An Occupational Therapy intern gains work experience by helping treat a disabled child in Cambodia.

Occupational Therapy Internship in Cambodia

Gain practical occupational work experience while working with mentally and physically disabled children

At a glance

  • Learn how to engage, assess, and treat children with varying disabilities.
  • Observe and work with medical staff and caregivers at the centre who will teach you a great deal.
  • Your studies will be put to good use as you create individualised treatment and exercise plans.

Start Dates: 


See Dates

Minimum Duration: 

Two Weeks


16 or over
You should have completed at least one year of occupational therapy studies or training.

Is an Occupational Therapy internship in Cambodia right for me?

Are you working towards a career in occupational therapy? Do you enjoy working with children? Then our Occupational Therapy internship in Cambodia is for you.

You’ll learn practical skills alongside qualified medical staff and caregivers, which you can use this to enhance your studies. This internship adds great value to your CV, and gives you interesting points to talk about in applications and interviews. Your work in Cambodia also demonstrates your commitment to therapy, and your willingness to help those in need.

Our internship is open to occupational therapy students who have completed their first year of study. The project runs all year round, so you can join whenever you want. You can intern for a minimum of two weeks. We strongly recommend staying longer so you can have a bigger impact on the children.

An occupational therapy internship student in Cambodia is pictured playing and engaging with a young child during her work experience with Projects Abroad.

What will I do during my Occupational Therapy internship?

At your Occupational Therapy placement in Cambodia, you’ll work with mentally and physically disabled children at a care centre. Here are some of the tasks you’ll assist with at the centre:

  • Observe the medical staff and caregivers as they work with the disabled children at the centre
  • Care for the disabled children through a range of occupational therapy techniques
  • Update patient files by including your notes and observations
  • Encourage an exchange of medical knowledge between yourself and the staff at the centre

Your work will focus on the following:

Observe the medical staff and carers as they work with the disabled children at the centre

Before starting any form of work, you’ll spend time shadowing and observing the centre staff as they work with the children. You’ll learn how to pick them up, engage with them, and assess and treat them. Each child will be different depending on their disabilities. By observing first, you’ll get to know the children and learn skills that will benefit you in the future.

Care for the disabled children through a range of occupational therapy techniques

After observing, the staff might ask for your assistance with the assessment and treatment of patients. For quick reference on each patient, you can observe the wall which displays all the patients details. This wall has patient cards which detail the progress of each child. It gives staff an idea of the patients’ disabilities and which goals they should work towards. These goals could be anything for each patient such as rolling over, sitting, or standing.

You’ll also assist with the creation and implementation of individualised exercise plans that help strengthen the mobility of each patient. You need to monitor their progress and ensure accurate records are kept.

Update patient files by including your notes and observations

To ensure all staff members and future interns are up-to-date with the progress of each child, you’ll be asked to add information to their patient files. You’ll also need to update the patient cards attached to the wall.

Encourage an exchange of medical knowledge between yourself and the staff at the centre

There is a lot you can learn from the medical staff and caregivers at the centre. However, they can also learn a lot from you. Occupational therapy is not a widely known profession in Cambodia, and the staff will benefit from learning different techniques that you were taught during your studies. You can also help improve the English levels of staff members, which will make it easier to communicate with them.

Where in Cambodia will I be working?

Phnom Penh

You’ll be based in the capital city of Phnom Penh. With its beautiful riverside promenade along the Mekong and Tonle River, and the many historical sites, this city is definitely one tourists can’t get enough of. There are a host of attractions in this ever-modernising city, including the genocide museums, Royal Palace, and markets. The famous Angkor Wat Temples are only a few hours away!

You’ll gain occupational therapy work experience in Cambodia at a centre for mentally and physically disabled infants and children. Many of them were abandoned by their families because they couldn’t afford to care for them. The centre provides the necessary support and care to these children.

Airport pickup, flights and visas

When you arrive at your respective airport, a member of Projects Abroad staff will be there to meet you. You can find more detailed information on arrival airports, orientation, and visas on our Cambodia Arrival Procedures page.

