Physical Therapy Internships in Guatemala
Ideal for students or professional therapists, this physiotherapy internship offers placements in local clinics that treat underprivileged populations at a fraction of the normal cost. Interns are supervised and guided by local clinicians, helping treat for a wide range of complaints, with hands-on therapies to suit your experience.
- Gain practical experience relevant to your own level of expertise
- Receive close instruction from your supervisor
- Get real life experience in a clinic with limited resources
Type of host organizations:
- Social welfare physiotherapy clinics
This Physical Therapy Internship in Guatemala is ideal for students or professional therapists, with placements in local clinics that treat underprivileged populations at a fraction of the normal cost.
This is an in-country internship, with accommodation and meals provided.
Interns are placed in clinics that serve disadvantaged communities, and assist local clinicians in all aspects of their usual workday. Clinics run entirely on donations, and aim to provide free or cheap treatments to locals that have a variety of conditions, including injuries, hereditary conditions, cerebral palsy or atrophy.
Physical Therapy interns are able to get hands-on experience providing physiotherapy treatments to patients, while being supervised by a local therapist or doctor, who can provide guidance and tuition. These treatments will be based on your individual qualifications and experience. Interns can also assist with home visits for patients with limited mobility.
Therapies can be in appointments or assisting walk-in patients, meaning clinics are often busy and the assistance of interns is greatly appreciated.
The wide variety of conditions requires quite a lot of hands and interns are greatly appreciated to treat more people. It is important to be proactive, willing to work independently and maintain an open mind - especially during the first two weeks, while you’re establishing a rapport and routine.
In all cases, interns should expect that the first week of your experience will focus on settling in and gaining some introductory knowledge, as you will not “hit the ground running”. Rather, you should start with learning about the placement to gain an understanding of what you can build upon, develop, learn, and contribute. Ensure that you ask questions and provide feedback during the introductory period, so that your supervisor understands how you’re progressing. This will help them to better understand important details, such as how quickly you learn, what you find challenging, what you find interesting, etc.
Understand and expect that individual internship experiences vary, as the specific placement that you’re assigned will depend on review of your resume and your current level of studies and experience. Therefore, if you’re at a more introductory level, you should reasonably expect a more introductory internship. Likewise, if you’re interning for a shorter duration, you will have a different experience from someone who is interning for a longer duration. Placement preferences are considered but always subject to availability.
Working hours are usually 6 hours per day, Monday to Friday
Physical Therapy interns learn from a qualified and experienced supervisor, and can be involved in:
Hands-on physiotherapy treatments for a range of conditions
Assisting local therapists with complex treatments
Home visits for patients with limited mobility
Professional development opportunities:
Intern closely with experienced physical therapists
Work with various treatments tailored to each patient
Learn about a variety of conditions
Learn to work with limited resources in an effective way
Gain practical skills and boost your employability, with guidance from Intern Abroad HQ’s Experiential Learning Curriculum to support your learning and cultural intelligence.
Guatemala photo gallery
Read reviews from our Guatemala Interns
”My internship abroad in Guatemala has been an amazing experience from start to finish and I would do it all over in a heartbeat. If in doubt, stop thinking about it and just do it!”
Read reviews from our Guatemala Interns
Academic credit available for all internships
Gain course credit from your college or university and meet your academic requirements when completing an internship abroad or remote internship program with Intern Abroad HQ.Learn about course credit
It’s free to apply for this internship. Once we have reviewed your suitability and accepted you onto this program, you’ll need to pay a deposit of US$499 to confirm your place. The remaining balance of your Program Fee (less your initial US$499 deposit payment) will be due no less than 60 days before your internship start date.
Program Fee (USD)
|4 weeks||$1,721 Equivalent to $61/day|
|5 weeks||$1,846 Equivalent to $52/day|
|6 weeks||$1,997 Equivalent to $47/day|
|8 weeks||$2,248 Equivalent to $40/day|
|10 weeks||$2,537 Equivalent to $36/day|
|12 weeks||$2,720 Equivalent to $32/day|
|16 weeks||$3,247 Equivalent to $28/day|
|20 weeks||$3,628 Equivalent to $25/day|
|24 weeks||$3,976 Equivalent to $23/day|
- Airport pick-up
- Daily breakfast and dinner
- 24/7 in-country support
- Program orientation
- Dedicated support before, during, and after your internship
- In-country guidance for social and tourist activities
- Sourcing and securing your internship placement
- Personalization of your internship plan
- Coaching from your supervisor
- Documented portfolio of your experiential learnings
- Academic credit facilitation
- International reference letter
- Certificate of Internship Completion
- All in-country transportation
- Return transportation to the airport at program conclusion
- Visa (if required), flights, travel insurance (mandatory), vaccinations, criminal background check
- Transfer back to the airport at the end of your internship program
- Personal spending money for snacks, drinks, public transport, laundry, and leisure activities during your free time.
