Spain 2021

My first choices when picking Spain for an exchange were Santander and the Department of Paediatrics. Santander is a smaller city in the north of Spain close to Bilbao. People in Santander were very nice. The weather in July was around 18-24°C with a few rainy days so I suggest packing sweaters and jeans. The public transport in Santander is very reliable and there is a cheap direct flight from Vienna to Santander. 

As for accommodation, all the students lived in flats. I lived with two other girls in a nice flat 30 minutes from the hospital by foot but very easily reachable by bus. Almost every one of the students had a single room but there was no wifi in any of the flats so we had to buy SIM cards for internet connection. Because of COVID situation Santander accepted more students than last year and the usual boarding in hospital cafeteria was replaced by pocket money. But we only got 70€ for a whole month which was hardly enough.

The hospital staff was very welcoming. There wasn’t much for me to do in the Paediatrics department and I spent most of the time with neonates. It was mostly an observatory exchange. The only things I did was the examination of healthy neonates. To everyone coming to Spain for an exchange I would recommend learning some basic Spanish to make the most of it. Although in every section of the department there was at least one doctor who spoke English and those doctors were mostly very eager to practice their English with me.

All the Spanish students left Santander for the summer so there was no social programme. But the incomings made plans for most of the days. Mostly people went to the beach during sunny days. Other common options were a visit to Bilbao or some of the beautiful surrounding villages. My two favourite places in Santander were Palacio de Magdalena and Faro de Cabo Mayor, a lighthouse. Palacio de Magdalena is a place that was used as a filming location of a great Spanish TV series called Gran Hotel. I also visited the stunning national park Picos de Europa which is some 100 kilometres from Santander but you can only get there by car.

I recommend Spain for an exchange for the travelling options it offers and beautiful hospitals.  


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