Explore different aspects of veterinary medicine and get hands-on experience working with different animals while traveling the world.
This global semester abroad is perfect for the student who is exploring various aspects of veterinary medicine, loves working with different kinds of animals, or has an insatiable wanderlust and wants to see three very different parts of the world while studying abroad.
Spanning the course of three months, students will have endless opportunities to gain hands-on experience learning clinical skills and providing care to animals in need. With three 4-week modules in South Africa, Thailand and Ecuador, you’ll have the chance to work with dogs and cats, elephants, cheetahs, marine life and various animals of the Amazon rainforest!
The semester is designed with pre-veterinary students in mind. Our small, hands-on classes are taught by veterinarians and marine science instructors with extensive experience in their fields.
We know that spending a semester abroad can be daunting for pre-vet students. We’re available to answer all your questions about credit, financial aid, and coursework to make sure this semester abroad is the perfect fit for you!
May 18 – August 12, 2019
Deadline to apply is February 1, 2019!
The Global Veterinary Semester Abroad is designed to enhance your pre-veterinary knowledge, skills, and experience. Learn how it can add to your Veterinary School application.
Many students find that they can use their federal, state, and institutional aid, loans, and scholarships to pay the semester fee. You may be able to use your current semester tuition toward your Global Veterinary Semester Abroad and get credit at your school, and we can help you with this process. Additionally, students can choose to receive a transcript from our university partner, a fully accredited US-based institution. Please contact us so we can help you figure out your options.
The AVMA says “If you have the opportunity to work… for veterinarians who work with different species, that’s a bonus that can make you more appealing to a veterinary school admissions committee.” We’re proud to offer you that opportunity!
The Global Veterinary Semester Abroad is based in South Africa, Thailand and Ecuador. From safaris to tropical islands to rainforests, students will travel the world and experience vastly different cultures, landscapes and animals. Check out the many places our studies will take us!
Feracare offers a volunteer program which gives people of any age a chance to work with wildlife and experience the African bush. Their mission is to ensure the long-term survival of the cheetah species through maintaining a strong genetic pool with the aim to release them into protected areas if and when they become available.find out more
Much more than just a diving school, New Heaven has more than 20 years of experience showing and preserving the island reefs and occasionally hosting sea turtles in their small nursery.find out more
Home to over sixty elephants who are no longer able to work in elephant-based industries or have been rescued from inhumane conditions in logging, trekking, or circus operations. The Park and its founder, Lek Chailert, have been recognized time and again for tireless efforts to improve the lives of elephants in SE Asia.find out more
Want to fit a summer semester abroad in three countries into your pre-veterinary education path? Here’s how it can work for you!
This page is a general overview of the process of Global Veterinary Semester Abroad, from applying to attending. For more detailed information on any of these points or personalized assistance, contact us! We are happy to help.
The Global Veterinary Semester Abroad is a full summer semester designed for pre-vet students, or students interested in animal care and conservation. It takes place in South Africa, Thailand, and Ecuador over 12 weeks. Each student must take all the courses, which are worth a total of 18 credits. The program does not take place on a college campus, but instead in elephant sanctuaries, dog clinics, marine research centers, and other animal facilities.
Loop Abroad is not a college. Participants in the Global Veterinary Semester Abroad will receive their credits and transcript from Iowa Wesleyan University, our school of record in the US. For students who are currently in college, we can help you work with your school to transfer these credits. For participants not currently in school, you will still receive a transcript from Iowa Wesleyan.
The tuition for the Global Veterinary Semester Abroad is $20,450. It includes tuition, housing, meals, transport to class each day, transport within the program country, books, and lab fees. It does not include international airfare or health insurance costs. We can help you arrange flights.
Financial aid options are available. Loop Abroad offers up to $5,000 in need-based discounts per students. If you are currently a college student, we can assist you in using federal financial aid toward your Loop Abroad tuition.
This program is open to applicants age 18 and over. You can be a citizen or resident of any country. You do not need to currently be in school. All courses are taught in English - no foreign language skills are necessary.
Competitive applicants plan to apply to vet school or otherwise work in a career with animals and have a demonstrated interest in working in animal science. No specific skills or experiences are required.
Step 1: Talk to your advisor. If you are currently in school, we suggest that you meet with your advisor about a summer semester abroad and the credits you would be transferring into your degree program. Usually your advisor will want to see syllabi for all the courses. For a copy of all the syllabi, please send an email to [email protected]
Ask your advisor to approve the credits so that you may approach your study abroad office with your plans to participate in a Loop Abroad semester. Note that the course load of 18 credits is a complete semester, and though you may take some credits as pass/fail, you are expected to participate in all courses and class meetings during the semester.
