a Healthcare Rotations and Intensive Spanish | IE3 Global
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Healthcare Rotations and Intensive Spanish | Quito, Ecuador

More photos from this internship can be found here.

Interns will complete medical rotations in a wide variety of healthcare facilities while taking intensive Spanish classes, all within the vibrant capital city of Quito.  Located in the Andes mountain range and nestled among peaks and volcanoes, Quito is located at over 9,000 feet above sea level.  A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Quito is a city rich in culture and history, with dancing, dining, numerous museums and historical sites, and a colonial historic district.

Interns in Quito complete rotations in a variety of clinical, hospital, and non-profit care facilities, gaining perspective on the day-to-day realities of resources, diseases, and access to care in an urban Ecuadorian setting. Examples of possible clinical rotations may include: ob/gyn, pediatrics, surgery, emergency medicine, oncology, neurology, anesthesiology, primary care, and more.  Interns will also do rotations in non-profit/NGO facilities, such as an organization that supports children with disabilities.

This program will provide intensive language development opportunities via Spanish immersion and 100 hours of Spanish language classes.

Duration of Internship:

  • 10 weeks

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:

  • Develop a larger sense of cultural competency
  • Observe and develop existing clinical skills
  • Broaden public health knowledge
  • Develop creativity in problem-solving
  • Deepen their commitment to service
  • Promote medical supply conservation

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 a wide-range of non-profits, public health organizations, and public and private hospitals and clinics around Quito.  Typically, interns will begin their internship in non-profit and/or public health sites for the first week or two, before moving on to medical rotations for the majority 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. Clinical placements depend upon availability and local realities. Interns also have the opportunity to appropriately and ethically support ongoing program operations and health and social sector NGOs, these may include an organization serving children with disabilities or community outreach projects.

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:  100 hours of Spanish language classes are built into this program, and are provided by a local language school.  Class sizes vary depending on the number of participants and their language proficiency levels, and are generally conducted in small groups.

Academic Background:

  • Pre-Med, Pre-Nursing, Pre-Pharmacy, Public Health, and other Pre-health majors


  • Prior experience in healthcare settings preferred

Language Requirements:

  • 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.

Other Requirements

  • Interns should be at least 20 years old to participate.

Estimated One-Time Expenses

  • IE3 Program Fee: $3,450
  • Host Site Fees (see details below): $7,545
  • International Travel: $1,300
  • Recommended Immunizations: $500-700**
  • Visa Fees: $0*

* No visa required for U.S. citizens

* *Fees vary based on medical history and insurance coverage

Estimated Monthly Expenses

  • Housing:
    • Covered in host site fees
  • Food: $100 for some meals
  • Local Transportation: $50
  • Personal/recreation: $250

*Fee amounts are calculated with an exchange rate from LOCAL CURRENCY at the time of posting.

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.).

Additional Expense Information

The Host Site Fees include:

  • Airport pick-up upon arrival and transportation with a local representative to your program lodging
  • Welcome orientation 1-2 days after arrival covering safety, transportation, and other logistics
  • Spanish Classes: 20 hours/month of Spanish classes, including medical Spanish instruction and cultural activities
  • Local Team that provides instruction, logistical support, and 24/7 emergency response
  • Meetings and lectures on local healthcare system, socio-economic determinants of health and current cultural/historical topics.
  • Placement and coordination of clinical and any public health activities (if relevant)
  • Accommodation and two meals per day
  • Local cell phone or support obtaining a local SIM card


Host/Partner Housing

Program participants will find their home away from home in carefully selected homestays, screened by CFHI Local Coordinators in Quito and following CFHI’s health and safety guidelines. Nestled within Northern Quito, these homestays offer the perfect blend of comfort and authenticity, situated in middle-class neighborhoods with excellent access to the language school, public transportation, shops, restaurants, and cafes. In some cases, CFHI scholars share a house or a room in the same homestay with fellow program participants.

Interns are responsible for their own transportation in the city. Advice and tips on travelling locally will be provided at the welcome orientation.

Independent Housing

Interns may arrange their own housing if they do not choose host/partner housing.

Check out pictures from this internship.


Fall | Winter | Spring | Summer

Application Deadline

Summer: January 25
Fall: April 15
Winter: September 1
Spring: November 15

Basic Requirements

-See Qualifications and Requirements section