VETERINARY INTERNSHIP IN COSTA RICA

PROGRAM OVERVIEW

GAIN HANDS-ON KNOWLEDGE IN THE WORLD OF ANIMAL CARE

This exceptional veterinary internship, crafted for students passionate about wildlife conservation, unfolds against the backdrop of Costa Rica’s Puntarenas province, renowned for its 6.5% share of the world’s biodiversity. Set within a nonprofit wildlife sanctuary, this immersive experience is dedicated to rescuing and treating injured, abused, or disabled animals, with the primary goal of reintroducing them to their natural habitats. 

As an intern, you’ll play a pivotal role in this mission, interacting with a diverse array of wildlife species, providing essential health care and gaining valuable insights into veterinary practices. Your days as an intern will be dynamic, involving a spectrum of tasks from health assessments and treatments, to active participation in surgeries, administering medications, assisting in physiotherapy, and handling animal emergencies. 

Going beyond traditional clinical roles, this internship offers a profound exploration of wildlife conservation, fostering an appreciation for the intricate connections within ecosystems. Through shadowing veterinary staff and participating in the center’s daily operations, you’ll evolve into an indispensable asset to the sanctuary’s mission. This experience will not only enhance your skills but also contribute significantly to the preservation of biodiversity in Costa Rica.

ORGANIZATION

Based in Costa Rica, this nonprofit organization is dedicated to the rescue, rehabilitation, and release of wildlife in the Alturas region of the Puntarenas province. This area loses a lot of its wildlife due to road accidents, electrocutions, domestic animal attacks, and the pet trade.

The organization runs a 24/7 veterinary clinic where they treat injured, sick, or orphaned animals with the primary goal being to release them. In cases where re-release isn’t possible when the animal has been domesticated or disabled, the sanctuary also serves as a refuge. Established in 2014, they have already established themselves as a valuable asset to conservation efforts in the region and have saved over 2000 animals.

TASKS & REQUIreMENTS

During your internship you’ll engage in a blend of responsibilities, including animal care tasks in the clinic, shadowing veterinary staff during rehabilitation, and supporting the daily operations of the center. The specific emphasis of your internship can be customized to align with your unique interests and skills, providing a broad spectrum of experiences in various tasks and duties.

Responsibilities

Interns committing to a one-month duration can anticipate to:

  • Provide nourishment to neonate and juvenile animals 
  • Assist and observe animal emergencies and surgical procedures
  • Observe and gain insights into necropsy procedures 
  • Prepare syringes and administer prescribed medications 
  • Support in the care and management of animals  
  • Address dietary requirements and nutritional needs 
  • Maintain detailed records 
  • Gather foliage and leaves for the animals 
  • Participate in weekly educational lectures and workshops 

Interns committing to more than one month can expect these additional responsibilities to those mentioned above:

  • Conduct independent necropsies 
  • Develop essential critical care skills, including bandaging techniques, inserting catheters for IV procedures, and fluid therapy. 
  • Practice and gain insights into various suturing techniques 
  • Practice veterinary medicine and pharmacology for wildlife
  • Assist with physiotherapy efforts

Requirements

  • Must be studying towards or have completed a degree in veterinary studies, biology or a related field
  • Two academic and/or professional references UPON APPLICATION
  • Ideally prior experience in wildlife rehabilitation, veterinary work, or animal husbandry
  • Ideally clinic experience, preferably in a rehabilitation center 
  • A passion for wildlife conservation and community outreach work
  • Hardworking and responsible
  • Strong team player
  • Fluent English language skills are required, Spanish is a bonus
  • Minimum age requirement of 18 years 

WHERE YOU’LL STAY

Interns will stay in the Wildlife Sanctuary’s on-site volunteer house. Here, you’ll enjoy private or shared bedrooms, a well-equipped kitchen, laundry services and Wifi. You’ll also be able to embark on a range of outdoor activities like surfing, yoga, hiking, and waterfall tours.

Safety & Support

Safety & Support

Costa Rica is generally considered a safe travel destination although you have to keep the normal safety precautions in mind (take care of your valuables, don’t go out alone after dark, etc.). Make sure to visit your doctor and dentist for a check-up before your internship and to get all the recommended vaccines and/or medications necessary to stay healthy. Malaria risk is low, but consult your local health on whether or not to take any malaria medication.

Communication

Communication

Free Wifi is available at your accommodation to stay in touch with family and friends while abroad.

Meals

Meals

Three vegetarian meals a day from Monday to Sunday are provided. During the week, a chef will prepare lunch and dinner for you. You will need to prepare you own breakfast and meals over the weekend using the food provided (special requests for groceries can be made).

