WHY GO OVERSEAS

An overseas physiotherapy elective is an opportunity not to be missed. Unique clinical settings will teach you how local specialists create treatment plans with extremely limited, often hand-made or improvised rehabilitation equipment. Physiotherapy electives abroad develop people both personally and professionally throughout the experience.

We have been organising physiotherapy placements for over a decade. The relationships we’ve developed with hospitals and clinics around the world can present you with experiences that would normally be closed off. You can expect structured supervision of the highest quality. Our management teams in country will monitor your placement throughout, and provide support 24/7. They are also responsible for the running of our private, catered accommodation, and also for regularly tracking your clinical progress.

physiotherapy electives

HOW IT WORKS

The expertise we’ve developed around physiotherapy placements abroad will help you make an informed decision when choosing which destination to travel to. We’ll then design and create a physiotherapy placement based on your specific areas of clinical interest—gaining experience with leprosy patients, or with burns rehabilitation for example. Working with our expert team, you can customise each detail.

We put in an enormous amount of work behind the scenes. To give you visibility of each step in the process, you’ll get a login to MyTrip — our online placement planner. The interactive planner contains personalised information about every aspect of your trip.

TEAM AND ACCOMMODATION

When you land in your destination, a member of our in-country management team will collect you from the airport and bring you back to the Work the World house. Next we’ll host a comprehensive welcome briefing, and take you on a fun local orientation and hospital introduction trip.

 

Regardless of the destination you choose, our houses are spacious, private and secure. You’ll stay with students and professionals across a range of disciplines, which gives the houses a social atmosphere. You’ll love the amazing weekend travel opportunities with all the new friends you make. Delivering 24/7 support, our management teams are always around to offer assistance. The rest of the house team is comprised of an expert chef, a housekeeper and a teacher who teaches local language lessons twice weekly.

IN THE HOSPITAL 

Before your first day in the hospital, our team will show you exactly how to get there, and introduce you to the teams you’ll be learning from. The strong relationships we’ve developed with our partner institutions will allow you to see advanced conditions, unfamiliar rehabilitation practises and diverse cultural attitudes towards care. Making sure your placement is consistently meeting your expectations, you’ll notice our in-country teams reviewing your experience in real-time. With physiotherapy placements running from Monday to Friday, your evenings and weekends are free so you can explore the destination you’re in.

physiotherapy electives abroad

DESTINATIONS

Mexico - Merida
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The physiotherapy team in the hospital we’re partnered with attend to a breadth of cases. You’ll see everything from aches and pains to severe burns. You can help to rehabilitate patients with neurological disorders too. Strokes and Bell’s palsy are quite common, as are work-related injuries. The OPD, you’ll see conditions like chronic back pain, Bell’s palsy, facial paralysis, strokes and pain management. You can also get some experience with ultrasound therapy and even hydrotherapy. In another, more modern partner hospital, you can get experience with post-surgical patients and those who need respiratory therapy.

Vietnam - Hue
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Our partner institution in Hue is a university teaching hospital. As such it has a wealth of experience training student physiotherapists. In terms of cases, you’ll help rehabilitate patients with everything from severe burns to paediatric spina bifida. In fact, 15% of Vietnamese people live with a physical disability. Many result from RTAs, some from stunted growth in childhood, even from old civil conflicts. Some of the most interesting insights will come from local staff. Much of the time they have to improvise treatments to get around a lack of modern rehabilitation equipment.

Zambia - Lusaka
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Lusaka offers exceptional opportunities when it comes to physiotherapy placements abroad. In the hospital’s specialised gym, you can help rehabilitate cases of clubfoot, neuro disorders, amputations, burns… the list goes on. The hospital even makes its own molds and prostheses. You can get involved with orthopaedics and respiratory therapies too. In the onsite cancer and diseases hospital, you can help with pain management for cancer patients. But, owing to a lack of education around health, patients often delay treatment until their conditions have become severe.

Cambodia - Phnom Penh
Monk in Angkor Wat Cambodia. Ta Prohm Khmer ancient Buddhist temple in jungle forest
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A physiotherapy elective in Cambodia opens your eyes to how your overseas counterparts cope with heavily limited resources. Using hand-made equipment, you can help treat patients presenting an extraordinary range of conditions, from meningitis to cerebral palsy. The physio department here operates across lots of different wards. The OPD, neurosurgical, cardiothoracics, and surgical ICU included. When it comes to cases, MSK, strokes, cerebral palsy, Guillain Barre, fractures, and burns are all among the common cases. 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

Nepal - Pokhara
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In Pokhara your physiotherapy elective placement takes place in a highly specialised rehabilitation hospital. The institution’s approach is educating patients about their conditions and using treatments improving their quality of life. Spending time with local physiotherapists, you’ll learn how a resource limitations impact the quality of care they’re able to deliver. In terms of cases, you’ll see things like strokes, degenerative disorders, soft tissue injuries, neuromuscular disorders, musculoskeletal conditions, and post-amputation rehabilitation among others. Read stories from those who’ve already travelled with us to Pokhara.

