This post was most recently updated on June 5th, 2019

A residency rotation in Peru

Each year more medical residents in their 3rd or 4th year choose to take an elective rotation in South America and in particular Peru.  We offer a complete global health rotation.  The program includes clinical rotations, a CME accredited medical Spanish program and weekly community health fairs in underserved areas.

Each residency program in the US has its policy regarding international elective rotations.  Some actively promote electives abroad while others prohibit international rotations. However, an increasing number of programs want their residents to have the opportunity to experience health care abroad and develop medical Spanish skills.

Experiencing health care in a developing country is an opportunity for residents to see different pathologies and to work with fewer resources. There are many opportunities in Global Health However, few will enable you to develop and language skills to use throughout your career

An elective rotation in Peru is also the chance to see at least a little of this amazing country and its places of interest.


Hospital Rotations

The Medical Elective Network is based in the colonial city of Trujillo, where we work with many hospitals.  These include large teaching hospitals and smaller community hospitals.   The most popular rotations for our resident participants are Emergency Medicine,  Ob/Gyn, Internal Medicine and Family Medicine.  However, all main specialties are available.  In most departments, you will find that some local professionals and students have English though many do not.

Clinical rotations typically take place in the mornings.  However, some include the option of the occasional night shift or afternoon.  If you have a free morning, you can attend extra language classes.

You will rotate in a facility of one of the two Peruvian government health care systems, Es Salud and MINSA.  As well as working with these state systems, The Medical Elective Network also partners with NGO health facilities working with patients with few resources. 

Communicate with Spanish speaking patients

The Medical Elective Network programs are designed around the development of medical Spanish. Residents choosing to take electives with us are primarily motivated by our medical Spanish immersion program.  The ability to communicate with Spanish speaking patients is a real benefit to residents working in many hospitals in the US. Where 45 million speak Spanish as a first or second language.

Our medical Spanish program takes place each afternoon for 4 hours per day.  We have a team of language teachers and physicians providing classes covering Conversation, Grammar, Vocabulary and Pure Medical Spanish.  The courses are intensive and comprehensive. The program does not merely offer medical vocabulary and phrases. Instead, it is designed to enable students to communicate in Spanish in both health care environments and beyond.

Most residents taking our language program have come across Spanish speaking patients while at work.  Many see patients every day. However, the residents themselves arrive with a wide range of Spanish language experience.  Some come as complete Spanish beginners and others more advanced.  Our team of teachers will place you in the most appropriate class for your level.

Spanish beginner and intermediate speakers have the option of a further 3 hours each morning, to help speed language development. Many choose this option for a week or so before taking a hospital rotation.  Others decide to take this 7-hour intensive language program instead of taking a hospital rotation.

Accredited medical Spanish

The has a huge 108.25 CME credits with the American Academy of Family Physicians, reflecting the quality of the programs we offer.  This includes credits for both clinical rotation and medical Spanish

Living with a Peruvian Family

A residency rotation in Peru is enriched by staying with a local family.  Our homestay families provide both language and cultural immersion.  We work with a small number of families all just a few minutes’ walk from our center.  They are professional households with comfortable homes.  All have Wi-Fi,  and private rooms for program participants, many with private bathrooms.   More importantly, our families are interested in our participants and offer the immersion that adds to the student’s language learning and overall experience.  We also welcome partners and spouses.

Health care Campaigns

One aspect of our programs that residents particularly enjoy is the Community Health Fairs.  These take place a few times each month with local partners such as municipal authorities and the National Police.   For residents, the health fairs are an ideal opportunity to put their medical experience and to develop language skills into practice. Typically, you and other participants will see 60 to100 patients with a variety of conditions.  At these health fairs, we provide free consultations and medicine.

Most health fairs take place in municipal facilities or central squares.  Here the client group are mainly women and children. However, we also carry out health fairs at the local prison which house both male and female patients.

Residents can see their patients with the support of language support and local doctors.  Local doctors write any required prescriptions for patients



Family Medicine

Discover Peru

Of course, depending on what time you have available, a residency rotation in Peru would not be complete without seeing at least some of what this beautiful and fascinating country offers.

Our home, Trujillo, is a modern city but also Spanish colonial city with mansions and churches dotted around the historic center.  Within 20 minutes of the city center are the seaside town and surfers paradise Huanchaco and the fascinating archaeological sites of Chan Chan and La Huacas del Sol y la Luna.

Within 2 hours are the wine growing region of Cascas and the Andes town of Otuzco, with fantastic views along the way.

Most program participants choose to use at least one weekend to travel.  The most popular destination being the mountains around the Huaraz area.  These are the highest mountains in Peru with fantastic trekking.  The most popular trek being Laguna 69 which is a 4-hour trek up to 15,000ft.  At the top, you will find the amazing blue lake with the backdrop of a glacier.

Another weekend trip option is the historic Andes town of Cajamarca, where the Spanish killed the last Inca emperor in 1533.

North of Trujillo is the coastal destination, Mancora, with miles of great beaches and the opportunity to swim with giant sea turtles.

Of course, the most famous destination in Peru is the incredible Machu Picchu and the nearest city, Cusco.  Direct flights to Cusco are available from Trujillo for those looking to go over a long weekend, though most program participants choose to go at the end of their program.

You should also consider Chachapoyas and Kuelap thought by many to be the new Machu Picchu, but with only 1% of the tourist of Cusco. Take a look at this youtube video to see if it is worth the trip.

Residency Rotation in Peru

For a resident looking for a rotation abroad, Peru is a great option to consider.  Whether you are on a global health track or not, here you will experience health care, typically with fewer resources than at home, and probably see conditions in later stages than you have seen at home.  Perhaps more importantly, you can quickly improve and develop your medical Spanish language skills, and apply this as soon face your next Spanish speaking patient at home.

To learn more about a global health residency rotation in Peru for you, please contact 

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