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Physical Therapy Internships in Zanzibar

Physical Therapy Internships in Zanzibar

Physical Therapy internships in Zanzibar provide an engaging and rewarding opportunity to gain experience in a therapy clinic. Assist trained local physicians to support patients with treatments and physiotherapy interventions. Physical Therapy interns are placed in relevant departments of Zanzibar’s main referral hospital. Recognized as a modern hospital where specialized services are provided, critical care services are essential for the provision of healthcare in this region.

Internship Highlights:
  • Build your practical understanding by observing real life therapy sessions
  • Gain a practical understanding into the exact day-to-day duties of therapists
  • Experience life on Zanzibar, a unique and beautiful African island
Type of host organizations:
  • Zanzibar’s main referral hospital inclusive of therapy clinics
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Fully hosted experience from US$2,266
Includes accommodation & meals
Start dates every Monday
Minimum duration 4 weeks, up to 24 Weeks maximum
Discover Zanzibar’s world-class beaches
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 university/college students at various levels of their relevant medical/healthcare studies, as well as recent graduates. First year undergraduate students are eligible, provided that their studies have commenced. Interns must submit their relevant academic record (transcript) and a letter of recommendation from their university.

Language requirements

This internship is conducted in English.

Associated career paths

Physiotherapist, Occupational Therapist, Recreational Therapist, Speech-Language Pathologist, Geriatric Fitness Specialist, Sports Medicine, Chiropractor, Osteopath, Disabled Carer, Nurse

Internship details

Physical Therapy internships in Zanzibar provide an engaging and rewarding opportunity to gain experience in a therapy clinic. Assist trained local physicians to support patients with treatments and physiotherapy interventions. Physical Therapy interns are placed in relevant departments of Zanzibar’s main referral hospital. Recognized as a modern hospital where specialized services are provided, critical care services are essential for the provision of healthcare in this region.

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

Medical internships in Zanzibar

Physical Therapy internships in Zanzibar are provided through the Mnazi Mmoja Hospital (MMH). This is the main referral hospital for Zanzibar. Within the East African Community, MMH is dedicated to being a center of excellence, offering comprehensive and affordable health care.

MMH has an established and professionally-run elective and internship program. The MMH hospital campus serves as a practical educational hub for graduate and postgraduate students. It is accredited by COSECSA as a place where general and neuro surgeons can be trained. The Hospital is also SADCAS-certified in providing laboratory tests. MMH has a bed capacity of 776, which are spread over three campuses. The main campus is located in Stone Town.

It’s important to note that students/interns are not allowed to treat any patients on their own. The exact tasks that you’ll experience on your internship will be determined by your Physical Therapy supervisor / supervisory team. For this, your level of experience and demeanor are taken into account. Tasks may be related to priorities such as postoperative care for patients, assistance for disabled and immobile patients, rehabilitation for injured patients, etc.

Internship supervision is always provided with the caveat that local healthcare professionals will first and foremost be focused on the provision of medical care. In a Physical Therapy environment, supervisors may not always be able to immediately discuss their work, while directly working with patients. Bear in mind that, although this internship is conducted in English, from time to time language barriers can arise, given that other languages are spoken in Zanzibar. Patience is an essential attribute for interns, along with the ability to coordinate discussions or debriefing sessions with supervisors when it’s most appropriate. Interns are expected to address any questions with their supervisor in order to learn and gain enhanced understanding into cultural differences and local practices.

Bear in mind that therapeutic facilities in Zanzibar are unlike what you might be used to at home. They are often under-resourced and under-staffed, which presents a number of challenges for both physiotherapy professionals and patients alike. Culture shock can be more pronounced in healthcare environments so interns are expected to maintain a high level of professionalism, focus and compassion. However, this presents a special learning environment, offering interns an opportunity to heighten their cultural intelligence and therapeutic prowess.

Zanzibar is a popular tourist destination for tourists in Africa, and has a unique mix of tropical and traditional African features. It has modern areas, with amazing beaches and activities for your spare time, as well as cultural areas with iconic old buildings and shops to explore in your spare time. The island is a three hour ferry from the Tanzanian mainland, where you can tick off your African bucketlist with an amazing safari.

