WHAT IS AN OVERSEAS PHYSIOTHERAPY PLACEMENT WITH WORK THE WORLD?

Our physiotherapy placements abroad are a once-in-a-lifetime chance to undertake a clinical placement in a low-resource hospital in the developing world.

You’ll see big differences between the overseas healthcare system and what you’re used to at home. You’ll also learn about practices you’ve never encountered before — wax baths and electrotherapy for example.

You’ll see unfamiliar conditions like spina bifida and clubfoot, learning how limited resources affect the quality of care local staff can provide. You’ll find a lot of rehabilitation equipment is handmade, and ECT is still used extensively in some of our destinations.

physiotherapy electives abroad

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF A PHYSIOTHERAPY PLACEMENT ABROAD?

An overseas placement with us will set you apart from all the other physiotherapy students graduating every year.

On one of our placements you’ll:

  • Expand your clinical knowledge and skill set
  • Sharpen your communication skills
  • Develop your confidence and resourcefulness
  • Build your personal and professional network
  • Become more attractive to employers

Hospital placements run Monday to Friday. That leaves your evenings and weekends totally free to explore whichever destination you’ve chosen visit.

WHO ARE WE?

We're Work the World — The global authority on planning, building and overseeing physiotherapy placements abroad.

Since starting in 2005, we've offered 15,000+ student physiotherapy opportunities overseas to 450+ universities around the world.

We offer a personalised service that includes:

A customised placement in a destination of your choice | Comprehensive pre-trip preparation | 24/7 in-country support | Private, catered accommodation

We operate 365 days a year, so you can arrive in-country on any Sunday you choose. Placement durations start from one week and there’s no maximum.

Click here for a step-by-step guide to how our service works.

AM I ELIGIBLE?

You can go on a physiotherapy placement abroad if:

  • You’re undertaking a physiotherapy degree
  • You’ve recently graduated with physiotherapy degree

WHERE DO I START?

Your first step is to talk to our team. They’ll answer every one of your questions, offering a clearer picture of what you can expect with physiotherapy abroad.

Get in touch using the short enquiry form.

physical therapy electives abroad

DESTINATIONS

Indonesia - Yogyakarta
Find out more

You’ll start comparing healthcare in Yogyakarta with Australia the instant you walk into the hospital. Things are different here in Indonesia — resources and equipment are limited, and you’ll see conditions you’ve only read about. You’ll even see how local physiotherapists use cleverly improvised techniques to help rehabilitate their patients. And while we can’t guarantee you’ll see leprosy rehabilitation, Indonesia has the world’s third highest number of new leprosy cases, so a placement here it’s a good bet.

Mexico - Merida
Find out more

Merida is Mexico’s centre of sophistication. The city is home to beautiful colonial architecture, and broad boulevards punctuated with green plazas. At night, the city is alive with restaurants and bars spilling out into the streets. At weekends, dive in beautiful underwater caves known as ‘cenotes’, unwind on tropical beaches, and visit breathtaking Mayan temple ruins.

 

The hospital we’re partnered with in Merida attends to a variety of cases, ranging from everyday aches, pains and strains to severe burns. Alongside local specialists, you’ll help rehabilitate a breadth of patients with neurological disorders like stroke and Bell’s palsy, patients recovering from surgery, work-related injuries and more. You can now also get experience in a specialist psychiatric hospital so please enquire now for more information.

Vietnam - Hue
Find out more

A vibrant focal point of Southeast Asian culture and backpacker favourite, with bustling markets, lively bars and delicious street food in abundance. Close to tropical beaches, rainforests, and ancient temples and pagodas, you’ll have every chance to indulge your adventurous side.

 

The Rehabilitation Department you’ll be learning in has a wealth of experience training physiotherapists like you, as it’s set in a university teaching hospital. You’ll help to rehabilitate cases from severe burns to paediatric spina bifida caused by Agent Orange that still affects children generations after its use in the Vietnam War. You’ll also gain insight into how local staff improvise to get around a lack of modern rehabilitation equipment.

