The two-week Amazon Veterinary Service Program is based at amaZOOnico (or another of our wildlife rescue partners in the Ecuadorian Amazon). amaZOOnico is a wildlife rescue center located in the Ecuadorian Amazon rainforest that rehabilitates, reintroduces, and cares for animals who are victims of wildlife trafficking. In addition to learning about the animals of the Amazon and their conservation and care, you’ll also help to put on a free medical clinic for dogs and cats of the local community and get a chance to explore some of the most popular sites of Quito and Tena on this Ecuador adventure.
The program course, “Conservation of Amazon Wildlife”, is a 3-credit course that includes observing and learning about the animals at amaZOOnico and learning from your veterinary (DVM) trip leader in the classroom and in the rescue center.
This program is designed for university-aged students who are interested in becoming veterinarians or working professionally with animals. Participants must be at least 18 years old. Most are 18 to 25.
There are no pre-requisites for this program. You do not need to be in school currently to apply. Individuals of any nationality may apply.
Each group of up to 8-10 students will have its own veterinarian and the groups will share site staff. All programming is in English – no Spanish skills are required (but if you have them, you’ll definitely use them!)
May 15 – May 29, 2022
Note: There will be two groups during this session. If you want to be in the same group as someone else who is enrolling, please let us know.
*The dates above indicate the day you must arrive in Quito and depart from Quito, which may mean leaving the US the day prior or returning the day after, depending on your flight time.
*Please note that there is no group flight for this program. Students will be picked up and dropped off at the Quito airport. Loop Abroad reserves the right to cancel any program at any time; in case of such cancellation by Loop Abroad, all payments will be returned in full.
Our Amazon Veterinary Service program is a full adventure on its own, but it can also be combined with one of our other two-week programs in Galapagos, Thailand, Australia or South Africa! Combine two programs and save $100 on each program tuition.
Tuition is $3950. There is a $100 tuition discount for combining this program with another 2-week program.
Interest-free payment plans are available. Current college students may be able to use federal financial aid toward their tuition. Your space is not held until your $1,000 deposit (credited toward tuition) is paid.
Tuition is all-inclusive but does not include international airfare. Tuition does not include medical insurance (the policy we suggest is under $25), passport, snacks, and souvenirs.
There is no group flight for this program. We will have multiple pick-up and drop-off times at the Quito airport on arrival and departure day.
You can receive 3 credits from University of Findlay for this program. (Additional fee applies.) Loop Abroad can also assist you in working to get credit directly from your school.
Participants will earn 50 veterinary hours and 10 research hours. You will receive a certificate for 70 service hours upon program completion.
Students can calculate their own record of hours for their VMCAS or other applications, but will earn at least this many hours.
Groups will have a maximum of 10 students each, with up to two groups on the project at a time. Your group will have its own veterinarian.
Program housing will include hostels or guesthouses in Quito and Tena on travel weekends. During our time in the Amazon, you will stay at a small guest lodge that is approximately a 10-minute walk through the rainforest from amaZOOnico. You will share rooms with students of the same gender, but will have your own bed. The lodge has electricity in the main common area and hot water in all showers, but it does not have air conditioning. While there is internet and cell signal available for emergency communications, there is not a reliable option for personal use.
Meals are included in your tuition and will be served at the guest lodge or eaten at restaurants during travel weekends. Meals are simple and not greatly varied. We can accommodate vegetarian and vegan diets and food allergies with advanced request.
Please note that this is a project in the Amazon rainforest, and as such it offers simple, rustic lodging and food.
All participants will need to be vaccinated against COVID-19. All participants will adhere to the Loop Abroad COVID policy which includes providing a negative COVID test within 2-3 days prior to travel, wearing a mask when flying and when interacting outside of your “travel pod” (your group and staff), daily symptom report, testing if symptoms are present, and testing before return to the US. Loop Abroad had ZERO COVID cases in 2021!
If a program is canceled by Loop Abroad due to COVID-19, we offer a full refund of all tuition paid, including the deposit.
Link this program to another two-week program and save $100 on each tuition. This program can combine with:
AmaZOOnico is a wildlife rescue centre located in the Ecuadorian Amazon rainforest that rehabilitates, reintroduces, and cares for animals who are victims of wildlife trafficking. AmaZOOnico has been working to rescue, rehabilitate, and release animals for 25 years.
All of the animals that arrive at the amaZOOnico are brought by the Ecuadorian Ministry of the Environment, usually after being confiscated from people who have kept them as pets or intended to trade them on the black market. Some animals arrive suffering from multiple physical and behavioural problems which make it impossible for them to live free in the forest. In those cases, AmaZOOnico provides them with spacious and comfortable enclosures where they can live in the most natural conditions possible. In other cases, the animals arrive in better physical and mental condition and after passing through quarantine, various examinations, and a rehabilitation process, they can be successfully reintroduced back into their natural habitat.
