Health interns in Ecuador will experience the rich culture and history of the vibrant capital city of Quito, located in the Andes mountain range. Interns will get a view into the day-to-day realities of urban medical settings in Quito with regards to resources, diseases, and access to care.
This program will provide intensive language development opportunities via Spanish immersion and 20 hours of Spanish language classes.
Interns are provided with opportunities to learn about global health while imbedded in the existing health systems and social services sectors alongside local community members and champions. This internship seeks to develop students’ broad-based understanding of the interplays between disease processes, social circumstances, poverty, resiliency, geopolitical realities, historical contexts, culture, and the complexities of health and wellness. Our partner company’s expertise is in “preserving the authenticity of the community’s expertise and presenting ‘real-life’ global health, while nesting programs in gold-standard educational pedagogies and safety standards”.
Thousands of students and medical professionals have taken part in their unique programs, which foster reciprocal partnerships and empowerment in local communities. Internships are open to all students with an interest in health in an international context and is especially ideal for pre-med, pre-nursing, public health, and global health students.
Our partner company in Ecuador is a global health ethics leader; as such, their programs uphold strict standards and comply with all local laws. This program is not an episodic volunteer experience, and is not designed to provide service to those who would otherwise not have healthcare. Therefore, the internship experience will be predominantly observational and interns should be aware that they are not to be providing direct healthcare to patients. The learning objectives for this internship, as outlined by our partner company, are:
This program in Quito provides interns the opportunity to intensively develop their Spanish language skills while deepening their understanding of healthcare delivery in a low-resource, urban setting. Participants will come away from their internship with a greater awareness of the social and economic factors that impact the health of the local population.
Interns will experience various non-profits, public health organizations, and public and private hospitals and clinics around Quito. Typically, interns will begin rotations in non-profit and/or public health sites before moving on to medical rotations for the rest of their internship.
Interns may have the opportunity to observe the following medical specialties: primary care, internal medicine, surgery, maternity, pediatrics, emergency medicine, oncology, and more. Non-profit and public health sites may vary; a common placement is an organization serving children with disabilities, and other examples may include orphanages, public schools, homes for young abused mothers and girls, and food shelters. Interns may also participate in educational outreach related to chronic conditions like hypertension and diabetes, and infectious diseases including dengue, malaria, and tuberculosis.
Activities and Tasks: This is an observation-based experience (see “About the Organization”). Much of interns’ time will be spent shadowing physicians and healthcare providers as they work with patients during routine exams, taking medical histories, and performing procedures and surgeries. Interns will observe patient-physician interactions, and may assist with note-taking as their language skills allow. They may also be asked to assist with fetching and preparing supplies, and may participate in community outreach initiatives. As time and circumstances permit, interns may have the opportunity to ask questions of medical providers and patients.
NOTE: All rotations are subject to change depending on availability and local conditions.
Spanish classes: 20 hours of Spanish language classes are built into this program, and are provided by a local language school. Depending on the number of participants and their language proficiency levels, students may be placed into small groups or one-on-one with a language instructor.
Prior experience in healthcare settings preferred
Basic Spanish skills required. Conversational proficiency recommended.
The internship is organized primarily in English. However, while program staff and some doctors may speak English, most interactions with patients and other staff will take place in local languages. Students are encouraged to build their health and medical terminology.
Interns should be at least 20 years old to participate
Budgeting Note: Estimated costs are based on typical internship-related costs and a modest standard of living. Each intern’s costs will vary based on lifestyle choices (eating out vs. cooking or eating provided meals, taking taxis vs. walking or taking the bus) and recreational spending (travelling on days off, expensive hobbies, etc.).
The Host Site Fees include:
* No visa required for U.S. citizens
** Fees vary based on medical history and insurance coverage
Interns stay with homestay families, located in a middle-class residential area in the north part of town. The homestays are located near one another and the language school, allowing participants to walk many places. Distance to hospitals, clinics, and NGOs will vary. Interns may be placed in a homestay with other participants, but each participant will have their own room. Two meals per day are included, as are laundry services (once a week).
Interns are responsible for their own transportation in the city. Advice and tips on travelling locally will be provided at the welcome orientation.
“Prior to departing, my shadowing and research about medial professions had been inconclusive in regards to my future. I witnessed a lot during my weeks of rotations in the clinics and hospitals and met numerous health professionals in Ecuador. I found these doctors inspiring, especially the female doctors in the women’s clinic I visited. When I was in a clinical setting, my mentor was either a doctor, nurse or anesthesiologist. If I was in the operating room, they would tell me where to stand and explain what they were doing during the procedure. If I was sitting in on consultations, the doctor would sometimes talk to me about how to give an exam, and once the patient left they would go over their chart with me.”
– Ali, University of Oregon
Summer: January 25
- See Qualifications and Requirements section