Pre-med internships are among the best and most crucial steps into a medical career. By completing a pre-med internship, you can gain real-life experience and learn valuable skills that will help you succeed in medical school and beyond.
Thanks to globalization, international pre-med internship opportunities are increasing. Students can bolster their interest in the medical field while immersing themselves in other cultures.
Peru has a diverse geography and healthcare system that make it an enriching learning ground for pre-med interns. Interns can gain exposure to a diverse range of medical challenges, including tropical diseases not commonly found in Western countries. This can give them a broader perspective on service delivery in resource-scant areas and the impact of healthcare disparities.
Despite their share of challenges, however, the country offers a variety of exciting activities. Here’s a quick look into some of the best things to do when interning in Peru.
1. Hike the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu
Hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is one of the must-dos in Peru. One of the Seven Wonders of the World, Machu Picchu is a majestic fortress famous for its unabashed display of Incan ingenuity. To get there, most visitors traverse the Inca Trail, another one of Peru’s gems lush with scenic wonders.
When embarking on the Inca Trail, you’ll come across the ruins of the Chachabamba Citadel, believed to have been erected either as a military fort or as a religious center.
You’ll also come across the Wiñay Wayna ruins. The trail’s largest site, Wiñay Wayna features an array of ritual baths, intricate buildings, and grand terraces.
These sites and the ruins of the Intipunku, Llatapata, and Sayacmarca Villages, among other spectacles, make the Inca Trail a must-see while pursuing pre-med programs in Peru.
2. Visit the Machu Picchu Citadel
Machu Picchu is a testament to how advanced the Inca architecture was. The city has been carved into rock escarpments to accommodate gigantic terraces, ramps, and walls.
Why Machu Picchu was built, however, remains a mystery. One theory is that it was created by the Incan emperor Pachacutec as a place of retreat, particularly to hunt and relax with friends. Another theory is that it was built to honor the ‘sacred landscape’ skirting the citadel.
The Incas believed that the surrounding Urubamba River mirrored the Milky Way. Furthermore, many locations in the citadel link up with the sun’s rising and setting during solstices and equinoxes. For these reasons, Machu Picchu held a high spiritual significance to the Incas.
3. Experience the Sacred Valley Tour
The Sacred Valley (El Valle Sagrado), located about 15 kilometers north of Cusco, offers a window into the ancient civilization of the Incas. First, the valley has an undeniable allure with its snow-capped mountains, fertile lands, and lagoons. Second, several citadels nestle in the valley. The Pisac Citadel is famous for its craft centers, temples, and royal enclosures, while the Chinchero Citadel is renowned for its Andean textiles.
These sites and other Incan ruins that dot the Sacred Valley influence the locals’ way of life. They still use many of the same agricultural techniques that the Incas used, as much as they incorporate Incan symbols and motifs into their art and architecture.
4. Trek to Rainbow Mountain
Rainbow Mountain, or Vinicunca, is also one of the most recommended places to visit in Peru. This mountain has a unique layer of colors, such as scarlet and turquoise, giving it a striking appearance resembling a rainbow.
Rainbow Mountain is about a two-hour drive from Cusco through a guided tour. The hike from the mountain base to the summit can take about three hours, as it’s mostly flat except for the final ascent. Moreover, locals keep llamas and alpacas, and you can see them along the hiking trail. The scene gets even better at the top because you get to see the full expanse of Rainbow Mountain.
You may want to extend your hike to the neighboring Red Valley or the beautiful escarpments around the mountain. These spots are also excellent for photo shoots.
With its rich history and culture, Peru is a beautiful place to live in and fortify your pre-med credentials. The country flaunts several geographical and architectural wonders, such as Machu Picchu, Rainbow Mountain, and the Sacred Valley—an enchanting ensemble more than enough to help you keep a work-life balance.
So, when you’re ready to tackle the country’s unique medical and health challenges, ensure you also plan to unwind by trying out the activities above.