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Summer Shadowing Experience in Madrid, Spain

Get an international perspective on what it's like to practice as a medical professional at SLU-Madrid's Summer Shadowing Experience.

Premedical students are encouraged to gain clinical experience during their undergraduate years of study in preparation for application to medical school. Medical school admissions committees look for students with clinical experience, such as shadowing physicians during their medical practice. Students need to research the medical field, have knowledge of a physician's daily activities, and demonstrate their motivation and commitment to pursuing a career as a physician.

The physician-shadowing program hosted by SLU-Madrid will provide you with an intensive learning experience in a clinical setting under the guidance of a Spanish doctor employed in a health care center or hospital in Madrid. Our faculty have established excellent working relationships with Madrid hospitals and designed a program that will deepen your understanding of health care as a profession and strengthen your candidacy for medical school.


  • Spend four weeks in Madrid shadowing physicians four days per week (20 hours per week), shadowing up to four physicians.
  • Earn credits toward your degree by enrolling in Saint Louis University summer courses at the Madrid campus.
  • Learn firsthand about Spain's private or public-funded health care system.
  • Build confidence in a hospital setting through extensive observation of physician-to-patient contact.
  • Experience Spain's rich culture and cuisine through campus activities and events.
  • A maximum of five students will participate in the program.

Program Duration


Students must register for PPHS 4910 Internship in Pre-Professional Health Studies (1 credit). The class has a 150-euro fee.

Focus Areas Available for Student Shadowing

  • Surgery (traumatology surgery)
  • Traumatology


Students will be matched with a physician in one specialty. Students will spend approximately 20 hours per week shadowing the physician. Shadowing will involve following the physician through their daily activities, and students are encouraged to ask questions at appropriate times.

Notes on Dress and Behavior

  • Dress: Students should dress in "business/business casual" attire. This means khakis and a button-down shirt for men; for women, either dress slacks or a skirt that goes to at least the knees and a button-down blouse or nice top. Shoes should be close-toed. Do not wear jeans, flip-flops, open-toe sandals, shorts, low-cut tops, miniskirts, tank tops, camisoles, t-shirts, or any clothing with holes in it. Remove jewelry that pierces anything but the ear.
  • Behavior: Students should treat shadowing as a professional experience. Please call ahead of time and reschedule if you are sick.

Observation Role

Shadowing is strictly an observational experience. Shadowing students cannot participate in clinical care or obtain hands-on experience. The purpose of the experience is limited to observing a specific health care provider's activities or hospital operations.

ID Badge

Students should wear their SLU ID badge visibly on the upper part of their body.

Participation Survey

At the end of the shadowing experience, you will be asked to complete a short survey regarding your experience. The survey should be returned to

Experience Madrid with SLU-Madrid

In addition to the shadowing experience, students may sign up for SLU-organized extracurricular activities throughout the summer if they wish, such as:

  • Walking tours of Madrid, museum visits, tapas night, flamenco shows and Spanish cooking classes.
  • Guided day trips to Monasterio de Piedra, Toledo, Segovia, El Escorial and Cuelgamuros Valley.

Selection Criteria and Requirements


  • Students must have an overall GPA and a math and science GPA of at least 3.2 or higher to be considered. Students must also be proficient in Spanish. 


    - Current SLU-Madrid students: Fill out the online form.
    - SLU-St. Louis students: Apply through the SLU study abroad program portal.
    - Non-Saint Louis University study abroad students: Apply via our online application. Interested students need to complete the online form. 

  • Interested students need to complete the online form.
  • Admission application + online form are due by Feb. 15.
  • Selected students will complete an online interview with Dr. Tania de la Fuente to assess their Spanish language proficiency before receiving permission to register for this program.
  • Final selection of students will be made jointly by Dr. de la Fuente and staff from the Office of Pre-Health Studies.

Age Requirement

Students must be at least 18 years of age.

Hospital Confidentiality Agreements

  • The nature of the health care industry requires all employees, volunteers and students to maintain a high level of confidentiality regarding all medical and business information pertaining to patients, residents, doctors and employees.
  • Under no circumstances will such information be discussed with any unauthorized person outside or inside the health care facility.
  • Students must sign confidentiality agreements.

Immunizations Required

  • DTaP (Initial Diphtheria/Tetanus/Pertussis vaccine) and Tdap Booster (Tetanus/Diphtheria/Pertussis booster within the last 10 years)
  • Hepatitis B
  • MMR (Measles, Mumps and Rubella)
  • Varicella

Health Insurance 

Sanitas will cover students in the program. You can pick up your insurance card during the orientation sessions. Once admitted to the course, students will apply for health insurance through the Study Abroad Office. This can be done via mySLU. For questions, reach out to There is a non-refundable deposit. Students must apply for insurance by March 1.

Housing at Host Family (Optional)

See Options With Kitchen Privileges or Half Room and Board

For information, contact Health Sciences Program Director Tania de la Fuente, Ph.D.,  at