Projects Abroad | Healthcare

Ecuador: Public Health Medical Placement

Tena, Ecuador


Location: Tena, Ecuador

Duration: Minimum 4 weeks (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: $550 for the 1st week + $400 for each additional week (1 month minimum is recommended) – see ‘Costs’ tab for further details


  • Placement in a health clinic, hospital, or public health organization and work alongside local doctors, nurses, dentists, pharmacists, physiotherapists, and other health professionals
  • Learn about the Ecuadorian healthcare system and practice medical skills
  • Support on-going public health projects about nutrition, hygiene, disease prevention, sexual education, and other topics
  • Hands-on experience in the medical field along with the opportunity to learn about traditional medicine, plant medicine, ethnobotany, agroforestry, indigenous rights, and more
  • Research & dissertation support available with partner organizations and universities, if requested.
  • Keywords: medical internship, hospital placement, public health, medicine, emergency medicine, traditional healing, indigenous rights, agroforestry, biodiversity, sustainable development, research, economic development
Costs Explained


This is an opportunity for motivated, enthusiastic, and adventurous interns to learn about the fields of medicine and public health in the most biodiverse place in the world – the Amazon rainforest. It is a unique opportunity to analyze the relationship between Western and traditional medicine in the local context.

Interns work in the Napo province which has disproportionate access to healthcare and a lack of educational resources for disease prevention. Public health interns have the option to support staff at a local hospital, rural health clinic, or a public health organization in the non-profit and/or governmental sector

We accept medical/nursing students and healthcare professionals looking to get more experience in their fields or specializations. We also accept public and global health students and professionals.

Daily Life

Internships begin with an orientation in the city of Tena. After, interns spend the first few weeks getting to know their host family and internship placements. Depending on the needs of the placement, potential internship activities include:

  • Shadow doctors, nurses, pharmacists, dentists, and other health professionals. Option to focus on a particular area if available.
  • Practice medical skills such as taking vital signs, measuring height and weight, and taking temperatures
  • Assist with medical home visits and brigades in local communities
  • Support on-going public health projects [examples of past interns’ projects include hygiene and nutrition talks with school-age children, interactive health games with children, creating brochures and pamphlets with preventative health information for parents, GIS map of vaccination records, and an inventory of local agricultural products and their nutritional facts]
  • Opportunity to design your own public health project based on immediate needs of the placement organization and supervisor approval
  • Opportunity to learn about traditional medicine by connecting to local healers and plant experts within our network

Interns live with host families, allowing them to forge meaningful connections with locals during their time in the Amazon. Most host families live in rural communities close to the forest, and many have their own agroforestry farms and invite interns to join them when they plant, weed, and harvest.

An average day for a public health interns looks like:

***NOTE: Schedules can differ based on the intern’s placement and projects interns collaborate on. The following sample schedule is based off of past interns’ experiences.***

  • Wake up and have breakfast with host family
  • Head to work around 7:30/8am
  • Arrive to internship at the hospital, health center, or public health organization
  • Head back to host family’s house for an hour lunch break (***OR: When interns are in the field they can buy lunch or bring a packed lunch***)
  • Re-enter the workplace and finish up the day’s activities
  • Return home around 4/5pm for dinner with the family (***We encourage interns to spend as many evenings and weekends as possible with their host families to make the most of their immersions, learn about the culture, and practice their Spanish***)
  • Other activities to get involved in after work and on the weekends: sports, clubs, teaching English, meeting up with other interns, going on weekend trips to nearby tourist destinations, swimming in rivers, rafting, hikes to waterfalls and swimming holes, chocolate-making

Interns need to bring extra spending money for their transportation, meals not eaten with the family, and activities and travel outside of the program. The cost of living and transportation costs are explained in more detail in the intern manual provided to incoming participants to help them calculate how much extra money they should bring.

***NOTE: Specific projects change throughout the year depending on the needs of our partner organizations. The projects interns work on during their internships are based on the organization’s immediate needs and workflow.***

Book with Confidence

Travel & Accom.

The best airport to fly into is Mariscal Sucre International Airport (UIO) in Quito, Ecuador’s capital. Interns need to arrive to Quito no later than the night before their orientation begins. Quito is only 4 hours from Tena, the main city in the Napo Province. On the morning of orientation, a staff member schedules a taxi to pick interns up and bring them to Tena for training; they just have to pay the driver upon arrival.

Interns stay in Tena during orientation, and the cost of the accommodation is provided. The rest of the program is spent living with a local host family. This is an amazing opportunity to immerse in the local community, learn about the culture, and practice Spanish. Host families provide 3 meals per day, bedding, and a place to do laundry.

Fundraising Help


Interns are expected to finance their own travel costs (international and while in Ecuador).

Other requirements include:

  • Minimum 4 weeks commitment, recommended 8-12 weeks (flexibility for a minimum of 2 weeks however this could affect the price).
  • Academic and/or professional experience in the fields of pre-medicine, global health, public health, community development, sociology, anthropology, or a related field
  • Full travel & medical insurance
  • Necessary vaccinations
  • Necessary visa costs
Premium Support Upgrade


$550 USD for the 1st week, $400 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 during orientation
  • Accommodation and 3 meals a day with a host family. Includes a private room, bathroom, all bedding, and place to do laundry
  • Guided pre-departure preparation
  • In-country orientation that addresses risk management, culture shock, cross-cultural adaptation skills, history/culture/politics of Ecuador and the Amazon, team-building, goal-setting, and more
  • 1:1 check-ins every 2 weeks
  • 24/7 emergency support
  • Network of doctors, therapists, and Spanish tutors in-country
  • Access to network of experts and information databases for research support
  • Exit interview and end-of-program reflection
  • Alumni group and future references
What’s not included:
  • Costs of flights and visa
  • Costs of vaccinations
  • $15 per day for food during orientation training
  • Personal transportation
  • Any other activities outside of scheduled program activities (white water rafting, yoga, workshops, guided jungle hikes, etc.)

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.

Tena, Napo, Ecuador

Note: Map coordinates are approximate

Past Participants Say

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...
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