Zambia - Lusaka
Find out more

Lusaka is the beating heart of Zambia. From here you can visit up to 20 game parks to see rhino, lions, elephants and cheetah. You might even spot hippos wading through the beautiful Zambezi River while canoeing along the shore. You can also the rich local cultures and traditions so ingrained in Zambian tribal culture.

 

You'll witness repeat patients in clubfoot clinics, patients with neuro disorders, amputees, burns patients, in the hospital’s specialised gym, and even seeing how the hospital makes its own molds and prostheses. Opportunities to get involved with orthopaedics and respiratory therapy also exist.

Cambodia - Phnom Penh
Famous Angkor Wat temple complex in sunset, near Siem Reap, Cambodia.Panoramic view.
Find out more

Sprawling out from the mighty Mekong river, Cambodia’s ancient capital is an eclectic jumble of contrasts, where marketplaces laden with branded goods sit beside sacred Buddhist temples.Sample mouthwatering traditional street food, discover the city's vibrant nightlife, boat to rural rice paddies, or head to the famous crystal waters of the coast.

 

A Physiotherapy Placement here will highlight how your overseas peers combat limited resources on a daily basis. Using hand-made equipment, you could assist the treatment of patients presenting a range of conditions from meningitis to cerebral palsy. Read stories from those who’ve already travelled with us to Phnom Penh.

Famous Angkor Wat temple complex in sunset, near Siem Reap, Cambodia.Panoramic view.

Nepal - Pokhara
POKHARA MAIN IMAGE
Find out more

Pokhara is a relaxed and welcoming city nestled in the dense green foothills of the Himalayas. Trek your way through the Annapurna mountains, seek out the city's ornate temples, or paraglide high above the still waters of Phewa lake.

 

On your Physiotherapy Placement you’ll spend time in a specialist rehabilitation hospital, which is well-equipped by Nepalese standards. Be proactive and you'll assist, under supervison, with cases of soft tissue injury, stroke rehabilitation, and neuromuscular disorders. Read stories from those who've already travelled with us to Pokhara.

POKHARA MAIN IMAGE

Nepal - Kathmandu
KATHMANDU MAIN IMAGE
Find out more

Kathmandu has an ancient history than spans back thousands of years, influencing everything from architecture to food. Modernity has also made its way in; motorbikes speed down winding streets, monks check their mobile phones, and market stalls sell traditional food alongside more familiar Western dishes.

 

Physiotherapy is an evolving practice in Nepal; you’ll observe the discipline coming into its own on your placement. Cerebral palsy, stroke, and burns are all common cases in this developing department. Read stories from those who've already travelled with us to Kathmandu.

KATHMANDU MAIN IMAGE

Philippines - Iloilo
ILOILO MAIN IMAGE
Find out more

Iloilo sits on the coast of a tropical island and is surrounded by awe-inspiring natural beauty, with white sand beaches, jungles, and palm-trees aplenty. The city itself is a modernising cultural hub with restaurants, bars, seafront cafes, and a budding art scene.

 

A Physiotherapy Placement here will see you in a department that caters for the city and its surrounding villages. Cerebral palsy, traumatic brain surgery, amputees, and spinal cord injury are all examples of common rehabilitation cases here. Read stories from those who’ve already travelled with us to Iloilo.

ILOILO MAIN IMAGE

Tanzania - Dar es Salaam
DAR ES SALAAM MAIN IMAGE
Find out more

Dar es Salaam might be one of Tanzania’s largest and busiest cities, but it’s also surrounded by wild game parks, mountains, and jungles, boasting a plethora of natural beauty to be discovered. Go on safari, or take a short boat trip to the paradise island of Zanzibar.

 

Clinically speaking, you’ll be assisting in a department that centres on orthopaedic cases like those that result from road traffic accidents, and construction and logging. The use of dated and often handmade machinery will highlight the lack of resources in this developing area of healthcare. Read stories from those who’ve already travelled with us to Dar es Salaam.

