At a glance
- Shadow doctors and nurses at a hospital and learn how to diagnose and treat the illnesses and conditions you’ll see.
- The majority of your day-to-day work will consist of following hospital staff on their rounds, observing what they do.
- You’ll also have the opportunity to do practical outreach work in disadvantaged communities.
18 or over
You need to speak basic Spanish.
Is a medicine internship in Mexico right for me?
If you’re looking to add practical medical experience to your CV, this internship is for you. It’s perfect for medical students and students who haven’t attended university yet.
This project can have an immensely positive impact on your CV. Working in an international environment demonstrates your adaptability, and doing outreach work shows your commitment to helping others. Your internship will also provide useful talking points during interviews.
In addition, getting to spend time in different hospital departments is also great for career exploration. The experience can help you decide on a specialisation. The longer you stay, the more departments you can spend time in, and the more you can learn.
Your role at the hospital is observational. However, if you’re in your third year of medical studies or above, you may be permitted to assist with more practical work. Please note that you will only be allowed to do hands-on work once you’ve proven your capability to staff. You will also work under strict supervision.
Please note that you must speak basic Spanish to join. Although the doctors speak English quite well, most nurses, local students, and patients aren’t as fluent.
This internship is available throughout the year and you can join at any time.
What will I do during this medical internship in Mexico?
There are a range of different tasks you can get involved in to expand your medical knowledge:
- Shadow and observe staff on their daily routines
- Rotate throughout many different departments
- Assist in outreaches to local communities
- Provide basic health care and education at day care centres
Your work will focus on the following areas:
Shadow doctors and nurses on their rounds
You will shadow qualified doctors and nurses in hospitals and clinics, and see what the daily life of a doctor is like. Your observations will be a great way to gain medical work experience while you’re in Mexico.
Although our internship placement facilities are well-equipped by local standards, they might be different to hospitals you’re used to. However, this experience will give you an insight into the healthcare challenges developing countries face. You’ll also see diseases and conditions that you’re only familiar with from textbooks or television. We’ll teach you how to diagnose and treat them.
Observe throughout different departments
Your work is mostly observational. You will rotate through your choice of departments, depending on the length of your stay. We recommend spending at least a week in each department.
Conduct community outreaches
Mexico has a national health insurance programme. Unfortunately, not all communities have regular access to healthcare services. Through our outreach programmes, we provide free basic healthcare in these areas. We also work to raise awareness about important health issues, like diabetes.
These outreaches are normally done once a month at a community centre, but busier months can have up to ten outreaches. You’ll participate and do basic health checks. Your tasks include measuring blood pressure levels, weighing people, and measuring heart rates. You’ll work under supervision and we’ll teach you what you need to know.
Provide basic healthcare and education at day care centres
We also do outreach work at our partner daycare centres. This work focuses on the importance of caring for your teeth, and how good hygiene keeps you healthy. You’ll also do health checks.
What are the types of placements available for this internship?
This internship is ideal if you want to work in various hospital departments and explore different specialisations. You can choose to spend time in some of the following departments:
- Internal medicine
- Plastic surgery
If you’re interested in a specific department, please feel free to contact us and we can help advise you.
Where in Mexico will I work?
All of our medical placements in Mexico are situated in and around the city of Guadalajara.
In our opinion, Guadalajara is one of the most beautiful inland cities in Mexico! The city consists of long, winding cobblestone streets, lush natural surroundings, and a dry tropical climate.
Healthcare facilities in Guadalajara are well-equipped. However, access to quality healthcare remains inconsistent. Despite efforts to improve healthcare for citizens, there are still services limited to people who can afford it.
What is a typical day on this project like?
On a typical work day, your hours will run from 8am - 2pm or 3pm - 8pm. You can also extend these hours if you wish, all you need to do is speak to your supervisor.
You will spend most of your time at the hospital shadowing doctors on their rounds. You’ll observe their interactions with patients, and see how different illnesses or conditions are treated. You’re likely to see diseases that are quite different to those back home. We encourage you to ask questions and take notes as much as possible. The doctors are happy to share their knowledge and advice with you, and will appreciate your interest in their work.
There will also be days when you do outreach work instead of being at the hospital. On these days, you’ll travel with medical staff to different locations in and around Guadalajara.