Location details

Location details

The organization is situated in the biological corridor that connects the Pacific Rainforest to the Osa Peninsula. This area houses 6.5% of the world’s biodiversity and contains the highest density in the world. The accommodation for this internship provides an up-close experience of one of the most exciting, and scientifically significant ecosystems on the planet.

DATES & RATES

Fee Breakdown

Arrival is always on Wednesday or Sunday (midday to 8PM). The exact start and end dates will be discussed with you during the selection process.

What you’ll pay (valid until 1 June 2024)

4 weeks USD 2,006

6 weeks USD 2,668

8 weeks USD 3,302

10 weeks USD 3,910

12 weeks USD 4,493

NOTE: Internship applications for 2024 are now closed. Applications are open for start dates in 2025.

Inclusions

  • Careful matchmaking. It takes time to find the right internship for each person, and we take this process very seriously.
  • Initial interview with one of our team to gauge your skills, interests, and desired learning outcomes.
  • An academic internship eligible for university credit. Check with your university to confirm if this internship qualifies for credit or alternatively we can assist you with purchasing transfer credits.
  • Accommodation based on a double room. If you prefer a single room or A/C, please contact us for availability and prices.
  • Three vegetarian meals a day from Monday to Sunday (NB. During the week a chef will prepare lunch and dinner for you, during the weekend you prepare your own meals using food provided)
  • Wifi access
  • Assistance with your visa arrangement and other preparations
  • An orientation program with your supervisor
  • Supervision and support during your stay
  • Regular check-ins during your internship with your supervisor
  • Troubleshooting if needed
  • A reference letter at the end of your internship

Exclusions

  • Flights to Juan Santa Maria Airport
  • Transfer from the airport to the organization (private taxi, shuttle bus, or public bus)
  • Visa and medical/travel insurance costs for the duration of your placement – must include cover for repatriation
  • Drinks, snacks, and items of personal nature (f.e. curios, gifts, clothing)
  • Costs for additional excursions or activities
SCHOLARSHIP & FUNDING

FAQs

Some of our most commonly asked questions for programs in Costa Rica.

What can I expect from an internship in Costa Rica?

During your internship, you can expect to gain a mix of professional development and cultural exploration. Also, throughout your internship, you’ll gain hands-on experience in your chosen field, collaborating with locals and fellow interns, building relationships and a strong network.

How will a nonprofit internship in Costa Rica boost my career development?

As you engage in meaningful projects that contribute to sustainable development and environmental causes, you’ll gain a sense of purpose and passion for creating a positive change. Also, you’ll get to use and sharpen your professional skills, as well as your interpersonal skills. If you wish to know more about how doing a nonprofit internship is good for your career, make sure to check this blog out!

While on an internship in Costa Rica can I receive university credit?

Yes, but you must ensure with your university supervisor that the internship meets the needed requirements. You can also choose to purchase transfer credits to supplement your internship experience.

Will I receive compensation of any kind during my internship?

Unfortunately, it is not possible to receive any sort of stipend. When interning for a nonprofit organization, you will not be paid, but here are some ways to fund your internship. Your experience will bring opportunities for both professional and personal growth and a wealth of new knowledge which is invaluable!

QUICK FACTS

LOCATION: Puntarenas Province, Costa Rica
PROJECT FOCUS: Animal Welfare & Conservation NGO
TASK FOCUS: Veterinary Assistance, Reporting, Animal Care
LENGTH: 4-12 weeks
COST: From USD 2,006

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Gain international experience in a nonprofit context
  • Receive practical training in animal surgery and veterinary work
  • Build an expansive knowledge of Costa Rican wildlife and ecosystems
  • Contribute to a valuable wildlife conservation work
  • Live and work in Costa Rica
ENQUIREAPPLY NOW

HOW TO APPLY

If you’re ready to apply for this internship, here’s what to do:

APPLY

Fill in the application form (it will show in a new screen) which includes sharing your CV to us.

GET STARTED

SPEAK WITH AN ADVISOR

We’ll set up a call with you to go through your application.

INTERNSHIP MATCHING

If we feel it’s a good match, we’ll set up a call between you and the supervisor for this internship.

PAYMENT

If everyone’s happy, we’ll provisionally confirm your placement! We’ll then send you the invoice for the deposit, getting started with the booking process and all the info you need.

CONFIRMATION

Only once we receive payment of the deposit your placement will be confirmed.

NEED TO MAKE AN ENQUIRY FIRST?

Or if you’d just like to ask us some questions about this internship first, just fill in the contact form below. We’ll be happy to assist!

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