Helping volunteers gain veterinary experience while improving animal health and welfare around the world.

Follow Us:
GO UP

Alajuela Vet Experience Internship

separator
Price Costa Rica 2 weeks+
Scroll down

Alajuela Vet Experience Internship

Costa Rica

Experience the magic of Costa Rica while helping it’s exotic and domestic species. This internship was designed to provide a varied caseload with a heavy focus on rehabilitating indigenous wildlife. Based at a wildlife rescue center, interns are responsible for basic medical and day-to-day care of the resident animals, including optional nightly rotations for juvenile and nocturnal critters. Opportunities also arise to support our local community by providing basic treatments for cats, dogs, horses, and farm animals with limited access to veterinary care. All medical procedures and treatments are performed under the direction of a qualified veterinarian and all training is provided on arrival. This Rescue Center was founded in 2020 with no government funding amidst a global pandemic, in response to a dire need for local wildlife care. The staff work incredibly hard to ensure that all animals are cared for and interns gain valuable vet experience, however it is important to note that this is a relatively new program that is still facing the regulatory challenges of COVID-19. Additionally, most of the resident animals have come from government agencies and private citizens who have nowhere else to take them, which can strain the Center’s resources. Every effort is put forth to rehabilitate and release these animals, however some are non-releasable and must become permanent residents. The program fee covers transportation, food and accommodation for the interns, as well as financial support for the Rescue Center. This program is geared towards those with limited previous wildlife experience. Guided tours are available during free time.


Cost

2-week session: $900 USD

Additional weeks: $450 USD/week

  • Destination
  • Departure
    Every Sunday
  • Departure Time
    Small Animal | Large Animal | Wildlife
  • Return Time
    Animal Lovers | Pre-Vet Students | Vet Students | Vet Techs & Nurses | Vets
  • Dress Code
    Training is provided for all activities. Limited to 6 volunteers per session. On-site free-time activities are included but off-site trips have an additional fee.
  • Included
    Accommodation
    Airport Transfers
    Free-time Activities
    Laundry Facilities
    Meals
    On-Site Support
    Pre-Departure Support
    Wi-fi
  • Not Included
    Flights
    Travel Insurance
    Visa Fees (if applicable)
1
Sunday
Arrival
***This itinerary is an example of a 2-week session. Weekly activities are planned according to the needs of the Rescue Center and the community. Schedules are released at the start of each week and are updated daily to account for new opportunities, vet emergencies, and inclement weather. Free days/tour days may vary***
2
Week 1: Monday
  • Orientation and Training
  • Discussion of group experience and expectations (activities are tailored to individual interest whenever possible)
  • Tour of the Rescue Center 
  • Food prep and feeding 
  • Enclosure maintenance and enrichment 
  • Free time: 6pm Salsa or Bachata class
3
Week 1: Tuesday
  • Tour of the Animal Hospital & brief case discussion 
  • Weigh & obtain vital parameters on all neonates 
  • Prepare food & medications for hospitalized animals 
  • Feed & medicate hospitalized animals 
  • Clean hospitalized animal cages 
  • Clean & sanitize the hospital
4
Week 1: Wednesday
Animal Team Day
  • Food prep and feeding 
  • Food assessment to determine future diet 
  • Enclosure maintenance 
  • Species-specific enrichment
5
Week 1: Thursday
Free time (see “Activities”)
6
Week 1: Friday-Sunday
Vet Team Day
  • Weigh & obtain vital parameters on all neonates 
  • Prepare food & medications for hospitalized animals 
  • Feed & medicate hospitalized animals 
  • Clean hospitalized animal cages 
  • Procedures & skills development (fecal parasite analysis, wound management, necropsies, etc.) 
  • Clean & sanitize the hospital 
  • Friday only: Week 1 feedback
7
Week 2: Monday
Vet Team Day (+/- digital imaging)
  • X-rays and/or ultrasounds AS NEEDED (performed on-site by an external technician using portable machines) 
  • Necropsy class (dependent on availability of specimens- training includes intraosseous/intracardiac/intravenous catheterization, basic anatomy, Identification of disease processes, etc.) 
  • Weigh & obtain vital parameters on all neonates 
  • Prepare food & medications for hospitalized animals 
  • Feed & medicate hospitalized animals 
  • Clean hospitalized animal cages 
  • Procedures & skills development (fecal parasite analysis, wound management, necropsies, etc.) 
  • Clean & sanitize the hospital 
  • Free time: 6pm Salsa or Bachata class
8
Week 2: Tuesday
Animal Team Day 
  • Food prep and feeding 
  • Food assessment to determine future diet 
  • Enclosure maintenance 
  • Species-specific enrichment 
  • Wildlife vet lecture (topics vary by season, hospitalized cases, ongoing research, and individual/group interest)
9
Week 2: Wednesday
Vet Team Day
  • Weigh & obtain vital parameters on all neonates 
  • Prepare food & medications for hospitalized animals 
  • Feed & medicate hospitalized animals 
  • Clean hospitalized animal cages 
  • Procedures & skills development (fecal parasite analysis, wound management, necropsies, etc.) 
  • Clean & sanitize the hospital
10
Week 2: Thursday
Free time (see “Activities”)
11
Week 2: Friday-Sunday
Vet Team Day
  • Weigh & obtain vital parameters on all neonates 
  • Prepare food & medications for hospitalized animals 
  • Feed & medicate hospitalized animals 
  • Clean hospitalized animal cages 
  • Procedures & skills development (fecal parasite analysis, wound management, necropsies, etc.) 
  • Clean & sanitize the hospital 
  • Friday only: Week 2 feedback
12
Sunday
Departure
*Newborns require feeding every few hours and nocturnal animals only eat at night, so there is often a rotating nightshift schedule with feedings at 8pm, 12am and 4am. These shifts are in addition to the 8-9 hour work days and are OPTIONAL, but reflect a realistic and important part of vet life at the rescue center. Any additional voluntary time spent at the hospital is very much appreciated!
**Major procedures performed in the hospital will be available to all interns, including those on the “Animal Team” that day.
***Please note that this is a working rescue/rehabilitation center and wildlife hospital- activities and skills development are highly dependent on caseload and invasive procedures will not be performed on otherwise healthy animals. Therefore, some activities (e.g. IV catheters, blood draws, surgery, etc.) may not be available in every session.
****Small animal, farm animal, and equine activities may be substituted intermittently based on the needs of the community.

