Summer programs
Costa Rica Pre-Vet Wildlife Medicine

Applications are open for Summer 2024!

Save $100 when you complete your enrollment by October 31, 2023!
Accepted students who deposit before October 31st will receive our $100 Early Enrollment Discount, our biggest tuition discount of the year!


“I attended the Costa Rica Vet Med program this summer and it was so rewarding! Truly an experience that cannot be recreated or matched!”

Taylor G., Costa Rica Veterinary Medicine 2022, University of Georgia


The two-week Costa Rica Pre-Vet Wildlife Medicine is based at a wildlife rescue center that rehabilitates, reintroduces, and cares for animals who are victims of wildlife trafficking, human animal conflict, or who otherwise need care. In addition to learning about the animals of Costa Rica and their conservation and care in the sanctuary and veterinary clinic, you’ll also get a chance to explore the famous Manuel Antonio National Park and famous Poas Volcano.

You can optionally earn 3 credits studying wildlife conservation during this program. The course includes observing and learning about the animals at the facility and learning from your veterinary trip leader and your on-site local veterinarian in the classroom, clinic, and rescue center.

Who It’s For

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, but we also accept full-time undergraduates over 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 10-12 students will have its own teaching 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!)


  • Care for sloths, kinkajous, monkeys, parrots, and other Costa Rican animals
  • Learn from dedicated veterinarians about the identification, physiology, and veterinary care of Costa Rican mammals, reptiles, and birds
  • Learn about zoonotic diseases, necropsy, nutrition, diagnostics and therapies, wildlife immobilization, and how to provide wild species with good welfare in captivity
  • Perform behavioral observation and design a goal-oriented enrichment project for an animal at the center
  • Perform veterinary labs such as suturing, clinical skills, blood smear analysis, fecal cytology, and blow darting
  • Visit a equine center and perform medical checkups on horses
  • Go on an excursion to experience the famous Poas Volcano
  • Enjoy a fun day exploring Manuel Antonio National Park, where you might see two-toed and three-toed sloths, howler monkeys, squirrel and spider monkeys, coatis, pacas, and anteaters in the wild

Dates open for application

Summer 2024

coming soon


 apply now


The dates above indicate the day you must arrive in San Jose and depart from San Jose, which may mean leaving the US the day prior or returning the day after, depending on your flight time and beginning travel location.

Please note that there is no group flight for this program. Students will be picked up and dropped off at the San Jose 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.

Want to travel longer with us? Add another two-week program in!

This program is a full adventure on its own, but it can easily be combined easily with a sea turtle program in Costa Rica or a veterinary medicine program in Panama or Belize with minimal travel time and extra costs. 


It’s important to note that the animals at the wildlife facility will vary. This is a true rehab and release program, so lots of animals come and go. But there are some animals who have been on-site for a long time, and whom we can expect to see when we’re there.

  • Parrots
  • Sloths
  • Kinkajous
  • Macaws
  • Capuchin monkeys
  • Coatis
  • Spider monkeys
  • Owls
  • Toucans
  • Armadillos
  • Turtles

Hours and Credit

You can receive 3 credits from the University of Findlay for this program. (Additional fee applies.) Loop Abroad can also assist you in working to get credit directly from your school.

You will receive a certificate for 70 service hours upon program completion. You will be supervised by a teaching veterinarian in your classroom lectures, clinic time, labs, and animal activities – you can calculate your vet hours based on your actual experience, but we estimate 55 veterinary hours and 10 research hours.

Students can calculate their own record of hours for their VMCAS or other applications, but they will be working with a teaching veterinarian in the clinic, sanctuary, and classroom for multiple hours per day.

Groups and Staff

Groups will have a maximum of 12 students each, with one group on the project at a time.

Housing and Meals

You will be living at a wildlife facility for the duration of your program, and our housing will be only for Loop Abroad students and staff. Housing is shared rooms with bunk beds, which have screened windows and fans. Shared bathrooms have hot and cold water. You will be given a voucher for 2 kilograms of laundry per week and additional laundry will be $2 per kilogram. Laundry service is located a short walk outside the center.

All meals are included in your tuition. Lunch is served buffet-style. We can accommodate vegetarian and vegan diets and food allergies with advanced requests.

Please note that this is a project offers simple, rustic lodging and food.


Tuition is $4350

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 except for airfare. Tuition does not include medical insurance (the policy we suggest is under $25), a passport, snacks, and any COVID testing required for travel.

