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Physician Associate Internships in Cusco

Physician Associate Internships in Cusco

Physician Associate internships in Peru are perfect for medical students wanting a first-hand experience of healthcare in the stunning city of Cusco. Interns are placed in clinics, shadowing and assisting local doctors and nurses in a range of departments, including general health, psychology, gynecology, dentistry, and laboratory.

Internship Highlights:
  • Assist in medical clinics providing healthcare to disadvantaged communities.
  • Receive dedicated guidance and individual learning from experienced professionals.
  • Experience Cusco, one of the world’s most popular tourism cities.
Type of host organizations:
  • Medical clinics
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Fully hosted experience from $1494
Includes accommodation & meals
Typical schedule: Monday - Friday, 4 hours per day
Minimum duration 4 weeks, up to 24 weeks maximum
Spanish language lessons available
Get job-ready with our Experiential Learning Curriculum
Internships align with UN Sustainable Development Goals
Eligibility requirements and Associated career paths
Eligibility requirement

Suitable for pre-med school students and medical/nursing students. All Physician Associate interns must bring their own scrubs and evidence of their level of education.

Language requirements

Interns must confidently speak Spanish at an intermediate to advanced level. Click here if you are seeking a Healthcare or Medical internship which is suitable for participants who do not speak Spanish.

Associated career paths

Physician, Physician Associate, Nurse, General Practitioner, Midwife, Pharmacist, Medical Laboratory Scientist, Radiographer, Dentist / Dental Assistant, Dental Hygienist, Dietitian, Paramedic, Anaesthesiologist, Sonographer, Medical Scribe.

Internship details

Physician Associate internships in Peru are perfect for medical students wanting a first-hand experience of healthcare in the stunning city of Cusco. Interns are placed in clinics, shadowing and assisting local doctors and nurses in a range of departments.

This is an in-country internship, with accommodation and meals provided.

In the context of an international internship, the “Physician Associate” experiences are designed to familiarize participants with the typical services and workplaces that a PA may be involved with, throughout the progression of their career. Additionally, the international placements are designed to help interns develop their intercultural competencies, while gaining an enhanced perspective of healthcare provision. Our Physician Associate internships provide real-world experience under the supervision and/or in collaboration of a fully trained medical doctor (or relevant medical team).

In Cusco, interns are placed in general practice primary health centers, which form part of the Peruvian Ministry of Health’s program for supporting the unemployed. The centers provide all manner of general health services, and also have specialist departments in psychology, gynecology, dentistry, and laboratory. Physician Associate interns typically observe and assist doctors, assist with laboratory work, and can help nurses with taking patient’s weight, height, and administering vaccinations. Health campaigns are occasionally held throughout the year as well.

Interns who spend four weeks or more on the program can have the option of diversifying their experience, by combining time at a public clinic with time at a private clinic or social work project as well. You can also assist on medical outreach campaigns, providing basic healthcare such as vaccinations. These can be arranged with your local team in Cusco. Fully qualified or advanced medical students are encouraged to organize workshops at social education programs, bringing healthcare education to the community.

Bear in mind that the Physician Associate profession and education model has its origin in North America. The occupational title of “Physician Assistant” and “Physician Associate” originated in the United States. Although the role has been adopted in some other countries, each has their own nomenclature. Therefore, occupation titles and certifying authorities vary. If you are seeking a Physician Associate internship for academic purposes, which must be supervised by someone carrying the specific occupational title of “Physician Assistant” or “Physician Associate”, please ensure that you notify Intern Abroad HQ when applying.

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.

Career Benefits

Physician Associate interns learn from a qualified and experienced supervisor, and can be involved in:
  • Shadow and assist doctors and nurses in medical clinics.

  • Learning about general medical care, as well as specialist work in psychology, gynecology, dentistry, and laboratory.

  • Support in administrative work.

  • Organize and run health workshops and campaigns in the community.

Professional development opportunities:
  • Practice and develop Spanish language proficiency within a professional setting.

  • Learn and understand healthcare in Peru.

  • Gain understanding from local doctors and nurses.

  • Experience how healthcare is provided to people from disadvantaged backgrounds.

  • Gain practical skills and boost your employability, with guidance from Intern Abroad HQ’s Experiential Learning Curriculum to support your learning and cultural intelligence.

Peru photo gallery

What recent interns said about their experience

AS
Angielisa Sirard
June 2023

The ability to be fully immersed in the Spanish language was what I enjoyed most. I definitely feel like my Spanish skills have improved greatly after this experience, and it was wonderful to learn about Peruvian culture. My internship involved travelling to a local centro de salud in the city of Cusco to shadow and assist doctors and nurses. I assisted the obstetrician, the nurses in the children’s department, and the doctor in the general medicine area. It has shown me the inner workings of a medical clinic, allowing me to familiarise myself with the routines and protocols involved. I am on the path to become a Physician Assistant, and I have also learned that I really enjoy working with kids, meaning that a future in Paediatrics may be ahead!

