Brazil (IFMSA Brazil) - Natal-UFRN
Internal Medicine-Endocrinology, Surgery-General, Surgery-Cardiothoracic Surgery
April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December, January, February, March
Host Family, Student Flat or Hospital
Host Family, Student Flat
None. Please check our ECs&am

Natal is the capital and largest city of Rio Grande do Norte, a northeastern state in Brazil. It was founded in December 25th, 1599, therefore being named after the holiday (in a literally translation, Natal means Christmas). Its population is about 1,370,000 inhabitants (including its metropolitan region). Natal has a typical tropical climate, specifically a tropical wet and dry climate, with warm to hot temperatures and high relative humidity. For that reason, the city is widely recognized as “City of the Sun” or “Bride of the Sun”, since we have approximately 300 sunny days throughout the year.
Natal has several tourist attractions and is famous for its natural beauty, such as the crystalline water of Maracajaú and the largest cashew tree in the world, for its historical monuments and buildings, such as the Forte dos Reis Magos, the Alberto Maranhão Theatre and Newton Navarro Bridge, and for its beaches, suche as Ponta Negra, Pipa and Genipabu. The city also boasts the second largest urban park in Brazil, the Parque da Dunas.


The University 

The Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Norte - Rio Grande do Norte’s Federal University- (UFRN) is the oldest and more traditional University in the state of Rio Grande do Norte. It was created in july 25th, 1958. The Medicine Course was one of the first ones of the University (with the Law School, Dental School, College of Pharmacy and the Engineering course). Nowadays, UFRN has 75 graduation courses, and every year over 33.000 students graduate through it. The Hospitals which compose the practice scenarios for the medicine students are: Hospital Universitário Onofre Lopes (HUOL) also known as Hospital das Clínicas - Clinical Hospital- although it also has a complex for surgical practice - specially vascular and general surgeries; the traumatology hospital: Hospital Monsenhor Walfredo Gurgel; the pediatric hospital: Hospital de Pediatria Professor Heriberto Ferreira Bezerra (HosPed); the maternity hospital: Maternidade Escola Januário Cicco (MEJC); the hospital for infectious diseases: Hospital Giselda Trigueiro. All of them are centers of reference for their speciality in our region.


The University Hospitals at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte (UFRN) are:

  • University Hospital Onofre Lopes (HUOL)

Opened at September 12, 1909, with the name “Juvino Barreto Charity Hospital”. It was installed in an old summer house, working initially with 18 beds, under the direction of the doctor Januário Cicco, who, by himself, administrated and assisted the hospitalized patients and outpatients. In October 1935, the Hospital changed its name, being know from this date on as “Miguel Couto Hospital”. In February 05, 1955, the School of Medicine is created, and the Hospital became the center of the practices for all the courses in the area of health. Therefore, in 1960, the Hospital is turned into a School-Hospital, belonging to the UFRN and changing its name to “Hospital of Clinics”. With its federalization, its maintenance became provided through the Ministry of Education, in its functions of Education, Research and Extension. Until November 1984, the hospital kept this name, when it changed its designation to “University Hospital Onofre Lopes”, in honor of the creator of the Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte (UFRN). At the Rio Grande do Norte scenario, the HUOL plays an important role in the educational and health systems, being one of the biggest and more important public hospitals which provide assistance to the public health care system, the SUS. In this system, the hospital is inserted as a reference to medium and high complex procedures in multiple areas to all the state. Besides, it is a referenced unity for cardiologic urgencies to the SUS. In the academic scope, the HUOL – along with the Pediatric Hospital Professor Heriberto Ferreira Bezerra (HOSPED), the School Maternity Januário Cicco (MEJC) and the University Hospital Ana Bezerra (HUAB) – integrates, importantly, the UFRN Hospital and Health Complex (CHS) and belongs to the total of 46 education hospitals of the Ministry of Education and Culture (MEC) all over Brazil. As a university hospital, HUOL is a fundamental reference to education, research and extension, and contributes decisively to an integral formation of students who belong to the health area courses, including the medical curriculum.


  • University Hospital Ana Bezerra (HUAB)

The University Hospital Ana Bezerra was created in February 04, 1952. It was initially nominated as Association of Protection to Maternity and Childhood of Santa Cruz. In 1966, the HUAB became an internship place, becoming part of the Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte (UFRN). Currently, with the denomination of University Hospital Ana Bezerra, the hospital keeps its role of providing assistance to the city of Santa Cruz (and neighboring towns) health, receiving academics of many courses of the UFRN and offering them practice and collaborative internships. This unity has invested in a qualified service, with special attention to the health care of women and children.

