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Atlantis (Pre-Health Summer)

Why choose Atlantis (Pre-Health Summer)?

As the #1 and largest pre-health study abroad program, Atlantis is dedicated to creating the best healthcare experience for students to stand out in apps and prepare for medical careers.

What’s our program?

-Thousands of alumni over 15 years
-20–200+ hospital shadowing hours
-1–10 weeks over breaks
-Multiple specialties (1/week)
-U.S., Spain, Italy, and more
-Housing, meals, insurance, excursions, etc.
-Potential to earn a cert from Harvard Medical School via an HMX online course
-Alumni have gone on to nearly all top 50 MD programs & DO/PA/Nursing

Atlantis is the global leader in healthcare experiential education for college students. We’ve run programs for 15+ years, and our alumni have gone on to attend almost all med schools in the U.S.:

Med schools want: healthcare exposure, GPA/MCAT, and certain competencies; Atlantis gives students the best version of the 1st, frees them to focus on the 2nd, and cultivates/shows the 3rd to med schools.



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Yes, I recommend this program

Rome, Italy

I really enjoyed this program because of all the opportunities provided. We were able to shadow several departments throughout a two-week period: orthopedics, otolaryngology, and dermatological/regenerative plastic surgery and it was a great way to gain clinical experience and shadow several doctors while being able to travel abroad. We were able to learn so much about the medical field from the hospital and making life-long friends along the way. I think every pre-med or healthcare student should take part in this once in a lifetime experience.

  • Shadowing a variety of specialties and doctors
  • Amazing cultural experience
  • Making life-long friends
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Yes, I recommend this program

One of the best experiences of my undergrad career - Viana do Castelo and Lisbon, Portugal

Shadowing was often 20+ hours per week across a broad range of specialties. My program managers responded very well to feedback and tried their best to get opportunities for us to shadow our top specialties. I was able to shadow specialties including general surgery, ICU, urology, psychiatry, neurosurgery, dermatology, the burn clinic, and pediatric anesthesiology. The physicians explained all of the procedures to us in English and were very welcoming. I discovered my passion for pediatrics through shadowing the pediatric anesthesiologist, and this experience really helped me confirm my desire to pursue a career in medicine.

The program directors were very involved and helpful. Carlos helped us practice our Portuguese whenever we’d order food or coffee and walked us to the hospital each day. He also messaged us throughout the day to make sure our shadowing experiences were going smoothly and always planned fun weekly excursions for us. Mari made me feel so safe and welcomed in Lisbon, giving us recommendations for restaurants to try or cool sites to visit. I even got to go to a few concerts for artists like A$AP Rocky because tickets were so cheap!

Housing was suite-style; I had a roommate who I knew before starting the program for the first half and had a room to myself for the second half. We shared a kitchen, living room, and bathroom and often cooked meals together :)

  • Intensive shadowing across a vast range of specialties
  • Helpful and involved program directors on-site
  • Lasting friendships!
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Yes, I recommend this program

My Atlantis Mantua, Italy EXPERIENCE

I went on an Atlantis Program in July of 2022 to Mantua, Italy for 3 weeks. From the Interview to getting prepped for my trip, to arrival at my apartment, shadowing and the excursions, it was a smooth process. I had the opportunity to shadow in the ER / ICU, Surgery, Immunohematology, Pediatrics, and got a private tour of their EMS system.

I was shadowing on average 5 hours per day, yet in surgery / ICU I got more because there were additional cases / I really wanted the hours. Yes you do have to wake up early, and be punctual for shadowing. I also explored near by cities such as Florence, Venice, Rome, Lake Garda which I made life long friends and experiences.

This program also gave me the realization that I wanted to dive into the business side of which I utilized the hours / experience on my MBA Application. Yes, it is also an investment in ourselves and careers just like any part of the MD / DO / PA / Nursing process. I highly recommend this program if you're looking for an adventure, hours, and friends for a lifetime!

  • Networking
  • Expanding your comfort zone
  • Seeing LOTS of great cases from specialties
  • If you don't like walking a lot
  • Your body adjusting to the food the first 1-2 days
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Yes, I recommend this program

I loved my Atlantis experience!

I attended an Atlantis program in Valladolid, Spain in July of 2019! I absolutely loved the program because I got to travel, meet new people, watch surgeries and consultations, explore multiple cities of Spain and experience the culture, get shadowing hours (which is required by a lot of the grad schools I’m applying to), and so much more! Now, 4 years later I am still benefiting from the program because I get to talk about it in my PA school applications and interviews! I would recommend this program to any pre health student because it’s a great way to get a feel for medicine and different specialties, study abroad, and make great connections!

