Summer programs
Costa Rica Veterinary Medicine

Applications are open for Summer 2022!

Smiling sloth put inside a green basket

The two-week Costa Rica Veterinary Medicine Program is based at Kids Saving the Rainforest, a wildlife rescue center located on the west coast of Costa Rica that rehabilitates, reintroduces, and cares for animals who are victims of wildlife trafficking 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 on the mid-program weekend.

You can optionally earn 3 credits studying wildlife conservation during this program. The course includes observing and learning about the animals at KSTR and learning from your veterinary (DVM) 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.

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!)


Giant Toucan eating her meal

  • Live in the Costa Rican rainforest
  • Care for sloths, kinkajous, monkeys, parrots and other Costa Rican animals
  • Research and create enrichments for monkeys
  • Perform veterinary labs such as coprological exams and necropsies
  • Help to provide free pet care and spay and neuter surgeries for locals (when available)
  • Enjoy a fun weekend of 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
  • Learn and practice veterinary Spanish (no experience required)

Dates open for application

Releasing a tamandua in the forest
Releasing a tamandua in the forest

Summer 2022

May 15 – May 28, 2022 waitlist only**

May 29 – June 11, 2022

June 12 – June 25, 2022


**If you can only travel on these dates, we recommend checking out our Amazon Veterinary Service program in Ecuador! It is the exact same curriculum at a different location.

 apply now

These program sessions are covered by Loop Abroad’s COVID-19 100% Tuition Refund Policy. If a program is canceled by Loop Abroad due to COVID-19, we will refund 100% of any program tuition you have paid (including the deposit).

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 and save $100 on each program tuition!

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. Combine any two programs and save $100 on each program tuition!


Who lives at Kids Saving the Rainforest? It’s important to note that the animals at KSTR 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.

Screeching marmoset monkey
A marmoset monkey
  • Parrots
  • Marmosets
  • Tamarins
  • Sloths
  • Kinkajous
  • Macaws
  • Curassows
  • Squirrel monkeys
  • Capuchin monkeys
  • Coatis
  • Spider monkeys

When possible, we will also participate in a health clinic run locally for dogs and cats, which may mean some companion animal experience as well!

Hours and Credit

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.

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 60-70 veterinary 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 Kids Saving the Rainforest 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. There are laundry facilities (no charge) in the building. Please note that because summer is the dry season, you will be asked to stick to quick showers and limit laundry to a maximum of once per week.

All meals are included in your tuition. Lunch is served buffet-style. Breakfast and dinner are self-catered (meaning that we will cook meals together in the kitchen, or you can choose an option such as cereal if you prefer) and all food is provided. We can accommodate vegetarian and vegan diets and food allergies with advanced request.

Please note that this is a project in the rainforest and outside of town, and as such it offers simple, rustic lodging and food.


Tuition is $3950There 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 except for airfare. Tuition does not include medical insurance (the policy we suggest is under $25), passport, snacks, and any COVID vaccinations or testing required for travel.

Airfare is not included. There is no group flight for this program. We will have multiple pick-up 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.

COVID and Safety

All participants will need to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 (which may include boosters if eligible). 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.

What if my program isn’t cancelled, but I can’t travel for personal reasons?

We understand that sometimes even though a program is not cancelled, an individual participant may be unable to travel due to illness or other personal reasons. In addition to our refund policy, if you must cancel your program enrollment less than 35 days before travel, for any reason at all, you can replace your program with the following virtual package.


This package includes 5 university credits from Iowa Wesleyan University (if you successfully complete the courses) and has a retail value of $5,080.

This offer is valid for cancellation of travel programs between 35 days and 1 day before the program begins, when no refunds are available for participants cancelling their travel. One virtual package available per participant; non-transferable. A participant cancelling their enrollment more than 35 days prior is welcome to select this option over their refund if they so choose.

Want to travel with us longer?

Link this program to another two-week program and save $100 on each tuition.

Apply Now


Kids Saving the Rainforest is a non-profit organization that was founded by two 9-year-old girls in 1999 with the goal of educating people about the importance of the rainforest.

From their headquarters in Costa Rica, where your project will be based, they operate a Wildlife Rescue Center and design and support conservation projects in and around Costa Rica’s Manuel Antonio rainforest. The Rescue Center works to help abandoned, sick, or injured animals and, ideally, re-release them into the wild.

In particular, Kids Saving the Rainforest has helped the endangered Titi monkey population increase from 1200 local individuals to over 3700. This change is due in part to KSTR’s administration of their successful Monkey Bridge Project.

During your program, you will live at the Kids Saving the Rainforest project. 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 mid-program weekend, 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.

The Mission of Kids Saving the Rainforest is to protect the diverse wildlife of Costa Rica’s Pacific Coast by rehabilitating wildlife, conducting original scientific research, training volunteers, and promoting conservation and reforestation.


This itinerary is subject to change, but should give you a good overall program feel. Above all else, we want to keep you safe during your program and minimize your risk of exposure to COVID-19. We can help to do that by:

  • Requiring students and staff to wear face masks at all time and to use hand sanitizer regularly
  • Providing housing that is only for Loop Abroad students and staff
  • Providing private transport from and to the airport that is only for Loop Abroad students and staff
  • Limiting travel during the program – all weekday portions of the program, including housing and meals, take place at Kids Saving the Rainforest
  • Keeping our fun weekend excursions outdoors

You will arrive in San Jose on Sunday and meet your group. We will then travel together to Kids Saving the Rainforest. (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 necropsies
  • Helping to keep KSTR 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 KSTR
  • Supplementary activities such as veterinary Spanish (note: our Spanish teacher may be joining us virtually depending on travel ability).

When available, this program will also include participation in a spay-neuter clinic for dogs and cats in the area. You will learn from your veterinarians and the local 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.

Please note that most of the animals at KSTR 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. 

In the evenings, we will cook dinner together relax as a group at our housing on-site. There is wifi and laundry facilities available, as well as a swimming pool.

On the weekend in the center of the program, we’ll take a break from KSTR and travel to Manuel Antonio National Park. This is a breathtaking place and really fun to explore, hike, and relax. This excursion and all activities are included – we will return in the evenings to our housing at KSTR.

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.

During COVID-19, conservation efforts around the world have suffered as they have lost the funding and help often provided by tourists and visitors. Your participation in this program helps to re-open the wildlife clinic at KSTR and begin the process of reopening the clinic for rescues again. Your support truly means the world to organizations we work with, and there is so much that we can learn from their experts on staff.



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:

Students of Loop Abroad veterinary scholarships recipient.

The Gilman Scholarship could fund $5000 of your tuition and the next deadline is March 1 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 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 Dr. Erica Ward Scholarship

Focused elephant imageLoop Abroad is offering one FULL TUITION scholarship to cover one online program of your choice. Applications for 2023 are now open and are due December 1, 2022, for your choice of an online program in 2023. 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 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:
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.

Announcement of Award: The scholarship winner will be notified by January 15th.

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 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.

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.


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 next round of applications for the Gilman scholarship opens 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.

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.

Applications for the 2021-2022 school year are closed. 

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 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 on 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: Travel Video Contest:

Smiling woman holding small wildcatThe 2020 Travel Video Contest gives students the opportunity to win a scholarship by sending in an original video discussing:

  • How COVID-19 has impacted your international education or cultural exchange experience abroad
  • Your ideal international education or cultural exchange after Covid-19

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.

NAFSA scholarships

NAFSA is the world’s largest nonprofit association dedicated to international education and they have a long list of scholarship databases (including scholarships for pre-vet programs) that might help make your program possible!

"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