- A deposit of $499 USD is required to secure your internship
- Balance of your Program Fee is due 60 days before your internship start date.
- All payments attract a 5% transaction fee to cover international banking fees and currency charges.
- Terms and Conditions apply.
Arrival and Orientation
Internships in Guatemala begin every Monday. Exceptions may be made to this when start dates are shifted to avoid public holiday disruptions or closed when the program has already reached capacity. The minimum duration requirement is 2 weeks up to a maximum duration of 24 weeks.
Airport pick up and accommodation are included in the Program Fee. The accommodation is covered from the Sunday night before the Monday start date - interns are required to arrive no later than the Sunday before their Monday start date, as all orientations are held on Mondays. If arriving earlier than this date, interns will be required to cover the cost of an out of hours airport pick up.
The typical port of entry is the La Aurora International Airport (GUA). If you are planning to spend time independently in Guatemala prior to your internship and will not require an airport pick up, we can discuss alternative arrival logistics with you.
Upon arrival, interns will be met, greeted, and transferred to the accommodation. The last night of the accommodation is the Saturday night of the final week, leaving interns free to depart on Sunday. Extra nights of accommodation can be arranged in advance, if requested, and are subject to availability.
Orientation covers important details for your internship, including introductions, information about culture, customs, rules, expectations, safety, language lessons, cultural excursions, and more. Your specific internship placement orientation will follow the general orientation, as you’ll be shown how to travel to and from your internship and be introduced to the team you’ll be joining.
Please note that all participants are advised not to book flights until they have first registered to confirm their internship placement.
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Accommodation and WiFi
All interns in Guatemala are accommodated in various homestay accommodations. Interns are matched to an appropriate host family, taking into consideration convenient proximity to their internship placement. Typical host families in Guatemala usually comprise of two parents and children or a single parent with children (the ages of a host family’s children can range from young and still living at home, to adults living independently). There are usually 1 - 2 bedrooms in most home-stays and everyone has their own bedroom (unless special requests are made in advance to share with a friend or partner). Bathrooms are shared. Living is comfortable and home-stays offer electricity, running water and western bathrooms. However, showers can be low pressure and unheated/tepid. WiFi is provided in most of the home-stays but it is important to note that it is not guaranteed.
Accommodation upgrades are available at an additional cost, for those who would prefer more independent accommodation and social interaction with other travelers. Interns who have confirmed their participation may opt to arrange hostel accommodation, in either a dorm (sharing a room with 4-8 beds) or a private room. Dormitories provide lockers, so that guests may securely store their personal items. Bathrooms are typically shared. Amenities include WiFi and a common area for guest use. Please note that hostel accommodation is subject to availability (depending on the location of your internship) and includes daily breakfast only. Interns who are interested in arranging an accommodation upgrade are welcome to speak with their Internship Program Manager for more information.
Please note that the accommodation pictured in the photo gallery of this webpage is provided as an example. Since we work with more than one option for homestay accommodation, the exact accommodation that you’re assigned may differ from the photos. However, you can expect a similar standard and similar amenities, to what is shown.
Internships in Guatemala include two meals per day, served at the home stay. A typical Guatemalan breakfast is provided and consists of bread, spreads, fruit and eggs accompanied with tea or coffee. Dinner commonly consists of meat (often chicken), soups, pastas, starches and vegetables. Please be sure to let us know of any specific dietary requirements that you have in advance, so that we may ensure your hosts are aware and make recommendations accordingly.
Internships in Guatemala require interns to have varying levels of Spanish language proficiency, from either a confident level of basic Spanish to a more developed grasp of intermediate language skills. The definition of having basic Spanish skills (Level A2) includes the ability to exchange brief information with questions and answers, use and understand simple language in daily situations and cultural aspects.
Keep in mind that despite you level of proficiency, a language barrier can still be encountered to a certain extent. Interns should be prepared for the very natural and normal frustration of not always understanding what is being said around them. Most interns are able to have a successful internship experience and it is essential to come prepared and willing to surmount a language barrier, as opposed to being intimidated by it.
