Is a Physiotherapy internship in the Philippines right for me?
Are you a current physiotherapy student wanting to gain practical work experience? Or are you a recent graduate looking to supplement your CV with work in an international setting?
If you answered yes to any of the above, then this is the ideal internship for you. To join, you do need to be at least 18 years old and have a minimum of six months to one year of physiotherapy studies or training.
Your level of hands-on involvement depends on your level of training and experience. If you don’t have much experience, you’ll shadow a physiotherapist, and learn by observing them. Once you’re more confident, you can do more under supervision. Interns with more training and experience also work under supervision. Your supervisor is a qualified physiotherapist, who is also the director of the community rehabilitation centre where you’ll work.
Since English is one of the official languages of the Philippines, you don’t need to worry about a language barrier. If you do encounter a patient who doesn’t speak English, one of your fellow staff members will be able to translate.
This internship is available year-round, and you can join from two weeks onwards. Your start and end dates are flexible, so you can choose a time that suits your schedule.
What will I do on this internship?
This practical internship offers you a wide-range of activities for a well-rounded experience. We work with stroke victims, people with cerebral palsy and other disabilities, as well as those recovering from accidents. Here are just some of the things you can do at your physiotherapy placement in the Philippines:
- Provide physiotherapy treatments and care to patients with disabilities
- Write case notes and reports about patient consultations
- Exchange knowledge with local staff and students
- Create home exercise programmes for patients
Your work will be split in four main areas:
Provide physiotherapy treatments and care to patients with disabilities
You’ll be based at a community rehabilitation centre, which was set up by Projects Abroad with the local government unit. Your role is to provide physiotherapy treatments to people with disabilities who are unable to afford or access treatment elsewhere
You will also work with patients during house-to-house visits in the local community. The goal is to help people to improve their mobility and overall quality of life. All your work is supervised by a qualified and experienced physiotherapist.
Write case notes and reports about patient consultations
Keeping case notes updated is vital, so that future interns and physiotherapists have a record of what has been done. Depending on how long you stay, you will also test your knowledge by presenting a case study of your choice during the final week of your internship.
The case study can be about some of your experiences on the internship, or focus on a physiotherapy-related topic that interests you. It’s a great way to evaluate your work and compile your observations. It also helps us to update our patient data in our Global Impact Database, which tracks the progress of patients.
Exchange knowledge with local staff and students
Sharing knowledge is greatly beneficial for both parties. Together with local healthcare staff, you’ll swap ideas about treatment methods and practices. It can also force you to be creative, coming up with treatment solutions in a setting that may lack some modern resources.
We have also partnered with a local university. You will intern alongside local students at the rehabilitation centre. This is a great opportunity to share experiences of physiotherapy studies in different countries.
Create home exercise programmes for patients
Home exercise programmes allow people to become more independent in their recovery. You’ll teach patients and their families or caregivers about exercises that they can do at home to improve their mobility. This is a key part of rehabilitation that leads to a faster recovery and better quality of life.
Where in the Philippines will I be working?
You will work in the municipality of San Remigio. It’s located in the far north of Cebu Island, on the west coast. You’ll be placed at a local rehabilitation centre that works with people with disabilities. This centre is the first of its kind in San Remigio, and was set up by a Projects Abroad intern. You’ll often find yourself travelling to homes and community centres in the area to treat patients as well.
San Remigio may be a small town, but it boasts the longest coastline of any municipality on Cebu Island. It has all the conveniences you might need, such as ATMs, grocery stores, and restaurants. There are also plenty of beach resorts, marine sanctuaries, and dive spots to explore in your time off.
You will stay with a host family in Bogo City, which is only 12 km from San Remigio.
A typical day at my physiotherapy placement in the Philippines
After enjoying a hearty breakfast with your host family, you’re ready to start the day. You’ll travel to your placement via a motorised tricycle, similar to a rickshaw. On your first day, our staff will accompany you to show you the way.
On this internship, you will work Monday to Friday. Working hours are from 8:30am until 11am and then again from 1:30pm until 4pm. You’ll travel home for lunch, or bring a packed one with you if your host family is too far away.
You will assess and treat patients at the community centre where this internship is based. No day on this project will be the same, which keeps things interesting. You might be helping someone who’s had a stroke learn to walk again, or work with a disabled child to improve their motor skills.
On other days, you’ll conduct home 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 enjoy life in the Philippines. Share stories about your day with fellow interns and volunteers at a beach side restaurant. Or spend time getting to know your host family over a delicious home-cooked dinner. Don’t forget about our regular socials, a great opportunity to make new friends.
What are the aims and impact of this internship?
The main aim of this project is to equip you with knowledge and practical experience during your time abroad. Many of the interns who join us are looking to gain physiotherapy work experience in the Philippines. You’ll learn from skilled local staff, sharing tips and techniques for true cross-cultural exchange.
Through your work in the Philippines, we also aim to help people with disabilities. Because of financial constraints, many people cannot access the treatment that they need. Sometimes, there are no physiotherapy services located in the area at all.
One of our professional physiotherapy interns pioneered the establishment of the first rehabilitation centre in San Remigio. This was set up by Projects Abroad, in conjunction with the local municipality. Only with your help, we can cater to even more members of the community, and increase the frequency of home visits to more remote patients.
As part of our Medical Management Plan for the Philippines, we aim to improve the quality of specialised care available. You role is to provide vital rehabilitative treatment for people with disabilities, and equip them with the skills necessary to lead a more independent life. This may be done through house visits or physiotherapy sessions at community centres.
We provide training for patients and their families regarding home based exercises. Interns also organise activities for patients that facilitate a smooth return back to school, work or home. Children in particular may be able to overcome some of their mobility issues, allowing them to complete their education.
Apart from providing specialised care for people with disabilities, our other medical goals in the Philippines include:
- Promote awareness of non-communicable diseases such as high blood pressure and diabetes
- Improve the overall quality of healthcare provided
- Improve hygiene standards
Our team in the Philippines has been recognised by the local authorities for the incredible work they do for people with disabilities in the communities around San Remigio. Join us on this physiotherapy internship and make a positive, measurable impact in the lives of those with mobility issues.
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.
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.
Meet the team in the Philippines
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