Bonus Weeks - Loop Abroad

Bonus Weeks

Thailand Adventure Bonus Week

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Spend a week exploring the best culture and adventure activities that Chiang Mai has to offer!

Who It’s For:

This Bonus is designed for students in our Veterinary Service programs who would like to spend a week exploring the best culture and adventure activities that Chiang Mai has to offer. It is only available to students who are enrolled in and linking to a two-week Loop Abroad program.

Loop Abroad in a raftDates

July 13 – 21, 2019

The Adventure Bonus Week can be linked seamlessly with any program taking place:

June 29 – July 15, 2019

 apply now

*Program begins with departure from Chiang Mai, Thailand. Groups will return to the US on final program date, plus or minus one day depending on time of departure.

Tuition

Tuition is $1,250 USD. Linking the Adventure Bonus Week with a program will not increase airfare.

The Adventure Bonus Week does not qualify for a 10% tuition reduction when added to a program. Financial aid is not available for the Adventure Bonus Week.

Itinerary

Loop Abroad Students with hand made parasols

  • Discovering Chiang Mai on a guided tour of the ancient walled city
  • Visiting a local craft village to learn the Thai art of making mulberry paper
  • Spelunking through the ancient Chiang Dao caves by hand-held gas lantern
  • Learning how to turn beans into chocolate bars, with a tasting
  • Traveling to the top of Doi Inthanon, Thailand’s tallest mountain
  • Trekking to a hill-tribe village in the jungle and spending the night at a hot springs resort
  • Rafting a jungle river
  • Swimming in a rain forest waterfall
  • Meditating and learning about Buddhism from Buddhist monks
  • Discovering night markets and street markets
  • Eating all the best flavors of Thailand
  • Exploring the amazingly intricate white temple in Chiang Rai
  • Soaring through the jungle thirty times on Thailand’s longest zipline course*
  • Cooking Thai dishes at an outdoor cooking class*

* your chance to do whichever one you had to skip in your first program!

 apply now

Your itinerary may vary slightly based on weather, holidays, and a number of other factors.
If you combine a program with a bonus week in a different country, you may have to depart your program one day early depending on flight schedules.

Thailand Marine Bonus Week

Read student reviews on GoOverseas and GoAbroad!

Get SCUBA certified, conserve precious coral reefs, and stretch out on the beach!

Who it’s for

Students over 18 on Loop Abroad’s programs in any country June 15 – July 1 OR June 29 – July 15. No previous experience required.

Dates open for applications

July 1 – 8, 2019
July 13 – 21, 2019

apply now

What It’s About

One week of SCUBA diving and tropical island living on the beach. Learn how to SCUBA dive, practice identifying tropical fish, check coral health, and join in marine research and conservation projects.

The New Heaven Reef Conservation Program is on Koh Tao island in the Gulf of Thailand. It’s known throughout Thailand for its work in marine conservation. The center – where we will stay – is nestled in a quiet bay on the beach away from the main town and night life because we’re here to focus on exploring and conserving the coral reefs, cleaning up the ocean, learning from experts about this spectacular but threatened ecosystem, and having a wonderful time living on a beautiful island.

Hours and Credits


During the Marine Bonus Week you will earn:

  • 10 Research Hours (up to 20 if you are certified as Open Water Advanced before the program)
  • 5 Animal Experience Hours
  • 10 Service Hours (up to 20 if you are certified as Open Water Advanced before the program)

SCUBA certifications are offered through Scuba Schools International (SSI). If you have questions about receiving college credit for this certification, please contact us.

SCUBA Experiences for all levels

For many students, this will their first time SCUBA diving – and there’s no better place for it!

We accept students of all levels – from zero experience to Advanced Open Water or higher certifications. Each morning, we’ll break into small groups based on experience level for the day so everyone can learn at their own pace. We’ll regroup at dinner.


If you don’t have any SCUBA certification, you’ll have the opportunity to complete your Open Water Diver certification over the first three days. Each day, you’ll study and practice skills with your dive instructor in a small group. After your certification, you’ll join an ecological monitoring and coral restoration dive with New Heavens’ experienced Research and Conservation team.

If you are an Open Water SCUBA diver already, you’ll spend the first two or three days to complete your Advanced Open Water Diver certification in a small group with your dive instructor. After your certification, you’ll join ecological monitoring and coral restoration dives with New Heavens’ experienced Research and Conservation team.