Tour Location

Interns stay on-site at the Rescue Center with non-vet volunteers. Interns share a bedroom with 2-4 bunk beds and 1 full bathroom, or glamping tents with additional bathrooms and showers. (Optional: upgrade to a private tiki hut for an additional $25 USD per night).  Amenities include wifi, laundry service, outdoor pool and lounging areas. Staff stay on-site and are available 24/7 to ensure intern and volunteer safety. All meals are included in the program fee.

10.0
Superb
10.0
Accommodation
10.0
Meals
10.0
Overall
10.0
Transport
10.0
Value for Money

Comments:

  • Kristin S.

    June 6, 2021 at 11:41 am

    Knowing how busy young college students are, I wanted to leave this review on behalf of my daughter. She participated in the Alajuela Vet Experience Internship in May 2021, and it was truly a life-changing confirmation of her dream to pursue a career as a veterinarian. The opportunities to care for animals of all ages were amazing, from contributing to the research process to determine diagnoses to assisting in surgical procedures and providing routine care to the many diverse species at the center. Further, the center management and veterinarians on site were extremely encouraging and committed to answering questions throughout all procedures. My daughter was exposed to scenarios she never before imagined—building her confidence and fortitude.
    As a parent, I can tell you that Global Vet Experience is a fantastic organization. My many questions about travel amid the pandemic were always promptly answered with patience and encouragement, which put our family at ease. Many thanks to Trina in particular for all her guidance.
    Perhaps the best endorsement for this wonderful program is the fact that my daughter is returning for another multi-week trip in six weeks—it is that amazing!