During the day, amaZOOnico is open to day visitors, which helps to raise awareness about wildlife trafficking, to fund the rehab and release projects, and to care for the animals that cannot be released.
AmaZOOnico is based inside Selva Viva, a nature reserve with over 4,000 acres of conservation rainforest where most of amaZOOnico’s releases take place.
In the summers of 2018 and 2019, Loop Abroad sponsored GPS collars to help with the research at AmaZOOnico. The first collar was for “America” the Tapir so that she could be released into Selva Viva to live a wild and free life, while her safety could be monitored. In 2019, we provided collars for monkeys that were ready to be released. Going forward, students will continue to track these animals and learn about how GPS tracking can improve release techniques and make sure future animals get the best chance at a new life in the wild.
Amazoonico is about one hour from Tena, the capital city of the Napo province and a small city in the Amazon rainforest. We’ll stop in Tena on the middle weekend of the program to relax and to enjoy some of its famous attractions, including rafting and a cave trip.
This program begins and ends in Quito, Ecuador’s capital city. On arrival and departure Sundays, depending on the timing of their flights, students will be able to explore Quito with their staff. On the final Saturday of the program, the group will have a day to tour the colonial Old Town and explore the Mitad del Mundo, a monument on the equator that divides the Northern and Southern hemispheres.
Students traveling onto or coming from a Loop Abroad program in the Galapagos can arrange for connecting flights into and out of Quito.
This itinerary is subject to change, but should give you a good overall program feel.
Arrive in Quito on Sunday and meet your group. Depending on the time your flight arrives, you may have a chance to explore some of the city with your group leader.
On Monday, we will make our way from Quito to Tena, with a stop along the way (weather-permitting) to visit some hot springs. Once we arrive in Tena, we’ll enter the Amazon rainforest and travel by boat to the lodge where we’ll be staying during the program.
Starting Tuesday mornings, our weekdays will be spent at amaZOOnico. We’ll walk about ten minutes through the jungle from our lodge to amaZOOnico and take on the day’s schedule. Most days will include:
During the weekdays, we will also:
Please note that most of the animals at amaZOOnico cannot be handled, as they are wild animals and our goal is to provide them with only the care that they need to stay healthy and safe. You may be in the enclosures with birds, tapirs, tamarins, guatins, coatis, and tortoises. There is no contact permitted with the captive or free monkeys.
During your program, Loop Abroad and amaZOOnico will offer a two day free pet clinic for the neighboring villages and people who live in the area. During this time, you will work as a team with your veterinarians to provide free medical care for cats and dogs, including vaccinations, skin and ear treatments, and spay and neuter surgeries.
You will learn from your veterinarians and the amaZOOnico vet, both through lecture and labs, how to assist in providing this care, from safely handling dogs and cats to performing physical exams to giving vaccinations to assisting in spay and neuter surgeries, anesthesia monitoring, and recovery. This project allows our vet staff to work as a team across cultures, allows you to get invaluable veterinary experience, and allows Loop Abroad to provide free medical care to animals who might otherwise be far from a vet, and to control the pet population via spay and neuters.
In the evenings, we will relax as a group at our nearby lodge.
On the weekend in the center of the program, we’ll take a break from amaZOOnico and travel to Tena, which is famous for its rafting. We’ll have a rafting trip, visit a local cave system, and have some free time to relax and explore the town.
On the last Friday of the program, we will make our way back to Quito. We will spend Saturday touring the colonial Old City of Quito, and also visit Mitad del Mundo, the famous “middle of the world” monument on the Equator, where you can grab a cool photo of yourself in the North and South hemispheres.
Students can depart from Quito any time on the final program Sunday. Students leaving later in the day will have time to explore in Quito with their staff.
Who lives at amaZOOnico? It’s important to note that the animals at amaZOOnico vary. This is a true rehab and release program, so lots of animals come and go.
Here’s who’s usually there:
In addition, troops of free spider monkeys and squirrel monkeys live on or near the property and are easily seen each day.
For two days of your program, your Loop Abroad group will host a free veterinary clinic for dogs and cats owned by people in the area, where we can provide vaccines, physical exam, skin treatments, wound care, and sterilization surgeries. So we'll have plenty of companion animals around too!
There are lots of ways to help fund your online and travel programs with Loop Abroad, and we are here to help.
Scholarships are a terrific way to cover some or all of your tuition for a Loop Abroad program.
The Gilman Scholarship could fund $5000 of your tuition and the next deadline is March 1 at 11:59pm Pacific Time! The Gilman Scholarship was designed to help students of limited financial means have the opportunity to study abroad – online or in-person. Nearly a third of applicants are awarded the scholarship! This is a great opportunity to help cover your tuition.
Students can receive up to $5,000 for travel or virtual programs. The scholarship can be applied to any of our online programs, to our semester programs, or to one of our 2-week programs.
