Your Questions answered by alumni
How is this different than a normal shadowing experience or study abroad program?
Doctors In Italy Fellowship Program allows you to experience a different healthcare system than in the US. You will see health care professionals at work in an international setting, an exceptional opportunity to develop your personal skills and cultural competence.
Additionally, this program allows you to shadow doctors every day, accelerating your understanding and experience of health care and medicine in the real-world setting.
Finally, while shadowing the professionals involved in the Program, you will have an opportunity to live in three of the most vibrant European cities (Rome, Genoa, and Milan).
What are your credentials as an organisation?
Doctors in Italy is a network of English-speaking doctors working across Italy committed to sharing their knowledge with students from all over the world, who wish to become members of a global community of health care professionals. Doctors in Italy is a member of the Forum on Education Abroad and partner of Bocconi University, one of the most important teaching and research universities in Italy
How much does the Doctors In Italy Fellowship Program cost?
The fees depend on the program duration and location. The two-week Fellowship starts at €2,850 ($3,300). Applying to the program is free of charge, but a deposit of €300 is required to secure your place in the Program, if accepted. You can find dates and updated costs here.
What meals are included in the tuition?
Breakfast will be provided for the entire fellowship as well as two weekly dinners and lunch on the Friday excursion. Furthermore, students will have access to very affordable meal options for lunch and will be able to eat at home for dinner – spending much less than they would at home.
How can I apply and what happens afterwards?
You can easily apply to the Program through the dedicated page on our website.
After you apply, you will hear back within 10 days. If you meet all requirements, you will be invited for an interview with the admissions team.
Within 10 days of your interview, you will know whether your application has been successful. If you have been accepted into the program, you will be invited to enroll. Enrolment requires a deposit of €300 ($340). This payment secures your spot on the Program until payment is due. Full payment is due before departure.
What is the accommodation like?
You will be living in shared apartments with two rooms (usually double rooms with twin beds). The apartments are in nice, safe, central areas and they have A/C and wifi. Most apartments also have a kitchen, living room, and washing machine.
Students on the five-week program in Rome will be staying on campus in a dorm room. Single rooms are available upon request.
Can I arrive earlier/leave later than the program dates?
Yes. If you need to arrive earlier than the day before the program starts or wish to leave later, speak with one of our coordinators to verify that your accommodation is available. If not, we’ll help you find a suitable accommodation solution.
What will a typical day shadowing a doctor in Italy be like?
A typical day starts early, having breakfast with other fellows at about 8:30 at the hospital. You are then paired for the day with the doctor you’ll be shadowing in a medical or surgical area for about five hours. Throughout the morning you will follow and observe a doctor doing rounds, prepping for surgery and working in the operating room, discussing cases with colleagues or in the research lab – wherever their daily schedule takes them, you will accompany them.
Those who are enrolled in the 5-week program continue with two hours of classes at the local University.
If you are not taking the program for credit, you’ll have plenty of spare time after your shadowing experience to explore the city on your own or with your new friends.
Following an afternoon of exploration, you will head out for dinner in one of the many amazing restaurants in the area, and then most likely… go to bed early!
You’ll want to be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed the next morning!
Is the program compliant with the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) in terms of ethical shadowing for undergraduate and graduate students?
The program is fully compliant with the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) guidelines. Rules on shadowing in Italy are very similar to those in the US. As such, you will be in the middle of the action – right next to the doctor you are shadowing – as an observer. However, you are not going to practice medicine during your Fellowship.
What are the hours of the shadowing?
You will be shadowing four days a week, about five hours per day. This means more than 20 hours of shadowing a week. You’ll be shadowing physicians, surgeons, and other healthcare professionals in hospitals and outpatient clinics, and will have plenty of occasions to speak with the doctors, observe them with patients, and ask tons of questions.
What areas of healthcare will I be able to observe in the hospital?
At the clinics and University Hospitals associated with the Program, you will have the option to shadow a number of areas of healthcare, including but not limited to:
- Abdominal surgery
- Obstetrics and gynaecology
- Ear, nose and throat
- Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
- Emergency medicine
Some students will be able to extend the experience to other areas such as Biomedical engineering and human nutrition or to shadow researchers. If you have an interest in a particular area of medicine, inform your on-site coordinator ahead of arrival and we will do our best to accommodate your request, if possible.
Remember that the hospital is focused on the health of its patients first and foremost, therefore it may happen that an area becomes unavailable to students. Don’t feel bad about it, there’s still so much to learn from the other rotations!
What fields of study do Fellows come from?
Students who take part in the Doctors In Italy Fellowship Program come from different undergraduate majors, including but not limited to:
- Health Science
- Neurobiology and Physiology
- Chemical Engineering
Can I receive course credit for my shadowing?
Yes. The five-week program awards you three semester credit hours. You will receive the transcript directly from John Cabot University.
For the two-week, three-week, and four-week programs, you will receive a certificate for the shadowing hours and, if your advisor accepts it, you may negotiate credit for it directly from your college. However, this is not guaranteed by the Doctors In Italy Fellowship Program.
