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  • Animal Science & Medicine
  • Central America
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Costa Rica: Veterinary Medicine


Join us for a veterinary medicine experience in Costa Rica and see what being a vet is all about: large and small animal medicine, husbandry, pathology and surgery, all in locations that resemble paradise.

Here in Costa Rica, each day blends academics, lab practice and field work. Learn to draw blood, administer anesthesia and perform diagnostic tests. Assist with local spay and neuter programs. Attend lectures on topics such as anatomy, immunology, diagnostics, pathology and animal welfare. Gain hands-on experience in veterinary medicine while you conduct examinations on different types of animals, give injections and perform necropsies. Class dismissed? Raft Class III rapids, soar through the jungle canopy, soak up the rich culture and natural beauty and enjoy everything Costa Rica has to offer.

June 18 - July 9 C22 days$6,780Available
July 12 - August 2 C22 days$6,780Available
Earn & Learn
Costa Rica: Veterinary Medicine Earn & Learn

Earn & Learn

Broadreach combines your thirst for fun and adventure with tangible skill development, real-world educational opportunities and a genuine commitment to service. While on program, you’ll earn documented community service hours and even college credits. It’s what we call “Earn & Learn,” and it’s what you’ll take home as evidence of your many accomplishments.

Costa Rica Veterinary Medicine offers 3 natural science college credits through Lesley University. Additionally, students earn 20 hours of documented community service.

  • Minimum 18 years old
  • High school graduate
  • High school or college biology
  • Minimum GPA: 2.5
  • Completed at least one semester at college or graduated high school over a year ago


Course Description

For students considering a future working with animals or are pre-vet, this opportunity to gain hands-on experience will prepare you for your future and give you the field experience needed to pursue that path. This program introduces you to not only academic subject areas taught at vet school, but also the in-class lab techniques used to uphold these teachings, and students will log 35+ hours working alongside veterinarians. Students learn comparative anatomy, physiology, medicine, surgery, behavior, husbandry, nutrition, conservation, management and public health standards.

Course Objectives
  • Understand basic animal anatomy/physiology in a range of species including dogs, cats, cattle, primates and horses
  • Explore the opportunities, importance and limitations of veterinary medicine when applied to civil service and not-for-profit centers, and compare and contrast these with established standards of care provided in other areas
  • Perform physical examinations and basic phlebotomy/venipuncture on common species
  • Gain hands-on experience in a veterinary clinic and practical animal handling experience in a medical setting
  • Explore potential career paths through a variety of field experiences


Through service, gain a more meaningful connection to the cultures and communities you explore while taking an active role to address important global issues at the local level. While in Costa Rica, you will volunteer at farms, rescue centers and animal clinics.

20 Service Hours

3 College Credits

Costa Rica: Veterinary Medicine Itinerary



Start the adventure by making your way through stunning canyons and a lowland tropical rainforest. The lush canopy provides a home for some of the beloved creatures you’ll be working with directly. Naturalist guides give an intriguing introduction to Costa Rica’s ecological wonders as you raft Class III rapids. Keep your eyes peeled for monkeys, tropical birds and the Blue Morpho butterfly.


Santa Clara becomes your home for the next few days. Local vets teach you how to diagnose cow pregnancy through palpation. Your work at dairy and beef farms helps you understand the industry as you dive into large animal handling and disease lectures. You will also lend a hand at the wildlife rescue center, which has become a home for sloths, otters, toucans and more. Volunteer at a nearby dog rescue and practice small animal examinations, identifying and treating ectoparasites and skin conditions. Build your knowledge of sheep, goat, pig and chicken production management during visits to local farms. Then head to La Fortuna and relax in the local hot springs.


With the majestic Arenal Volcano as your backdrop, dive into the world of equine medicine, a very specialized part of veterinary study. Learn about preventative care, nutrition, routine vaccinations and more as you work directly with the horses. Perform lameness examinations, interpret radiographs, set up blood smear slides and get a glimpse of what the care of horses is about. Take a break from your studies to go on a short horseback ride. Focus on animal behavior as you learn a bit about how horses communicate. Wrap up the equine section of the program with a canyoneering expedition and a rappel down a waterfall.