If you’re already an Advanced Open Water SCUBA diver or have a higher certification, you will need to prove your skills on a refresher dive then you’ll jump right in with the experienced Conservation and Research divers! From day one, you’ll learn and practice advanced skills related to marine species identification, coral health monitoring, artificial reef construction and maintenance, and/or other skills. Just like students doing the SCUBA certifications, you may need to attend small group lectures and training to prepare for each day’s conservation dive.

As long as the weather and visibility are good, all students can expect to enjoy 5-6 SCUBA dives this week. Your group will have up to 16 participants, one Trip Leader, and the New Heaven Reef Conservation Program instructors.

Itinerary

Loop Students in Scuba Diving gear

Please note that this is a sample itinerary and is subject to change based on weather, tides, visibility, animals and ecosystems in need, and other factors.

Sunday: Say goodbye to your program group in Chiang Mai and meet with your new Marine Bonus Week group. Travel to Koh Tao (combination of plane, bus, and ferry). This may include an overnight stop before you reach the island.

Each day Monday – Friday: Koh Tao runs on ‘island time’. Being surrounded by palm trees, coconuts, and the sound of the waves just makes people slow down a bit. Here’s the rough plan for each day, but plan to be flexible:

8am: Breakfast
9am: Arrive to New Heaven and prepare equipment
9:15am: Morning class and/or SCUBA
11:30am: Lunch
12pm: SCUBA
3:30pm: Relax on the beach
5pm: Class or project briefing for next day (only 2-3 days)
7pm: Dinner
8pm: Evening games or free time

Monday: Orientation to the island and New Heaven Reef Conservation Program’s mission of conservation and research
SCUBA Day 1

Tuesday: SCUBA Day 2

Wednesday: SCUBA Day 3
Evening: Marine Ecology 101 and Monitoring Techniques

Thursday: Reef invertebrates and indicator species lecture
Conservation Dive
Evening lesson: Shark and Turtle Ecology and Monitoring

Friday: Conservation Lecture and Dive
Final dinner

Saturday: Travel day

Sunday: International departure day! Wrap up and reflections in the morning, relax and pack,  lunch, and airport departure.

Groups will return to the US on final program date, plus or minus one day depending on time of departure.

Safety

New Heaven dive schools has an excellent safety record and often hosts student groups like ours. Their experienced team of conservation divers will provide our safety orientation on arrival. In the water, the most important skill is to move slowly and deliberately, observing but not disturbing the many colorful creatures you see. As with most wildlife, patient explorers will find the most amazing species and unusual behaviors.

Above water, Koh Tao is a small but busy community of divers and visitors. It’s a beautiful and exciting place to be, but it’s important to stay with your group and watch your belongings, especially considering we’ll be loading or unloading the boat every day!

Note: All participants must be capable of independently entering and exiting the water by a ladder and must pass a basic swim test (swimming, treading water) in order to safely join in-water activities.

Tuition and What’s Included

Tuition is $1,950 and is all-inclusive: all meals, housing, activities, lessons, supplies, boat transport, and roundtrip transportation from Chiang Mai to Koh Tao and back.

The Marine Bonus Week does not qualify for a 10% tuition reduction when added to a program. Financial aid is not available for the Marine Bonus Week.

Students may be in double rooms or dorm-style rooms with students of the same gender with twin beds or a shared bed. Rooms do not have air conditioning. Meals will be eaten as a group at local restaurants, mostly serving Western and Thai food. Special diets and food allergies can be accommodated.

How to Apply

Choose any two-week program for June 15 – July 1 OR June 29 – July 15. Then choose “Marine Bonus Week” for July 1-8 OR July 13-21.

apply now

Your itinerary may vary slightly based on weather, holidays, and a number of other factors.
If you combine a program with a bonus week in a different country, you may have to depart your program one day early depending on flight schedules.

Thailand Elephant Bonus Week

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Message us about this program on Facebook!

Want more elephant time? You got more elephant time!

This Bonus Week is only available to students who are enrolled in and linking to a two-week Loop Abroad program.

ElephantsDates

July 1 – 8, 2019
July 13 – 21, 2019

Elephant Bonus Week can be linked seamlessly with any two-week program taking place on the following dates:

June 15 – July 1, 2019
June 29 – July 15, 2019

*Program begins with departure from Chiang Mai, Thailand. Groups will return to the US on final program date, plus or minus one day depending on time of departure.

Tuition

Tuition is $1,350 USD. Linking the Elephant Bonus Week with a program will not increase airfare.

