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.
Physiotherapy abroad is very different from what you’re used to at home. You can even learn about practices you’ve never encountered before, like wax baths and electrotherapy.
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.
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 abroad, 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 to visit for your physiotherapy work experience.
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 18,000+ student physiotherapy opportunities and graduate placements 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.
Ghana - Takoradi
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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.
Sri Lanka - Kandy
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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.
Nepal - Kathmandu
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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.
Philippines - Iloilo
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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.
Vietnam - Hue
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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
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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.
Tanzania - Dar es Salaam
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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.
"For anyone thinking about undertaking an overseas placement I would say whether you go alone or with friends, go for it!"
Kim Inott, 2022Read more
"They placed the pads on the patient’s face and sent electric current through to try and reactivate the affected nerves."
Sophia Azzou, King's College London 2021Read more
"I learnt so much both in my practical skills, care and compassion and ability to problem solve."
Chloe Dooley, Cardiff University 2020Read more
"Limited to a gym with little equipment, generating treatment ideas was a challenge."
Emily Moules, Teesside University 2019Read more
"I even observed an open-reduction-internal-fixation surgery."
Alexander Colvin, Glasgow Caledonian University 2019Read 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 kinds of cases will I see on a Work the World physiotherapy placement?
You will see cases like:
- Paediatric spina bifida
- Post-amputation rehabilitation
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.