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Sri Lanka - Kandy
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On a physiotherapy elective in Kandy you’ll learn from an amazing team in the local teaching hospital. The hospital promotes patient interaction, so you could also find yourself getting experience with handmade equipment improvised by local staff. Time in the busy outpatient department gives you insight into specific, and often advanced cases. The equipments and treatments are interesting too — short wave diathermy, exercise machines, interferential therapy, infrared lamps,  mechanical traction units (back & neck), wax baths, and ultrasound therapy to name a few. Read stories from those who’ve already travelled with us to Kandy.

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Sri Lanka - Anuradhapura
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On a physiotherapy elective here, you’ll see how limited — often outdated — equipment will present you with new challenges. The hospital’s physiotherapy unit works across neurosurgical and surgical ICU wards too. This gives you plenty of opportunity to broaden your clinical experiences into areas you might not have seen before. Technically under the rheumatology department, the physiotherapy unit here uses exercise machines, interferential therapy, infrared lamps, mechanical traction units, wax baths and more. Read stories from those who’ve already travelled with us to Anuradhapura.

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Tanzania - Dar es Salaam
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On a physiotherapy placement abroad, you’ll be spending time in a department that focuses on orthopedic cases like road accidents, construction and logging injuries, and domestic accidents. The use of dated and sometimes handmade rehabilitation equipment will highlight the lack of resources in the field. Some other cases you could see in our partner hospital in Dar es Salaam include stroke, cerebral palsy, back pain, delayed milestones, neuropathies, nerve injuries, contractures, arthritis, and post eclampsia. Read stories from those who’ve already travelled with us to Dar es Salaam. 

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Nepal - Kathmandu
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Physio is a developing field in Nepal and our Kathmandu programme is great for physiotherapy student placements. You’ll observe practices taking shape into a form physiotherapy unique to the country. On placement you’ll see a range of cases — congenital hemiplegia, myocardial Infarction, down's syndrome, Guillain Barre syndrome, ERB's palsy, muscular dystrophy, encephalitis sequelae, meningitis, and delayed milestones. And you can expect to see how a lack of resources impacts the treatments available for these conditions. Read stories from those who’ve already travelled with us to Kathmandu.

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Philippines - Iloilo
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Physiotherapy placements in our partner hospital allow you to learn from a dedicated department team. You’ll spend time with this team helping patients from the city and surrounding rural areas. You can also help to rehabilitate neuro cases, like patients with cerebral palsy, spinal cord injuries, and traumatic brain surgeries. But there are also conditions you might not have seen — patients with clubfoot and amputees for example. You’ll also see the unique challenges the developing world presents. Many patients don’t follow home treatment plans because they simply can’t afford to take time off work. Read stories from those who’ve already travelled with us to Iloilo.

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Peru - Arequipa
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On your physiotherapy elective in Peru, you’ll begin drawing comparisons between the holistic rehabilitation practised in Peru versus what you're used to at home. Treating patients from the poorer sections of society — many of whom suffer from birth defects and long-untreated conditions — will open your eyes to the unique challenges faced by local staff. Common cases include, Bell’s palsy, post-surgical rehabilitation, chronic back conditions, and pain management. Read stories from those who’ve already travelled with us to Arequipa.

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Ghana - Takoradi
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Undertake your physiotherapy elective in Takoradi, you can help treat post-operative patients, and those with strokes, burns, and Erb’s palsy. You’ll help rehabilitate patients using the department’s gym equipment. Another aspect of care is counselling patients so they can continue their own treatment plans at home. The volume of outpatients here is high, but local specialists do get out into the wards like paediatrics, surgical and OBG. Read stories from those who’ve already travelled with us to Takoradi.

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"I came home realising that despite being overstretched and understaffed, their system works."

Siwan Jones, Cardiff University 2018

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"I was able to experience physiotherapy in a challenging and entirely different environment"

Greg Ireland, Glasgow Caledonian University 2018

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"In some wards there were two patients to a bed. Sometimes there were patients on the floor."

Olivia Ritchie, Glasgow Caledonian University 2018

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"I developed my existing skills, and gained insight into equipment and pathologies I had never even seen before."

Elly Cave, University of Birmingham 2018

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If you’re thinking about going on a placement abroad, I couldn’t recommend it enough!

Ellena Gilson, University of Birmingham 2018

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