Peru: Health Care and Traditional Medicine

Peru banner - February 17 to February 25

Applications for this experience are now closed. Check back with us in January 2018 for more opportunities.

The Program

Operation Groundswell’s “Healthcare in Development” program explores Peru’s long history of traditional medicine and more recent transition to “modern” healthcare. From the cobblestone streets of the Incan capital of Cusco to remote farming villages in the surrounding Sacred Valley, we’ll explore traditional Andean ways of life and learn about Peruvian healthcare as it is practiced today. We’ll visit local clinics, dig into sustainable agricultural, taste highland cuisine, interact with traditional medicine, and examine holistic approaches to health and wellness. We’ll work on innovative community initiatives and learn alongside local practitioners.

The immersive classroom will challenge students physically while pushing them to think critically about healthcare and service delivery in a unique cultural landscape. 

Travel alongside other students, a UTM staff member and our partners from Operations Groundswell


  • Visit modern health clinics in Cusco and see how traditional medicinal practices continue to serve marginalized populations in the Sacred Valley.
  • Trek through the Andes to see pre-Incan wall paintings and hidden lakes high up in the mountains!

  • Visit the Pisac ruins, one of the finest remaining Inca archeological sites in Peru with vast agricultural terraces and the largest known Incan cemetery. 


  • Dates: Saturday, February 17 to Sunday, February 25, 2018
  • Estimated Cost: $2900-$3200
  • Other details: For this experience, preference will be given to BIO210Y5Y students

Important Dates

Participants must be available on the dates specified below for the pre departure and post-departure sessions as a requirement of participation in this experience. Plus, participation in the pre-departure sessions and reflection after the experience will get the experience recognized on the Co-Curricular Record!



Monday, September 11 to Monday, October 2

Application Period

November - exact date to be determined

Pre Departure Orientation: Creating Connections

January - exact date to be determined

Pre Departure Session: A World of Opportunity

Monday, January 15, 2018 from 2-4pm DV3130 OR

Wednesday, February 7, 2018 from 1-3pm DV3130

Safety Abroad Mandatory Session at UTM (students can also participate in sessions offered at St George) 

Saturday, February 17 to Sunday, February 25, 2018

Travel Dates

March - exact date to be determined  on a Saturday for approximately 4 hours

Post Trip Session: The good, the bad and the travel bug


Our partners at Operations Groundswell will lead you through a truly immersive 8 day experience filled with planned daily excursions, educational programming and opportunities to interact with the local community. 

Day 1-3

Location: Cusco

Description: We’ll begin our journey in Cusco, the capital of a once mighty empire. There our group will acclimatize to the sights, smells, sounds, smiles and altitude of the region. We’ll hit the city’s cobblestone streets and learn about the country’s colonial history before hiking to the Temple of the Sun and Moon for a glimpse of the valley’s Incan past.

Our mornings will be spent in a cozy guesthouse complete with a cup of coca tea. Then we’ll kickstart our conversation around the world of healthcare with a visit to Peru’s National University of Saint Anthony, tours of local clinics, and talks with innovative local practitioners. Then its time to taste traditional Andean food and hands-on learning about the health benefits of native grains and home-made energy bars. Still got room for dessert? We’ll take a chocolate- making workshop and hear about the healing powers of cacao.

By seeing the frontlines of service delivery, meeting with local businesses that promote healthy living, and engaging with NGO’s that leverage the tourist economy to improve health and wellness, Cusco will help us begin to unpack the idea of “healthcare in development” while students interact with some of the complexities and challenges in Peru posed by geography and inequality. 


Days 3-6

Location: Kausay Punku, Maska


Next, our journey will take us to a family farm in the remote village of Maska, about an hour and a half outside of Cusco. The project, known as Kausay Punku, serves as a conservatory for ancient grains and seeds, a school of traditional organic agricultural practices, and a place of practice for traditional Andean medicine. There, we’ll learn about herbal and homeopathic medicine, natural construction, and traditional farming. Our days will be spent getting our hands dirty harvesting eucalyptus, building with adobe and distilling medicinal plants into pure essential oils. Evenings will be full of traditional cuisine from the sierra and real stories of the Inca. 

Day 6-7

Location: Aguas Calientes & Machu Picchu


In morning, we’ll set off to Aguas Calientes, the roadless outpost nestled just under the South America’s most famous archeological site. From there we’ll ascend the giant stairs that lead to the sun gates and down into the ancient city of Machu Picchu. On its iconic terraces, local guides will share with us the history of this wonder of the world and its continued importance to Peru. While exploring the ruins, we’ll also talk about the conservation efforts underway to protect this UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Before we descend back to Aguas Calientes, we can cap off our visit with an optional hike to the summit of Wayna Picchu for a bird’s eye view of the ancient city from above the clouds. 

Day 7-9

Location: Cusco


A staple of every OG program, disorientation is an opportunity to debrief as a group. So, back in Cusco we’ll get a chance to kickback, relax and reflect on our incredible journey. We’lll fill our bellies with ceviche and tell stories, we’ll sip Pisco sours and share lessons learned, we’ll sit under the stars and think about our impact and how we can do to bring it back home. 

APPLICATIONS FOR THIS EXPERIENCE ARE NOW CLOSED. Check back with us in January 2018 for more opportunities or contact us at should you want more information.

Quote from Hannah who participated in the Peru experience in 2016.