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Yes, I recommend this program

Shadowing Abroad with Atlantis (Vigo,Spain)

In Summer 2022 I shadowed abroad in Vigo, Spain with Atlantis through the University of Florida and it was incredible ! After my first year of college , I decided that the business field did not capture everything I wanted so in 2020 I made the switch to the pre-med track. With Covid blooming I had a hard time finding shadowing opportunities due to safety and health concerns in hospitals. I resorted to virtual shadowing and learned all I could but I still wanted to have a in-person experience with physicians. My academic advisor brought to me the Atlantis shadow abroad in Spain and I jumped on the opportunity. In this experience I left the country for my first time and submerged myself in the Spanish culture. I always wanted to study abroad but it never worked with my schedule given all my pre-reqs. Atlantis allowed me to scratch that itch and be one-on-one to two-on-one with physicians in Spain. I went for four weeks and shadowed a different specialty every week ( ER, Neurology, ICU, Vascular Surgery) culminating a total of 96 hours. I got to see even more than those 4 specialties because the doctors would invite me to see more operations and consults. My experience opened my eyes to the various healthcare systems and has allowed me to better understand the different ways of approaching health.
I LOVED my location and where I got to live. For my first time out of the country I felt safe and secure Las I explored the city. I got to connect with prehealth students and also network with the physicians I met by getting their emails and keeping up contact. As I apply for medical schools now in the US this experience is consistently one I bring up in explaining my journey and love for medicine. I have grown tremendously in understanding of the duties and responsibility of a doctor because of this experience !


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Alumni Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with verified alumni.

Why did you choose this program?

I chose the Atlantis program because it offered me two things that I was eager to accomplish.

One, it provided me the opportunity to shadow physicians for over 60 hours in a variety of hospital departments. In the U.S., I have had difficulty finding physicians to shadow or hospitals with shadowing programs that give you enough experience in shadowing. I believe shadowing is critical in a pre-med’s decision regarding what type of physician they want to become, and if medicine is truly the best career path for them.

Second, this program offered shadowing in a foreign country in Europe, like Greece, where I went. By shadowing in a healthcare system other than your own, you truly get to experience global medicine. There is so much that cannot be taught about global medicine; what you really need is first-hand experience. There is so much of value to learn from foreign health care systems and I believe my experience will help to make me an even better physician one day.

What did your program provider (or university) assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?

The Atlantis program is great for pre-med students traveling outside of the U.S. for the first time, especially by themselves. The program includes lodging for your entire stay, two group meals (with the other fellows and your site manager) per week, and an excursion to explore parts of the country you are visiting every week.

The program includes shadowing in the hospital for about 5-6 hours, four times a week, and your Site Manager arranges all of that in the hospital so that you get the most of your shadowing every day. The trip also provides travel insurance.

You are responsible for airfare and getting to your place of lodging from the airport. You are also responsible for the rest of your meals (other than breakfast and the two group meals per week). Prior to the start of the program, you must attend three Pre-Departure group calls where your Site Manager and Program Coordinator help you to prepare for your fellowship. With their help, I had no trouble traveling to my program and never once felt unprepared. Having a Site Manager with you during your program is incredibly helpful. As I mentioned already, s/he places you with doctors/hospital departments each day for you to shadow.

They are also there to help you navigate the city that you are staying in so that you are safe and getting the most out of your fellowship.

What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?

Fortunately, Atlantis does a great job preparing you for your fellowship program. Although Atlantis does suggest this, I want to stress the importance of trying to learn some basic proficiency in the language of the country you are visiting. I learned some Greek, but I wish I had learned more. I stress this because it will help you to get more out of your shadowing experience. While it is true that the doctors will speak to you in English, they talk to each other and to their patients in their language (Greek, in my case). It made it difficult to understand the patient-doctor or doctor-doctor dynamic. If you learn enough Greek (or whatever language they speak in the country you are visiting) to follow basic conversations in the hospital and basic medical terminology, that will go a long way in helping you to get the most out of your shadowing experience.

What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?

For my program in Larisa, Greece, I was there for three weeks. The weeks looked like this:

Four days a week (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday), we spent shadowing in the hospital from 8 am - 2 pm. Our group dinners were on Tuesday and Thursday.

On Wednesdays (for the first two weeks), we went on our excursions. For the first excursion, we visited Mt. Olympus, where we hiked a bit through the mountains and then went swimming in a spring/lagoon in the mountain. Then we went to a beach resort where we spent the afternoon and ate at the buffet. The second excursion took us horseback riding in Mount Olympus, then we visited a different beach right off the coast of the mountains and ate there as well. All the rest of the time (afternoons after shadowing and the weekends) we had free to do as we pleased (shopping, exploring the city, going to the beach, etc).