We strongly recommend that all interns take advantage of the affordable language lessons offered exclusively to Intern Abroad HQ participants by our host organization in Guatemala. These can be arranged directly with the local team once registered for the program (ask about online Skype lessons) or at the orientation in-country. Language lessons are tailored to each individual’s current level of Spanish and classes run from Monday through to Friday.
Weekends and travel
During the weekends, free time is available to relax, engage in tourism activities and explore other parts of Guatemala. Most placements are usually based in and around Santa Lucia Milpas Altas, just 15 minutes from Antigua, as well as in and around Antigua. Antigua is a fantastic weekend hub for excellent cuisine, sightseeing, colonial churches, coffee tours, chocolate-making classes, museums, shopping, and transportation. Public buses are available from Antigua to other parts of the country and many travel agencies also offer shuttles to key touristic places such as Monterrico beach, Lake Atitlan, Coban, Lanquín (Semuc Champey), or Tikal. Popular tourist attractions throughout the region include Pacaya National Park and Kawilal Hot Springs, Acatenango Volcano, Lake Atitlan and villages, Iximché Ruins, Valhalla Station and more.
Our local team in Guatemala are also able to assist interns with trip bookings, to experience more of the country. These can be coordinated directly once you’ve registered to confirm your internship program. Options include:
Pacaya Volcano: This trip is great for hiking and sightseeing within the Pacaya National Park. It’s a full day tour, with transportation and guides, but you’ll need to ensure you bring your own packed snacks for the day. The departure for the trip is about 8 a.m. and returns at about 4 p.m. The hiking time itself is four hours, so you’ll need to have proper walking shoes and clothing for the excursion.
Coffee Tour: A trip to Guatemala is never complete without a coffee tour. You can learn about how some of the world’s most delicious coffee is grown, processed, and exported. Also learn about sustainable practices and different varieties of coffee - no doubt, working up a thirst for a hot cup of coffee in the meantime!
Traditional Cooking Class: One of the best things about traveling is being able to try different cuisines of the world. Our team in Guatemala can arrange cooking lessons for interns, so that when you go home you’ll have the skills to keep preparing your favorite meals! Learn how to cook Guatemala’s yummiest meals from scratch. Local experts run the four-hour classes, giving tips on ingredients and cultural insight.
Acatenango Volcano overnight trip: This hiking and camping trip takes two days, so it’s a perfect weekend excursion if you’re looking for something more adventurous. The hike itself is demanding, so a reasonable level of fitness is required and you’ll need to ensure you pack appropriate clothing and footwear. Stunning views from the top of the volcano are certainly worth the effort!
Lake Atitlan and Chichicastenango market: This guided tour includes an overnight stay, enabling you to take advantage of a weekend and see more of Guatemala. Lake Atitlan is considered one of the world’s most beautiful lakes, so it’s not to be missed during your internship. The Chichiscastenango market is the largest open-air market in Central America, so it’s a “must do” cultural experience and perfect for sourcing gorgeous artisan gifts and souvenirs.
Semuc Champey and caving: Located in the middle of the jungle, a guided trip to Semuc Champey requires three days. It’s an incredible place to behold, where naturally formed pools of turquoise waters and cave formations contrast beautifully against the lush green jungle backdrop. After having the opportunity to swim, the tour includes guided entrance to some of the caves and tubing along the Cahabon river.
Tikal Ruins: You’ll have the option to reach the Tikal Ruins over one or two days, depending on if you opt to travel there via plane journey or bus. These impressive Mayan Ruins are considered to be the “crown jewel” of Guatemala. There are more than 3,000 archaeological elements to the site, offering insight into an area which was one of the largest of the Mayan cities. Arrival into the archaeological site itself is easily accessible and there is ample opportunity to spot wildlife within.
Essential country information
|Currency||Guatemalan Quetzal (GTQ)|
Weather and climate:
Guatemala has a range of micro climates and the high altitude of Guatemala City results in a subtropical highland climate (Köppen Cwb) in this region. There aren’t distinct seasons in Guatemala and the temperature is typically mild year round. Temperatures range from 22°C to 28°C (72°F to 82°F) during the day, and 12°C to 17°C (54°F to 63°F) at night. The country attracts winds and rain during the months of May to October with the hottest month being April.
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