Travel to a wildlife sanctuary and refuge near Manuel Antonio National Park, one of Central America’s most beautiful parks on Costa Rica’s Pacific coast. There, you”ll learn about different species of monkey, bats, reptiles and birds as you shadow the on-site vet. Your responsibilities at the rescue center include conducting ethograms to monitor animal behavior, creating enrichments, assisting with physical examinations and practicing necropsies. Through lectures, hands-on experience and group discussions, expand your familiarity with ethical issues in veterinary medicine and non-human primate medicine. Finish with a day of exploring the lush rainforests and pristine beaches of the park, followed by a morning of surfing.


Your focus shifts to small animal surgery as you take patients through the intake, anesthesia and surgical processes of spays and neuters. This controlled environment is the perfect place to practice surgical preparation, IV catheter placement, endotracheal intubation and more. Conversation moves from anesthesia protocol to career opportunities in veterinary medicine as you consider the possibilities of your new found knowledge. Enjoy a farewell celebration with your new friends on your final evening, and reflect on just how much you learned and experienced in just a few short weeks.

  • Trip Highlights

  • Work alongside veterinarians and experience all aspects of small animal surgery
  • Learn large animal handling from local vets at horse, beef and dairy farms
  • Monitor animal behavior and assist with physical examinations at a wildlife rescue center
  • Practice suturing skills during clinic rotations
  • Horseback riding through lush rainforests
  • Whitewater raft and zip line through the Costa Rican jungles
Costa Rica: Veterinary Medicine Reviews & Testimonials

Reviews & Testimonials

Cassandra Bianco

I gained more veterinary experience in 3 weeks than I ever thought possible. The techniques I learned and the confidence I gained will definitely be useful to me in the future. I didn’t expect to become so close with people on the trip, but I’ve definitely gained some lifelong friends. I loved being immersed in Costa Rican culture and using my Spanish. The best thing about the trip is the amazing vets you work with that are so willing to teach you.

Kelsie I. from Burleson, TX

This trip was amazing! I learned so much about wildlife, conservation and small animal surgery. I am POSITIVE that this is the career for me. I have already recommended this trip to my other pre-vet friends. I will never forget my experience with this trip and Broadreach. If you want to be a vet, take this trip! You won’t regret it!

Julie Heninger

The hands-on experience is unmatchable. You can’t get that kind of experience in the U.S.A., and it will definitely help on a vet school application. The adventure activities were definitely worth while and also things I would not have been able to do at home.

Katelyn G. from Oakland, MD

From watching surgeries on wildlife to palpating cows and horses to administering injections to a variety of animals to finally learning about rehabilitating natural macaws, it has been a month packed with so much knowledge that I could not have gained anywhere else nor without such a supportive group of peers and instructors. As the days went by, I realized how blessed I was to have had the opportunity to participate in such a unique program.

Kelly Still from New Orleans, LA

This trip was everything I expected and more. The experience was a once in a lifetime opportunity. I will never forget the friends I met nor the memories I made. Throughout this trip I felt like a true veterinarian. I was thrilled when we sat in on the small animal surgeries and participated in the post-op care. The hands-on activities made me more eager to one day become a vet. I have learned a lot throughout this trip, about both animals and myself. I have gained tons of confidence and believe even more that I have everything it takes to be a great veterinarian!

Anjali N. from Switzerland

I never thought I could have so much fun, overcome fears (of bugs) and challenge myself in the activities. Working with sloths was the highlight of my 18 years on this planet. I absolutely loved the lectures, the hands on experiences, and the nights laughing and bonding with the group. Being part of the rehabilitation program and learning from Dr Pia truly opened my eyes to what I want to dedicate my life to.

Geraline Arroyo

I love how diverse out experiences were! We went from primates to dogs and cats and finally farm animals. Everyone found activities they enjoyed. Not only did we have so many hands-on activities, but we also had great expert mentors who cared about our education and were more than willing to have us help them treat the sick animals.

Costa Rica: Veterinary Medicine FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

What is included in the tuition cost and what additional expenses should I expect?