An average day at the hospital looked like this:

We walked 10-15 minutes to the hospital where we would change into scrubs and then meet in a break room with our Site Manager. He would tell us what doctors and departments were available for the day and split us into groups depending on where we wanted to go. Once we finished with that department or if it wasn’t working out for some reason (no patients, doctor didn’t speak English well enough, etc.), we could meet with our Site Manager again where he would assign us to a new department. We shadowed in countless surgeries, in the ER, the ICU, pediatrics, OB/GYN, orthopedics, internal medicine, and urology. At the end of the day (~2 pm), we would change and walk back to the hotel.

Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?

My biggest fear going into the program was getting to my hotel from the airport in a foreign country that speaks a language that I do not know, especially since I was by myself and traveling outside of the US for the first time. My flight landed in Thessaloniki, Greece. I then had to get my luggage and go through customs, buy a city bus ticket that took me from the airport to the bus station. Then I had to buy another bus ticket that took me from Thessaloniki to Larisa where my program was (a 2-hour bus ride).

When I got to the Larisa bus station, I then had to take a taxi to the hotel I was staying at with all my luggage where I finally met my Site Manager. And while yes, it was as frightening and difficult as I thought it would be, I did do it. And so did all the other nine fellows in my program. That is a reflection of my biggest fears for the whole program, doing something unknown, in a foreign language, that made it so I felt like I had little control. But the total immersion really helped me to grow as an individual, and over the three weeks that I was in Greece, I became less frightened and found traveling in this unknown city less difficult.

By the time I left and had to make the same trek back to Thessaloniki to the airport, I felt no fear and I had total control of the situation. Before my fellowship, the thought of traveling overseas, especially by myself, seemed impossible. Now that I’ve done it and know how realistic and plausible it really is, I am eager for my next chance to travel again.

What was the most valuable part of your fellowship in Greece?

There were two aspects of my fellowship that I found to be the most valuable. First, as expected, I learned so much of value while shadowing in the hospital. I got so much more exposure than I could in the US, and the opportunity to experience global medicine first hand was truly invaluable. The 60+ hours I spent in the General Hospital of Larisa will stay with me always and have already helped to shape me into the physician I will someday be.

The other most valuable part of my fellowship was something that I was not expecting. It was the new family I made in Greece. I have made friends for life in the other pre-med fellows in my program. I am still in contact with them even now that I am back home, and we are already planning a reunion since we all come from different parts of the US. We are all a family now, and although we are all at different stages in our pre-med careers, we understand what it’s like for each other in ways that no one else can, and because of that, we became very close. We are a part of each other now, always.

Staff Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with program leaders.

Marissa Jansen

Job Title
Alumni Representative
Marissa is a recent graduate from Clemson University, where she received a BS in Health Science. She will be attending medical school in the fall of 2022 and plans to become a primary care physician with a focus in women's health.
Marissa Jansen standing in a square in Spain with a crowd of people behind her.

What is your favorite travel memory?

My favorite memory with Atlantis was the weekend a few girls from my group and I took a road trip down Italy. Throughout the weekend, we made stops in Verona, Florence, and Jesolo Beach. It was a great way to experience all Italy had to offer. If you ever go to Italy, I recommend getting tuna pizza and gelato in every city you visit! You will not be disappointed.

How have you changed/grown since working for your current company?

Through Atlantis, I have grown significantly. Many professional skills that I thought I developed in undergrad and in previous employment have been refined and improved upon. I am more confident in my own skills and abilities, and take more initiative when it comes to completing new projects. The work I do with Atlantis challenges me, and it is through those challenges that I see myself more resilient and dedicated than ever before.

What is the best story you've heard from a return student?

One of my colleagues who is also an Atlantis alumni told me that he made the decision to travel to Poland strictly off the fact that there would be plenty of sausage to try during his time abroad. It was funny when I first heard it, but now I can truly understand wanting to travel somewhere based on the food.

If you could go on any program that your company offers, which one would you choose and why?

I would choose to go to one of the smaller city programs in Spain, such as Calatayud or Merida. I want to visit Spain because it is a European country I haven't been able to travel to yet. Additionally, when I traveled with Atlantis the first time, I went to a smaller city in Italy. This was by far one of the best decisions I could have ever made. Small cities allow you to get to know the area and everything it has to offer.

What makes your company unique? When were you especially proud of your team?

Our company is unique because we design our programs with the student in mind. The dates, locations, & shadowing opportunities are all created with the intention to make this an impactful experience for those interested in healthcare. I am proud of my team because they always put the student first. We are dedicated to listening to feedback and constantly finding ways to improve the opportunities we have available.

What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?

In order to be a successful company, they cannot lose sight of the goal. This can be difficult at times when a company is under stress or is quickly growing. With Atlantis, our goal is to give pre-health students the experience of a lifetime, and we do that every day. I can confidently say that this is a mission we have never, and do not intend to, lose sight of.

Professional Associations

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