Summer programs
Rhino Conservation and Management

Applications are open for Summer 2023!

 

The one-week Rhino Conservation and Management program is based at the famous Care for Wild rhino sanctuary in South Africa. Care for Wild is the world’s largest orphaned rhino sanctuary: a rescue, rehab, and release project for rhinos orphaned by poaching.

You will spend the week at Care for Wild learning from your Loop Abroad teaching veterinarian and from the Care for Wild staff about the rescue, care for, and protection of rhinos. Your program includes educational lectures, daily feeding and upkeep of young rhinos, learning about wildlife monitoring and anti-poaching in the field, game drives, and the chance to observe essential procedures or new intakes that may happen while you are on-site.

If you love rhinos or are interested in learning how a successful wildlife conservation project runs, this is the program for you! It can be combined with our South Africa Zoo Medicine program (domestic airfare required).

“The only way to save the rhinoceros is to save the environment in which it lives, because there’s a mutual dependency between it and millions of other species of both animals and plants.”

 – Sir David Attenborough

Who It’s For

This Rhino Conservation and Management program is designed for university-aged students who are interested in learning more about wildlife and conservation 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.

The group size for this program is a maximum of 18 people.

Highlights for Rhino Conservation and Management

  • Feed young and juvenile rhinos, including bottle feeding
  • Monitor released rhinos and the development of new calves born in the protective area
  • Collect data on other African mammal species in the wild
  • Assist with K9 patrol
  • Day visit to Jane Goodall’s Chimp Eden
  • Learn about rhino emergency transport, medical issues, and more!

Dates open for application

Summer 2023

June 24 – July 2, 2023

 

 apply now

*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 Thailand, Australia, or South Africa and save $100 on each program tuition.

Tuition

Tuition is $2650, not including airfare.

Tuition does not include medical insurance, a passport, snacks, and souvenirs.

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.

Airfare on the group flight from New York, NY is estimated at $1900 round-trip including taxes and fees. Participants must fly on the group flight unless otherwise arranged with Loop Abroad (fees apply to flying off the group itinerary).

Participants connecting this program to another Loop Abroad program in South Africa will need to purchase domestic airfare between program locations, which is estimated at $200 – $300. This is not a group flight. Loop Abroad will provide airport transfers.

Gilman Scholarship

The Gilman Scholarship could fund $5000 of your tuition and the deadline is March 7, 2023, at 11:59 pm Pacific Time!

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! See the official website for the latest details and read about Loop Abroad students who have received this scholarship.

Groups and Staff

Your group will have a maximum of 18 participants. Your group will have its own veterinarian and you may learn from other veterinarians, Care for Wild staff, and local experts as well.

Housing and Meals

During this program, we will live on the grounds of Care for Wild. Housing is in wooden cabins with bunk beds housing up to 4 participants each, and you will share rooms with other Loop students of the same gender. Cabins have a bathroom with hot water. Students are not permitted to leave the grounds of Care for Wild except if we travel off-site as a group. Free wi-fi is available in the lodge area but there is no wifi in sleeping cabins.

Meals are included in your tuition and will be eaten at Care for Wild, including a hot breakfast and set meals for lunch and dinner. Vegan and vegetarian diets, as well as food allergies, can be accommodated with advanced notice.

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 days prior to travel, wearing a mask when flying and when interacting outside of your “travel pod” (your group and staff), and daily symptom report, and testing if symptoms are present.

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 canceled, but I can’t travel for personal reasons?

We understand that sometimes even though a program is not canceled, 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 canceling their travel. One virtual package available per participant; non-transferable. A participant canceling 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 for a longer?

Link this program to the South Africa Zoo Medicine program and save $100 on each tuition. You will also need to purchase domestic airfare between the two program locations in South Africa (approximately $200).

Apply Now

Locations

Care for Wild is a rhino sanctuary, where you will find rescued orphaned baby rhinos, juvenile rhinos, and adult rhinos who continue to need protective care, as well as mother and baby rhino pairs.

The sanctuary lands are also home to other African wildlife that you may get to see during game drives during your program, including

  • giraffes
  • antelope
  • warthogs
  • zebra
  • monkeys
  • hippo
  • wildebeest
  • impala
  • numerous bird species

Care for Wild is a registered wildlife rehabilitation centre for all African species. The ongoing protection of the rhinos at Care for Wild has led to the conservation of an entire ecosystem that is home to giraffe, wildebeest, zebra, kudu, impala, nyala, sable and duikers. You will also assist with the care of other wildlife species under rehabilitation and will support the ongoing management of the protected area by capturing and recording essential information on game drives.