  • School Maternity Januário Cicco (MEJC)

The School Maternity was idealized by the doctor Januário Cicco. Graduated in Bahia in 1906, he returned to Natal, where he reorganized the medical assistance, building the Charity Hospital Juvino Barreto, current University Hospital Onofre Lopes. In the early 1940s, the Maternity was ready to function. However, with the beginning of the Second World War, the state capital acted as an American basis, so that it was necessary to built the Aviation Camp of Parnamirim, and the Maternity served as the General Quarter of the Allied Forces and as a Campaign Hospital. With the end of the war and after intense campaign, the Dr. Januário Cicco managed to retake the building, restore it and put it to function, what just happened in 1950. In November 1, 1952, Januário died, and the administration of the Society of Hospital Assistance passed to his successor, Dr. Onofre Lopes, who continued the dream of its founder. The current director is the physician and adjunct professor Iaperi Araújo. The professor Leide Moraes administrated the Maternity School for a long period of time, created services, installed the cathedra of Gynecology, stimulated the formation of research bases and reformed and adapted generations of stub-gynecologists at the Northeast region. Nowadays, the School Maternity is a reference tertiary hospital of SUS and works as a field of education and practice application for the professions of health area, fulfilling a meritorious work of education, research and assistance to the poor population.

  • Pediatric Hospital Professor Heriberto Ferreira Bezerra (HOSPED)

The appearance of a specific unity in children health in the sphere of UFRN, inaugurating the pediatric teaching at the state, occurred about 1964 under the leadership of the professor Heriberto Ferreira Bezerra, and the children assistance took place at the dependences of School Maternity Januário Cicco, both at ambulatory and nursery levels. In the late 1970s, the Pediatric Hospital Unity was inaugurated, reaching a significant advance in the field of children medicine in Rio Grande do Norte. In its dependences, the Department of Pediatrics was housed, at the time the direct responsible for the management of the Hospital. Thereafter, successive extensions in the physical and organizational structure of the hospital unity were realized, as a result of the medical knowledge development, of the increased demand of medical students (for example, the supervised internship on pediatrics) and of other graduation courses (nursing, nutrition, pharmacy and social service) and post-graduation (medical residence in pediatrics) of UFRN, besides the elevation of collective demands for children assistance from the incorporation of University Hospitals, initially to the Unified and Decentralized Health System (SUDS) and, lately, to the public health care system (SUS). Ten years after its creation, the hospital became known as “Pediatric Hospital Professor Heriberto Ferreira Bezerra”, as an act of recognition to the dedicated life history of the professor in favor of the federal university (UFRN), through the Resolution number 009/2005, from CONSAD, dating from May 20, 2005. The Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte (UFRN), through agreements, also uses the Giselda Trigueiro Hospital (reference in the field of Infectious Diseases at RN), and the Monsignor Walfredo Gurgel Hospital Complex.

  • Giselda Trigueiro Hospital (HGT)

The Giselda Trigueiro Hospital (HGT), a public institution, is characterized by being a reference specific assistance service of tertiary level, being also a reference to the state of Rio Grande do Norte in Infectious Diseases, Toxicological Information and Special Immunobiologicals. The main services offered are: urgency and emergency with 24 hours treatment in Infectious Diseases for adults and children, anti-rabies prophylaxis, anti-tetanus, anti-venom, where about 6,000 treatments are realized per month. The Reference Center of Special Immunobiologicals (CRIE) and the Center of Toxicological Information (CIT) also function during 24 hours, with treatment to both public and private systems. The hospital also provides ambulatory care, specific for: Infectious Diseases, Chagas Disease, Tuberculosis, Hepatitis, Leprosy and HIV/AIDS, realizing about 1,300 treatments per month. Admission under the “Day-Hospital” for people who live with HIV/AIDS, as well as support for the diagnosis and treatment – SADT, Nursery, Nutrition, Physiotherapy, Pharmacy, Psychology, Social Service and Home Admission Program (PID).

