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Behind-the-scenes advice for your journey to become a vet

What to look for in a pre-veterinary internship abroad

Pre-vet students need to get hands-on experience under their belt before applying for veterinary school. With so many programs available, it can be difficult and overwhelming for students to research what program is best for them. There are a few major considerations to think about before making your decision, especially when considering an internship abroad.

List what you want to learn before you research programs

Different internship programs can have widely varying areas of study and how much practical experience they offer. Programs can vary in:

  • Specific areas of medicine, biological sciences, or animal care
  • Different species of animals
  • Types of animals such as wild animals, zoo animals, or domestic animals
  • Shadowing vs. hands-on experience

Don’t get distracted by a pre-vet internship program in a dream destination if it has nothing to do with what you want to study. Consider your interests, and start your research there. To start, ask yourself:

  • Do I want to work in a veterinary clinic, animal shelter, zoo, or in the wild?
  • Are there specific animal species I want to work with, or do I want a variety of animals?
  • Do I want to study only veterinary medicine or also get experience in another field?

Consider the veterinary internship’s location

While an internship abroad can be exciting, there are a few things to consider before deciding on a country to work in. Language barriers can make traveling in the area difficult and may detract from your ability to learn. If you do not speak the country’s language, check to ensure the program is offered in your native language. Cultural differences can also make traveling abroad uncomfortable for some students. Finally, look into the safety of the internship’s location and ask what precautions are put in place to ensure the safety of the interns. Costa Rica, Belize, South Africa, and Greece are popular locations for veterinary science programs due to being relatively safe and easily traveled areas with many English speakers.

Think about the timing and length of the program

If you are a student, you are likely looking for a summer internship or an internship placement near your school. Not all veterinary medicine internships will align with your school schedule, especially if you want to travel abroad to participate in them. In addition, internships can range from a single week to multiple months in length. Don’t sign up for a program that you cannot complete.

Calculate the overall cost

Internship fees and tuition are only one part of the financial responsibility students face when choosing a program. Look closely at what’s included in the cost. A program may have a cheaper price tag but not include as much as a more expensive option. Consider costs such as:

  • Flights to and from your destination
  • Daily transportation costs to the internship
  • Housing and meal costs
  • Travel and health insurance
  • Fees for college credit

It may be easier to choose an international internship that includes more in the fees than a program that puts more responsibility on you. However, if you are an experienced traveler, the task of finding and paying for these essentials may not be as much of a hurdle.

Look up the program’s accreditation, reputation, and reviews

Not all pre-vet internships are built the same. Poor internship programs can waste your time and money in addition to threatening your safety. Always double-check the program’s accreditation and reviews online before submitting any money or personal information. A pre-vet internship should have an accreditation with a college, university, or other large recognizable partner. Finally, looking up the company’s reviews as well as its reputation online can be extremely enlightening. You don’t want to be stuck in a program with a company that isn’t as ethical as you originally thought!

Your college may not give credit for internships with certain companies, which can be a disappointment for some students. Some internships, such as those through Loop Abroad, offer the option of credit directly from their School of Record. Other internship programs will work with colleges or offer credit through their own university partners. For interns who have already graduated and are simply looking to add powerful lines to their resume or advance their veterinary career, college credit may not be an issue. However, veterinary schools require animal care, research, or veterinary hours in order to be accepted. Finding a program that will give you proof of your completed hours is important if you are using the internship to better your chances of getting accepted into vet school.

Consider Loop Abroad’s pre-veterinary internships

Loop Abroad offers many different internship opportunities for undergraduate and current veterinary students looking for practical experience working with wildlife abroad. Our programs clearly state what is included in the tuition, the length of the program, what you will be studying, and what costs students are responsible for. In addition, we are backed by major universities and have been rated a top study-abroad organization multiple times! Our programs include hands-on experience in veterinary medicine, biological studies, zoo sciences, marine biology, wildlife conservation, and more in countries such as:

*Available for current veterinary students only

Why choose an international animal internship?

Traveling opens a world of opportunities for both students and young professionals looking to get ahead in their careers. International experience is seen as a positive on resumes and school applications for veterinary school and other graduate programs. Working abroad also helps with foreign language skills and broadens your critical thinking, cultural awareness, and social skills. These are all essential skills for a well-rounded student and employee!