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Erica Frey
December 2019

I absolutely loved every second I was in the clinic. The nurses I worked with were very sweet, accepting, friendly, and more. Every single health care worker was very nice and willing to help. This experience was my first “real” opportunity with working with pediatrics. This is the field I would like to work in once I arrive back to the U.S., so you can only imagine how much I loved being with the patients under one years old! The nurses were great educators and handled each appointment with ease and poise. I learned something from them every day, and also learned a lot about the health care system in Peru – so many differences compared to the U.S! It was amazing to build a trusting relationship with the nurses and it was even more amazing that I saw this as the days passed by. Every day, they became more trusting and this secured my feelings towards nursing. At my homestay, Annie and Carlos were great! Very hospitable and loving. They always asked if we were okay and if we needed anything. All they had to offer was more than enough. Their charisma and parental guidance made this trip feel very home-y. I enjoyed every moment with them and could not speak more highly! I loved that we ate lunch together every single day and had great conversations. It made the host family experience one to remember. Of course, the food was great too! It helps that Carlos was a chef! Overall, Cusco is an amazing city. I am so glad I took the opportunity to travel before working and got to experience all of this these past three months. I will definitely miss this place. I learned so much about myself by being away from home and on my own here in Cusco. I loved all the weekend trips to places with the best views and best company. The mountain views were the best part. I will miss seeing these everywhere I look. I have met so many people from different parts of the world and it’s amazing how close we all have become. Sad days are ahead because I will be leaving this beautiful city and my beautiful friends. Thankful x100.

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Angelica Ante
December 2019

I learned so much through my internship experience at the clinic. I came to Peru with the goal of improving my Spanish, as well as gaining medical experience in a culturally different setting. Not only have I grown professionally as a nurse, but I have also grown personally. I was able to develop strong relationships with the nurses at the clinic, and it helped enhance my learning. I was also able to learn a lot about pediatrics and how it differs from the care given in the United States. Even though the patients that came in were receiving routine care, I still learned something new almost every day. During the internship, I had an amazing experience with my host family - Ana Maria and Carlo. They welcomed me into their home from the very first day. Living with a family that was not my own was a scary thought, but I couldn’t have asked for a better experience. I felt safe and comfortable in the home, and they were very supportive and accommodating to my needs. They are the type of people who truly want to give students an immersive cultural experience by living with a host family, and l am truly going to miss them. Words cannot describe how much I enjoyed my experience in Peru. My personal and professional goals that I set prior to coming to Peru were met. The staff is a great group of people that always welcome you with a warm smile, the activities every week helped me bond and create some great friendships with awesome people, and the support that the local team offers to help us succeed and make the most of our time here is limitless. Cusco is such a great location to intern in because there is so much to do in see during our time here. Three months was not nearly enough time.

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Carlee Schiefelbein
October 2019

I completed a month-long nursing internship in Cusco, Peru! It was such a great learning experience, but I had wished I knew medical Spanish a little better. The company itself, Intern Abroad HQ, was super helpful when I was having a few issues with the living situation. Someone was always connected with me through email, etc. I definitely would recommend interning abroad.

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Samantha Cavanaugh
October 2019

One of the best experiences… I had the most amazing time when I travelled to Peru with Intern Abroad. The family that I stayed with was so nice and caring and helpful. I did one of the medical projects and got to work at a local mom/baby clinic and travel to other local schools to work with kids. Everyone who helped organize the program was really great and could answer any questions I had. Overall, my experience was so much fun and I would definitely use Intern Abroad HQ again.

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RM
Rahul Mehta
January 2019

When I went into this experience, I really was feeling pretty unsure about everything. I had so many questions about the entire process, and the staff made sure all of my questions were answered and that I was sufficiently prepared for my trip. Once I got to Cusco, I was able to find a perfect balance between getting experience at the clinic and exploring the city. Throughout my time there, Intern Abroad did a great job of checking in and making sure that I was getting the most of my experience. I loved meeting so many people there, and I loved the work I got to do in the clinic there. In the clinic, I got to shadow the various doctors and learn a lot about medicine and the healthcare system in South America. I also got to learn a great deal of Spanish in the country. Overall, I had a great time, and I cannot wait to go back to Peru one day in the future!

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To read all reviews, visit our reviews page.

Our commitment to providing safe internship experiences

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

Program fees

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.

Duration
Program Fee (USD)
4 weeks $1,494 Equivalent to $53 /day
5 weeks $1,649 Equivalent to $47 /day
6 weeks $1,829 Equivalent to $43 /day
8 weeks $2,139 Equivalent to $38 /day
10 weeks $2,504 Equivalent to $35 /day
12 weeks $2,814 Equivalent to $33 /day
16 weeks $3,544 Equivalent to $31 /day
20 weeks $4,164 Equivalent to $29 /day
24 weeks $4,784 Equivalent to $28 /day
  • Airport pick-up
  • Daily breakfast, lunch and dinner
  • Accommodation
  • 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 (approximately 499) 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 Peru 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.

The typical port of entry is the Alejandro Velasco Astete Airport (CUZ). If you are planning to spend time independently in Peru 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 Friday night of the final week, leaving interns free to depart on Saturday. 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.

