Spain (IFMSA-Spain) - Santander
Allergology, Anasthetics, Cardiology, Dermatology, Endocrinology, Accident and emergency medicine, Gastroenterology, Hematology, Intensive Medicine, Internal Medicine, Microbiology, Nephrology, Neumology, Clinical Neurophysyology, Neurology, Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Preventive Medicine, Ophtalmology, Oncology, Otorhinolaryngology, Paediatrics, Psychiatry, Radiology, Rheumatology, Cardiovascular Surgery, General and Gastroinestinal Surgery, Maxillofacial Surgery, Paediatric Surgery, Plastic Surgery, Thoracic Surgery, Neurosurgery, Traumatology and Orthopaedics, Urology
July, August, September
One meal per day at the hospital
Student flat shared with other IFMSA incomings (4 or 5)
Department may vary due to disponibility (following student's order choices).
Lorena Sanz Gómez
Alberto Alvarez Gutierrez

Santander is the capital town of our region, Cantabria (which has a population of almost 600000 people). With 185000 inhabitants, it is located on the north coast of the region and the north of Spain.

As a city, Santander is full of life during the summer due to its wonderful landscapes, beaches and mountains. Its climate is very mild and the whole region offers the varied landscape and weather features typical of this fringe of green land so different from the rest of Spain. Cantabria is a one-province region that is an excellent place to learn Spanish because this is the only official language spoken here. It also stands out because of the great diversity of its environment.

We have one Faculty of Medicine in Cantabria (home for almost 900 students), founded in the early 70s, and we do our clerkships and rotations in one of the most important hospitals in Spain (Hospital Universitario Marqués de Valdecilla): they are really close, it is a 5 minute walk from one to another. The whole University of Cantabria includes over 10000 people, was founded in 1972 and is organized in 15 schools and colleges. It was selected as Campus of International Excellence in 2009. 

The Marqués de Valdecilla University Hospital was founded in 1929, almost 90 years ago. Its the main hospital in the region with almost 1000 beds. Its history is quite impressive and has survived some catastrophes and accidents. Therefore the hospital has been renewed and improved a few times throughout history. Moreover, the newest building (quite advanced and impressive) was finally opened at December 2015 and it is a modern and 

Along the years the hospital has received acknowledgement and has been praised for their improvement in their health care management and work, especially in areas such as Cardiology where they have received multiple prizes.

As an university hospital mostly all the departments are available and during the practices. We always try to place you in your first choice but sometimes it is not possible and the department in your CA might change.

We have new projects every year so we'll try to upload this as soon as we have those for the new season 2016-2017. Some of the projects in the last 2 years include:

  • Anatomical dissection and advanced study of the human body (Anatomy)
  • Ionizing radiation effects on the cell nucleous in cell cultures models (Biology)
  • Listeria based vaccines against listeriosis and melanoma (Microbiology)
  • Identification of antiradical resistance genes in bacteria using molecular and phenotypic methods (Microbiology)
Anyways, you can look it up in the database of IFMSA. All of them take place at the Faculty.



During the work days, from Monday to Friday, we provide one complete meal per day (the lunch) that will be held in the hospital cafeteria. You will be given lunch tickets and you will have to sign in a paper to avoid any problems or mistakes.

*Remember that in Spain is very common to order tap water at the restaurants, so feel free to do it and save some money*

If you come to Santander you will stay in a shared flat with other IFMSA incomings (4-5 incomings in each flat); flats are mainly located close to the hospital and to the city centre, about 10 minute walk. In the case you prefer not to walk you have access to a lot of urban buses thanks to a good transportation service.

The contact persons have to provide you with a key and a bed, as well as taking you to the hospital the first day and introducing you to the doctor you have been asigned. They also can give you every general instruction you need and useful tips. Feel free to report any relevant and important issue at the flat to the contact persons.

Santander can be reached by plane with direct flights mainly from Madrid and Barcelona. Bilbao airport, the biggest of northern Spain, is just one hour drive away and is a good way to arrive to the city. Low-cost airlines fly from Santander into European destinations, mainly capital cities such as Rome / London / Brussels. 
When you arrive to the city the contact person will get you at the airport (or the bus/train station) and take you home.

In the city:
  • The best way to travel is by foot in the city centre but the bus is very useful. The contact persons will help you to get any discount or the bus pass for the month.
  • If you wanna travel outside the city the bus or a hired car would be good. 
  • We do not recommend taking taxis. They are extremely expensive and not necessary in most of the cases.
If you wanna travel to other cities nearby (or if you need this transportation to arrive to the city) we strongly recommend taking the bus or the train. You can look it up here:


Santander has plenty of thing to be done, we will propose you a social program at the beginning but you are free to do whatever you want to do; Cantabria is a very touristic place and we are close to many other cities in Spain so you get to know many places.