Trip tuition is all inclusive for instruction, food, accommodation and activities from the time you arrive on location. However, you are responsible for your airfare, spending money (we suggest about $150-200), any required textbooks, and student expenses such as medical fees and optional college credits. Some trips require scuba gear which can be rented, purchased or in some cases borrowed from Broadreach. For more information about expenses that might apply to your program, click here.

We require a non-refundable deposit of $1000 to lock in your spot (pending your acceptance into the program), and then the final balance can be spread out and paid in a few different ways. The final payment is requested by about 3 months before departure. Our optional tuition protection plan covers cancellations for medical reasons up to 100% and cancellations for any other reason up to 75% (except for residents of NY state).

We require that students have at least $100,000 of emergency evacuation coverage and some kind of international medical coverage, as well as coverage for scuba diving for programs that include diving. We offer two different policy options, or if you already have a policy that meets this criteria, we would just collect those policy details after enrollment.

Our Tuition Protection policy covers cancellations for medical reasons up to 100% and for any other reason up to 75% (except for residents of NY state). It’s also a great comprehensive travel insurance policy, including medical coverage, emergency evacuation, travel delay, baggage (loss or delay), etc. The cost of the policy ranges from $339-379 based on the program duration. For more specific coverage details, please call our office.

How does travel work?

For most programs, we have a few recommended flights and an arrival time range, and we usually give you the option to book flights on your own or through our travel agency partner. A few programs have required group flights, which we set up in advance. Students travel independently, but often meet up along the way, and we collect student itinerary details. Broadreach instructors will be waiting in the arrivals hall of the destination airport to greet each student, and they’ll be wearing special shirts and holding a Broadreach sign. We also mail students Broadreach shirts to wear while traveling which makes it easy for them to identify each other. Typically, making travel arrangements and the actual travel days go very smoothly.

What is the application process?

Step one: submit your initial application online with a $35 application fee. If there is space, you can secure your spot with a $1000 deposit while you complete the secondary application. Step two: we will send you login details to complete your secondary application (academic reference, personal statement, interview, transcript). Once we accept your secondary application pieces and you’ve paid your deposit, your place on the program is secured!

What do the academics involve? How do college credits work? What if I don’t take the program for credit?

Academics will vary by program but usually include journals, discussions, lectures, research projects, and a midterm and final exam. We expect all of our students to participate fully in the academic course work on our programs, regardless of whether they have chosen to take it for official college credit.

We partner with Lesley University in Cambridge, MA to offer college credit for our academic college programs. Those credits are widely accepted at colleges and universities all over North America, and we can often let you know if an alumni student has transferred those credits to a specific school in the past. For more information, click here.

How many students are in a group? What is the male/female ratio?

The majority of programs will have a maximum of 12 students in a group. We aim for a balance of males and females, but in our experience, the gender ratio plays a small role in the success of each program.

How does Broadreach address safety?

Safety is our top priority, and it is something we evaluate from every angle throughout the year. We’re very proud of our safety record over the past 26 years of running international programs for students. There are so many ways to address how we handle safety, including the extensive experience and training of our instructors, the specific locations we choose to visit, the relationships we have established with our local partners, and the 24/7 support we provide our groups. We have extensive program-specific risk management plans and safety standards that we adhere to. We’d be happy to talk about safety in more detail for the program you’re considering if you’d like to call our office.

Who will my instructors be?

Broadreach instructors are highly experienced, passionate, energetic and supportive. The average age of our instructors is 28 years old, and depending on the program, they meet specific qualifications (a Master’s degree in the subject area, PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor certification, foreign language fluency, Wilderness First Responder certification, etc).

Do your programs accommodate food preferences or food allergies?

We do our best to accommodate allergies and food preferences but we consider the situation, country and the program to determine whether it will be a good fit for the specific dietary restriction. It’s important that you let Broadreach know well in advance of any food preferences or allergies so we can determine whether your restrictions will work on your program.

Do you offer any discounts or scholarships?

In the fall, we have a few different early enrollment discounts– please call our office for more information. We also offer a 5% discount on the second enrollment from the same immediate family in a summer. This offer is available to an individual student or siblings. The 5% discount will be applied to the program of lesser cost, and cannot be combined with any other discounts.

We do offer some scholarships through the Broadreach Foundation. Please call our office for more information on applying.

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