The Elephant Bonus Week does not qualify for a 10% tuition reduction when added to a program. Financial aid is not available for the Elephant Bonus Week.

Itinerary

This program takes place in a rural village in Surin province where the Save Elephant Foundation is directly improving elephant’s lives by helping locals move their elephants out of difficult work such as trekking and street begging.

Learn about elephant medicine from your vet instructor through lectures and demonstrations. Immerse yourself everyday in Thai culture, colors, flavors, and language for a unique cultural experience.

Each day, you will work with a veterinarian to observe, examine, and care for the village’s elephants. Far from the tourist traps, you’ll also get an authentic experience of Thai culture by staying with a host family in their home. There will be at least two students with each family and at most 12 students in your group. You’ll join the rest of your group and staff each day for most meals and activities.

We will contribute to the community and to the elephants by spending much of our time cleaning elephant shelters, chopping sugarcane, planting trees, teaching English, and/or playing games with children at the school. Be prepared to get dirty! On hot afternoons, walk the elephants to the river so everyone can cool off!

You will earn 20 veterinary hours you can count on your VMCAS application as well as 20 volunteer hours in this amazing setting.

The Elephant Bonus week group will start by traveling together with staff from Chiang Mai to Surin for the better part of Monday. On Saturday after our week in the village, we will say goodbye to the elephants and return to Chiang Mai. All meals, travel within Thailand, housing, and activities are included in your tuition.

Adding the Elephant Bonus Week will not increase your international airfare.

apply now

Your itinerary may vary slightly based on weather, holidays, and a number of other factors.
If you combine a program with a bonus week in a different country, you may have to depart your program one day early depending on flight schedules.

South Africa Adventure Bonus Week

The Cape of Good Hope

Penguins, history, sunsets, and the southernmost tip of Africa!

Who It’s For

Students age 18-25 participating in a Loop Abroad program on June 15 – July 1 in any country.

This is the perfect chance for Loop students on the Veterinary Service: South Africa program to extend their journey and get even more out of their experience. Students on other Loop Abroad trips around the world may join, but will be responsible for the cost of any additional airfare (to Cape Town). There will be no airport pickup charge.

Dates open for applications

July 1 – 8, 2019

apply now

Itinerary

Penguins

From the lighthouses that dot the coast to the top of Table Mountain, the Adventure Bonus Week is just that: an adventure.

This one-week tour is especially designed for Loop Abroad students. It is packed with activities distinct from the Veterinary Service: South Africa program and combines the most interesting and well-known tourist locations with chances to experience and see unique wildlife and landscapes.

Each day will be filled with exploration and adventure including time in the city, cultural activities, and lots of exploring in nature. It is a packed week that takes you throughout and outside Cape Town and along the southernmost coast of Africa.

Activities

 • Enjoying the V+A Waterfront in Cape Town
Observing Cape Town from the Wheel of Excellence giant ferris wheel
Savoring famous South African dishes such as biltong, bunny chow, melktert, and malva pudding
Soaring to the top of Table Mountain on the cable car
• Touring Cape Town’s famous sites
Visiting Robben Island, the prison where Nelson Mandela was held
Getting up-close with African penguins at Boulders Beach
• Relaxing in picturesque Simon’s Town
• Exploring Cape National Park, home to baboons, fur seals, ostriches, and stunning views
• Snapping a selfie at the Southernmost tip of Africa
• Wandering the coast where the Indian and Atlantic Oceans meet
Hiking in beautiful Agulhas National Park
Discovering the famous Kirstenbosch Botancial Gardens, known as Africa’s most beautiful garden
Cruising off the coast at sunset for a special view of Cape Town
• Seeing unique wildlife such as rock hyraxes and fur seals
Photographing the protea, fynbos, birds of paradise, and other famous South African flowers
Shopping for souvenirs, crafts, artwork, and clothes on Long Street

Exact itinerary is subject to change based on weather and availability of activities. This program takes place during South African winter, and wind and rain can make certain activities untenable. We will do our best to do everything on the schedule and will substitute other activities in case of heavy rain on some days.

 

Tuition + What’s Included

Tuition is $1,850. For students enrolled in our South Africa Veterinary Service program, that includes flight from Johannesburg to Cape Town and back, all activities, all in-country transport, all housing, and all meals. Students joining this bonus week from another country will be responsible for flying to Cape Town on their own, and the flight is not included in the cost of tuition. Souvenirs, snacks, and non-water drinks are not included.

