Projects Abroad Occupational Therapy Intern works with a child in the Philippines

Occupational Therapy Internship in the Philippines

Gain occupational therapy work experience in the Philippines and help treat patients at a specialist rehabilitation center

At a glance

  • Learn from experienced professionals and help provide specialised treatment to people with disabilities.
  • Spend your time assessing and treating a wide range of conditions, and help patients to improve their motor skills.
  • You’ll also conduct home visits and develop treatment plans that can be applied in a community setting.

Start Dates: 


See Dates

Minimum Duration: 

One Week


18 or over
You should have completed at least six-months of occupational therapy related studies or training.

Is an Occupational Therapy internship in the Philippines right for me?

Are you studying to become an occupational therapist? Or perhaps you’re a recent graduate looking for work experience in this field? If so, then this is the ideal internship for you.

It’s an excellent way to put some of your training into use while learning from skilled local professionals. International work experience will be an asset on your CV, and make your job or university applications stand out.

In order to join this internship, you need to be at least 18 years old. You also need at least six months to one year’s worth of occupational therapy-related studies or training.

The internship is available year-round, from a minimum of one week. Our start and end dates are also flexible, so you can choose a time which suits you. We encourage you to stay for longer, however, so that you can make a greater impact during your time abroad.

Interns are pictured helping a man exercise his shoulder whilst they complete their occupational therapy internship in the Philippines.

What will I do on this project?

This internship offers you the opportunity to get involved in a diverse range of tasks. These include:

  • Assess and treat patients who need occupational therapy
  • Write case notes and reports about patient consultations
  • Exchange knowledge with staff and local occupational therapy students
  • Create home exercise programmes for patients

Your work will focus on the following areas:


Assess and treat patients who need occupational therapy


Your main role on this internship is to assess and treat patients who need occupational therapy. The goal is to improve their motor skills so that they are able to conduct their daily activities and gain more independence. You’ll use various treatment methods, such as hydrotherapy in the ocean, to achieve this.


The patients you encounter will have a range of different conditions, from stroke victims to children with cerebral palsy. Most of your work will be based at a local rehabilitation center. However, you will also be able to conduct house-to-house visits, or treat patients at local community centers.


Write case notes and reports about patient consultations


You’ll need to keep up-to-date case notes, so that future interns and physiotherapists have a record of what has been done. Depending on the length of your stay, you’ll also be to test your knowledge by presenting a case study of your choice during the final week of your internship.


This case study can cover some of your experiences on the internship, or focus on an occupational therapy-related topic of your choice. This allows you to evaluate your work and compile your observations into a report. Your case study is also useful as it helps us to update our patient data in our Global Impact Database, which tracks the progress of patients.


Create home exercise programs for patients


An important part of this project is teaching people exercises that they can do at home to work on their physical skills. You’ll show patients and their families or caregivers different techniques that can be used, and recreational activities that will be beneficial to their recovery. You might have to be quite innovative, as the therapy resources you are used to using may not be available.  


Exchange knowledge with local staff and students


One of the aims of our internships is to encourage the cross-cultural exchange of knowledge. You will be able to share knowledge about different treatment practices with the local staff, and learn from them in turn. Sometimes there may be the opportunity to take part in educational workshops with the staff.


There are also local university students who intern at the rehabilitation center. This is a great opportunity to share your experiences of studying occupational therapy with fellow students. You can also see how the practice differs between your countries.

Where in the Philippines will I work?

San Remigio

You’ll be based in the municipality of San Remigio, located in the north west of the island of Cebu. As an intern, you’ll work at a local rehabilitation center that treats people with disabilities. This center is the first of its kind in San Remigio, and was set up by a Projects Abroad intern. You will also have the opportunity to conduct home visits, or treat patients at nearby community centers. This is the perfect opportunity to gain occupational therapy work experience while you’re in the Philippines.


San Remigio may be small, but it has the longest coastline of any municipality on Cebu Island. It also has all the modern conveniences you might need, including banks, restaurants, and grocery stores. There are also plenty of nearby dive spots, marine sanctuaries, and beach resorts to enjoy in your leisure time.

Airport pickup, flights and visas

When you arrive at your respective airport, a member of Projects Abroad staff will be there to meet you. You can find more detailed information on arrival airports, orientation, and visas on our Philippines Arrival Procedures page.

A typical day at your Occupational Therapy placement in the Philippines

After waking up in the home of your host family, you’ll enjoy a delicious breakfast to fuel you for the day. It’s then time to travel to work via a motorized tricycle, similar to a rickshaw. On your first day, a staff member will accompany you to show you the way.


A typical day at your occupational therapy placement in the Philippines runs from 8:30am until 11am and then again from 1:30pm until 4pm, Monday to Friday. You can travel home for lunch, or bring a packed one with you if your host family is too far away.


