Bienvenidos a España!
Are you wondering about reasons why you should pick Spain? Click me.
Are you wondering about which city you should apply? Click me.
Are you wondering about how Spain looks like? Click me.
What are you waiting for? We want you in Spain and we want you now! ;)
Our Health System is mainly public (we have private too of course), its expenses are covered with the taxes we pay and it covers almost every treatment and its coverage used to be until last year universal. Right now it covers entirely Spanish citizens, EU citizens and citizens from countries with which Spain has international treaties, as well as children and emergencies. Spaniards are incredibly proud of the universal coverage and it is actually something to outline, since there are not so many countries that can say that.
That means that every single person no matter his religion, sex, race or economic status would be cared the same way.
Its administration is managed by the Comunidades Autónomas (like smaller counties in which Spain is divided) ultimately regulated by the central government.
Access to the specialists at hospitals is regulated by the referral from the Primary Health Care doctor, which has also been through a 4-year residence program. He is the first contact with the patient and solves most of the troubles or reroute the patient to a specialist. This is one of the main pillars of the Spanish welfare state.
Of course patients can always contact a specialist thru the emergency system in hospitals.
Spain leads in several fields regarding Medicine. However, the organ donation and transplantation is without any doubt the one to be highlighted. With the highest rate since 1992 in the World in organ donation and transplantation (over 35 donations/million people) Spain has broken every record even in transplantations per day, beating our own record of the unbelievable number of 45 transplantations in one day in 2014. I guess you must feel thrilled about this….well so do we!!! And we love it :D
After passing a state test, only the highest marks can apply to Med School, which takes 6 years (including pre-clinical education, clinical education and clinical internships)
After that we are Medicine Graduates, but if we want to specialice and work in the Public Health System we need to sit another national exam (MIR) to access the residency. It will take 4 or 5 more years for us to be a specialist, but during residency we are already working as doctors.
Life as a medical student is hard in Spain but it is worth it the effort (or at least that is what we say). Although our incoming is far way below the average, we get to treat to every patient and disease without exception...and no money can pay that, can’t it?
As a student here you will be allowed to watch and practice minor procedures with a doctor or resident supervising you. Usually your involvement depends on the tutor and, more than anything, on the interest you show within the subject...so we encourage you to be pro-active during your clerkships here!! Although speaking Spanish is not a requirement to apply for an exchange with us, it is highly advisable since the contact with the patient and the clinical discussions are rarely held in English.
It depends from where you come. Spain is placed in a key spot in the World Map. So close to Europe, Africa, Eastern Asia and the gate for America because of our lovely tight cultural relations.
For more detailed information, contact your local contact person who will give you information about the best and cheapest way to arrive at the city you were assigned!
1. If you are coming by plane…
The airport of Adolfo Suárez Madrid Barajas and Barcelona El Prat are the 4th and 5th biggest airports in Europe. Millions of passengers use them everyday and they have sometimes really good bargains!! Check the low cost airlines to travel around Europe and the islands!!
There are up to 49 airports in Spain. Apart from Madrid and Barcelona, the airports of Valencia, Alicante, Málaga and Bilbao are also quite big and operate with cheaper airlines. And of course don’t forget about the ones in our paradisiacal islands Canarias and Mallorca!!!
2. If you are coming by boat…
That would be a little bit old-fashioned...but still you can do it! Our ports in Barcelona, Valencia and Cádiz are well known for their Mediterranean connections and with the Islands!!!
3. Travelling by train?
Although it can be expensive sometimes, you can also find bargains in the public rail enterprise in Spain, RENFE, specially if you book in advance, last minute or if you travel by four. Our high speed train (AVE) connects several cities in Spain and will allow you to get from Madrid to Barcelona in less than 3 hours for example!
It’s definitely the best way to travel if you find a bargain or if you don’t have much time!
4. Travelling by bus?
5. Our recommendation?
Share a car!! BlaBlaCar is well known in Spain and Europe. It’s a web page where people offer rides to share gas expenses. The cheapest way of all!! It’s also a good manner to get to know the cheerful and crazy Spaniards on rides that will lack everything but laughs and fun!!!
It’s also safe and reliable!!
The public transportation system in the cities of Spain is good, punctual and safe, so it’s the best option to move around in the city! Get in touch with your local contact person who will provide you more specific information!
You can come by boat, plane, train or bus. Spain is really well connected with all over the world.
It is a great country to discover. From big historical unique cities like Madrid, Barcelona, Granada or Córdoba; passing by the amazing parties and sunny beaches in the south and east coasts, till the snowy mountains, undiscovered landscapes and pristine nature in the north. Not to forget our magical islands in the Atlantic and Mediterranean Oceans.
And here goes a little secret for you...Spaniards are people you MUST see and meet. Although at the beginning they might be a little bit reluctant to speak in English, try your best saying two words in Spanish with a beer and they will become your best friends in a couple minutes!! You will be amazed by their happiness, ideas, way of party, food… because they are just natural!! And guess what...we are also the best lovers in the world...If you don’t believe it check the research article that the well known British newspaper, The Daily Mail, published about it some years ago here.
However, we also lead within museums so important as “El Prado” or “Reina Sofía” and artists like Picasso, Goya or Velázquez, the biggest architects in the World like Gaudí, the unequalled culture of flamenco or some of the most amazing historical landmarks like “la Alhambra”, “la Mezquita de Córdoba” or the ships used by Cristobal Colon to discover America, not to forget our incomparable gastronomy with delicious dishes like paella, torrijas or our famous tapas.
People wonder how can such a small country host such a huge diversity of landscapes and nature, at the same time of having some of the most visited cities in the World. It is not that we say it, it is just true. Spain has what you wants because it has it all.
Spain is a conglomerate of different cultures,each of which is proudly defended by its population.There are differences among different regions,cities and even parts of the same city!! But as we said, the key of the Spanish success and beauty is, with no doubt, its diversity.
Regarding potential differences with your home country you have to take into consideration that Span is a totally open-minded country very similar to the rest of Europe. People on the street will not look at you unless you do something totally crazy, so you will not have any problem in that sense.
Also it’s important to know that Spanish people are usually late 10-15 minutes waiting or delaying is pretty normal in all Spain. Moreover, our day schedule is a little bit different: although we do have breakfast at 7 or 8am, we don’t have lunch till 2-3pm and dinner before 9:30pm is insane. International restaurants and touristic places are aware of our strange schedule but it’s important to keep that in mind!!!
Also siesta is kind of a cliché….we do it but not everyday usually!! We recommend you to experience it anyway (but warning!! it’s addictive!!)
People NEVER go out at night before 12am and 2am is a normal time to enter a disco. Also in the Summer is really hot so you might not do much when the sun is still shining!!
Back home after partying before 6.am is a sin!! It´s your opportunity to enjoy the dawn and a classic spanish "chocolate con churros"
If you are reading this by now,it is quite probable that you are interested in coming on an exchange to Spain.
If you are,you must first contact the Local Exchange Officers (either for Research or Professional exchanges) at your Medical School.
If you have and you are one of the fortunate students who will come to have a delightful experience at our country,first of all: Congratulations!
In any case please make sure you read our Exchange Conditions to avoid problems or misunderstandings in the future!!
If you want to know a little bit more about life in Spain do not hesitate to check our IFMSA-Spain Survival Kit for Incomings!
Thank you very much and hope to see you soon!!!