DAR ES SALAAM MAIN IMAGE

Sri Lanka - Kandy
KANDY MAIN IMAGE
Find out more

Kandy is a melting-pot of historical culture, time-worn temples, bars, restaurants, and markets. It also boasts jungle safaris, lush tea plantations, and opportunities to go whitewater rafting and temple trekking.

 

On a Physiotherapy Placement here, you'll spend time in a teaching hospital that actively promotes interaction with patients. This means gaining experience with  handmade equipment and assisting in the rehabilitation of stroke, MSK and burns patients. What’s more, the busy Outpatient Department will provide insight into more advanced cases common in Sri Lanka. Read stories from those who've already travelled with us to Kandy.

KANDY MAIN IMAGE

Ghana - Takoradi
TAKORADI MAIN IMAGE
Find out more

Takoradi is a lively city with a typically African atmosphere. Located on Africa’s West coast, the region is a centre of historical, as well as natural, attraction. See ageing forts stretch along the golden coastline, swim in cascading waterfalls, and sip cocktails by the port at sunset. Further afield you’ll find waterfalls, safari parks, and rural villages.

 

Bring a confident attitude to your placement and you'll get actively involved in the rehabilitation of regular patients, witnessing cases requiring post-op rehabilitation, as well as strokes, burns and Erb’s Palsy. Read stories from those who’ve already travelled with us to Takoradi.

TAKORADI MAIN IMAGE

"It’s so hard to pick one thing that will stick with me forever. I just absolutely fell in love with the Zambian people and culture, the hospital routine and the adventurous weekends."

Candice Tucker, Monash University 2020

Read more

"I ended up having the time of my life. Everything about the program was incredible"

Dion Kapnias, La Trobe University 2020

Read more

"I learnt so much both in my practical skills, care and compassion and ability to problem solve."

Chloe Dooley, Cardiff University 2020

Read more

"I observed a variety of neurological rehab cases that were all memorable for different reasons."

Bethan Wesley, Cardiff University 2020

Read more

"Limited to a gym with little equipment, generating treatment ideas was a challenge."

Emily Moules, Teesside University 2019

Read more

What do our physiotherapy placements offer?

A Work the World physiotherapy placement gives you the chance to undertake a clinical placement in the developing world. You will spend time in a low-resource hospital and see unfamiliar practices and advanced conditions. You can even choose the departments you want to rotate through. Learn more here.

What are the benefits of a Work the World physiotherapy placement?

The benefits of our physiotherapy placements include:

  • Expanding your clinical knowledge and skill set
  • Becoming more confident, independent and resourceful
  • Making yourself more attractive to employers
  • Doing some proper travelling
  • Building your personal and professional network
  • Sharpening your language and communication skills
  • Renewing your perspective on care back home

How can I raise funds for my physiotherapy placement?

It’s easier than ever to get the funds together for your overseas physiotherapy placement. You can take advantage of government programs like OS-HELP, you can take the initiative by starting your own online fundraising page, and you can apply for a huge number of grants and bursaries to help you along the way. Learn how easy it is to raise as much as you need.

What countries can I travel to on a Work the World physiotherapy placement?

Work the World organise physiotherapy placements in Africa, Asia or Latin America, with placements in 10 different countries: 1. Tanzania 2. Zambia  3. Vietnam 4. Cambodia  5. Indonesia 6. Mexico 7. Ghana 8. The Philippines 9. Nepal 10. Sri Lanka.

What kinds of cases will I see on a Work the World physiotherapy placement?

You will see cases like:

  • Clubfoot
  • Hydrocephalus
  • Paediatric spina bifida
  • Post-amputation rehabilitation
  • Post-eclampsia

How long is a Work the World physiotherapy placement?

A physiotherapy placement is as long as you want it to be. Our minimum placement duration is one week, but students typically travel on their physiotherapy placement for 4 weeks. There is no upper limit to how long you can travel for.