At Loop Abroad, we know that sending your child abroad is a big decision. Traveling abroad can and should be a wonderful adventure, but finding the right program can take a lot of research.
We know that parents and students share many questions: What will the students do every day? What will they get to see? What kind of students will be traveling with them?
But parents also have some questions all their own: Who will be supervising the trip? What safety precautions are in place? How do we afford the trip?
“Your program is outstanding! My daughter really enjoyed it and I was completely impressed with how smoothly everything went starting from last Fall to the moment she returned home! Great organization!”
Jill D., mother of “College Veterinary Service Thailand” student, Lexington, KY
“Everything worked perfectly during her stay and I had good news from her almost everyday and she came back very happy. As a mother, ı am very satisfied and I will recommend Loop Abroad to other parents.”
Nazan T., mother of “High School Veterinary Service” student, Istanbul, Turkey
“We have so enjoyed all the stories and pictures Hailey has been sharing with all her family and friends. It was everything she expected and so much more and we are so glad she got this opportunity of a lifetime. I love looking at all the pictures she is in because it shows how happy she is and that we made the right decision in letting her go!”
Michelle R., mother of “High School Veterinary Service” student, Fredericksburg, VA
“Hannah had so much fun and loved her trip to South Africa! As a nervous Mama sending her baby overseas all by herself, once I had all the information from Loop Abroad, I felt very comfortable with the care your company took with our kids! Yes, even college kids are still our babies!”
Toni W., mother of “Veterinary Service: South Africa” student, Grain Valley, MO
“My daughter had an amazing time and I was not worried about her at all while she was in Thailand. Your organisation is the best and I would highly recommend to anyone. Everything is spelled out and everyone is so nice.”
Elaine B., mother of “College Veterinary Service” student, Ontario, Canada
“My daughter calls it the most remarkable experience she has ever had. And it is motivating her drive to admission at Vet School.”
Bob C., father of “Veterinary Service: South Africa” student, Torrance, CA
We arrange group flights for most of our programs. Our priority is finding a good, affordable flight on a reputable airline. As flight availability changes each year, so does our choice of airport and airline. We usually fly from JFK, but may also fly from LaGuardia or Newark or from other cities for private groups.
For high school groups, there will be a Loop Abroad staff member on board the flight. College groups and older may not have a staff member on the flight, but will have staff at the departure airport to assist them in meeting their group, checking in for their flight, and knowing everything they need to know for the trip.
Students are responsible for their own travel to the airport at least two hours before departure. Parents are welcome to travel to New York with your child to meet the airport staff, or to have your student travel on his or her own. You will receive more information about flight day details as travel time approaches.
After the trip, students will return to the airport, where a Loop Abroad staff member will meet them. From there, they are responsible for their own travel home. Parents may pick them up at the airport, or they may fly home on their own.
On occasion, when a flight leaves early in the morning or arrives late at night, out-of-state students might find they have to stay overnight near the airport. We can help students arrange and share hotel rooms in this situation, and will put a Loop Abroad staff member in the hotel for the evening as well for your convenience. Students are responsible for paying for their own hotel rooms if this is the case, and sharing rooms is a great way to help defray this cost.
Flight information for summer programs becomes available by November. At that time, flights will be reserved and families will be notified that they are to book their flights directly with the airline or agent. All your flight information will be provided to you, and you’ll be able to book over the phone or online with a credit card.
We ask that all students coming from the US fly on the group flight. We often have parents request that their student fly on a separate itinerary either because they want to book the flight with miles or because they have found a shorter itinerary from their home destination. While we can accommodate such requests, we strongly encourage students to fly on the group itinerary.
Students flying on their own itinerary will be responsible for a $150 fee in each direction. Please contact us about appropriate times for independent arrivals for your student’s particular program. This fee allows students to be picked up and/or dropped off by Loop Abroad staff, transported to join the group, and any housing and meals provided during that time.
If a student flying alone gets delayed or his or her flight gets canceled, there is nothing we can do to help them. With layovers, one canceled flight could leave a student stranded in an unknown airport alone. In addition, flight day is the students first meet one another and bond as a group. Students who fly alone miss this important bonding experience. We encourage students to fly with the group if possible, and over 95% of our students choose to do so.
While we don’t like paperwork any more than you do, it’s important for us to have accurate information about our students and their families so that we can keep them safe and serve them well.
The application for any program can be completed entirely by the student, but your child may need help from you preparing a few things. For a student to apply to any Loop Abroad program, they must provide a transcript. An unofficial transcript copy is fine.
If your child is applying for financial aid, he or she will do so at the same time he or she applies for admission. We ask that students include a copy of their parents’ tax return in their financial aid application. College students may use their FAFSA instead. It is perfectly fine to black out personal information in this document.
Once a student is accepted into the program, he or she will receive a packet of information and a packet of paperwork. This paperwork must be completed by the student and his or her parent or guardian. Some of the paperwork needs to be notarized. If you have any questions when completing the required paperwork, we ask that you contact us
It is extremely important that you complete the paperwork completely and truthfully. Omitting or altering information, particularly about the student’s health, is unsafe. Falsifying information on these forms can result in your child being dismissed from or prohibited from attending his or her program.