A typical day at your Occupational Therapy placement in Cambodia

You’ll start each day with a Cambodian breakfast of fresh fruit, banana pancakes, and egg fried rice before grabbing a tuk tuk to your placement. Our staff will accompany you on your first day to show you the way, and introduce you to your new colleagues.

A typical day will start at 8am and end at 4pm, Monday to Friday. You’ll get a long break between 11am-1pm where you’ll head back to your shared apartment for lunch. Alternatively, you can pack a lunch, and spend time going over the children’s medical files during your break.

Each morning, you’ll go over the plans for the day with your project supervisor. Your main focus will be to help with the assessment and treatment of patients at the centre. The infants and children have varying degrees of disability. Many of them have been diagnosed with cerebral palsy or autism.

You’ll help with individualised exercise plans, progress monitoring, and updating patient files. You’ll spend an hour with each patient before moving on to the next.

In your free time, you can grab dinner at one of the many restaurants dotting the main street. You can plan weekend trips with the other interns and really make the most of your stay in Cambodia.

A female Projects Abroad intern is seen helping a child eat as part of her occupational therapy internship in Cambodia.

What are the aims and impact of this project?

There are two main aims for our Occupational Therapy internship in Cambodia: to improve your skills, and to provide better quality care and additional support to the infants and children we work with.

You’ll work at a centre for infants and children with mental and physical disabilities. Many of these children were abandoned by their families because they were unable to care for them. The medical staff and caregivers at the centre provide them with care and a safe place to grow up in.

You’ll use your skills and training to support the children, and share knowledge with the local staff. Occupational therapy is not a widely recognised profession in Cambodia so you’ll need to be confident and proactive when working. Supporting local medical staff also means that more children will be able to receive treatment at the same time.

In Cambodia, we’re working toward four long-term goals in our Medicine & Healthcare Management Plan:

  • Improve access to basic healthcare for disadvantaged groups
  • Improve the quality of healthcare provided to patients
  • Encourage an understanding of medical practices and promote an exchange of medical knowledge
  • Improve hygiene standards

Join this internship in Cambodia and help us work towards these goals while improving your occupational therapy skills.

Volunteering for professionals

This project is also perfect for qualified professionals. With your skills backing up our ongoing efforts, we can make an even bigger difference together. We'll match you to the placement where your skills are needed most.

This means you can share your training and and knowledge with others. You can work hand-in-hand with our partner organisations and local communities to support sustainable development.

If you have relevant skills or qualifications, read more about how you can make use of them with Projects Abroad.

Management plans

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 share accommodation with other Projects Abroad volunteers and interns during your stay in Phnom Penh. This is a great way to get to know your fellow volunteers and interns, share experiences, and explore your surroundings in your free time together.

The accommodation is safe, clean, and comfortable. Your programme fees include three meals a day.

Find out more about our accommodation.

Leisure activities and free time

Explore Cambodia and you will be amazed by the juxtaposition of vibrant cities, achingly beautiful scenery, and famous historical landmarks. This country has a lot to offer during your free time.

The world-famous gathering of temples near Siem Reap is a must for all visitors, especially the magnificent Angkor Wat. Climbing over huge tree roots to temple doorways shrouded by vines is guaranteed to bring out the Indiana Jones in you!

However, Cambodia offers far more than ancient temples. You can go trekking in the jungles or try snorkelling and dolphin-spotting in the seas surrounding Sihanoukville. For a more relaxed afternoon, you can spend time on one of the beautiful beaches.

What’s more, with a network of international volunteers in Cambodia with you, you can decide if you want to spend your free time exploring independently or in a group. 

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.

This placement is fully researched, safety audited, and risk assessed in accordance with the British Standard BS8848 for the Adventure Travel Sector

When you apply you only pay £195, which comes off the total price. Flexible payment options, fundraising advice, and scholarships available.

Looking to do more than one project? Get discounted prices when you combine projects or destinations!

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