Choosing a specialty can be one of the most daunting things you’ll have to do during your medical education. Once you’re enrolled in a specialist training program it can take a lot of time and money to change streams. Luckily, there are a number of ways to try your hand at different specialties even before you begin your rotations. In general practice, there are several programs that offer medical students the chance to get their feet wet. The First Wave Scholarship, run by the General Practice Students Network (GPSN), allows medical students to observe and work in a general practice or Aboriginal Medical Service for 21 hours. Mark Aicken, a student at the University of Notre Dame, Sydney, was awarded a placement at a general practice in Milton, a small town on the NSW South Coast. In an interview with GPSN, Aicken spoke about how much he learnt. “The first time I sutured, my hands were shaking. But then I got the hang of it and it was a great feeling to be able to perfect the technique. “The experience has really developed my enthusiasm for general practice and has opened my eyes to the possibility of pursuing a career as a GP in a rural community,” said Aicken. For students with an interest in rural general practice, there’s the John Flynn Placement Program administered by the Australian College of Rural & Remote Medicine. The program places 300 successful applicants a year in rural clinical settings for a minimum of two weeks each year for four years. Students work one-on-one with mentors to learn as much as they can about providing treatment for a rural community. While most clinical placements are hugely enjoyable for students, they also offer you the chance to rule out the specialties that aren’t right. While some areas of medicine may interest you academically, the working environment or amount of patient contact may not be your style. With so many medical specialties in Australia the only real way of knowing which one is right for you is to give each a go. To get an idea of whether or not you’re suited to rural general practice take our Choose Your Rural Adventure quiz.