Check what’s required to visit Peru

Check out the widget below to find out what the Covid-19 restrictions and visa requirements are for Peru, based on your country of residence.

Accommodation and WiFi

All program participants are hosted in various homestay accommodations, which are usually located approximately 20 minutes walk to the central office (which is located just off the Plaza De Armas). In some cases, accommodation may be located closer to the internship placement than the central office for convenience. If so, then the central office may be about 20 minutes away via public bus.

There are approx. 2 - 5 bedrooms in most homestays and everyone has their own bedroom (unless special requests are made in advance to share). Host families typically have their own bathrooms and there is a separate bathroom which is shared amongst the program guests.

Living is comfortable, however it’s important to note that the infrastructure in Cusco is different from other developed cities. Water is cut-off intermittently at various times during the day. Most of the time, the water is running early in the morning, in the afternoons and evenings. It’s advised to shower in the morning and early evening (shower pressure can be low, and the water is typically warm but not steaming hot). On occasion, the water can be cut-off for longer periods of time (but with a fair warning). There is usually 24-hour electricity but from time to time the power can be cut-off without warning.

It is endeavoured to provide WiFi in the home-stay accommodation, but the signal may not always be strong and from time to time, may go down.

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.

Meals

Internships in Cusco include three meals per day, served at the homestay. A typical Peruvian breakfast is provided and consists of bread, spreads, juice, coffee or tea, and fruit. Lunch is generally the biggest meal of the day, and often consists of a soup and a main dish. 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.

Spanish lessons

Fluency in Spanish is not a prerequisite for all of the Peru internship programs, however basic Spanish skills are required. This is in order to encourage maximum engagement and enjoyment of the learning experience. 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.

We strongly recommend that all program participants take advantage of the very affordable language lessons offered exclusively to Intern Abroad HQ participants by our host organization. These Spanish lessons 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.

  • Online Spanish lessons (20 hours) US$280
  • Group Spanish lessons (20 hours) US$133
  • Individual Spanish lessons (20 hours) US$182
  • Individual Survival Spanish (10 hours) US$95
  • Medical, Business or Technical Individual Spanish lessons (15 hours) US$165

Weekends and travel

During the weekends, free time is available to relax, engage in tourism activities and explore other parts of Peru. The program is based in Cusco at an elevation of approximately 3,400 m (11,200 ft). As the historic capital of the Inca Empire and UNESCO World Heritage Site, there is a lot to see and do within the city center alone (not to mention all the excellent restaurants!) Spanish colonial buildings mix with pre-Columbian sites in this truely remarkable city. Buy a “Boleto Turístico del Cusco”, which covers admission to sixteen excellent attractions within the Cusco and Sacred Valley region (valid for 10 days). If you have an International Student I.D. Card, use this to secure discounts!

  • Machu Picchu: It’s rare to visit Cusco without planning a trip to Machu Picchu. A truly stunning creation, the 15th-century Inca citadel is the quintessential icon of Peru and the Incan empire. The town below Machu Picchu, “Machu Picchu pueblo” or “Aguas Calientes” may be used as an overnight base before and after visiting the archeological site - especially when journeying from Cusco via bus/train, which takes about 3 hours (one way). Make sure you book entrance tickets in advance (including for Huayna Picchu if you wish to access the other peak).

  • The Classic Inca Trail: Sanctuary authorities have imposed a limit on the number of people that are allowed to hike the Inca Trail at any given time. Therefore, these excursions book out months in advance so it’s important to plan ahead by booking through a licensed guide or tour agency if you want to arrive to Machu Picchu by foot - especially during the high season, which is from May to September. Allow four days walking to arrive at Machu Picchu via the classic Inca Trail.

  • Inca Jungle Trek: This adventurous route to Machu Picchu includes walking, biking and sometimes even some rafting. From Cusco, the route leads into the Sacred Valley, from where you bike to Santa Maria, then walk to from Santa Maria to Santa Teresa, before arriving to the village of Machu Picchu (Aguas Calientes). After visiting Machu Picchu on the fourth day, the return to Cusco is via train. This option is not recommended during the months of January, February and March, due to unfavorable weather conditions (rainy season).

  • Salkantay Trek: This is considered an Inca trail alternative - it is more physically demanding but arguably offers more picturesque scenery, including waterfalls, plantations, mountains and jungle. The trek reaches a height of 4,650 m (15,255 ft) on its first two days, passing over snowy mountaintops. However, during the third and fourth day of the trek, you pass through jungle conditions in more tropical climates. On the fifth day, trekkers reach Machu Picchu.

Essential country information

Capital Lima
Population 29.99 million
Languages Spanish
Currency Peruvian Nuevo Sol (PEN)
Time zone UTC-05:00
Weather and climate:

Peru, unlike other equatorial countries, does not have an exclusively tropical climate; the influence of the Andes and the Humboldt Current causes great climatic diversity within the country. In the mountainous region, rain is frequent during summer and temperatures and humidity diminish with altitude up to the frozen peaks of the Andes. The Jungle is characterized by heavy rainfal​l​ and high temperatures, with the exception of its southernmost part, which has cold winters and seasonal rainfall.