Step 2: Apply for admission. You can apply for admission at any time, but it is best to apply at least a few months in advance so you have time to meet with the various offices on your campus and make arrangements for your study abroad. In your application, you can indicate if you are applying for financial aid from Loop Abroad, which can award need-based funds of up to $5,000 per student. You would get notice of any financial aid award with notice of admission.
The application costs $50 and includes an essay, transcript, and the contact info for two academic or professional references (like a professor or manager). Once we have a complete application, it generally takes us about a week to get you an admissions decision. You do not have to pay any program deposit until you decide that you want to attend.
Step 3: Secure funding for your summer semester. Once you are admitted, and have your credits and study abroad experience confirmed, it is sometimes possible to use your federal financial aid if you are currently enrolled in a US college or university. Your financial aid office can help you with this process, and we will also assist you. In some cases, your school will require specific documentation from Loop Abroad and we are able to work with them to make this semester financially feasible for you.
Step 4: Pay deposit and submit necessary paperwork. Before you can be confirmed as a participating student, you must pay the deposit to hold your spot in the upcoming semester. There are only 12 spots available in order to keep the class sizes small. You will also have to complete enrollment paperwork that includes a medical form.
Step 5: Plan for your summer travel. Loop staff will send you an email with logistical information about travel flights, international phone plans, and any other logistical requirements. We will send you a recommended flight schedule for travel between countries. We can help you with everything from selecting flights to deciding what to pack!
Step 6: Arrival in South Africa. Your first study location will be in South Africa. You will be met by Loop staff when you arrive and taken to your group housing. You will have an in-country orientation and chance to get to know your group before you start your veterinary courses. Your next location will be Thailand, and lastly Ecuador!
During your summer semester, staff is available 24/7 to support you. You will live with your fellow students and your travel between course locations will be arranged as a group by Loop Abroad, with staff traveling with you. The summer semester is a busy, packed schedule with lots of places to go and lots of work to do, and we’ll do it all as a group. If you have questions about the Global Veterinary Semester Abroad, from applications to safety and everything in between, reach out to us!
The Global Veterinary Semester gives you a chance to pack a full pre-veterinary semester abroad into your summer. You’ll learn about veterinary medicine in:
At each location, your coursework is supplemented by culture and adventure activities that give you a chance to explore the world from new perspectives. Housing, meals, and all activities are included in your tuition.
The semester is divided into blocks so that you can focus on one course at a time immersed in a shelter, sanctuary, research, or clinic setting. With each block, you will build and practice new knowledge and skills. The coursework is demanding, but you will go home with memories of a lifetime and key experiences that will prepare you for your veterinary training and career.
The Global Veterinary Semester Abroad is comparable to a full semester of courses, including labs at your home institution, and offers a total of 18 course credits.
Please note: we have listed credits based on the number of hours of instruction, homework, and fieldwork in each course. But the number of credits you receive at your school will vary depending on how you apply for credit and how your school grants it. Through our university partner (School of Record), we can offer all students a full transcript.
Your semester abroad will be divided into three 4-week modules:
The Global Veterinary Semester Abroad is made up of the following courses from our various 2-week programs. Click on the links below for detailed information about each course as well as a layout of the itinerary. Please note that though the itineraries are the same, you will NOT be required to travel on the group flights or pay extra tuition.
Earn 3 credits by taking “South African Animal Conservation”, taught by Loop vets.
You’ll start your Global Veterinary Semester Abroad with two weeks at the Lory Park Zoo in Johannesburg. Lory Park is an animal and owl sanctuary with a focus on education and conservation. Lory Park is one of only a handful of institutions in Africa accredited by the Pan African Association of Zoos and Aquaria.
Your course is made specifically for pre-vet students and combines lectures, volunteer hours, and hands-on training to provide you with unique zoo experience. Your time at the zoo will include lectures and presentations on genetics mutations, conservation medicine, reptiles in captivity, amputee animals, big cats in captivity, and other topics, but it goes far beyond lectures.
You will be able to learn about and assist in creating enrichments and training for primates, cats, and birds, including learning to fly owls. You will help to design and create enrichments for zoo animals. You will learn about and practice animal care such as cub weighing, wing and nail clipping and capture and restraint of birds of prey, health checks on donkeys, vaccinations of primates, and deworming of birds. You will be given safety training and training and experience on proper handling and free and protected contact techniques. You will also assist in food preparation, enclosure cleaning, and enclosure maintenance daily, and help with community outreach projects.
Earn 3 credits by taking “ABCs of African Big Cats: Anatomy, Behavior, and Conservation”, taught by Loop vets right alongside the cats themselves.
During this course, students will split their time between volunteering at the cheetah breeding and conservation facility and learning from Loop vets in classrooms and labs.