Each student will need a passport that is valid for at least six months after their trip ends. That means if your student’s trip ends on July 28th, his or her passport will need to be valid through January 28th of the following year. Any student who has a greencard will also need his or her greencard to travel internationally.
Students traveling on a US passport do not need a visa to travel to Thailand for under 30 days. Students traveling on a non-US passport should check with their national embassy about current visa requirements for their home country.
Loop Abroad is a Certifying Organization for the Presidential Service Award. Students completing the required service hours will be awarded with a Presidential Service Award. This award includes a personalized certificate, an official pin, and a congratulatory letter from the President of the United States. (US citizenship is a requirement for receiving the Presidential Service Award.)
Each of our programs awards participants with a certain number of service hours. Check the program page to see exactly how many service hours a student will earn.
If students need to hit a higher service hour threshold, we can help them to design a project that they can carry out ahead of time or in the evenings during their trip to meet their service hour requirement. We are always willing to help support our students in any additional projects they want to do to build on what they’ve learned and experienced in Thailand.
Many of our past students have used their experience as a stepping stone toward internships, research positions, fundraisers, writing and art projects, and presentations related to helping elephants or developing countries.
Basic Health Guidelines
The biggest and most important health precautions our students can make are the same ones they’d make at an American summer camp. We spend most of our time outside in hot temperatures. The most important things students can do to stay healthy are:
• Drink plenty of water. Filtered water is provided for students at all meals and in all accommodations.
• Wear bug spray at all times. We even ask that students wear bug spray when inside.
• Wear sunscreen when outside.
• Eat sufficient food at all meals.
• Sleep in the evenings.
If a student is unable or unwilling to do any of the above, he or she may be asked to sit out of activities until it is healthy and safe for him or her to continue. Drinking sufficient water and eating enough at meals are incredibly important to staying healthy in an active environment in hot weather.
The above precautions, as well as treating any minor cuts and scrapes with antibiotics and covering them, help avoid most of the common ailments suffered by travelers abroad.
When a student is accepted to the program, the required paperwork will include a number of medical forms and permissions, one of which must be signed by a doctor. We ask that you take special care to complete the form completely and truthfully. Omitting any information, whether or not it seems relevant to you, puts your child at risk. Please equip us to keep your child safe and healthy by giving us all the information we need.
Loop Abroad students are not allowed to consume alcohol or smoke cigarettes during their travel with Loop Abroad. This applies even if they are of legal drinking or smoking age in at home or according to the host country laws. This applies even if their parent or parents permit them to drink alcohol or smoke at home. Drinking alcohol or smoking during the program may result in a student’s immediate dismissal from the program. Disciplinary infractions will be handled by the Loop Abroad staff on a case-by-case basis.
Loop Abroad has an absolute zero tolerance policy toward the possession, distribution, or use of marijuana or other illegal drugs. This includes prescription drugs that are not prescribed in the student’s name. The penalties for possession of marijuana in Thailand, for instance, are extremely severe, and can include life imprisonment without access to a US embassy or lawyer. Any possession by a foreigner, of any amount, can be treated as a trafficking offense, which can be punishable by death. As such, we can have absolutely no leniency in this rule. Any student who brings marijuana on the trip will be sent home immediately, on their own, at their parents’ expense. We have never had an infraction of this rule, but we want to be exceptionally clear that this trip is NOT the place to test the boundaries of this rule.
Each Loop Abroad student is required to have medical insurance that covers treatment during their Loop Abroad program. The student is responsible for the costs of any medical treatment required during the program, and parents share that responsibility if the student is under 18. You should check with your insurance provider to ensure that foreign coverage is included in your child’s medical coverage. You may want to purchase travel insurance that specifically includes medical coverage abroad, which can usually be done for under $50. We can help you find a plan that meets our insurance requirements.
For anything beyond small cuts and scrapes, minor headaches, low fever that responds to painkillers, jetlag, or similarly minor injuries and illnesses, our general course of action is to take the student to the doctor.
From some program locations, the hospital is a five-minute walk. From other locations, it’s 1-2 hour drive. Our staff are always aware of the nearest and best healthcare facilities.
For most programs, no vaccines are required. We always suggest that you check with a travel doctor for what vaccines or preventatives he or she suggests for your child.
Water and Food
Students will be provided with filtered water for drinking at meals and all times in between. The tap water is safe for showering, brushing teeth, and washing. Students do not need to be concerned about eating uncooked fruits or vegetables at our program locations.
Students may experience some minor stomach upset in the first few days of travel due to food and water being different from home. Some travel doctors will provide a prescription for Cipro to treat traveler’s diarrhea, but most of the time this is far from severe and lasts only a few days. We encourage students to let their staff member know if they are feeling sick or experiencing any stomach upset, so that we can make sure it doesn’t last too long.
"I loved simultaneously learning about veterinary medicine and Thai culture, and seeing the unique challenges and opportunities here."
Antonia L., Veterinary Semester Abroad Fall 2016
Michigan State University