View of Funchal, the capital city of Madeira (an Atlatnis site)
Lush greenery in Madeira (an Atlantis site)





Madeira is known for its volcanic landscapes, high cliffs and pebbly beaches, and for having springtime temperatures year round. Right in the middle of the Atlantic, it is actually closer to the African coast than to the Portuguese coast. It has a unique fauna and flora that varies according to the microclimates of each region, and a history that is intertwined with that of the maritime discoveries. Apart from the Madeira cake, Madeira wine and the Madeiran Cristiano Ronaldo, Madeira is also famous for being a touristic spot year round, offering endless options for outdoor activities. The name Madeira refers to the autonomous region as a whole (it is a part of Portugal but has political and administrative autonomy), but also of the archipelago, formed by 4 islands, and of its main island.  

Destination Information

The City

Funchal is the capital city of Madeira and the sixth largest city in Portugal. Its name literally means “place/plantation of fennel”, but nowadays it is a lively city that perfectly captures the nature that surrounds it, 600 years of history, amazing culinary, and an incredible culture. From many parts of cities you can have breathtaking views, with its crooked little streets that go down the mountains and the blue ocean. The east part of the city, traditionally the fishermen neighborhood, is where you will find the Mercado dos Lavradores, a huge and full of life market with the best homegrown vegetables, fresh fish, and wonderfully scented flowers.

Dates & Availability

  • Summer Break 2023




June 3, 2023 - June 23, 2023 3 weeks

$5,999 from $286/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, and more. Airfare is not included but can be very affordable.

Hospital Overview

Hospital Nélio Mendonça is the main hospital of all Madeiran healthcare system (SESARAM). It is a public hospital that serves the population of the whole island, has 33 specialities and 505 beds. In January, 2023 it completed 50 years.

Alumni Favorite

Funchal Downtown

Funchal’s downtown area boasts beautiful street art in the Rua da Santa Maria, a bustling flower, fruit, vegetable and fish market known as the Mercardo dos Lavradores, wine museums and cellars, and even wicker toboggan sled rides. There’s no shortage of places to explore in Funchal.

Farmers market in Fuchal, Madeira (an Atlantis site)

I have no doubt that I will forever remember this experience. Outside of the enriched clinical component, I learned a great deal about myself while immersed in a culture so different from the one I have grown accustomed to.

Cliffs and ocean in Madeira (an Atlantis site)
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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