Students use tablets to input data on game counts, tracks, alien invasive plants, middens and territorial markings. This information is transferred to the operations centre in real-time to support the monitoring of animal movement patterns, habitat health and utilization, and population demographics. All of this data is processed by EarthRanger to provide one unified view that facilitates wildlife protection.

At Care for Wild, which is home to approximately 20 rhinos, you will support staff with the daily care of young rhino orphans and will assist with milk preparation, bottle feeding, husbandry, boma care and maintenance, dry feed preparation, behavioral observations and health checks. Please remember that this is a conservation project with a long term vision of releasing every rhino. Contact with the orphans will be limited to essential needs only. For your own safety volunteers are expected to adhere to strict rules and stringent health, hygiene, and safety policies.

Itinerary

This is a sample itinerary and is subject to change. It is provided here to give you a feel for your program.

You will arrive at Kruger International Airport on Sunday and we will travel to Care for Wild as a group. Settle in and get oriented, get to know one another, and learn some of the basics of sanctuary life, because we will jump right into an orientation to our new zoo home, including a tour, introduction to projects, safety training, and an introduction to the animals we’ll be working with during the project.

As well as working with the younger orphans, you will have the opportunity to accompany staff on drives to monitor the released rhinos. You will assist with feeding, capturing body condition photos, and recording behavioral observations. You will also get to assist with monitoring the development of new calves born in the protected area. This is an amazing and extremely privileged opportunity!

The day starts early, with work caring for the rhinos from 6am to 9am. This includes preparing bottles, preparing food, feeing rhinos, cleaning their enclosures, and collecting data when needed.

Generally, breakfast is around 9am, lunch is around 12:30pm, and dinner is around 6pm. In between meals, you’ll be working on a variety of projects and learning about a broad range of topics.

Lecture topics may include
  • Boma management & hygiene
  • Admission of a new calf
  • Wildlife emergency treatment
  • Transportation of rhino calves
  • Rhino calf nutrition
  • Wound management
  • Important health issues
  • Stress in rhinos
  • Rewilding and Release
  • Dehorning

Daily activities outside of morning food preparation, feeding, and upkeep may include:

  • K9 patrol
  • K9 washing and grooming
  • Horse grooming
  • Bush walks with discussion on botany, geology and birding
  • Game drives and wildlife monitoring
  • Night drives
  • Feeding reserve wildlife
  • Feeding and monitoring the sables
  • Feeding and monitoring new rhino moms and calves
  • Inclusion in the admission of new rhino calves
  • Observing medical procedures
  • Veldt clean up and management

In addition to fun group activities in the evenings, such as a trivia night or movie night.

This program offers a combination of research hours, veterinary hours, and animal experience hours, which contribute to a total of 40 service hours for the zoo and its community.`

Reading List

Some books that might be interesting to students traveling to South Africa who want to learn more about South African culture and history, conservation, African animals, or veterinary medicine. (None of these are required reading.)

You can purchase any of the books on our suggested reading lists at the links below.*

Long Walk to FreedomLong Walk to Freedom: The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela Amazon says, “Nelson Mandela is one of the great moral and political leaders of our time: an international hero whose lifelong dedication to the fight against racial oppression in South Africa won him the Nobel Peace Prize and the presidency of his country. Since his triumphant release in 1990 from more than a quarter-century of imprisonment, Mandela has been at the center of the most compelling and inspiring political drama in the world. As president of the African National Congress and head of South Africa’s antiapartheid movement, he was instrumental in moving the nation toward multiracial government and majority rule. He is revered everywhere as a vital force in the fight for human rights and racial equality.” Students participating in the Adventure Bonus Week: South Africa will visit Robbin Island, where Mandela was held prisoner, including a tour of his prison cell.

Cry the Beloved Country

Cry, the Beloved Country Amazon says, “An Oprah Book Club selection, Cry, the Beloved Country, the most famous and important novel in South Africa’s history, was an immediate worldwide bestseller in 1948. Alan Paton’s impassioned novel about a black man’s country under white man’s law is a work of searing beauty. …Cry, the Beloved Country is the deeply moving story of the Zulu pastor Stephen Kumalo and his son, Absalom, set against the background of a land and a people riven by racial injustice. Remarkable for its lyricism, unforgettable for character and incident, Cry, the Beloved Country is a classic work of love and hope, courage and endurance, born of the dignity of man.”

