This article uses a narrative approach to investigate the learning experiences of third-year medical students in a transnational higher educational setting, specifically during an elective period abroad. The students evaluate their learning experiences in an unfamiliar environment both in relation to previous learning and in relation to their possible or imagined future professional identities. Through this process, these students demonstrate how learning may take place through participation outside or alongside the formal curriculum, in the informal and the hidden curriculum (Leask and Bridge 2013). These narrative evaluations represent a reflective resource for the learners and their peers. They may also provide other stakeholders in transnational higher educational settings, including teachers, programme coordinators, educational managers and policy-makers, with an understanding of the experiences of mobile students in the informal curriculum.