Templar Castle in Ponferrada, Spain (an Atlantis site)
Templar Castle in Ponferrada, Spain (an Atlantis site)
Atlantis students outside a castle in Ponferrada, Spain.
Atlantis students outside a castle in Ponferrada, Spain.



$4,999 - $5,999


Ponferrada is a small city in northwest Spain in the León region near Galicia. The city was populated in pre-Roman times and has a diverse historical background. It is now recognized for its 12th-century castle and is surrounded by beautiful geography. Ponferrada is a perfect place to taste the gastronomy of the Bierzo region, in which its magnificent meats stand out. An alumni from a Ponferrada program says “I found it extremely great, it was an amazing mix between the hospital experience and living abroad.”

Destination Information

The City

The city of Ponferrada has its origins in the Middle Ages, emerging as a settlement around the Camino de Santiago. The most outstanding construction of the city is the Castle built by the Templars in the 12th century to protect the pilgrims. With more than 8,000 m2 of surface, it is one of the most impressive in the whole country. Around the castle extends the historic center, where most of the monuments of the city are concentrated.

Near Ponferrada, the Médulas is an impressive landscape formed as a result of the exploitation of the largest open-pit gold mine in the Roman Empire. In 1997 UNESCO declared it a World Heritage Site. To the south of Ponferrada are the Montes Aquilianos, with the impressive Valle del Silencio (Valley of Silence) and Peñalba de Santiago, one of the most beautiful villages in Spain.

Dates & Availability

  • Summer Break 2024




May 11, 2024 - May 31, 2024 3 weeks



June 1, 2024 - June 21, 2024 3 weeks



June 22, 2024 - July 12, 2024 3 weeks



July 13, 2024 - August 2, 2024 3 weeks


Close to Full

You may pay over time, fundraise, consider scholarships, and more. Learn about our significant partial need-based scholarships here.

Participants may transfer to another program or receive a refund up until a predefined amount of time before the start date.

What’s Included

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

Hospital Overview

Atlantis partners with local hospitals to give students the opportunity to learn about healthcare systems in different countries. Our hospital partner in Ponferrada is Hospital del Bierzo.

Alumni Favorite

Famous Food

“El botillo del Bierzo” – the most famous dish in this area, cooked with delicious pork meat and using centuries-old techniques, that the locals will be happy to share with you (they are very proud of this recipe).

Students enjoying a meal.
Atlantis students enjoying a meal (Ponferrada, Spain).

Atlantis was an incredible experience. I was challenged to think about things that I had not thought of before about being a doctor. My love for my desired specialty was enhanced through Atlantis. I will always have a little bit of Spain with me wherever I go.

Students exploring the inside of a church.
Atlantis students exploring the inside of a church during their program (Ponferrada, Spain).
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Our excursions are designed to offer a deeper look into your host culture, for both the educational benefit and the enjoyment of exploring a new place with others who share your interests in travel and medicine. Excursions range from historical tours to culinary and cultural explorations.

Your Site Manager will inform you of the excursions they have planned during your program orientation. If you make travel plans outside of your city for a weekend and it conflicts with the events your Site Manager has planned, notify your Site Manager several days in advance so that they can plan accordingly.

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

Language Skills Not Required

Most participants do not speak the local language at their Atlantis program. English levels vary within the hospital, but no knowledge of the language is required for Atlantis to be valuable. There is enough English spoken in the hospital for participants to benefit from the programs, as you can read in our testimonials. 

Many patients in your future career will not speak your language and will come from a different cultural background, so the Atlantis experience prepares you for that intercultural perspective. Any slight language barrier you may encounter at Atlantis also helps you develop “resilience and adaptability,” an AAMC core competency.

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).

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).

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).

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.