Coimbra, Portugal
A view of Coimbra, Portugal (an Atlantis site).
Students by a bridge while exploring the city.
Atlantis students by a bridge while exploring the city (Portugal, 2019).





Coimbra is a medieval city within central Portugal that is built on the grounds of a former Roman city. It is home to the University of Coimbra, which was founded in 1290, was a former palace, and is the oldest academic institution in any Portuguese-speaking country. Its history and architecture date back to the Roman era, and it became a major cultural center throughout its development in the Middle Ages and beyond. It has influence from a variety of cultures, and the city displays both baroque and modern elements.

Destination Information

The City

There are many gardens worth visiting in Coimbra, such as the Choupal Garden, the Quinta das Lágrimas (scene of the romance between Dom Pedro and Inês de Castro), and the Botanical Gardens. To have a different perspective of the whole city, try taking a boat ride on the Mondego River. From Coimbra you can take interesting excursions to places like Conimbriga, an important Roman city; Serra da Lousã, an ideal place for lovers of adventure, sports, and nature; and Figueira da Foz, a city with huge, golden beaches on the Atlantic.

Dates & Availability

  • Summer Break 2023




June 3, 2023 - June 23, 2023 3 weeks

$4,999 from $230/month


July 15, 2023 - August 4, 2023 3 weeks

$4,999 from $230/month


August 5, 2023 - August 25, 2023 3 weeks

$4,999 from $230/month


You may pay over time, fundraise, consider scholarships, and more. See more on the financing and aid page.

Dates may be subject to change, in rare cases, depending on hospital availability. Students may transfer to another program or receive a refund up until a pre-defined amount of before the start date. All fees include an initial $900 deposit, which is non-refundable. Accepted students or their parents are welcome to apply for financing through Uplift (up to 24-month terms, with a 4% to 36% fixed APR based on creditworthiness). Monthly payment amounts are for those paying via Uplift and are for illustration purposes only.

What’s Included

Atlantis programs include ~20h/week of shadowing, housing, some meals, transportation, health insurance if traveling abroad, and more. Airfare is not included but can be very affordable.

Hospital Overview

The Centro Hospitalar Universitário de Coimbra (or CHUC, pronounced “Shewk”) is the largest hospital in Portugal. It was founded in 1084 AD, and Coimbra University’s Medical School was the first medical school in Portugal. CHUC has 1,848 beds and 7,200 healthcare professionals, is the main hospital for 15 primary care centers, and is also the primary biomedical simulation center for all of Portugal. In fact, many people from ex-Portuguese colonies come to Coimbra to learn, and, as part of the M8 Alliance, CHUC hosted the World Health Summit in the Spring of 2018.

Alumni Favorite

University Tower

One of the 10 oldest universities in the world is located here and it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site: the University of Coimbra. It is located high on a hill, in the middle of the city, and you should definitely scale the 180 steps in the 16th-century tower for an awesome perspective of the city. While at the University, be sure to visit the Library. It has a prison under it, and according to the legend, some centuries ago the prison was used for unruly students.

Students jumping in front of a building with a tower.
Atlantis students in front of a building with a tower (Coimbra, Portugal, 2019).

Every moment of my program was amazing! Getting the chance to shadow in my preferred specialty was so inspiring and motivated me to further strive to become a cardiothoracic surgeon.

A student standing by an ornate window in a church.
A student standing by an ornate window in a church (Coimbra, Portugal, 2019).
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Our excursions are designed to offer a deeper look into your host culture, for both the educational benefit and the pure enjoyment of exploring a new place with others who share your interests in travel and medicine. If you happen to make travel plans outside of your city for a weekend, and thus your travel plans conflict with the events your Site Manager has planned, we ask that you notify your Site Manager several days in advance so that they’re able to plan the excursion accordingly. Excursions range from historical tours to culinary and cultural explorations. Your Site Manager will inform you of the different excursions they have planned during your program orientation.

Atlantis students on a program excursion.
Atlantis students on a program excursion (Genoa, Italy, 2019).

Clinical Experience that Stands Out to Schools

Medical schools want 3 things: healthcare exposure, GPA/MCAT, and certain competencies. Uniquely, “360 Shadowing” gives you the best version of the 1st, frees you to focus on the 2nd, and cultivates/shows the 3rd to medical school admissions.

Two students walking out of a hospital wing.
Atlantis students in a hospital wing (Lisbon, Portugal, 2019).
Students tubing in the ocean in Greece.

Watch the Atlantis Experience

Language Skills Not Required

Almost all alumni have not spoken the local language. English levels vary within the hospital, but no knowledge of the language is required for Atlantis to be valuable. There is English ability in enough places in the hospital for participants to benefit, as you can read in our testimonials. Moreover, a program in an English-speaking country would take away some of the value of Atlantis, particularly the intercultural perspective that Atlantis participants gain, in a world where many of your future patients in your career later on will not speak your language and will come from a different cultural background. Any possible language barrier you may encounter at Atlantis, even if slight, is also an opportunity to develop “resilience and adaptability,” one of the 15 AAMC core competencies for entering medical students.

Funding Your Future

The cost of Atlantis isn’t too dissimilar from the cost of many study abroad programs that you may find. And we’re here to help: from our extensive fundraising guide to flexible payment plans and financing options, we make the process simple and easy, allowing you to focus on what really matters.

An Atlantis student smiling while shadowing abroad.
An Atlantis student on an excursion experiencing culture while shadowing abroad (Athens, Greece, 2019).

Hear More Directly From Our Alumni

Hear more from them on their experiences during and after Atlantis.

An Atlantis student standing outside the hospital where she is shadowing.
An Atlantis student standing outside the hospital where she is shadowing (Barcelona, Spain, 2019).

Bring a Friend

Consider bringing a friend to the same program you’re applying to. Although the vast majority of Atlantis alumni have gone on programs without knowing someone in their cohort, bringing a friend allows your experience to be shared in a unique way, while still allowing you one of the benefits of Atlantis: meeting new pre-health friends from across the country. Consider sharing this idea with your friends.

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students walking and smiling.
Atlantis students exploring together on a program excursion (Athens, Greece, 2019).

Med School Interview:
Atlantis Alum vs. Typical Pre-med

Compare a possible medical school interview of an Atlantis alum with that of a typical applicant by looking at responses to common questions.

Greek ruins on a sunny day.

Gain the Exposure, Stats, and Competencies that Med Schools Want

  • The vast majority of alumni accepted into med/PA school said Atlantis “strongly” or “very strongly” impacted their admittance
  • 81% of alumni accepted into med/PA school said Atlantis impacted their passion for medicine
  • 93% of our pre-health alumni progressed on the AAMC Core Competencies for Entering Medical Students