Traveling from Puerto Rico to Peru, Amanda Muñiz gives us an inside look into her experience as a Psychology intern in one of Cusco’s biggest public hospitals. She thought her Psychology Internship in Peru would be just shadowing and taking notes but it was so much more…
It was a humbling experience from the very beginning of my internship. Going to another country, adapting to different cultures and leaving behind my preconceptions based on my own experiences was challenging but very rewarding.
Helping people in a cross-cultural setting
I knew going in that I would get a real-world view of working in Psychology. Seeing first-hand just how many people were seeking help, I learned that receiving mental health support doesn’t need to be stigmatized. There are so many people who suffer from anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, and personality disorders, so to be able to help the practising psychologist treat them over the course of my internship was a huge achievement.
Peru itself was full of surprises. It was a highlight meeting and getting to know the locals and their love for food and how incredibly hard they worked. I met people from all over the world; Cusqueños, French, Caribbean, Latin American, each with different opinions and manners, but all treated as equals.
So much more than Psych 101 - you’re treated like a colleague not just a student
As I developed familiarity and context within my role, my expectations increased. I was excited to be given an active role at the Psychology clinic. From the very beginning, I got to assist psychiatrists, psychologists, nurses, pharmacists, and occupational therapists, which broadened my horizons and gave me a greater sense of responsibility.
Throughout my time in Cusco, I was able to gain first hand experience during the therapy sessions and was treated as a colleague by the staff there. I appreciated this first opportunity to put my degree to practice. It made the whole experience so much more comforting and real to me throughout my time in Peru.
This internship set me up for future career opportunities
In the long term, I want to help society and the people that are close to me through Psychology. This internship supports those goals as the knowledge and experience I have gained during my time in Peru will be with me for the rest of my life. I now feel better prepared to deal with crises and notice more easily when people need support and guidance. Psychology is an interesting field with a lot of variety and that really interests me, and the skills gained during these 5 weeks will prove incredibly beneficial going forward. The interventions, the listening, the recommendations, are all elements I will be able to directly apply to my future career opportunities.
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An experience that empowered me and reminded me to be grateful
Having completed my internship experience, I now feel more secure about what I want to do in my future. I feel empowered within my field as I have learned not only to help people professionally, but how to pick up the signs when someone needs help. I learned (or was reminded) of how blessed I am and seeing so many people in need only made me want to help more, to take better care of the people I love, as well as myself.
My favourite memory from my internship experience was ironically my last day. Getting a chance to meet everyone and receiving their well wishes for my future - made me realise I wasn’t ready to leave! Being there was one of the best decisions I could have ever made and I want to continue helping people in every way I can.
One word of advice? Prepare to be open-minded!
One piece of advice I would share with future interns who are heading into a culturally diverse setting would be to prepare in any way they can and keep an open mind. Going to another country can be challenging but it is very rewarding. Be aware of your ethnocentrism and your desire to learn!
Even though I speak Spanish, there were still some language barriers. It is always good to ask what the meaning of things are, so you don’t lose track of what you’re learning. Don’t be scared to speak up when you don’t understand.
How can I get started?
Our step-by-step guide on how it works provides you with more information on how to get started. The process is user friendly and there are two options you can take to get the ball rolling.
If you’re unsure of which internship program is right for you, you can simply check availability to submit an enquiry which will help us to point you in the right direction. If you want to chat over the phone, you can also find our full contact information here.
If you already have an idea of what you want to do, and when you want to do it, you can submit your application. It doesn’t cost anything and won’t take more than 5 minutes. However, your formal expression of interest provides the foundation for us to help you take the next steps.