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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.

Pre-medical 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 clinical experience, such as shadowing of 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 and 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 different hospitals in Madrid and have designed a program that will deepen your understanding of health care as profession and strengthen your candidacy for medical school.

Note: SLU-Madrid reserves the right to cancel the program, depending on current guidance from the Madrid Comunidad Health Department regarding COVID-19.


  • Spend four weeks in Madrid, Spain, shadowing physicians four days per week (20 hours per week), shadowing up to four different physicians.
  • Earn credits toward your degree through 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 the rich culture and cuisine of Spain through campus activities and events.
  • A maximum of five students will participate in the Summer 2022 program.

Program Duration

  • 4 weeks (May 26-June 23, 2022)


Student need to register for PPHS 4910 Internship in Pre-Professional Health Studies (1 credit). The class has a 100-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 as they go 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 will not be allowed to participate in any clinical care or otherwise 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, museums visits, tapas night, flamenco shows and Spanish cooking classes.
  • Guided day trips to Monasterio de Piedra, Toledo, Segovia, El Escorial and Valley of the Fallen.

Selection Criteria and Requirements

1. Application

  • 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.
  • Interested students need to complete the online form.
  • Applications are due by Feb. 15, 2022.
  • Selected students will complete an on-line interview with Dr. Tania de la Fuente to assess their Spanish language proficiency prior to 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.

2. Age requirement

Students need to be at least 18 years of age.

3. 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 either outside or inside of the health care facility.
  • Students must sign confidentiality agreements.

4. 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.

5. Health Insurance 

Students in the program will be covered by Sanitas. 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 50-euro non-refundable deposit. Students must apply for insurance by March 1, 2022.

6. Housing at Host Family (Optional)

  • Option 1: with kitchen privileges - 1,000 euros (summer 2021 fees, subject to change).
  • Option 2: with half room and board: Rate 1,400 euros (summer 2021 fees, subject to change).

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