  • Monsignor Walfredo Gurgel Hospital Complex / Clóvis Sarinho Emergency Room

Nowadays, it is the only state hospital at the metropolitan region of Natal which keeps, with exclusivity, teams for the Neurologic, Neurosurgical, Orthopedic, Plastic Surgery/Care for Burned, Nephrology, Urology, Vascular Surgery, Mouth-maxillo-facial, Otorhinolaryngology, Ophthalmology, Thoracic Surgery for removal of foreign body and Hematology services. It still offers the services of General Surgery, Pediatric Emergency Surgery, Anesthesiology, Nursery, Nutrition and Dietetics, Physiotherapy, Endocrinology, Gastroenterology, Speech Therapy, Psychology, Dermatology, Pulmonology, Cardiology, Medical Clinic, Gynecology, Social Service and Pediatrics. The hospital has about 310 beds, all them registered at SUS, billing 804 hospital admission authorizations (AIHs) per month, with occupying rate around 100%. At the hospital, approximately 1,300 admissions are realized monthly, with big affluence of patients from the countryside zones (60%). It also has the Home Admission Program (PID), in order to give support to elder people in its residences.

Antiadipogenic activity of sulfated polysaccharides from marine organisms
Effect of environment on the critical period of plasticity of the prefrontal cortex of juvenile common marmosets (Callithrix jacchus)

The host student or family will provide at least one meal per day/the hospital will provide it.


Usually, members from the committee host the exchange students. You'll have a bed, a bathroom garanteed and you can talk to your host if you wish to use the kitchen. The incomings are alocate in students flat house, family houses or republic houses, where students share a house and create a family bound. They will have their own bed and will be provided with one bathroom that can be shared or not, and internet acess, on the house or on the college.

International Airport

Located virtually at sea level (169 feet), with favorable weather and geographic conditions, Greater Natal International Airport in São Gonçalo do Amarante is 30 km (19 mi) from Natal.


Buses are the cheapest way go move around Natal. It is possible to get passes or magnetic cards to pay before hand, but usually it is easiest to pay the conductor. There are big buses, micro buses and vans, all driving along the same streets, all charging the same prices.

All the main touristic spots within Natal are well served by buses. People may expect to travel standing up on the big buses (not so with micros and vans). Typical waiting time is 15 min during the peak hours, and up to one hour.

And yes, we have Uber if needed.


One of the most popular programs in Natal is visiting our beaches. The most famous urban beaches (in Natal) are Ponta Negra, Praia do Forte and Praia do Meio (that is close to Hospital Universitário Onofre Lopes). There are also northern and southern beaches. Nortern beaches are Touros, Maracajaú, Caraúbas, Maxaranguape, Muriú, Jacumã, Pitangui, Graçandu, Jenipabu and Redinha. Beaches in south of Natal are Cotovelo, Pirangi, Búzios, Tabatinga, Camurupim, Tibau, Pipa, Barra de Cunhaú, Sibaúma and Baía Formosa. Some other great places to go to in Natal are: -Fortaleza dos Reis Magos -Centro de Turismo de Natal - a tourist center that was an asylum for beggars, then an orphanage, then a prison. Now you can find handcraft, food and a party called “Forró com o Turista”. -O maior cajueiro do mundo - biggest cashew tree in the world. -Movie theatres - Natal has two, and a third one in on it’s way -Memorial Câmara Cascudo -Museu Câmara Cascudo -Museu da Cultura Popular - a museum dedicated to popular culture in Natal

  • Buggy ride on the dunes
  • The view from the sunset on Potengi River

We also try to do the traditional National Food and Drink Party in wich the guest brings foods/drinks of his/her original country. At UFRN we do Social Programs with the incomings of SCOPE, SCORE, and SCONE. However during classes, many students have limited time therefore we can not guarantee to go out every weekend, specially if it’s june/july or november/december, months of final exams. But we try our best and try to make unforgettable moments and memories. In addition, we try to make a meeting with all incomings in which each one has to talk a little bit about the health in their country, how does the university work, and stuff related to that. Another special meeting is one that each one cooks something usual in their country and share with everybody. That’s our way to share our culture and learn about Incoming’s cultures.


Natal has some popular touristic points such as: Ponta Negra Beach, Pipa Beach, Genipabu Beach, the Biggest Cashew Tree in The World, the Alberto Maranhão Theater and a antique neighbor but still very comfy called Ribeira.

Bring your own white coat and stethoscope. You have to respect Brazil's norm NR 32: do not use accessories, wear closed shoes and tie your hair.

Come to Natal. You will never regret this decision in your life :D