You’ll spend your time at the rehabilitation center assessing and treating patients with a range of different conditions. You might find yourself working with a stroke patient, helping them to improve mobility of affected limbs. Or you could engage in play therapy with children who have cerebral palsy, in order to develop their fine motor skills.


On some days, you’ll conduct house-to-house visits instead, and perform the treatments there. Sometimes you will work with patients to teach them exercises they can do at home to maintain their mobility.


Once you’re done for the day, it’s time to sit back and relax. Enjoy your stay in the Philippines, watching the sunset from the beach or enjoying dinner with fellow interns at a local restaurant. We organize regular social events for our interns and volunteers, so you can get to know each other and our local staff.

Projects Abroad intern and child pictured sharing a happy moment during his occupational therapy internship in the Philippines.

What are the aims and impact of this project?

There are two main aims to this project: to provide you with an educational experience while ensuring that people with disabilities receive the specialized treatment that they need.


Many of the interns who join us are looking for practical work experience. We facilitate important cross-cultural exchange, where you have the opportunity to learn from qualified local professionals and share knowledge. You’ll gain invaluable insight into healthcare practices in the Philippines, while learning new skills.


This internship also has an altruistic aspect. Many people with disabilities in the Philippines are unable to receive treatment, due to high costs or a lack of nearby facilities. This is detrimental to their overall wellbeing. It also has a negative impact on children, as many children with disabilities are unable to attend school.


As an intern, you’ll work at a rehabilitation center that provides free occupational therapy services to those who need it. Only with your help, we will be able to increase the center's capacity and treat more people. You’ll work to improve the quality of specialized care for disabled people so that they can lead more independent lives.


Our overall list of medical goals for the Philippines include:


  • Improve the quality of specialized healthcare provided for people with disabilities
  • Promote awareness of non-communicable diseases such as high blood pressure and diabetes
  • Improve the overall quality of healthcare provided
  • Improve hygiene standards


The community center where you’ll work was started by a former Projects Abroad intern, in conjunction with the local municipality. This just goes to show the impact that a single person can make. Imagine how much we can do together! 


Help us achieve these long term goals, as you gain invaluable occupational therapy work experience in the Philippines.

Projects Abroad interns learning about vital signs at a workshop whilst on their occupational therapy internship in the Philippines.

Management plans

We set out the aims and objectives of our projects in documents called Management Plans. We use them to properly plan the work you’ll do. They also help us measure and evaluate our achievements and impact each year.

Ultimately, our Management Plans help us make our projects better. This in turn means you get to be part of something that makes a real impact where it’s needed. Read more about our Management Plans.

Measuring our impact

Our projects work towards clear long-term goals, with specific annual objectives. Every volunteer and intern we send to these projects helps us work towards these goals, no matter how long they spend on our projects.

Every year we take a step back and look at how much progress we've made towards these goals. We put together a Global Impact Report, which documents our achievements. Find out more about the impact our global community of volunteers, interns and staff make, and read the latest report.

Food and accommodation

You'll stay with a host family in Bogo City. They will welcome you into their home, eager to share their customs and have you teach them about your own culture. We believe that this is the best way to immerse yourself in the culture of the Philippines and have a truly unique experience.

We will always try to let you live alongside at least one other Projects Abroad volunteer or intern at the same host family. Your room will be modest, but comfortable, clean, and safe.

Your programme fee includes three meals a day.

Find out more about our accommodation.

Leisure activities and free time

The Philippines is made up of over 7,000 islands, so naturally there are some beautiful beaches where you can relax during your free time. However, there are plenty of other activities to keep you busy during your trip.

With white-sand beaches come all the exciting activities associated with living close to the sea. You can go snorkelling through the pristine waters, play volleyball, or relax on the sand as the sun sets.

In Cebu City itself, you can explore the traditional Carbon Market. For an insight into the country’s history, you can visit Fort San Pedro and Magellan's Cross. Here, you’ll learn more about the Spanish conquest.

The Spanish influence is also felt in the regular fiestas and street parades held in the Philippines. If you volunteer around the end of January, you’ll even get to experience the Sinulog Festival, a nine day Mardi Gras-style party.

With so many volunteers joining us throughout the year, there will likely be other volunteers in the Philippines during your trip. You can connect with them and explore as a group or travel independently if you prefer. 

Safety and staff support

Your safety and security is our prime concern. We have many procedures and systems to ensure you have the support you need to enjoy your trip with peace of mind. Our Projects Abroad staff are available 24 hours a day to help, and will be on hand to make sure you settle in well at your accommodation and placement. If you encounter any problems, they will be available to help at any time.

Find out more about safety and backup.

This placement is fully researched, safety audited, and risk assessed in accordance with the British Standard BS8848 for the Adventure Travel Sector.

When you apply you only pay a $295 deposit, which comes off the total program fees.

Please choose a Duration and Start Date to continue.

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