The local committe will try to do it’s best to provide you with lots of different and interesting stuff to do. During the summer the contact persons provide you with a good social program, especially during weekends. We make a dossier with the things you can visit here / in another places so you can look it up and get informed in case the contact persons cannot go along with you. We usually organized trips to the nearby cities (mostly Bilbao and Oviedo/Gijon) and also to the capital, Madrid so you could leave Spain getting to know some important and fun places.

In the case you come in July you will enjoy the local and city festivals. Santander will be crowded during the last week of July, with a vast number of cultural and important activities, party all nights and a good climate.

We have a Facebook group every month where incomings and contact people can get in touch months in advance. Our contact people will post links with activities, bars, restaurants, museums, etc. and give you some ideas about what you can do.

We will probably have an international dinner so, if you can, bring something typical from your country!!

Among its many touristic attractions, the Cantabrian cost alternates hundreds of fine white sand beaches and impressive cliffs, and the cost is a less than a 2-hour drive from the breathtaking landscapes of Picos de Europa beautiful mountains. Cantabria hosts some of the most impressive prehistoric caves in Europe, such as world-renowned Altamira. The University of Cantabria offers practical information about life in Santander in its International Student's Guide.

The famous Guggenheim Museum is just one hour drive in neighboring Bilbao, home to much more phenomenal monuments. There is also such important places to visit in many nearby cities so feel free to visit their tourism websites in case you want to leave the region and take advantage to the fullest of your visit.

Here is a quick list with some of the most important monuments and places to visit in Santander:

  • Gardens and promenade of Pereda.
  • Beaches of Sardinero and gardens of Piquio
    • The gardens of Piquio, built in the 19th century, stand between the first and second beaches of El Sardinero. 
    • In the northern part of Santander you will find the beaches of Sardinero, spreading from the Peninsula of Magdalena to Mataleñas. The Sardinero beach is divided in two parts separated by the gardens of Piquio. The first beach spreads along 330 metres while the second occupies 1000 metres. 
  • Peninsula and Palace of Magdalena: 
    • In the park of La Magdalena there is also a small zoo where you can see penguins, seals and some other sea animals. The palace of "La Magdalena" and its gardens were declared Cultural Heritage site in 1982.
    • The famous gardens of Magdalena are located in the bay of Santander in a peninsula also known as "La Magdalena", besides the beaches of Sardinero. The Royal Palace of la Magdalena was once a residence for kings and queens who came to the city for their beach holiday.  This is a privileged area for relaxation and contact with nature. 
  • Beaches of Santander
    • There are several beaches in the city, most of them centrally located and well comunicated by public transport. The beach of Peligros, close to the Reina Victoria avenue, is a small beach (200 metres) and in spite of its name ("peligros" means dangers) has quiet waters.
    • Besides the Peninsula of Magdalena you will find two more small beaches: beach of Bikinis and beach of Madgalena.
    • The beaches of Sardinero are actually composed by four beaches. A bit further away from the city centre are the beach of Molinucos and Mataleñas close to the lighthouse of Cabo Mayor, a zone with beautiful cliffs and sights. In most of these beaches you can practice fishing.
  • Cathedral and city centre
  • Bay of Santander (take a short ship trip to El Puntal beach)
  • Las Llamas park, surrounding the campus University (an excellent place to relax and do any type of sport).

At last, DON'T FORGET THE GASTRONOMY. Santander is located between the sea and the mountains and has a mixture of both in its gastronomy. Typical and delicious dishes are "rabas" (fried squid) or cocido montañés (a stew made of beans, meat and cabbage).

Websites you can visit, VERY USEFUL:

Remember to bring: white coat, stethoscope, insurance policy and ID card. THEY ARE COMPULSORY.

To avoid any issues regarding damages at the flat the incoming should pay a bail before arriving via bank transfer. If there is not any problem the incoming will receive his money back at the end of exchange. Remember to tell the contact person if anything is broken when you arrive in order to not get charged with those damages!!!

We only accept people in full months: from 1st to 30th/31st. Please keep it in mind for the accommodation!!

Once you get your CA, if you have any doubts please contact your contact person (for exchange and university or hospital issues. Every incoming will have one and the contact person should be able to answer and help you out.