Typical Schedule

  • Schedules vary based on the exact nature of each internship. Interns should prepare to be flexible with their schedules, but expect between 6-8 hours of work each day, including (optional) possible weekend work

Career Benefits

Physical Therapy interns learn from a qualified and experienced supervisor, and can be involved in:
  • Shadowing and assisting in therapy sessions

  • Conducting therapy research

  • Shadowing and observing local professionals in the treatment and care of trauma

  • Supporting medical professionals with patient guidance, counseling, and interventions for improved overall health

Professional development opportunities:
  • Learn from an experienced physical therapist

  • Observe therapy treatments in a foreign environment

  • Develop understanding of symptoms and treatments for a wide range of patient conditions

  • Learn how to build communication and manage patient relationships

  • Assist with a range of therapy treatments for a range of patients

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

Zanzibar photo gallery

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$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.

Medical internships

Program Fee (USD)
4 weeks $2,266Equivalent to $80/day
6 weeks $2,852Equivalent to $67/day
8 weeks $3,438Equivalent to $61/day
10 weeks $4,024Equivalent to $57/day
12 weeks $4,610Equivalent to $54/day
14 weeks $5,306Equivalent to $54/day
16 weeks $5,892Equivalent to $52/day
18 weeks $6,478Equivalent to $51/day
20 weeks $7,064Equivalent to $50/day
24 weeks $8,236Equivalent to $49/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 Zanzibar begin every Monday and interns may choose to spend a minimum of 2 weeks, up to a maximum of 12 weeks. Exceptions to start date availability may occur when start dates are closed due to public holiday / festival disruptions or if the program has already reached capacity.

Airport pick up and accommodation are included in the Program Fee, as well as return transportation to the airport in Zanzibar at the completion of the internship. Interns are required to arrive on the Sunday before their Monday start date. In order to receive this airport pick up, interns fly into the Abeid Amani Karume International Airport in Zanzibar (airport code: ZNZ). Note that all participants are advised not to book flights until they have first registered to confirm their internship placement.

Upon arrival, interns will be met, greeted, and transferred to the accommodation, to settle in and rest. Accommodation is covered from the Sunday night of the internship start date. The last night of the accommodation is the Saturday night of the final week, leaving interns free to depart on the Sunday.

Orientation typically takes place on the Monday start date and covers important details for your internship, including introductions, information about culture, customs, rules, expectations, safety, language lessons, cultural excursions, and more. For participants who will be interning within Zanzibar Town / Stone Town, a walking tour is also covered. Tourism & Hospitality interns, who may be based within popular beach areas, such as Nungwi, Kendwa, Kiwengwa, Paje, Jambiani and Michamvi, will receive a local orientation that’s relevant to their area.

If you are planning to spend time independently in Zanzibar prior to the commencement date of your internship, and will not require an airport pick up, then you’ll be required to come directly to the local team’s office in Zanzibar Town / Stone Town for meet and greet on your start date. From there, you will be guided to your home-stay accommodation.

Visa Requirements

It is important to note that internships in Zanzibar require all participants to obtain a visa. We advise Zanzibar interns to purchase and obtain this in-country (at the airport, on arrival in Zanzibar). Interns receive details in advance, which outline instructions for this process (depending on your specific internship details), along with anticipated costs. To cover the cost of the visa sufficiently, we ask interns to budget US$250 for the upper limit cost.

Some interns are additionally required to obtain a Work Permit in-country and the cost is US$200. If this is required then it will be arranged with you during the orientation, as coordinators will assist you at the Zanzibar Labour Office. (Note that this does not apply to medical internships).

Note that the requirements and costs for such visas and/or permits are subject to change.

Accommodation and WiFi

Most interns in Zanzibar are hosted in various homestay accommodations, within Zanzibar Town / Stone Town. The exception to this is that Tourism & Hospitality interns can expect to be located in closer proximity to their internship. For example, locations usually include the popular beach destinations of Zanzibar, such as Nungwi, Kendwa, Kiwengwa, Paje, Jambiani and Michamvi. In this case, accommodation may be located on the grounds of the internship placement (e.g. on the grounds of the hotel), at external guest houses/lodges, or with a host family at the respective village.