    Accommodation
    Meals
    Overall
    Transport
    Value for Money
  • Lydiana R

    February 25, 2021 at 8:43 pm

    (Jan 2021) Went to Costa Rica as a vet student through Global Vet Experience and my experience was unforgettable (!!!). As a volunteer and guest, I can say that the accommodations were great and the food amazing! Putting that aside, the vet team was extraordinary! The entire team at the Center was fully dedicated to the wellbeing and care of the animals. Not only as a vet student volunteer, but as a guest the learning experience was incredible. I 100% recommend the tours given at the site; this way you get to know the animals stories and cool facts about them (plus, I was given an awesome sloth rescue center face mask)!

    Accommodation
    Meals
    Overall
    Transport
    Value for Money

Leave a Review

Accommodation
Meals
Overall
Transport
Value for Money

Leave a Reply

Vet/Animal Activities:

Wildlife:
Groups are divided into Vet Team (in the hospital) and Animal Team (outside the hospital) on most weekdays. While most days are spent on the Vet Team, Animal Team days offer wider access to the 100+ non-hospitalized animals in the center. Animal Team days are also typically less intensive, which provide excellent opportunities for free-time activities around the center and to sign-up for optional night shifts in the hospital.
Vet Team Days (4-5 days / week)
  • Weigh & obtain vital parameters on all neonates
  • Prepare food & medications for hospitalized animals
  • Feed & medicate hospitalized animals
  • Clean hospitalized animal cages
  • Procedures & skills development (fecal parasite analysis, wound management, necropsies, etc.)
  • Clean & sanitize the hospital
  • X-rays and/or ultrasounds (performed on-site by an external technician using portable machines) - one day per week AS NEEDED
Animal Team Days (1-2 days / week)
  • Food prep and feeding
  • Food assessment to determine future diet
  • Enclosure maintenance
  • Species-specific enrichment
  • Wildlife vet lecture (topics vary by season, hospitalized cases, ongoing research, and individual/group interest) - one day per week
Equine, Small Animal & Farm Animal (pending availability):
  • Clinical Exams
  • Clinical discussion and treatment plans
  • Wound management
  • Preventative care

Animal Experience: 30-40 hrs/week

Vet Experience:  20-30 hrs/week

Clinical Experience: 10-20 hrs/week

Surgical Experience: 0-5 hrs/week


For the welfare and safety of the animals and staff, some animals are trained to present body parts, accept injections, etc.
All medical treatments and procedures are performed under direct or indirect veterinary supervision. This center has 1 full-time vet who works 4-5 days per week as well as a full time biologist who advises on animal nutrition, enclosure design & maintenance, and enrichment. We work with several other local wildlife vets and our staff are trained to provide day-to-day veterinary care.
Newborns require feeding every few hours and nocturnal animals only eat at night, so there is often a rotating nightshift schedule with feedings at 8pm, 12am and 4am. These shifts are in addition to the 8-9 hour work days and are OPTIONAL, but reflect a realistic and important part of vet life at the rescue center. Any additional voluntary time spent at the hospital is very much appreciated!
Major procedures performed in the hospital will be available to all interns, including those on the Animal Team.
Please note that this is a working rescue/rehabilitation center and wildlife hospital- activities and skills development are highly dependent on caseload and invasive procedures will not be performed on otherwise healthy animals. Therefore, some activities (e.g. IV catheters, blood draws, surgery, etc.) may not be available in every session.
Small animal, farm animal, and equine activities may be substituted intermittently based on the needs of the community.

Free-Time Activities:

Daily Free Activities Include:

  • Lounging by the Outdoor Pool & Hammocks
  • River Walks
  • Board Games
  • Yoga
  • Zumba

Nightly free time activities include:

  • Bonfires
  • Spanish Classes
  • Sun Downers
  • Movies
  • Trivia
  • Board Games
  • Visiting local town for souvenirs, restaurants, bars, etc.

Off-site trips (for an additional fee) include:

  • Jaco Beach
  • Manuel Antonio National Park
  • Monteverde Cloud Forest
  • Arenal Volcano
  • And more!
Costa Rica Vet Experience Internship    Costa Rica Vet Experience Internship    Costa Rica Vet Experience Internship    Costa Rica Vet Experience Internship Costa Rica Vet Experience Internship    Costa Rica Vet Experience Internship       Costa Rica Vet Experience Internship  Costa Rica Vet Experience Internship  Costa Rica Vet Experience Internship