Eligibility requirement: Predisposition to work with handicapped children and/or physiotherapy student/professional

Language requirements: Intermediate Spanish

Associated career paths: Occupational Therapist, Physical Therapist / Assistant / Aide, Recreational Therapist, Speech-Language Pathologist, Geriatric Fitness Specialist, Sports Medicine, Chiropractor, Osteopath

Minimum duration: 4 weeks

Internship details

This Physical Therapy internship in Cusco is a perfect opportunity for physical therapy students to gain experience relevant to your current level of qualification. Interns can expect to be assisting local therapists in Peru, and a range of placements are available for interns at all levels of therapy studies.

Regardless of your physiotherapy experience, interns can expect to be paired with a local therapist, providing assistance wherever it’s needed. Interns can help with individual therapies for people with a range of requirements, including therapeutic massage, ultrasound, kinetic therapy, movement and rehabilitation.

An example of a popular Physical Therapy internship placement is in special needs education schools for students between 3-20 years old. Students often require close attention, so they work in small classes of up to ten. Interns support a local physiotherapist providing therapy throughout the day to students with a range of cognitive, developmental and physical challenges. You’re also able to support local teachers in both lessons and skill development games. This placement is not available during school breaks from December to March, and for two weeks in June/July.

Another popular placement is at physiotherapy centers, which is better suited to more experienced interns. The center specializes in treating neuromuscular problems, rheumatism, pain and paediatric problems. Interns assist therapists providing treatments including magnetic therapy, infrared, ultrasound, health, massage and kinetic therapy. You’ll help from 8.30am - 1pm and/or 2.30 - 5.30pm, and can expect to see between 6-8 patients per day.

Physical Therapy interns who stay longer in Cusco are more likely to have a hands-on role, as you’re better able to build relationships and learn how to carry out certain tasks. Interns are required to speak Spanish at an intermediate level in order to join this internship. Interns who can speak Spanish confidently will have an easier time communicating with both patients and your supervisor, which improves your engagement and ability to work on independent tasks.

Physical Therapy interns learn from a qualified and experienced supervisor, and can be involved in:
  • Helping with therapies for disabled students and other individuals
  • Shadowing and assisting local therapists
  • Magnetic therapy
  • Infrared
  • Ultrasound
  • Massage
  • Kinetic therapy
  • Helping to organize and support daily therapies
Professional development opportunities:
  • Observe therapy treatments in a foreign environment
  • Understand how therapy is provided to children with disabilities
  • Assist with a range of therapy treatments for a range of patients
  • Practice and develop Spanish language proficiency within a professional setting
  • Gain practical skills and boost your employability, with guidance from Intern Abroad HQ’s Experiential Learning Curriculum to support your learning and cultural intelligence.
Typical schedule:
  • Monday - Friday, 4 hours per day
Internship highlights:
  • Learn by observing and helping therapists in real appointment settings
  • Get physical therapy experience to match your own experience
  • Experience Cusco, one of the world’s most popular tourism cities
  • Polish your Spanish language skills
Types of host organizations:
  • Private therapy clinics
  • Special education schools
“Best decision I made - I was in Peru for four weeks and worked in a physiotherapy setting. The clinic I worked at was only a 15-minute walk from my home stay and was very convenient and safe. The program descriptions matched with what I did at the clinic, so there were not any surprises. My program coordinator with Intern Abroad HQ was always so quick to respond if I had any questions, however the internship manual has a lot of the information you need prior of departure. The only mistake I made with booking with Intern Abroad HQ was that I did not stay long enough. I learned so much and will definitely be doing another internship with them in the near future.” - Manal Abdulwahb, USA

Intern review: Manal Abdulwahb

"Best decision I made - I was in Peru for four weeks and worked in a physiotherapy setting. The clinic I worked at was only a 15-minute walk from my home stay and was very convenient and safe. The program descriptions matched with what I did at the clinic, so there were not any surprises. My program coordinator with Intern Abroad HQ was always so quick to respond if I had any questions, however the internship manual has a lot of the information you need prior of departure. The only mistake I made with booking with Intern Abroad HQ was that I did not stay long enough. I learned so much and will definitely be doing another internship with them in the near future."

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Program fees

Internship Duration Program Fee (USD)
2 weeks $545
3 weeks $680
4 weeks $815
5 weeks $950
6 weeks $1085
8 weeks $1355
10 weeks $1625
12 weeks $1895
16 weeks $2435
20 weeks $2975
24 weeks $3515

Please note: The medical internship programs (Physician’s Assistant, Dentistry, Midwifery, Psychology and Physiotherapy) have an extra surcharge of US$15 per week, for extra supervision, materials and logistics involved. This amount will be included in the Program Fee quoted to you when you apply.

  • To convert these prices to your local currency visit the XE currency converter.
  • All Intern Abroad programs attract a Registration Fee of US$299 in addition to the Program Fee.
  • All payments attract a 5% transaction fee to cover international banking fees and currency charges. International wire transfer payments attract a minimum fee of US$75.
  • * Terms and Conditions do apply

What extra costs will I have?

  • Visa, flights, travel insurance (mandatory), vaccinations, criminal background check.
  • Transfer back to the airport at conclusion of the program.
  • Language lessons.
  • Souvenirs + tourism/leisure activities during free time.
  • Personal spending money to cover basic expenses such as drinks, snacks, laundry, and public transportation. Interns generally find US$50 per week to be sufficient.

Registration fee

What it covers
  • Dedicated intern support
  • Personalized internship abroad plan
  • International internship reference
  • Experiential learning curriculum
  • Affordable internship fees
  • Flexible booking options

Program fee

What it covers
  • International internship placement
  • 24/7 in-country support
  • Airport pick-up
  • Program orientation
  • Accommodation
  • In-country guidance for social and tourism activities

Keen to get started?

Taking the first step is easy! Our team is here to provide friendly assistance, from your initial research and planning phases, right through until your internship completion. To get started, submit an application. It is free to apply and takes just 5 minutes.

Submit an application

Arrival and Orientation

Programs begin on every Monday of each month and participants may choose to spend a minimum of 2 weeks, up to a maximum of 24 week. All participants fly into the Alejandro Velasco Astete International Airport (CUZ) in order to be picked up and transported to the accommodation, unless alternative arrangements for an overland arrival have been made. Orientation is given by our local hosts at their offices in Cusco every Monday and covers important details concerning introductions, support, culture, customs, safety, rules and expectations, things to see and do, and more. Regular meetings are also held on Mondays, in order to provide long-term participants additional support.

Accommodation

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 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.

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.

Activities and tourism

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.

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Country profile

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.