I had the wonderful opportunity to travel to Guadalajara, Spain this past winter vacation. Traveling abroad as a pre-med is always difficult, because most study abroad programs do not have classes that pertain to the typical pre-med's classes. However, the Atlantis Project was an opportunity for me to justify traveling abroad by getting the chance to shadow various doctors in multiple specialties. The Atlantis Project also offers programs all throughout the year (Winter, Spring Break, Summer). This is great for someone like me, who has limited availability to take an international trip.
While in Guadalajara, we spent our mornings shadowing physicians of all departments of the hospital. I had the opportunity to shadow in maxillofacial, obstetrics, and general surgery. I was shadowed during multiple surgeries, procedures, and got to see my first natural birth. The physicians at the hospital were so kind and welcoming, even despite the slight language barrier. Most physicians spoke in English with me, and when the physician knew minimal English, I had the chance to practice my Spanish. Our shadowing experience was very well coordinated and helped make our short time in Spain worth-while.
Aside from the numerous hours spent shadowing, I had the chance to experience the culture by exploring the town we were staying in. I met some locals, ate delicious food, and visited some of the most beautiful historical sites. On most nights, the Atlantis Project provided us with dinner at a local restaurant. Each dinner was very well-planned with multiple courses. The food was definitely one of my favorite parts of the trip.
During our program, we also traveled to Toledo, Spain to take a tour of the city. I got to see some of the most beautiful landmarks and try some of the best pastries in Spain. The only thing I would change about my Atlantis Project experience is the length. If I could do it over again, I would have opted for a longer program, because I truly enjoyed it and wanted to spend more time in the beautiful country of Spain. If you are a pre-med student with an interest in traveling while at the same time developing your knowledge about medicine and international healthcare, the Atlantis Project is the program for you!