You will get the chance to participate in veterinary labs such as necropsies, surgical practice, and microscope use. While we do NOT purchase dead animals for necropsy, we may use an already-dead animal that is being used to feed the cheetahs to practice necropsy, suture, and surgical skills.
Additionally, you’ll have ample opportunity to observe the cheetahs closely throughout your time on the project as well as engage in hands-on interactions with them in small groups. Hands-on contact is limited to safe, short interactions that do not cause the animals undue stress, participation in training exercises when available, and necessary medical treatment and observation on sedated animals.
Observing and learning about the other animals at Feracare, including porcupines, wild dogs, caracals, African wild cats, lions, vultures, and bat-eared foxes, is built into your weekly schedule. We may or may not be able to provide medical care to the animals on the property, depending what is needed at the time.
Earn 3 credits by taking “BIO 380B: Tropical Conservation and SCUBA Diving”, taught by marine science instructors as you dive in the waters off the coast of Koh Tao, Thailand.
This course will cover various topics, including tropical forest ecology, deforestation and accelerated forest recovery, climate change and its effects on all ecosystems, how local communities traditionally use forests and reefs, and how to preserve ecosystems while helping local people.
Additionally, after becoming SCUBA certified, students will participate in a combination of lectures and conservation diving in order to study the complexities of marine ecosystems. Students will learn about coral reef ecology and reef organisms from invertebrates to fish, reptiles, and mammals, as well as learn to identify marine invertebrates, tropical fish, and understand reef health.
Earn 3 credits by taking “Tropical Shelter Medicine, Management, and Welfare: From Companion Animals to Elephants”, taught by Loop vets alongside dogs, cats and elephants.
During this course, you will work with our staff vet to care for dogs at the Dog Rescue Clinic outside of Chiang Mai, Thailand. Students are in the examination room in small groups, assisting with procedures and surgeries and learning hands-on from the vet. Each day will have a lecture-style portion at the clinic and a chance to put the skills learned into practice helping animals in need, culminating in two surgery days at the end of the week.
You will also spend time living and volunteering with the elephants at the Elephant Nature Park in a specially-tailored volunteer program. Students work with the elephants, helping to feed them, cut their food, clean their homes, and provide overall care for them. They will also help with sanctuary upkeep and have the chance to participate in cultural activities.
In addition, your vet will help you learn about elephant anatomy and physiology, body condition scores, and behavior.
There will be a chance while at the Elephant Nature Park to learn from the elephant vet on staff, help provide medical care to animals in need, learn to test for various medical conditions in large mammals, and possibly observe surgical procedures in the on-site dog clinic. Students may also have opportunities to shadow the elephant trainer, participate in a diet study, prepare medications, or any number of other things going on at the park.
Earn 3 credits by taking “Conservation of Amazon Wildlife”, taught by Loop Vets as you observe and learn about the animals at amaZOOnico.
During this course, students will learn about Amazon conservation and animal care while assisting in helping to care for the animals, including cleaning and preparing food. You’ll be able to join the staff vet on vet walking rounds to monitor animal care, collect data from camera traps for research, participate in veterinary labs such as blood pathology, and observe the placement of one GPS collar on a previously released primate or other animal eligible for release, and the subsequent release.
Throughout the week, students will have the opportunity to perform ethograms on animals and design and implement enrichment projects for them, work with the vet to place transponders into birds so that they can be identified, and even 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.
Earn 3 credits by taking “Galapagos Marine History, Ecology, and Research”, taught by marine science instructors as you spend time on the island of San Cristobal.
Throughout the program, you will spend approximately 40 hours assisting in a research project to track the fish species that visit certain beaches on the island, including the times they visit and the number of fish. With over 500 species of fish that can be spotted in the shore area of the ocean, there’s a lot to learn about marine fish identification. We will track numbers in real time in the water with a mask and snorkel, and you will also take GoPro footage and review the footage out of the water to get accurate counts and species analysis.
Your research time also includes learning and practicing proper research and recording methods, tracking your data, creating a presentation of your findings, and learning about the marine ecology of the area and the anatomy of the variety of marine species that make their home on San Cristobal. You can expect that about half of your research and class time will be in the water and about half will be in the classroom (which will sometimes be the beach).
We know studying abroad is a big investment. If you are currently in college or university, we can help you to work with your school to get credit for your Loop Abroad courses and be able to access federal financial aid to use toward your Loop Abroad tuition.
If you are considering applying, let us know! We can walk you through each step from talking with your school advisors to making the program affordable for you.
The Global Veterinary Semester Abroad comprehensive fee of $20,450 covers much more than just tuition:
That means that you do not pay any additional fees for labs, books, housing, or meals during your program.
Note: The semester fee DOES NOT include international airfare or airfare between Quito and the Galapagos. It does not include the $100 Galapagos entry permit (arranged at Quito airport). We can help you to organize a multi-stop ticket.