Airfare is not included. There is no group flight for this program. We will have multiple pick-ups and drop-off times at the San Jose airport on arrival and departure day. Your transportation between the San Jose airport and the program location is provided and included in your tuition.


For programs starting after August 20, 2023, COVID-19 vaccinations are recommended, but they will no longer be required.

All participants must follow the Loop Abroad COVID policies, which include testing negative 2 days before travel, reporting symptoms if they arise during the program, masking or testing if asked to by staff, and isolating if you test positive.

Want to travel with us longer?

Link this program to another two-week program.

Apply Now


The rescue center works to help abandoned, sick, or injured animals and, ideally, re-release them into the wild. During your program, you will live on site at the center.

You will arrive at the main international airport in San Jose, and Loop Abroad will provide transportation to the project. Housing is on-site and our housing area is reserved for Loop Abroad participants and staff. We will live, eat, study, work, and volunteer on the project site. 

During the program, we will enjoy visiting and exploring Manuel Antonio National Park. This beautiful nature reserve is a gem of Costa Rica and is high on any visitor’s list, and will give you the chance to see some of the wildlife of Costa Rica in its natural habitat. 


This itinerary is subject to change, but should give you a good overall program feel.

You will arrive in San Jose on Sunday and meet your group. We will then travel together to the rescue center. (We will advise you on what time to arrive if you’d like to minimize waiting time to meet your group.)

We will have the day to get oriented and learn the ins and outs of our new home for the next two weeks. Starting Monday morning, your weekdays will be full with a combination of:

  • Learning from and shadowing the vet in the wildlife clinic
  • Working with your Loop Abroad teaching vet in the lab, in learning activities from blood pathology to wildlife immobilization
  • Helping to keep the center running with work such as preparing animal meals
  • Veterinary lectures from your teaching veterinarian so that you can learn everything you need to know about the animals who live at the center

You will learn from your veterinarians and the local vet, both through lecture and labs. You’ll work alongside the vets and facility staff to participate in rotations on the Animal Team, Sloth Team, Study/Enrichments Team, and Vet Team. 

In the evenings, we will enjoy dinner together relax as a group at our housing on-site. There is a pool and wifi on site.

We’ll take a break and travel to Manuel Antonio National Park. This is a breathtaking place and really fun to explore, hike, and relax. You’ll also get the chance to see a volcano, waterfall, hot springs, and more in beautiful Costa Rica. This excursion and all activities are included – we will return in the evenings to our housing.

We will return to San Jose on the final program Saturday for departing flights. Overall, this program is a chance to explore wildlife medicine in Costa Rica while getting to see first-hand how a successful conservation project runs.



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. When you look for scholarships for pre-vet programs, you need to look at all your options!

Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship:

The Gilman Scholarship could fund $5000 of your tuition and the next deadline is March 9 at 11:59 pm 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 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 March 2023 Deadline application will open in mid-January 2023 for applicants whose in-person programs or internships start between May 1, 2023 to April 30, 2024. This cycle encompasses Summer 2023, Fall 2023, Academic Year 2023-2024, and Spring 2024 programs or internships. The application deadline is Thursday, March 9, 2023 at 11:59pm Pacific Time, and the advisor certification deadline is Thursday, March 16, 2023.

Loop Abroad “Vet Squared” Initiative

Loop Abroad has committed $10,000 in annual funding to program participants joining us from a military background. If you are active duty military or are a veteran, and are considering a career in veterinary medicine, we hope you’ll consider applying to join a Loop Abroad program.

Scholarships of $500 – $1,000 are available for in-person programs. Scholarships of $1,000 – $3,000 are available for select self-paced virtual programs, which can cover the full cost of a virtual program.

Please find more details here.

Loop Abroad Dr. Erica Ward Scholarship

Focused elephant imageLoop Abroad is offering one FULL TUITION scholarship to cover one travel program (up to 2 weeks) of your choice.  Applications for 2023 are now CLOSED. Applications for 2024 will re-open in January 2024. We’re proud to add this to the list of scholarships for pre-vet programs.

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 have to complete an application to Loop Abroad in order to be selected for the scholarship. The scholarship winner must be able to complete the Loop Abroad enrollment paperwork, requiring a doctor’s signature, and must meet all safety requirements of program enrollment.

Note: if you have already applied to Loop Abroad and been accepted, you can still apply for this scholarship. If you have made any payments toward tuition and later receive the scholarship, your payments will be refunded.

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).

