WHY GO OVERSEAS?

A physical therapy internship abroad will totally transform the way you see healthcare. Giving you insight into physiotherapy in a global context, the experience will bolster your studies. You’ll experience new cultures, make lifelong friends and international contacts, learn new languages and see the world. After your placement, your résumé will stand out from the crowd as a result of the personal and professional development you’ll undergo

WHO CAN GO?

Our overseas physical therapy internships are for physical therapy students and recent physical therapy graduates. Starting every Sunday, placements run 365 days a year, meaning that you can travel whenever suits you, for as long as you want. There’s no application process; if you’re on or have completed a physiotherapy degree, you can travel.

physical therapy internships

how it works 

We run programs all over the world, and offer expert advice when it comes to choosing one of our destinations. The experience we’ve accumulated over the last ten years will help you make the best decision about where to carry out your physical therapist internship. Tell us which areas you’d like to focus on most, and we’ll design a completely personalized program that helps you get the most from your time abroad.

When it comes to organization, a significant amount of work goes on behind the scenes. We share every step of the process with you through MyTrip — our online placement planner and timeline. Simply login to access full, personalized details around your internship in the run up to your trip.

TEAM AND ACCOMMODATION

On arrival in your host country, a member of our in-country management team will collect you from the airport — they’ll bring you directly to the Work the World house and help you settle in. You’ll receive a full welcome briefing and a hospital introduction, as well as a tour of the local area to help you get your bearings.

 

All Work the World houses are spacious, private and secure, no matter which country you’re staying in. There’s a social atmosphere in every house, as you’ll be living with students and professionals a range of disciplines. You’ll quickly make friends and start traveling the country together at weekends. Our in-country team will be on-hand 24/7 to provide any support you need, and you’ll also have a chef and housekeeper, plus a local language teacher for twice-weekly lessons.

in the hospital 

Before your placement starts we’ll take you to the hospital and will introduce you to your supervisors. During your internship, you’ll experience different attitudes to healthcare, new approaches to rehabilitation, and conditions that many students and professionals never get to see back home. We’ll also review your experience in real-time to make sure that you’re getting exactly what you want from the experience. Physical therapy Internships run from Monday to Friday, so there will be plenty of opportunity to explore during evenings and weekends.

physical therapy electives abroad

DESTINATIONS

Mexico - Merida
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Merida is the cultural capital of Mexico with striking colonial architecture, lush central plazas and bustling boulevards. In the evenings, the city transforms with restaurants and bars in full swing. Beyond the city, you’ll dive in beautiful underwater caves or ‘cenotes’, relax on tropical beaches, and visit breathtaking Mayan temples.

 

A significant number of people in Mexico exhibit signs of periodontal disease — a fact that reflects the limited access the population has to preventative treatments as standard. Procedures like restorations and fillings are of course performed here, but many patients present late, meaning many cases will prove more severe than you’ll be used to at home.

Peru - Arequipa
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Arequipa is a fusion of old and new — traditional textile markets and food stalls take root beside colonial buildings, which house all the modern amenities a traveler like yourself could need. At the weekend, explore the Amazon jungle, visit Lake Titicaca’s floating villages, and trek to the Machu Picchu ruins.

 

On your Physical Therapy Internship here you’ll encounter a holistic approach. This approach will be a striking contrast to Western rehabilitation programs. You could also be gaining experience with patients from poorer sections of Peruvian society, allowing you to encounter a unique array of conditions. Read stories from those who’ve already travelled with us to Arequipa.

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Vietnam - Hue
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A bustling hub of Southeast Asian culture and popular with backpackers. Busy markets, popular bars and delicious street food across the city. Nearby, find tropical beaches, rainforests, and ancient temples and pagodas.

 

Our partner institution in Hue is a university teaching hospital, meaning that the Rehabilitation Department you’ll spend time in has exceptional experience coaching physiotherapists. You’ll gain a breadth of experience helping to rehabilitate patients with everything from severe burns to paediatric spina bifida caused by Agent Orange that still affects children generations after its use in the Vietnam War. As this is a low-resource clinical setting, you’ll also see how local staff cope with a lack of modern equipment.

Zambia - Lusaka
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Lusaka is the bustling capital city of Zambia. While here you can visit any number of the country’s 20 game parks and see rhino, lions, elephants and cheetah. You can even canoe along the shore of the great Zambezi river to watch hippos wading. Immersing yourself in the rich local cultures and traditions so ingrained in Zambian tribal culture is a highlight.

 

When it comes to the kinds of clinical experience you’ll get in the Physical Therapy Department, it’s all about diversity. You could spend time in the clubfoot clinic, in the hospital’s specialized gym, orthopedics, respiratory therapy, gaining experience with patients with neuro disorders, amputees, burns patients, and even seeing how the department creates its own molds and prostheses.

Cambodia - Phnom Penh
Monk in Angkor Wat Cambodia. Ta Prohm Khmer ancient Buddhist temple in jungle forest
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Sprawling from the banks of the mighty Mekong river, Cambodia’s capital city is one of contrasts. Marketplaces replete with faux branded accessories line up next to Buddhist temples shrouded in ancient mystery. Sample traditional street food, explore the city's dazzling nightlife, boat along the river to discover rural rice paddies, or enjoy the crystal waters off the coast.