Housing will be at hotels or hostels where individuals not on a Loop Abroad program may be staying. Students will share rooms, but will not share a room with non-Loop participants. Meals will either be prepared by tour staff, eaten at restaurants, or self-catered (cost included). We can accommodate special dietary requests with advance notice.

How To Apply

Apply for a Loop Abroad program on June 15 – July 1 and pick “Adventure Bonus Week: South Africa”.

Remember: Students whose June 15 – July 1 program is in another country will be responsible for additional airfare. Students whose June 15 – July 1 program is in South Africa will not have additional airfare charge for adding the Adventure Bonus Week.

 

apply now

Your itinerary may vary slightly based on weather, holidays, and a number of other factors.
If you combine a program with a bonus week in a different country, you may have to depart your program one day early depending on flight schedules.

Australia Zoo Bonus Week

Behind the scenes with the vet team at Sydney’s famous Taronga Zoo

Read student reviews on GoOverseas and GoAbroad!

Message us about this program on Facebook!

Who It’s For

This Bonus Week is only available to students who are enrolled in and linking to a two-week Loop Abroad program.

Dates Open for Applications

June 29 – July 7, 2019

apply now

Australia Zoo Bonus Week can be linked seamlessly with the Australia Veterinary Service program on June 14 – 30.

*Program begins in-country on June 29 in Sydney, Australia. Groups will return to the US on final program date, plus or minus one day depending on time departure.

Itinerary

This bonus week takes place in Sydney, Australia

You will shadow vets and other staff members to get a full idea of the different careers of zoo staff and a broader understanding of what it takes to provide good welfare to zoo animals. We are thrilled to be able to invite just one group of a maximum of 10 students to join us for exclusive access to learn from the Taronga team.

The Taronga Zoo is home to over 4,000 animals of 350 different species as is recognized as an international leader in wild animal care and conservation. You will spend the week working behind the scenes with the veterinary and zookeeper teams, in many areas the public cannot access, including the Taronga Wildlife Hospital where they rehabilitate wildlife from the surrounding area.

Each day Monday – Friday will be spent at Taronga, shadowing and learning from the staff on a rotating schedule. Topics and tasks covered during the week may include:

  • Shadowing Taronga Zoo veterinarians on their daily treatment and health check rounds
  • Assisting with case workups and treatment plans
  • Learning from an animal nutritionist about the range of diets and nutritional needs of zoo residents
  • Hands-on training with hospital zookeepers to learn husbandry
  • Behavior, ethograms, and goal-oriented enrichment
  • Laboratory skills and necropsies with the zoo’s veterinary pathology team

In addition to our work time at the zoo, the week will include fun activities such as:

  • Dinners in different areas of the city
  • An evening at Luna Park Amusement Park
  • A trip to Manly Beach and nearby hike
  • A full-day whale watching adventure

All housing, meals, and in-program transportation is included in your program fee. Students will stay at the YHA hostel in Sydney. Some evenings will include free time after dinner.

You can expect to earn 40 hours of a combination of veterinary and animal experience hours. Students wanting to pursue college credit may receive 1 credit for our Australia Zoo Husbandry and Management course through our school of record, Iowa Wesleyan University (additional fee applies) or can pursue credit directly from their current college or university.

Please note: This is a unique opportunity to learn from and have access to the veterinary team at the Taronga Zoo. While you may have opportunities to handle animals based on specific, necessary tasks, you will not be provided opportunities to handle or pose with animals solely for your benefit or interest–most wild captive animals are handled as hands-off as possible for their health and safety. Your experience will vary depending on the work that the zoo veterinarians and other staff need to do during the time you are shadowing and learning from them, so you should expect that the schedule can vary and can change at the last minute, as would be the case when working at a zoo. Your flexibility and eagerness to learn all aspects of zoo careers will be a key to your success in this special opportunity.

Tuition + What’s Included

Tuition is $2,050 USD. Linking the Australia Zoo Bonus Week with the Australia Veterinary Service program will not increase airfare.

The Australia Zoo Bonus Week does not qualify for a 10% tuition reduction when added to a program. Financial aid is not available for the Australia Zoo Bonus Week.

 

apply now

Your itinerary may vary slightly based on weather, holidays, and a number of other factors.
If you combine a program with a bonus week in a different country, you may have to depart your program one day early depending on flight schedules.

"This was a great learning experience! We were able to spend a lot of time with the vets and they were constantly answering questions and sharing their knowledge. Strongly recommend this trip!"

Andrea G., College Veterinary Service 2016

Wright State University, Dayton, OH