Scholarship details:

This scholarship covers tuition to one Loop Abroad program with a duration of 1 to 2 weeks in the summer of 2023. It is not transferable to other individuals or future semesters. It does not include airfare, travel or medical insurance, passport, college credit fees (optional), visa (if required), or any optional incidentals during your program. Please understand that a full tuition scholarship does not make travel completely free: passport, airfare, and other expenses depend on the program location.

Once a scholarship winner is chosen, the winner will need to complete full application paperwork for Loop Abroad. The winner must then also complete the enrollment paperwork, which includes waiver forms and a medical form signed by a doctor indicating that you are able to safely participate in a travel program.

The scholarship winner agrees that Loop Abroad may publicize the awarding of the scholarship, including the recipient’s information such as name and current university. The scholarship winner will be subject to all regular rules of participating in a Loop Abroad program.

How to apply:
To apply, you must complete the following three steps:

  1. Apply for the Loop Abroad Dr. Erica Ward Scholarship here. The application requires a copy of your proof of household income (such as last year’s tax return).
  2. Follow @LoopAbroad on Instagram ( and make an Instagram post about the program you’re hoping to join, tagging @loopabroad and #loopabroad in the post. You do not need to mention that you have applied for a scholarship.

Dr. Erica Ward holding a black dog and an elephant at the background and an elephant dogWhy 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 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 program of their choice.

The scholarship is non-transferable. If the student cannot attend, the 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.

ALL PARTICIPANTS IN LOOP ABROAD TRAVEL PROGRAMS MUST BE VACCINATED AGAINST COVID-19. All participants are subject to other COVID requirements, such as providing a negative COVID test taken within the 2 days prior to travel. If you are unable to meet these requirements, you may use your scholarship toward a Loop Abroad online program of your choice within the 2023 calendar year.

Loop Abroad reserves the right not to grant a travel scholarship for the 2023 year if there are no qualified applicants who have applied by the deadline.


The Gilman-McCain Scholarship:

Young lady holding a blue parrotThe 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 receive 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 deadline for this scholarship is March 9, 2023.

Freeman-Asia Scholarships:

Smiling woman hanging on a ropeThe 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 for 2+ weeks.

In order to apply, students must fill out an online application. Read the scholarship instructions here and the eligibility requirements here.

All student applications for Academic Year 2023-2024, including the following terms: Summer 2023, Fall 2023, Academic Year 2023-2024, Spring 2024, and Calendar Year 2024, are expected to open in February 2023.

The Fund for Education Abroad:

Loop Abroad scholarships student checking heartbeat of the tigerThe Fund for Education Abroad (FEA) invests in promising students with financial needs who wish to study abroad. Potential applicants who meet our eligibility requirements may participate in 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.

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 Spring 2023 (programs from January- May) are due by September 15, 2022 at 12pm (noon) EST. Students may review the scholarship and application instructions here.

Scholarships of note that you can apply for through the Fund for Education Abroad include:

  • The Hiliary Echo Douglas Memorial Scholarship – for students studying abroad in Southeast Asia
  • Boston Area Study Abroad Association Scholarship – for students with schools in Massachusetts, Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, or Connecticut.
  • Rainbow Scholarship – For LGBTQI students that participate in a high-quality, rigorous education abroad program.
  • Malú Alvarez Global Access Scholarship- Five scholarships for semester-long programs to be awarded for study in any country.
  • NAFSA Tamara H. Bryant Memorial Scholarship– These funds are awarded to African-American undergraduate students in the United States who hope to study abroad.
  • Gateway International Group Education Abroad Scholarship- Scholarship awarded to those who are first-generation college students, or those whose home or college of study is in Kentucky.

Smiling woman holding small wildcat Aging Matters Scholarship continues to bring more awareness to the key issues we face as an aging population. For the 8th consecutive year, we will be awarding an annual college scholarship to an individual that best demonstrates to us why “Aging Matters” to them. A $1500 scholarship will be given annually to a selected college student that currently cares for an aging loved one, works within the senior community, or intends to pursue a career that will have an impact on the elder population. Any existing student (or incoming freshman), in good academic standing, at a 2 or 4-year accredited college can apply for this scholarship. The recipient will demonstrate a unique and admirable understanding and desire to show us that “Aging Matters” to them.

All applicants can get more information and apply online here. Applications are due May 15, 2023.

First Trip offers scholarships for students who are studying abroad for the first time. At the time of writing, Thailand, Costa Rica, and Belize programs would be eligible for these $1,500 scholarships. Find out more and apply at Applications are rolling and suggested to be submitted at least 3 months before your program. They also have funding available for passports ($130) as well as some other supplemental awards.