Along with their application, students must submit two essays, the Statement of Purpose Essay, and the Community Impact Essay. Students must also upload their transcripts (unofficial or official). For more information on the application guidelines, please click here.
See the official website and read about Loop Abroad students who have received this scholarship. If you are a US citizen receiving a Pell Grant and currently enrolled in college or university, we encourage you to apply for this scholarship. The round of applications due March 1 will cover in-person programs or internships that start between May 1, 2022 and April 30, 2023. This cycle encompasses Summer 2022, Fall 2022, Spring 2023, and Academic Year 2022-2023 programs.
Loop Abroad is offering one FULL TUITION scholarship to cover one online program of your choice starting January 2022 or later. Applications are due December 1, 2021.
Who can apply: This scholarship is open to all students age 18 and over. You do not have to be a US Citizen. You do not have to be currently in school. You do not need to be enrolled in an online course to apply. You can apply for the scholarship first and make your online course selection after you receive a decision about the scholarship. (Note: if you make any payments toward tuition and later receive the scholarship, your payments will be refunded up to the value of one online program of your choice, not including an online semester.)
Criteria for selecting the scholarship recipient:
We will consider financial need, commitment to conservation and/or animal science, academic performance, and ability to be a positive team member as factors in our decision. We are not looking for the applicant with the highest grades or the most animal hours. We are not looking for the applicant with the saddest story. We are looking for a student who embodies Loop Abroad’s values of teamwork, commitment to a cause, and hard work, and for a student who would not be able to otherwise afford Loop Abroad tuition (whether because of household income or recent change in circumstances).
How to apply:
In order to apply, you must complete the following three steps:
Announcement of Award: The scholarship winner will be notified by January 15th.
Why is it called the Erica Ward Scholarship? Dr. Erica Ward is our Academic Director. We believe that she embodies the values we are seeking in our scholarship applicants: she is passionate, dedicated, hard-working, and driven to make the world a better place. Dr. Ward consistently strives to find ways that Loop Abroad can support projects in need and help its students and alumni have fulfilling academic opportunities. We have decided to name this scholarship after her in order to honor her continued commitment to her values and purpose. (PS – She isn’t dead. Please don’t write your essay about honoring her legacy. She is very much alive and still working here. If you are a finalist for the scholarship, she will read your essay.)
The scholarship will be credited toward tuition for the winning student toward the Loop Abroad online program of their choice. If the chosen winner has already made payments toward his or her Loop Abroad tuition, those payments will be refunded in full.
Scholarship is non-transferable. If student cannot attend, scholarship will be void – it is not a cash prize and cannot be paid as such. Applicants must be over the age of 18. Citizens and residents of any country may apply.
The Gilman-McCain Scholarship is a congressionally funded initiative of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State and named after the late senator John S. McCain from Arizona.
This scholarship is open to US citizen undergraduate students who are child dependents of active duty service members and receiving any type of Title IV federal financial aid. Students can receive awards of up to $5,000 for 2+ weeks of international travel or online programs. The scholarship can be applied to any of our online programs, semester programs or 2-week travel programs.
The next round of applications for the Gilman scholarship open in January 2022. The deadline will be in March. At that time, you can apply for scholarships to use on any program starting between May 1, 2022 and April 30, 2023.
The Freeman Awards for Study in Asia (Freeman-ASIA) provides scholarships for U.S. undergraduate students with demonstrated financial need to study abroad in East or Southeast Asia. This scholarship is open to both US citizens and permanent residents who are undergraduate students at a two-year or four-year college or university.
Recipients can receive up to $3,000 in awards for summer programs. This scholarship can be applied to our Thailand programs of 2+ weeks.
Applications for the 2021-2022 school year are closed.
The Fund for Education Abroad (FEA) invests in promising students with financial need who wish to study abroad. Potential applicants who meet our eligibility requirements may participate on any international education program that meets their academic objectives.
This scholarship is open to US citizens or permanent residents currently enrolled as an undergraduate at a college or university in the US. Scholarships range from $1,250 – $10,000 and can be applied for programs that run for at least 28 days.
Along with their application, students must submit a financial aid form (filled out by the financial aid office at their school), one recommendation letter, and a copy of their unofficial transcript.
Applications for Summer 2022 and Fall 2022 will open November 16, 2021 and be due by January 20, 2022. Students may review the scholarship and apply here.
Scholarships of note that you can apply for through the Fund for Education Abroad include:
The InternationalStudent.com 2020 Travel Video Contest gives students the opportunity to win a scholarship by sending in an original video discussing:
There are several prizes available ranging from $250 to $4,000.
In order to apply, students must create a 4-minute video and submit an online entry form. Tips and tricks for filming a video entry can be found here. Applicants must be 18 years of age or older.
Submissions are due by October 13, 2021. Apply here.
"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., Thailand College Veterinary Service 2016
Wright State University, Dayton, OH