Projects Abroad | Healthcare

Ecuador: Public Health Medical Placement

Tena, Ecuador


Location: Tena, Ecuador

Duration: Minimum 1 month (flexible for min. 2 weeks depending on intern’s qualifications), Maximum 1 year

Start Dates: Project is ongoing, and you can join at any time, depending upon availability

Cost: $450 for the 1st week + $250 for each additional week (2 month minimum is recommended) – see ‘Costs’ tab for further details


  • Medical placement in a health clinic, hospital, or governmental public health assistance organization working alongside local doctors and support staff.
  • Flexible placement, tailored according to your interests and abilities.
  • Opportunity to experience the Ecuadorian health sector and increase your medical speciality skills.
  • Hands-on experience in the medical field along with the opportunity to learn about traditional medicine, plant medicine, herbalism, ethnobotany, agriculture, indigenous rights, women’s empowerment, grant writing, online marketing/media and more.
  • Numerous research & dissertation opportunities available with partner organizations and universities, if requested.
  • Participate in and help develop cultural exchange events including ecotourism, medicinal plant remedy workshop, farm to table Amazonian forest foods meals, and guayusa tea ceremonies.
  • Keywords: medical internship, hospital placement, flexible serious internship, public health, medicine, emergency medicine, traditional healing, indigenous rights agroforestry, biodiversity, sustainable development, research, community development, economic development, climate change, women’s empowerment.
Costs Explained


The Ecuadorian Amazon is home to the most biodiverse ecosystem in the world, as well as over 12 indigenous groups. The region in which interns will work is called the Napo province, centered around the main city of Tena, about 4 hours East of Quito, Ecuador’s capital city. This province has disproportionate access to healthcare and a lack of educational resources for prevention. Our Public Health and Medical interns have the options to support staff at a local hospital, rural health clinic, or a public health organization in the non-profit and/or governmental sector, such as with the Red Cross, a sanitation and water safety organization, or medical brigades. Within all of these is the option to promote health education and learn about traditional medicine practices within a local community.

Because they live with local families, interns forge meaningful connections to the people and plants of the Amazon, gain global health perspectives, and practice their skills alongside experts. In addition to engaging in unique Amazonian activities such as swimming in waterfalls, making chocolate from fresh-picked cacao, and trekking in the virgin rainforest, our immersion program offers the chance to become part of an Ecuadorian family and community, dive deep into language learning (Spanish and Kichwa!), and create your own community-based projects.

This is an opportunity for motivated, enthusiastic, and adventurous interns to immerse themselves in the field of Medicine and Public Health, in the most biodiverse place in the world – the Amazon rainforest. It is a unique opportunity to see and be a part of the changes that are occurring as Western and traditional medicine come together. If desired, you could also participate in research and innovative projects to continue to analyze this union and cultural significance.

We also accept medical/nursing students or healthcare professionals to contribute directly to your chosen specialization. You can get involved in more than one specialty or placement during your internship. We are also able to host academic groups, pre-med students, and individuals.

Daily Life

During your internship, you will first have a 3-day orientation to begin learning about the culture, people, geography, and what it means to be an intern abroad. After this, you’ll spend a couple of weeks being introduced to your placement by shadowing and assisting in different areas that correspond to your internship. This could be rotational learning from the nurses, doctors, pharmacy, dentistry, and community health professionals or you could request to focus on a particular area if available. You will be able to go on medical visits and brigades to local communities and home visits in the region. Lastly, you will be able to create your own community public health talks to give in communities or local schools.

For those looking to learn about the Public Health field outside of a hospital or clinic, there is also the possibility of interning with the local Red Cross, an international humanitarian emergency response organization and the Patronato, a government-funded program that works with the most vulnerable and at-risk groups (elderly and children), and includes doctors, physical therapists, dentists, psychiatrists and more. This program goes on medical brigades and community visits to provide care for people that cannot easily access health centers. They also organize events and workshops to teach community members about public health topics like sexual education and violence prevention. Lastly, there is the option to collaborate with a women’s traditional medicine and birthing center, or do research with a local association of natural healers.

