Rural Family Medical Network RMFN NSW rural doctors network

Working Holidays for Undergraduates (HUGS)

What are Working HUGS?
Working HUGS (Working Holidays for Under GraduateS) provides an opportunity for undergraduate medical students to experience 'a week in the life of a rural GP'. By living with a rural GP and their family, students are able to experiance all aspects of rural medical life - the challenges, the benefits and the experience of living and working closely with a rural community. HUGS placements provide students with a better understanding of rural living and may even lead to future employment opportunities.

Who is eligible?
Working HUGS is open to 1st and 2nd year medical students from universities in NSW.

What exactly does HUGS  involve?
The medical student lives with a host family (usually a rural GP and their family) for a week to ten days, in their home. Students are able to attend (where appropriate) medical sessions with the GP at their practice. Other activities could include hospital ward rounds, visits with allied health professionals or attendance at meetings or functions in which the GP and/or their family is involved. The student is given a taste of rural life by visiting local attractions, experiencing the general culture of the town and surrounding area and participating in whatever else the host may organise! 

At the end of the placement, RMFN would love to hear all about it in the form of an article that will be published in the RMFN newsletter. We would appreciate some photos of the student and their host family or photos of the student participating in some activities while on placement.

What does a HUGS cost?
As the student is a host of the doctors' family there is no cost for board or meals eaten with the family. Any land travel costs that are incurred by the student, travelling to and from their destination, will be reimbursed. Students are responsible for any incidental expenses.

When can a HUGS happen?
Students can opt to go during any university holiday, though September and Christmas holidays are the most popular. Organising host families does not happen overnight and as much lead time as possible is beneficial to avoid disappointment. Sometimes a host can't be found at the time requested. Several months notice would be appreciated.

Where are possible placements?
It is not possible for students to choose their destination as these are subject to host family availability. Students will be offered a placement where there is a willing host. Possible destinations for Working HUGS may include Mudgee, Scone, Bingara, Gunnedah, Narrabri, Cobar, Ballina, Lockhart, Coffs Harbour, Lennox Head or Bundanoon. Other destinations may become available in the future.

Read some stories about previous HUGS adventures.

Find out how to become a HUGS Host Family.

Apply to do a Working HUGs placement.