When you are not clocking in hours at your placement, your evenings and weekends will be free to explore and relax. You can hike the local canyons or wander down to Paseo Chapultepec to experience the unique display of restaurants and shops. You can also sharpen your Spanish skills by chatting with locals during your adventures.
What are the aims and impact of this project?
The aim of this project is to give you the opportunity to expand your medical knowledge and gain insight into a developing country’s healthcare practices.
Inequalities in access to healthcare services in Mexico remains a prevalent issue. Despite an abundance of high-quality medical services and facilities, many people can only afford basic care. A lack of education and prevention campaigns limit the scope and reach of new initiatives. Our outreach programmes aim to provide basic healthcare to some of these vulnerable groups.
We’re also working to raise awareness about some of the more pressing health issues facing the country. Obesity in Mexico has been increasing drastically. This has a serious impact on the overall health of the population, causing high rates of diabetes and hypertension. Part of your work will involve raising awareness about these diseases during campaigns, and promoting healthier lifestyle choices.
We have outlined several goals in our Medicine Management Plan for Mexico. These goals are:
- Encouraging an understanding of medical practices and promote an exchange of
- medical knowledge
- Promoting awareness of non-communicable diseases like diabetes and high blood pressure
- Improving access to basic healthcare for disadvantaged groups
- Improving hygiene standards
Join us on a medical internship in Mexico to kickstart your career in medicine today.
Medical electives for students
This project is also perfect for university medical and healthcare elective students. The real-world insight and knowledge you gain will help shape you as a future medical professional. You will also learn to work with different people and get a broader perspective of global healthcare systems and issues. This benefits your career for years to come. We can organise a placement that meets all of your university's requirements.
We set out the aims and objectives of our projects in documents called Management Plans. We use them to properly plan the work you’ll do. They also help us measure and evaluate our achievements and impact each year.
Ultimately, our Management Plans help us make our projects better. This in turn means you get to be part of something that makes a real impact where it’s needed. Read more about our Management Plans.
Measuring our impact
Our projects work towards clear long-term goals, with specific annual objectives. Every volunteer and intern we send to these projects helps us work towards these goals, no matter how long they spend on our projects.
Every year we take a step back and look at how much progress we've made towards these goals. We put together a Global Impact Report, which documents our achievements. Find out more about the impact our global community of volunteers, interns and staff make, and read the latest report.
Food and accommodation
You'll stay with a host family in Guadalajara. They'll welcome you into their home, eager to share their customs and learn about yours. This is the best way to immerse yourself in the culture of Mexico and have a unique experience.
We'll try to ensure you live with other Projects Abroad volunteers or interns at the same host family. Your room will be modest, but comfortable, clean, and safe.
Your programme fee includes three meals a day. This is great news because nothing beats authentic Mexican food. Get ready to sample the most delicious tacos, enchiladas, and quesadillas.
Find out more about our accommodation.
Leisure activities and free time
With beautiful beaches, arresting art galleries, and buzzing restaurants, there’s something for everyone in Mexico. You’ll have plenty to do during your free time on your project in this dynamic country.
There’s something captivating about touring through old buildings. If you’re into neo-gothic architecture, treat yourself to a trip to the Templo Expiatorio del Santisimo Sacramento. It’s a work of art with its ornate steeples and glowing stained glass windows.
There are also plenty of museums, giving you the chance to immerse yourself in the country’s rich history. For something different, you can spend the day appreciating the wildlife and lush vegetation of Las Peñas Ecological Park.
You can’t take a trip to Mexico without tasting authentic Mexican cuisine. You can spend an evening enjoying pozole or tamales at a local restaurant and watching the vivid orange-red sun melt into the horizon.
We have a host of different projects in Mexico so there’ll likely be lots of other volunteers in the area during your trip. So you can choose to travel and explore in a group or on your own.
Safety and staff support
Your safety and security is our prime concern. We have many procedures and systems to ensure you have the support you need to enjoy your trip with peace of mind. Our Projects Abroad staff are available 24 hours a day to help, and will be on-hand to make sure you settle in well at your accommodation and placement. If you encounter any problems, they will be available to help at any time.
Find out more about safety and backup.
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