Medical Electives

Medical Electives Peru is the leading provider of medical electives in South America.  Each month since 2011, we have received final-year medical students looking to gain clinical experience in Peru.  Medicine residents looking to improve communication with Spanish-speaking patients also choose us, especially in the 3rd or 4th year of residency.

We run community health campaigns with local partners and carry out free surgeries with visiting surgical teams.

Taking your elective in Peru is more than just another clinical rotation.  While here, you will learn medical Spanish, participate in community health fairs, and discover Peru!

Ashley (Year 4 medical student from US) speaks about her medical elective experience

Clinical Rotations

We are located in the city of Trujillo, where we work with hospitals of all sizes.  Most medical elective program participants are final-year students and residents.  While our programs are not available to pre-med students, we do accept medical students in earlier years of study.

Some are clear about the specific rotation they want, and others are happy to look at alternatives.  Regardless of your preference, we will develop the best program possible for you.

We always try to meet your clinical rotation preference, whether emergency medicine, primary care, or anything else.

Elective rotations take place at both government hospitals and NGO facilities.  Conditions at the hospitals vary according to the resources available.  You will experience health care in a developing country and conditions you may not see in your home country.

Some, though not all local doctors, speak English.  However, younger Peruvian professionals have taken English as part of their medical degree.

Most clinical rotations take place in the mornings, Monday to Friday, from 8 am to 12 noon.  Our drivers will take you to the hospital each morning and later return you home.

Some rotations, such as emergency medicine, include the opportunity to participate in the occasional night shift.  If you do have any free mornings, you may take extra language classes in the mornings.

Popular hospital rotations

Emergency Medicine


Obstetrics & gynecology

Internal medicine

primary care


Infectious diseases

Medical Spanish Program

Participants taking morning hospital electives also take the afternoon medical Spanish program.

One of the benefits of taking your medical elective in South America is the opportunity to develop your general and medical Spanish skills.  Our medical Spanish program is the best around.  In Trujillo, we have a team of teachers and healthcare professionals providing a CME-accredited medical Spanish program.

Regardless of your current level of Spanish, you will quickly improve while taking 4 hours of Spanish classes each afternoon.  We teach students at all levels.  Teachers rotate each hour to ensure courses are always fun and stimulating.

You also can take the intensive medical Spanish program with an additional 3 hours each morning for the first week or two before beginning the clinical rotation.  This intensive program is a popular way to build your language skills before starting a hospital rotation.

Daily Schedule (Mon - Fri)
Elective Rotation8 am – 12 noon
Medical Spanish Program2 pm – 6 pm

Community Health Fairs

One of the most popular elements of our programs for students and residents taking a medical elective with us is the community health fairs each Friday morning.  You may spend most of a day in a public square or prison, providing free consultations and medicine.   Our health fair partners include local municipalities, schools, the national police, and the prison service.

Each health fair is different.  Conditions are never ideal and are sometimes noisy.  You can expect to see 40 to 80 patients with various complaints.   Local healthcare professionals and language teachers will be there, providing support.

Participating in a health fair is a very intensive but satisfying experience.  The fairs are also a fantastic opportunity to see many patients and apply the Spanish language schools you learn daily here.

Surgical Missions

Each year we partner with visiting surgical teams such as ISHI Global and Go-Med to provide free surgeries for patients with minimal resources.  These missions typically last just a week but require lots of preparation, with a visiting surgical team of 20 to 25 people.  If you are interested in surgery and would like to participate, please contact us for advice about getting involved.

Quality Accommodation

The quality of your accommodation should be an essential consideration when looking at a medical elective abroad.  Trujillo program participants stay with families within 10 minutes of our elective center.  All are professional households who understand the importance of students being comfortable.  The homes have wifi, and all students have private rooms, most with private bathrooms.  Our families’ language immersion supplements the language learned and practiced daily in the classroom and at the hospital.

About 50% of students taking medical electives with us come alone, and 50% with a friend or two.  Our families typically have between two and four program participants.  We are happy to accommodate small groups together.  Our families also have no problem meeting any dietary preferences or need

Learn more about our families.

Medical Electives Flyer


As you can imagine, your days here are pretty full after clinical rotations and medical Spanish programs.  Nevertheless, we include gym membership or salsa classes as part of your elective program.

The gym option is particularly popular as it includes yoga and dance classes and everything you would expect from a large modern gym.  Students often go together at the end of their afternoon medical Spanish classes.

As part of the language classes, we include activities such as making pisco sours, preparing a meal, or bringing a dance teacher to the electives center.

Trujillo & beyond

Peru is one of the most exciting countries on earth to visit.  With the Andes mountains, the Amazon Rain forest, and hundreds of miles of Pacific beaches.  Beyond its amazing geography, it has a rich history dating back thousands of years.  Long before the Spanish were the Incas, and long before them were the Moche and other cultures.

Trujillo is a Spanish colonial city known as the City of Eternal Spring for its great weather.  Full of history with colonial mansions, it is a modern bustling city and the education center of Northern Peru with several prominent universities.  It offers an active nightlife offering clubs, live music, cinema, and theatres.

Close by

Just 20 minutes from Trujillo, you will find the important archaeological sites of Chan Chan and La Huacas Del Sol y De la Luna.  Also nearby is the seaside town of Huanchaco: a surfing resort full of sea fish restaurants—a great place to try Ceviche.

Within 2 hours of Trujillo, you will arrive at the wine-growing region of Cascas, the Andes town of Otuzco, or the longest right-hand wave in the world at Chicama.

Weekend Trips

Every month students take weekend trips together.  Perhaps the most popular weekend trip from Trujillo is to Huaraz, with the highest mountains in Peru and the best trekking.  Another popular destination is Cajamarca, a lovely Andes town full of history.  Mancora is an excellent option for beach lovers, where they can also swim with giant sea turtles.

Of course, Peru is best known for Cusco and Machu Picchu.  Many choose to visit at the end of their elective.  Direct flights are available from Trujillo to Cusco.

Amazon River Elective

Students interested in a diverse elective experience in Peru should consider combining their experience in Trujillo with a 2-week medical ship elective on the Amazon River with our partners at Vine Trust.

Expeditions visit riverside villages, providing free healthcare to those in need.  To learn more about this amazing opportunity, please visit

Please note that only two student places are available on each expedition; therefore, you should book early if interested.

Any Questions?

Please do get in touch if you have any questions about how we can make your medical elective a worthwhile and memorable experience.

Pre-med student electives

Please note that, unfortunately, we do not accept Pre-med students onto the medical elective program or other programs.  Programs are open to medical students and professionals.