Soul of a LionSoul of a Lion: One Woman’s Quest to Rescue Africa’s Wildlife Refugees Amazon says, “For animal lovers, nature enthusiasts, and the vast readership for gripping true-life stories, this African saga is a must-read adventure. It chronicles the unique Harnas Wildlife Foundation in Namibia, where Marieta van der Merwe and her family, former wealthy cattle farmers, have sold land to buy and care for embattled wildlife. We meet Sam, the “AIDS” lion infected by mistake at a vet clinic. Boerjke, a baboon with epilepsy and Down syndrome. Savanna, the one-eyed lioness. And Marieta van der Merwe herself, the inspiring proprietor of Harnas who shares her home with needy wild animals. Survivor of an early life fraught with personal tragedy in the African Bush, she now devotes herself as care-giver and ambassador for wildlife and wildland. Told with insight, humor, and thrilling immediacy by author and Harnas volunteer Barbara Bennett, this story will captivate readers of all ages.”

Kaffir Boy

Kaffir Boy: An Autobiography–The True Story of a Black Youth’s Coming of Age in Apartheid South Africa Amazon says, “Mark Mathabane was weaned on devastating poverty and schooled in the cruel streets of South Africa’s most desperate ghetto, where bloody gang wars and midnight police raids were his rites of passage. Like every other child born in the hopelessness of apartheid, he learned to measure his life in days, not years. Yet Mark Mathabane, armed only with the courage of his family and a hard-won education, raised himself up from the squalor and humiliation to win a scholarship to an American university. This extraordinary memoir of life under apartheid is a triumph of the human spirit over hatred and unspeakable degradation. For Mark Mathabane did what no physically and psychologically battered “Kaffir” from the rat-infested alleys of Alexandra was supposed to do — he escaped to tell about it.”

White Man's GameWhite Man’s Game: Saving Animals, Rebuilding Eden, and Other Myths of Conservation in AfricaAmazon says, “The stunningly beautiful Gorongosa National Park, once the crown jewel of Mozambique, was nearly destroyed by decades of civil war. It looked like a perfect place for Western philanthropy: revive the park and tourists would return, a win-win outcome for the environment and the impoverished villagers living in the area. So why did some researchers find the local communities actually getting hungrier, sicker, and poorer as the project went on? And why did efforts to bring back wildlife become far more difficult than expected?… In pursuit of answers, Stephanie Hanes takes readers on a vivid safari across southern Africa, from the shark-filled waters off Cape Agulhas to a reserve trying to save endangered wild dogs. She traces the tangled history of Western missionaries, explorers, and do-gooders in Africa, from Stanley and Livingstone to Teddy Roosevelt, from Bono and the Live Aid festivals to Greg Carr, the American benefactor of Gorongosa. And she examines the larger problems that arise when Westerners try to “fix” complex, messy situations in the developing world, acting with best intentions yet potentially overlooking the wishes of the people who live there. Beneath the uplifting stories we tell ourselves about helping Africans, she shows, often lies a dramatic misunderstanding of what the locals actually need and want.”

Wildlife of Southern AfricaWildlife of Southern Africa: A field guide to the animals and plants of the region This field guide is a great reference for birds, trees, flowering plants, and small and large mammals you might see throughout your trip. It is helpful at the wildlife centre and also on safari, and is a great place to mark all the species you have seen and identified during your trip.

Resurrection ScienceResurrection Science: Conservation, De-Extinction and the Precarious Future of Wild Things Amazon says, “In a world dominated by people and rapid climate change, species large and small are increasingly vulnerable to extinction. In Resurrection Science, journalist M. R. O’Connor explores the extreme measures scientists are taking to try and save them, from captive breeding and genetic management to de-extinction. Paradoxically, the more we intervene to save species, the less wild they often become. In stories of sixteenth-century galleon excavations, panther-tracking in Florida swamps, ancient African rainforests, Neanderthal tool-making, and cryogenic DNA banks, O’Connor investigates the philosophical questions of an age in which we “play god” with earth’s biodiversity.

Each chapter in this beautifully written book focuses on a unique species–from the charismatic northern white rhinoceros to the infamous passenger pigeon–and the people entwined in the animals’ fates. Incorporating natural history and evolutionary biology with conversations with eminent ethicists, O’Connor’s narrative goes to the heart of the human enterprise: What should we preserve of wilderness as we hurtle toward a future in which technology is present in nearly every aspect of our lives? How can we co-exist with species when our existence and their survival appear to be pitted against one another?”

*Links are affiliate links – thanks for supporting Loop Abroad!

Scholarships

 

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 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 will open in early January 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 (instagram.com/loopabroad) and make an Instagram post about the program you’re hoping to join, tagging @loopabroad and #loopabroad in the post.

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.)

Details:
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.

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.

InternationalStudent.com Travel Video Contest:

Smiling woman holding small wildcatThe InternationalStudent.com 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