Many students studying abroad use financial aid such as grants, scholarships, and/or loans to help pay their tuition and program fees.
Because we offer transcripts through our US university partner (School of Record), you may be able to use your state, federal, and/or institutional aid and loans towards the semester tuition. Generally the first step is to get your credits approved by your current school – and we are happy to help!
There are also several outside scholarships designed for students studying abroad. We suggest that you talk to your financial aid office for recommendations. We will support your application!
Loop Abroad also offers a limited number of awards for semester students ranging from $500 to $5,000 based on qualifications and financial need.
If you aren’t sure where to start, please contact us! The sooner you start the process, the easier it is to communicate with your school about credits and financial aid.
We understand pre-vets. You can’t let a summer pass without making progress towards a competitive vet school application. Join us for animal experiences you can’t get anywhere else on the planet all while developing hands-on veterinary skills, building your resume, and having an amazing adventure around the world. You won’t waste a moment.
When you apply to vet school, you have to describe and record hours for three kinds of experiences: research experiences, veterinary experiences, and animal experiences.
In our semester, you’ll log 300+ hours working with a veterinarian (DVM) and 100+ additional hours of animal experience and research.
Studying abroad in three different countries means you’ll get to experience a ton of different areas of veterinary medicine, which can be an advantage for admission to vet school. North Carolina State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine says:
“… [S]upervised experiences in three or more different areas are highly recommended for a competitive application…. small animal, large animal, research, food animal production, exotic, aquatic, wildlife, zoological medicine”
Loop offers veterinarian-supervised experiences in six of these areas!
Referring to who gets into vet school, the AVMA says…
“If you have the opportunity to work …for veterinarians who work with difference species, that’s a bonus that can make you more appealing to a veterinary school admissions committee. Get as much experience as you can while you have the opportunity.”
The Global Veterinary Semester Abroad gives you varied experience in a module schedule, so you’ll have one course at a time, and you and your classmates can focus on learning material and skills from the vet or vets leading your course. You’ll also get to know your vets well because of the small class size and hands-on nature of your coursework, which allows you to learn about their experience in the veterinary profession and allows them to get to know you well enough to write recommendation letters.
According to the AVMA, “volunteering at shelters or rescues can provide animal handling experience that will help make you a better candidate [for veterinary school].”
With Loop, you’ll study shelter management while assisting in a shelter. You’ll study marine vertebrates and then identify them while diving over a coral reef. You aren’t just shadowing at the clinic down the road — you’re learning first-hand about the communication challenges of practicing in cross-cultural organizations.
Our semester is designed to give you not only technical knowledge and animal handling experience, but the cultural and communication skills to make the most of your training.
We offer faculty-led workshops and advising to help you with every aspect of applying to Veterinary School and advancing your career. Covered topics include:
The Global Veterinary Semester Abroad is open to students from all academic backgrounds, not just pre-vet students.
We welcome students to study with us as a gap year after high school to decide if they want to pursue a veterinary education. We also welcome students who have completed an undergraduate degree but want to enhance their vet school application.
We are proud to often host students on their first trip abroad as well as students who are seasoned international travelers. You do not need to be a US citizen to apply.
We understand studying abroad is a big decision — we’ll walk you through every step. We can help you figure out if it’s a good fit and how research, internship, and course credit as well as financial aid would work for you.
In order to enroll in the Global Veterinary Semester Abroad, applicants must meet the following requirements by the time the semester begins.
Each course in the Global Veterinary Semester Abroad is a group of up to 12 students, who work closely with one another and with their veterinarians and instructors. For this reason, the #1 skill we look for in an application is the ability to work as part of a team.
We’re looking for students who understand what the Global Veterinary Semester Abroad entails and are eager to work hard, support their classmates, and get their hands dirty.
We don’t require any specific animal experience, but a demonstrated interest in working with animals or in veterinary medicine will strengthen your application. We don’t require a certain GPA, but strong applicants generally have a GPA of 3.0 or greater. Your application is more than just your GPA. We do not consider standardized test scores in our admissions decisions.
Once you’re ready to apply, you can click on the “apply now” link below and get started.
The application for the Global Veterinary Semester Abroad has a $50 application fee, and will require your transcript, resume, 2 academic or professional references, and includes an essay component. Please note that upon acceptance to the program, your spot is not guarantee until the non-refundable deposit of $5,000 is paid.
If you’d like our help before applying to make sure that your credits will transfer to your current college or university and that you’ll be able to successfully fit the Global Veterinary Semester Abroad into your academic schedule, please contact [email protected] for assistance.
Trying to choose between the Thailand Veterinary Semester Abroad and the Global Veterinary Semester Abroad? Compare your options!
Deadline to apply is February 1, 2019!
"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