 

A Physical Therapy Internship in Cambodia will highlight how your overseas counterparts cope with severely limited resources. Using hand-made equipment, you’ll assist in the treatment of patients presenting an extraordinary range of conditions, from meningitis to cerebral palsy. Read stories from those who’ve already travelled with us to Phnom Penh.

Monk in Angkor Wat Cambodia. Ta Prohm Khmer ancient Buddhist temple in jungle forest

Philippines - Iloilo
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Iloilo sits on the coast of a paradise island in the Philippines, surrounded by white sand beaches and tropical jungles. The city itself is a cultural hub with bars, seafront cafes, markets, and a budding art scene.

 

On a Physical Therapy Internship here, you can spend time with local specialists in departments that treat both patients from the city and surrounding villages. You might also find yourself helping to rehabilitate cases of cerebral palsy and spinal cord injuries, as well as observing traumatic brain injury surgeries. Read stories from those who’ve already travelled with us to Iloilo.

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Nepal - Pokhara
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Pokhara is a relaxed and welcoming city nestled in the rolling Himalayan foothills. Seek out awe-inspiring mountain top views, tour the city’s ornate temples, and paraglide above the still waters of Phewa lake.

 

On a Physical Therapy Internship here, you could be assisting in a specialist rehabilitation hospital, which, by Nepalese standards, is well-equipped. Show proactivity on placement and you could learn from professionals on cases of soft tissue injury, stroke rehabilitation, and neuromuscular disorders. Read stories from those who’ve already travelled with us to Pokhara.

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Sri Lanka - Kandy
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Kandy is a nerve-center of culture, ancient temples, bars, restaurants, and markets. You can also go whitewater rafting, on safari, and ride in a hot-air balloon over jungle canopies.

 

On a Physical Therapy internship here you could spend time in a teaching hospital that actively promotes patient interaction. This means you could be assisting with the rehabilitation of stroke, MSK, and burns patients. Time in the busy Outpatient Department will provide insight into Sri Lanka’s more commonly occurring conditions. Read stories from those who’ve already travelled with us to Kandy.

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Tanzania - Dar es Salaam
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Dar es Salaam is one of Tanzania’s most lively cities, and just beyond its borders you’ll find mountains, and jungles. During your stay you’ll be able to go on safari, take a boat to the tropical island of Zanzibar, and explore the beautiful national park.

 

On a Physical Therapy Internship here, you could be assisting with cases resulting from the many road and construction accidents that occur here daily. The use of dated equipment and machinery in this low resource environment will bring to the fore the challenges local staff face. Read stories from those who’ve already travelled with us to Dar es Salaam.

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Nepal - Kathmandu
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Kathmandu’s history spans thousands of years. The ageing temples and stupas that punctuate the city streets make this clear. Modernity has left its mark, however—motorbikes speed down winding lanes, monks chatter on mobile phones, and many restaurants now serve both traditional and western dishes.

 

Physical Therapy  is a rapidly evolving practice in Nepal. On an internship here, you’ll observe how the discipline is developing in comparison to Western practices. Cases of stroke, cerebral palsy, and burns are all common cases here, and through spending time in our partner hospitals you could gaining direct experience with them. Read stories from those who’ve already travelled with us to Kathmandu.

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Sri Lanka - Anuradhapura
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Anuradhapura is melting pot of the ancient and the new. Sacred temples and opulent palaces share turf with modern bars and busy markets. Further afield, try safari in the national parks, scuba dive in crystal clear waters, and kick back on paradise beaches.

 

On a Physical Therapy Internship here, you could be learning how local specialists treat amputees left by the Sri Lankan civil war with limited and outdated equipment. The Physical Therapy Unit also works in the Neurosurgical and Surgical ICU Wards, so the chance to broaden your experience exists as much as you’re willing to take advantage of it. Read stories from those who’ve already travelled with us to Anuradhapura.

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Ghana - Takoradi
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Takoradi is a lively town on Africa’s West coast. It’s a center of both historical and natural attractions — ageing coastal forts, waterfalls, safari parks, and rural villages all lie close by — making it the perfect jumping off point for adventure.

 

A proactive attitude on a Physical Therapy Internship here could see you helping to rehabilitate patients with a variety of conditions. These could include strokes, burns, and Erb’s Palsy. You could also gain experience with post-op rehabilitation, learning how specialists tackle this with limited equipment. Read stories from those who’ve already travelled with us to Takoradi.

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"In the rehabilitation center, I saw things I had never seen during my training in Belgium..."

Anouk Vertonghen, 2018

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Going abroad on my own was one of the scariest choices I have ever made. But it turned out to be the most rewarding experience I have ever had.

Colette McGreevy, Manchester Metropolitan University 2018

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"My trip to Sri Lanka was just incredible. I learnt so much and made some incredible new friends along the way."

Erica Patterson, Monash University 2018

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"It’s been one of the most fulfilling and enjoyable experiences of my life."

Nandu Pillai, University of East London 2017

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"Every day I had a new, amazing, memorable experience."

Lily Hosie, Glasgow Caledonian University 2017

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