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Physical Therapy Internships in Cusco

Physical Therapy Internships in Cusco

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.

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
Type of host organizations:
  • Private therapy clinics
  • Special education schools
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Fully hosted experience from US$994
Includes accommodation & meals
Typical schedule: Monday - Friday, 4 hours per day
Minimum duration 2 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

Interns must be at least pre-PT, with the intention to embark on a course of study aimed at physical therapy and/or disability support. High School graduates aged 18+ may be accepted, depending on the strength of their application (including any relevant experience, with a desire to learn and grow within this field).

Language requirements

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

Associated career paths

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

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.

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

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.

Cusco is world-renowned as the closest city to Machu Picchu, Peru’s most popular tourist attraction. It’s a city for adventurous travelers that enjoy the outdoors, particularly hiking and photography. There are plenty of world-class walks to explore in your spare time, and Cusco also offers a unique culturally immersive experience that’s perfect for outgoing interns!

Career Benefits

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.

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”I would 100% recommend an internship abroad to anyone! My Physical Therapy internship In Peru was such a fantastic experience and as soon as the opportunity became available to gain valuable work experience, all while traveling abroad, I jumped at the opportunity!”

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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$449 to confirm your place. The remaining balance of your Program Fee (less your initial US$449 deposit payment) will be due no less than 60 days before your internship start date.

Non-medical internships

Duration
Program Fee (USD)
2 weeks $994Equivalent to $71/day
4 weeks $1,334Equivalent to $47/day
6 weeks $1,639Equivalent to $39/day
8 weeks $1,919Equivalent to $34/day
10 weeks $2,254Equivalent to $32/day
12 weeks $2,534Equivalent to $30/day
14 weeks $2,814Equivalent to $28/day
16 weeks $3,204Equivalent to $28/day
18 weeks $3,484Equivalent to $27/day
20 weeks $3,764Equivalent to $26/day
24 weeks $4,324Equivalent to $25/day

Medical internships

Duration
Program Fee (USD)
4 weeks $1,394Equivalent to $49/day
6 weeks $1,729Equivalent to $41/day
8 weeks $2,039Equivalent to $36/day
10 weeks $2,404Equivalent to $34/day
12 weeks $2,714Equivalent to $32/day
14 weeks $3,024Equivalent to $30/day
16 weeks $3,444Equivalent to $30/day
18 weeks $3,754Equivalent to $29/day
20 weeks $4,064Equivalent to $29/day
24 weeks $4,684Equivalent to $27/day
  • Accommodation
  • Meals
  • 24/7 in-country support
  • Airport pick-up
  • 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
  • Visa (if required), flights, travel insurance (mandatory), vaccinations, criminal background check
  • Transfer back to the airport at the end of your internship program
  • Optional extras, such as language lessons
  • Souvenirs and leisure activities during your free time
  • Personal spending money to cover basic expenses such as drinks, snacks, laundry, public transportation, and any meals not included in your Program Fee
  • A deposit of $449 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 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.

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.