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Atlantis student in a hospital.
Atlantis student in a hospital (Genoa, Italy, 2019).

Shadowing, Applying to Med/PA School, Study Abroad

One Pre-Med’s Review of Atlantis

Anne Marie profile

About Anne Marie

Anne Marie Conrad is a 2021 graduate of Purdue University’s College of Liberal Arts with degrees in Global Studies and Spanish along with a certificate in Medical Humanities. She has explored her passion for global healthcare by doing undergraduate research on best practices for provision of healthcare across language and cultural barriers. Anne Marie was an Atlantis Fellow to Valladolid, Spain during the Summer of 2019.

As a pre-med student, there are so many opportunities you can take to get different clinical experiences and other forms of exposure to the healthcare field. Shadowing is almost a given requirement when applying to medical school. It’s not something to just be checked off of a list but something for you, as a pre-med student, to experience in order to ensure that a career in healthcare is truly something you’re interested in and something that will be a good fit for you. 

Even among shadowing opportunities, there are many differences. My favorite clinical experience I’ve been involved in was my time in the Atlantis 360 shadowing program during the summer of 2019 after my sophomore year at Purdue University. I talked with many of my pre-med peers and friends about their clinical experiences, and I’ve compared my Atlantis program to my own other clinical experiences. I’ve put together a list of factors that I think sets Atlantis apart from other clinical experiences.

Being abroad

It was a no-brainer for me. If I were to have any other clinical experience, it would likely be in a local hospital or private practice. While that clinical experience would undoubtedly be valuable if I had the opportunity to gain equally, if not more valuable, clinical experience in a situation where I could also be abroad, there was no question for me that Atlantis was a better fit. As a pre-med student your time is precious. With so many academic and extracurricular prerequisites, it’s important to first discern your priorities and second take part in activities that ideally overlap several of your priorities. One of my top priorities going into undergrad was being able to study abroad. I wanted the chance to travel, an experience that would allow me to challenge myself in an unfamiliar environment and broaden my worldview, and to meet people who’d been socialized in a different cultural environment than mine. As a Global Studies and Spanish major on a pre-medical track, I plan to practice medicine abroad, living and working in a variety of cultures. I believed that time as a student abroad would be a great experience for me in adjusting to institutions and social structures in a country other than my own.

Multiple specialties

Another one of Atlantis’s standout factors for me was the opportunity they allow their participants to shadow in multiple specialties. If I were to have sought out analogous shadowing opportunities on my own I would have likely had to be in contact with four different facilities; I definitely would have had to be in contact with different physicians. I would have had to do all of the scheduling and legwork on my own, and I more than likely would have faced several rejections before being able to complete my shadowing. Once I found a shadowing opportunity with a physician, that time shadowing would probably only last one day to one week. None of these issues existed with the Atlantis program. I was able to apply to the program and select my location and program dates. After that, all of the leg work was done for me. Rather than spending time and effort seeking out individual opportunities, I could better dedicate that time to other endeavors as well as making certain to get the most out of my shadowing experience. 

Engaging doctors

One complaint that I heard from several of my pre-med peers was that once they found shadowing opportunities sometimes it felt like physicians begrudgingly allowed them to shadow. Doctors weren’t particularly interested in the pre-med student and seemed to pretend that they didn’t exist. My Atlantis experience was quite the opposite of this. The physicians specifically sign up to be shadowed by American pre-med students, so it never feels like you’re in the way or unwanted. All of the doctors that I shadowed showed special interest in teaching me as they were treating patients. I was able to learn during consultations and surgeries alike. I even got to get some good language exchange practice in with many of the doctors.

Experience in a different healthcare system

Another thing that only Atlantis could have offered me was the up-close view I got of another country’s healthcare system. It was super interesting to me to see the ins-and-outs of Spain’s universal healthcare system and be able to compare that with my experiences in the system of the United States. My time with Atlantis even inspired me to potentially work in healthcare policy in order to incorporate some of the things that work best abroad into our systems here at home. This opportunity would be impossible in any domestic clinical experience.

I hope my experiences have given you a better idea of why Atlantis was a great fit for me and why I was glad to have taken this opportunity over spending a summer shadowing in the United States.

Cover of the Medical School Admissions Guide.

Two Atlantis alumni admitted to Top 5 MD programs wrote our widely read medical school admissions guidebook guidebook — download yours.

Our Alumni Enter Great Medical Schools

John Daines headshot.

John Daines

  • Atlantis '17
  • Brigham Young University '19
  • Washington U. in St. Louis MD '23
Zoey Petitt headshot.

Zoey Petitt

  • Atlantis '17
  • U. of Arizona '18
  • Duke MD '23
Yong hun Kim headshot.

Yong-hun Kim

  • Atlantis '17
  • Stanford '19
  • Mayo Clinic MD '24
Megan Branson headshot.

Megan Branson

  • Atlantis '18
  • U. of Montana '19
  • U. of Washington MD '24
Sarah Emerick headshot.

Sarah Emerick

  • Atlantis '19
  • Eckerd College '20
  • Indiana U. MD '25
Snow Nwankwo headshot.

Snow Nwankwo

  • Atlantis '19
  • Catholic U. of America '21
  • Georgetown U. MD '26
Tiffany Hu headshot.

Tiffany Hu

  • Atlantis '16
  • U. of Maryland '17
  • U. of Michigan MD '22
Lauren Cox headshot.

Lauren Cox

  • Atlantis '18
  • Louisiana Tech '20
  • U. of Arkansas MD '24
Kayla Riegler headshot.

Kayla Riegler

  • Atlantis '18
  • U. of Kentucky '20
  • U. of Kentucky MD '24

About Atlantis

Atlantis is the leader in pre-health shadowing and clinical experience, offering short-term programs (1-10 weeks) over academic breaks for U.S. pre-health undergraduates. Medical schools want 3 things: (1)healthcare exposure, (2)GPA/MCAT, and (3)certain competencies. Atlantis gives you a great version of (1), frees you to focus on (2), and cultivates/shows (3) to medical school admissions committees.

A student smiling and learning how to kayak.

Watch Video: The Atlantis Shadowing Experience and How it Helps In Your Med/PA Admissions Future

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Cover of the Medical School Admissions Guide.
Two Atlantis alumni admitted to Top 5 MD programs wrote our widely read medical school admissions guidebook — download yours.