Atlantis - Medical Internships Abroad, shadow doctors



Atlantis (formerly known as the Atlantis Project) was founded in 2007, and our mission is to equip future healthcare leaders to pursue their callings passionately. Since then, our programs have expanded to include global hospital partners across Europe and Latin America.

Atlantis is recognized as one of the world’s leading international pre-medical internship programs and maintains close ties with the American Medical Students Association (AMSA), as well as institutional partnerships with the Forum on Education Abroad (FEA). Additionally, Atlantis adheres closely to the American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC) ethics guidelines for international hospital observation.


4301 N Fairfax Dr
Suite #701
Arlington, VA 22203
United States


Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Had a great time, it was overall an awesome trip. The food was great. There were lots of attraction, historical sites, and places to go. The city is right near the water, so there are great views. The weather was also really great, it was hot all the time. people in the city all spoke english and were really friendly. The hospital shadowing aspect of the program was also really cool. The doctors were all friendly and eager to interact with us. We got opportunities to go to different departments of the hospital and observe many types of surgeries. The shadowing wasn't too long either, so once we finished, we were free for the rest of the day. Our site manager was really amazing and very helpful. We went on group excursions twice, which were also cool

What would you improve about this program?
really nothing. I have no complaints about the experience
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

I did a month long fellowship in Coimbra, Portugal this summer and walked away with so many positive memories. I had the chance to see open heart surgery, cataract surgery and many other different kinds of surgeries and consultations. I felt that I saw more than I would ever have the chance to see in the United States without being in medical school. I also walked away with a greater appreciation for traveling the world to learn more about other cultures. I would recommend this fellowship to anyone who wants to learn more about the medical world whether or not medical school is a plan in the future. I personally do not want to go to medical school, but am interested in PT or OT. This experience was so helpful for me to see that everyone has a different path and direction towards their end goal.

What was the most nerve-racking moment and how did you overcome it?
The most nerve-racking thing for me was watching surgery for the first time, but toward the end of the fellowship I preferred to watch surgeries. The staff at the hospital made me feel so comfortable and reminded me that everyone feels nervous their first time in that kind of environment.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Atlantis has been an amazing experience. I went to Valladolid, Spain. I learned so much in my two weeks in Spain with Atlantis and got opportunities I would not have gotten where I am from until later in my schooling. I would really recommend it. The first week went slow because you are getting used to a new city and culture, but when it come to the second week it goes super fast and by the end your sad it went by so fast. I created relationships with people all over the States and even got really close to my doctors. There were sad goodbyes on the last day from everyone, the doctors, fellows, and site manager. I choose to take advantage of my time in Europe and I traveled before my fellowship and I stayed a week after. Would really recommend this experience to perspective medical students.

What was the most nerve-racking moment and how did you overcome it?
The most nerve racking moment was the train stations in Europe. But once you understand them they are a breeze.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Beautiful city, beautiful nature, wonderful food, wonderful hospital staff, the Atlantis program in Ferrol had it all! From the beaches to the forest to the restaurants and to the hospital, there was not one thing flawed! When going to Ferrol do not forget your sun screen, hiking boots, and appetite for sea food. The beach at Doninos was the most beautiful beach I have ever seen. The hike in Las Fragas was extraordinary. The food in Ferrol was so delicious, my favorite by far were the zamburinas at the resturant, La Cantina. Zamburinas can only be found in the coast of north western Spain, the region known as Galcia, which makes the eating of these zamburinas a must for any sea food lover. If I ever get the chance to travel to Spain again, I will most definitely have to stop by Galicia!

What would you improve about this program?
I just wished I had all the knowledge about Spain that I do now so that I could have enjoyed my experience to an extent greater than I could have with out the knowledge.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

I signed up for this program with a little prior shadowing experience and a fuzzy head about what I wanted to do in the future. My past experiences were primarily academic or research based and the little shadowing I did prior had pushed me away from pursuing a career in medicine. This experience completely turned that around. The ability to shadow in numerous departments as well as interact on a more personal level with the hospital staff showed me a different side of medicine and convinced me that working in a hospital is where I want to be. Its a much different experience than you get shadowing in the United States, not only are the health care institutions vastly different but so is the culture. And, on top of all that professional growth, you get to travel around Europe. I made some amazing memories with the most amazing group of girls. It's the perfect mix of work and play.

If you did this all over again, what's one thing you would change?
Honestly, there aren't any negatives or big mistakes from this experience. If I did this all again, I would choose the longer program because that was the hardest part for me. I completely fell in love with the country, its people (and food!!), and I don't think 3 weeks was enough.


Displaying 1 - 6 of 6

Alumni Interviews

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

Christianne Senechal

Christianne earned her B.S. in Biology and intends to go to medical school in the near future. She is always eager to pursue every opportunity to learn and grow as an individual interested in medicine.

Christianne Senechal

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.

More Interviews

Staff Interviews

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

Annie Schools

Job Title
Director of Admissions
Annie Schools

Annie works with a team of Admissions Coordinators who vet, interview and accept students into Atlantis Fellowships: a global program where pre-med/pre-health students shadow doctors internationally.

What is your favorite travel memory?

When I was in college, I took an art history course in Italy. We spent a few weeks traveling to over 10 locations and I really enjoyed the diversity in the places we visited - large historic cities, coastal town, vineyards, ancient ruins. It was also my first international experience and it absolutely lived up to the "hype" of going abroad.

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

Working at Atlantis has been an incredible growth opportunity for me. I've especially learned how to balance priorities and keeping organized. We work with students, universities, doctors, parents and a lot of other stake holders - and I've found it to be incredibly important to keep organized so that our team can be very intentional with every individual we're interacting with.

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

Choosing a "best story" for me would be similar to choosing a favorite child (can't do it!). I will say, the reason I come to work and love my job is by hearing how these Fellowships are absolutely life changing for our students. I have hundreds and hundreds of student quotes I could choose from, but one that recently stood out to me, and I have printed and pinned to my desk is:

"I truly can't express how much my trip to Greece with the Atlantis Fellowship Program has matured and further influenced my passion for medicine in so little time... This trip has opened my eyes to the differences of healthcare, made me more worldly, and showed me what Greek culture is really like. I appreciate Atlantis for continuing my drive of becoming a doctor. I'm walking one more step in the right direction, I think I found my way!"

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

I've had the pleasure of attending a Clinical Fellowship, and I think it's the one I recommend the most highly. The quality shadowing is super high, and students are able to get a real sense of what it means to be a doctor.

I also think the program structure gives students the guidance to really get the most out of their Fellowship, while still providing the flexibility to travel and take in the culture of where ever they are on the evenings or weekends.

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

I think our mission and product is unique - and it's been amazing to see the impact it's had on students. When we began our Fellowships about 10 years ago, our founder had a hunch that there was a real need for pre-med students to gain vocational discernment before applying to medical school.

He also believed that quality shadowing in a number of hospital departments internationally would be a great educational opportunity for students, who often have course work that keeps them from being able to travel abroad during their semesters. Seeing his vision come to fruition season after season has been very rewarding!

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

Knowing your customer. I think companies that try to force "fit" ultimately lose out. It's important for us not only to have a great product/experience for our students, but to also know what other factors they are considering and dealing with as pre-med students.

Along with that, it's incredibly important to ask for feedback and make improvements. That's really the only way to make sure your product is actually staying relevant and useful for your customer.

More Interviews

Professional Associations

The Forum on Education Abroad Logo