These internships can be customized through our support in order to create an independent project through our network of communities, women’s groups, and shamans (i.e., to research traditional plant medicine and practices).

Book with Confidence

Travel & Accom.

The best airport to fly into is Quito (UIO, Mariscal Sucre International Airport) as it is only 4 hours from the project. You will be put in contact with the director of the program upon applying and they can give easy to follow instructions to get to the project Headquarters from Quito or Guayaquil International airport.

You will stay for the first 3 nights in the town of Tena for orientation (accommodation is provided), and then will spend the rest of their time living with a local host family. This is an amazing opportunity to integrate fully with the local community, culture, and learn Spanish. Host families also provide 3 meals per day, bedding, mosquito net, and a place to do your laundry.

Fundraising Help


We recommend that interns commit to 8 weeks on the ground in Ecuador, have an intermediate level of Spanish proficiency (or a strong motivation to learn quickly before and upon arriving!), and bring knowledge in their area of research if looking to do a personal project. Interns are expected to finance their own travel costs.

For those interns looking to do their own research or fieldwork for university – we offer the knowledge and time of our network, technical knowledge and informational databases, access to communities, NGOs, government agencies, and consultants, and pre- and post-research support.

Further requirements include:

  • Minimum 2 weeks commitment (40 hours/week), recommended 8-12 weeks.
  • Industry professionals, graduate/undergraduate students majoring in pre-medicine, global health, public health, community development, or a related field.
  • Full travel & medical insurance
  • Necessary vaccinations
  • Necessary flights & visas
Premium Support Upgrade


$450 USD for the 1st week, $250 USD* for each week thereafter.

* Currency conversions are approximate. Use for up to date currency conversion rates
** All payments incur a 5% bank transfer fee
*** Places are confirmed with a 1 week deposit.

What’s Included:
  • Accommodation and 3 meals a day with a local Host Family. This includes a private room, shared bathroom, all bedding, and place to do laundry.
  • A pre-departure orientation (general and specific information about Ecuador, logistics and a Skype meeting)
  • 3-day in-country introduction and orientation that addresses risk management, culture shock symptoms and remedies, cross-cultural adaptation skills, intro to history/culture/politics of the Ecuador and the Amazon, team-building amongst interns and staff, setting a vision and goals for your experience, and more;
  • 1:1 coaching/check-ins every 3 weeks to track goals, check in on health, support with challenges, and providing feedback;
  • 24/7 emergency support;
  • Thorough vetted network of doctors, therapists, Spanish tutors, organizations, etc. in the country;
  • Space for learning and reflection with other foreigners having a similar experience;
  • Re-entry training;
  • Alumni group and future references.

Additionally you will need about $15/day for food for the first three days of training. You will also need to pay for your own transportations and any other activities you want to do.

What’s not included:
  • Food during the first 4 days of orientation
  • Transportation from the airport to location is not included
  • Flights, insurance, visas (if applicable) and vaccinations.

Full assistance will be provided in getting all these arranged if you choose our Premium Support.

Premium Support Upgrade

We understand there’s a great deal to plan and organise for your trip. When booking a Placement, many of our participants choose to purchase our Premium Support Upgrade to benefit from the expertise, knowledge and experience of our Project Coordinators. We can provide the personal advice you need to ensure your trip is organised with excellence and planned with efficiency; ensuring the very best experience possible. Read more about how we can help you.

My location
Get Directions

Note: Map coordinates are approximate

Past Participants Say

Anna Blasco
Anna Blasco
Nomad Rating
Project Impact
Extra Activities
"My experience on this project helped me learn how to better communicate with people and sparked an interest to work with communities in a healthcare capacity. Although I’m still unsure of how, it made me want to continue to travel and work in the healthcare field. During this experience I learned a lot about the importance of needs assessment...
Read More