MD 


  University of Puerto Rico 

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