For the comfort of our interns, the host families that we work with (within Zanzibar Town / Stone Town) provide a higher standard of living, compared to other typical family homes on the island. They often have access to domestic staff, such as a cook, drivers, nannies, gardeners, housekeepers, and security guards. Employees of the host family usually have their own separate accommodation, provided for them on the same property as the main family home. Typically, these host families have older children who are being educated abroad. Therefore, they are able to comfortably accommodate international interns in Zanzibar while their own children are studying internationally. The household may have younger children who have not yet reached a higher level of education. Interns can expect to have their own bedroom. The meals which are included are typically generous, having been prepared and served by a cook.

Note that accommodation is unlikely to provide WiFi. Unlimited internet plans are typically unavailable in Zanzibar and connection must be paid for by the gigabyte. However, all interns receive a local SIM card for use at their orientation, which initially includes 3 GB of data traffic. Top-up vouchers can be purchased as need be and they are relatively inexpensive.


Internships in Zanzibar include three meals per day, seven days per week, served at the accommodation. The culinary traditions of Zanzibar have been influenced by many nationalities, including Indian, British, Portuguese, Arab, Bantu, and even Chinese. Therefore, typical dishes may reflect a fusion of styles. Rice is a staple, which can be cooked with an array of spices (Zanzibar is the island of spice, after all!) Cinnamon, ginger, cumin, chilli, cardamom, nutmeg and cloves may be used to flavor rice, meat, fish and curry dishes. The famous spice rice of Zanzibar is called “Pilau”. In addition to cooked meals, fresh vegetables and fruits are available and you can also find a wide variety in the local markets. Host families are accustomed to accommodating interns who are vegetarians and can ensure meals are prepared appropriately. Some restaurants will also offer vegetarian dishes. Please be sure to let us know of any specific dietary requirements that you have in advance (i.e. allergies and intolerances), so that we may ensure your hosts are aware and make recommendations to you accordingly.

Swahili Language Lessons

Swahili, also known as Kiswahili, is spoken throughout Zanzibar and it is the national language of Tanzania. (English is only the official language of the High Court). While fluency in Swahili is not a requirement to intern in Zanzibar, learning some of the local language can help enhance your cultural experience and immersion. Starting with a few lessons can help you learn some basics to demonstrate common courtesy. A maximum of ten hours per week are recommended. Lessons are typically conducted individually, but may be shared between 2-3 other participants of the same level (although, the number of participants per lesson does not affect the cost). For more information about language lessons, interns may speak directly to the local team in-country.

Weekends and travel

There are a wide range of tourism excursions to enjoy in and around Zanzibar archipelago. You can join half or full day trips to some of the infamous spice plantations, explore the Jozani Forest National Park and mangroves, sail through the Menai Bay Conservation Area, or even relax within some of the popular beach resorts. While there is a lot to see and do, we recommend chatting with our local team, based in the historical center of Stone Town, for advice. They’re in the best position to advise you regarding responsible tourism operators. Keep in mind that any trip to Africa is not complete with going on safari. We can help interns to arrange budget safari options, within the mainland of Tanzania. Although cost-effective, the trips are high-quality and provide the social opportunity to meet other like-minded travelers and international interns or volunteers. If you’re looking for a challenge and aiming to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, let us know as well - we can assist with arranging affordable accommodation in Moshi, as well as making other recommendations.

Essential country information

Capital Zanzibar City
Population 1.304 million
Languages Swahili, Arabic, English
Currency Tanzanian Shilling (TZS)
Time zone UTC+03:00
Weather and climate:

Being near the equator, the islands of the Zanzibar Archipelago are warm year-round, and the temperature doesn’t vary too much throughout the year. The usual highs are between 85°F / 91°F (30°C / 33°C) and the usual lows range between 70°F and 76°F (21°C / 24°C). The hotter times of the year are typically from December through March. From July through October, the temperatures are more comfortable. The wetter season usually begins in late November, leading up to the wettest month of the year, which is April. After April, the dry season begins again around mid to late May.