What does your partnership with John Cabot University in Rome mean?
Our partnership with John Cabot University allows us to combine an outstanding professional shadowing experience with an immersion course in the humanities paired with a taste of life in Italy’s capital city. The partnership also allows us to offer Fellows on the five-week course academic credit toward their current degree course.
What are fellows permitted to do while shadowing in the hospital?
The Doctors In Italy Fellowship Program allows participants to actively shadow physicians and surgeons in a clinical setting. The program exists to provide learning through observation, putting them close to the action but not actually practising medicine or treating patients. While shadowing in the hospital, you will be encouraged to study through observation, take notes and ask questions.
You will never be alone with a patient and you’ll always be supervised by a qualified physician. The doctors will guide you and tell you what you can do to make this an active and engaging learning experience.
What should I wear in the hospital?
We advise you to choose an outfit that makes you look responsible and reliable. Pants, a shirt and closed (not open-toed) shoes are recommended.
Will the doctors speak English?
In most occasions, yes. We work closely with our hospital partners, so that our students are paired with English-speaking doctors and mentors throughout the program. Many of the doctors you will meet have worked or studied abroad and speak excellent English. Of course being in a foreign country where English is not the primary language, you have to expect that not everyone in the hospital will be able to speak with you. Some flexibility and a few words of Italian go a long way! Show how passionate you are about healthcare and everyone around you will do their best to help you learn as much as possible!
What happens if I get sick while abroad?
If you get sick while in Italy, you’ll have access to same-day assistance with highly qualified English-speaking doctors who are part of the DoctorsinItaly network. The program includes an insurance plan with full coverage so you won’t need to worry about payment.
What will I be able to do during free time?
There are countless things to see and do in and around Rome, Genoa, or Milan, presenting you with a huge array of ways to enjoy your free time.
The program’s accommodation is very central, so you will have access to everything the heart of the city offers, from culture and history to restaurants and shops.
Weekends are free, allowing you to plan trips out of town with the friends and colleagues you meet on the Program. Popular day trips out of Rome include Florence, Naples, Siena, Amalfi, Ostia Antica, Orvieto, and the beaches around Rome.
If you are shadowing in Milan popular places to visit are Lake Como, Lake Garda, Venice, Genoa, and Cinque Terre.
If you are doing the program in Genoa, you will be in the middle of the beautiful coastal line of Liguria, an hour away from the scenic looks of Portofino, Recco, and Cinque Terre, as well as the laid-back beaches of Alassio and San Remo. If you’re a sea-lover, that’s the best choice for you!
Will there be other Americans/fellows there for me to speak to?
Yes. There will be other American students and English-speaking professionals to speak to, as most students come from American colleges.
Do I have to buy my own flights? How much will flights cost?
Yes. Flights are not included in the price of the Program and you will have to purchase your own tickets to Rome or Milan. We always advise booking flights as far in advance as possible to ensure the best price, but keeping some flexibility in case you need to reschedule or change your plans.
Do you offer any aid or scholarships?
Yes. We are happy to support high achievers who benefit from a scholarship or financial aid through their school. We also offer support in defining a payment plan that fits the applicant’s needs. Check our Shadowing Scholarship page.
Can I read some reviews of the Fellowship Program?
Some of our alumni have agreed to answer questions for prospective Fellows. If you wish to get in touch with these students, please let us know and we’ll connect you.
Which American colleges have your fellows come from?
Our fellows come from a number of different American institutions, including:
- Cornell University
- University of Maryland
- Gettysburg College
- Knox College
- Ithaca College
- Tennessee Tech
- Southeastern University
- St.Mary’s College
My parents are unsure if this is the right opportunity for me. Do you have anything I could share with them?
We understand that parents want the best for their children and opportunities that represent good value. That’s why we’ve created an information pack dedicated to helping parents understand what we do, what you will get from the Doctors In Italy Fellowship Program and how this experience can benefit your professional prospects.
Get in touch to request an information pack or, if your parents have specific questions, we are happy to address them directly. Email us at shadow AT doctorsinitaly.com.
How does the program help med-school applicants?
Medical school admissions panels are interested in more than your GPA. They want to see your passion for your chosen subject and how you have demonstrated your commitment – particularly in comparison to other candidates. Shadowing programs like Doctors In Italy Fellowship Program is the ideal way to do this. Gaining first-hand, real-world experience will also give you the edge at your admissions interview, allowing you to talk knowledgeably and specifically about your professional ambitions.
Undertaking international initiatives also demonstrates that you are comfortable with personal challenges and unafraid of stepping out of your comfort zone.
For students who are undecided about their career plans, the Doctors In Italy Fellowship Program is the perfect way to investigate your interest in different areas of medicine. We often see Fellows start the Program with an idea of which medical field they want to pursue and come out with a completely different aim, having discovered other areas of medicine they feel more drawn to.
Again, this is the kind of experience that arms you with compelling testimony as to your motivations for an active commitment to a career in health care or medicine.