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  • Animal Science
  • Central America
  • HS

Costa Rica: Veterinary Experience


Want to know what it's like to work with animals every day? Thinking of being a veterinarian? Join us in tropical paradise and get a hands-on introduction to veterinary medicine.

The best way to learn about a future in veterinary medicine is to roll up your sleeves and jump right in! Working alongside professionals, you'll learn how to examine different types of animals, give injections, perform necropsy and diagnostic tests. Attend lectures on topics such as anatomy, immunology, diagnostics, pathology and animal behavior. Observe and assist local veterinarians as they draw blood, interpret radiographs and perform spay/neuter surgeries. This is real-world experience with animals on actual working farms, in clinics and even a wildlife rescue center. The excitement doesn't stop there though. Raft the rapids of the Sarapiqui, zip line through the jungle canopy and experience the friendly culture of Costa Rica in a way that few do.

June 25 - July 16 HS22 days$6,780Available
July 19 - August 9 HS22 days$6,780Available
Earn & Learn
Costa Rica: Veterinary Experience 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 Experience offers 3 natural science college credits through Lesley University. Additionally, students earn 20 hours of documented community service.

  • One year of high school biology


Course Description

For students considering a future working with animals or in veterinary medicine, this opportunity to get 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
  • Assist with welfare husbandry needs, and understand veterinary standards required to maintain each species
  • Explore potential veterinary and animal care 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, clinics, farms and animal clinics.

20 Service Hours

3 College Credits

Costa Rica: Veterinary Experience 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 we’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 will be your home for the next few days. Here, local vets teach you how to diagnose a cow’s pregnancy through palpation. Learning and practicing your skills at dairy and beef farms will help you understand the production management industry, and you’ll also dive into large animal handling and disease lectures. Lend a hand at the wildlife rescue center, which has become a home for sloths, otters, toucans and more. Then practice small animal examinations, identifying ectoparasites and skin conditions, at a nearby dog rescue organization.


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 examinations of hooves, gums and teeth, and get a glimpse of what the care of horses is like before taking 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. 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. Wrap up 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. As you discuss topics ranging from anesthesia protocol to career opportunities in veterinary medicine, begin to understand 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

  • Volunteer in rescue centers and medical clinics
  • Perform physical exams and learn about animal anatomy
  • Gain hands-on experience in equine and bovine medicine
  • Help build enrichment habitats for rehabilitating animals
  • Go whitewater rafting, horseback riding, hiking and rappelling
  • Surf the Pacific Coast in Manuel Antonio
Costa Rica: Veterinary Experience Reviews & Testimonials

Reviews & Testimonials

Meghan Borum (age 17) from Gainesville, FL

This trip was the best thing that has ever happened to me! Words cannot express how much this trip meant to me. For starters, I never traveled much, but always dreamed of doing so. Also, I have never really been away from my parents longer than two weeks, let along go to another country without them. But Broadreach made sure everything was perfect, weather it was with reassuring or through communication. The trip itself, is nothing you can prepare yourself for, in the best possible way! You learn so much about being a vet and even yourself that you never want to leave. You make friends for a lifetime, and confirm your dreams of becoming vet more than you thought possible. You never dread lectures because you learn so much. I still cannot decide whether I loved the lectures or the activities (like white water rafting and ziplining in the rainforest) more! Thank you Broadreach for the best experience of my life and I cannot wait until next summer!

Aubrey Earnest

Broadreach has a strong cultural and educational grasp on what summer immersion should be. I was able to pursue my interests in veterinary medicine with them in Bali last summer and now this year in Costa Rica. I received college credits, learned a lot and had a blast with many like-minded individuals of my age. My twin sister even participated in their advanced scuba programs this summer, too. I highly recommend these programs to other adventurous individuals out there like myself.

Madison McCue

This trip provides an environment where you can explore, adapt, learn and grow with every experience. You are exposed to different views, ethics and beliefs culturally and medically in the vet community. Instructors ensure you are prepared in the field and always feeling comfortable, healthy and happy. This trip is an experience you will never forget, giving you hands on experiences in a field you are passionate about. It is a dream come true.

Melissa Sheffer

I would not trade my time in Costa Rica for anything. The amount of hands-on experience I was able to achieve was absolutely incredible and unmatched by anything I can currently do in the US. No matter how many exciting adventures I crossed off my bucket list thanks to my time in Costa Rica, I was still amazed more than anything at the ability to preform surgeries, administer vaccines, and work directly with marmosets and dogs.

Jenna Essner

This trip provided a great mix between working with live stock, pets and wild animals and helped us simultaneously explore a new culture! Many of us felt so at home we didn’t want to leave! It really helped me break out of my shell, I highly recommend this to people who need that push to break out of their comfort zone.

Ally H. from Seattle, WA

This trip was awesome! The balance between fun activities (white water rafting) and academic ones was perfect. We went to several wildlife centers and were given the chance to work with animals we might not have seen in other countries. Our trip leaders (Ashley and Travis) were really cool and friendly and always on top of things. I loved this trip and I’m glad Broadreach gave me the opportunity to go to so many interesting places within Costa Rica.

Lauren H. from Carmel, IN

This trip in general has been a chance of a lifetime. Everyday is packed with new and exciting activities. Getting to record data and be very hands on was amazing. Then going to a refuge center filled with many different animals was exciting. We got the chance to do physical exams of coatis, anteaters and owls. At the center we also got to help release many animals.

Kiara Mercado from Miramar, FL

This trip has been a great experience and has solidified the dream of me becoming a vet. I learned so much about bovine, equine and wildlife medicine. My favorite thing I did was assist in a spay on a cat, which was an amazing learning experience.

Rylee Lisieski from Avon, NY

Broadreach was so interactive and I feel a deeper love for the field of veterinary medicine. I learned a lot and feel like I have grown so much. It took a lot of courage to go to an unfamiliar place and meet new people. Broadreach helped me push my own boundaries academically and personally. I feel like I have become a better version of myself through Broadreach and I am so grateful.

Summer O. from Seattle, WA

I had an amazing experience in Costa Rica. One thing I loved from the trip was working with such a wide variety of animals, from dogs to sloths, and from kinkajous to cattle. This trip has inspired me to treat every day as a new adventure and has made me realize what opportunities lie ahead in the future. Veterinary medicine is a field that I am passionate about and I’m so happy that I could have this amazing experience with other people who share this love for animals. Pura Vida!

Daniela H. from North Miami Beach, FL

I feel like I have been to every corner of Costa Rica. I experienced all the different sides of the country while on this trip. We learned about the wildlife and the domestic animals here, we basically did it all. My favorite activities were the ones with animals. Each experience was so unique and amazing, I don’t think I’ll ever find anything like this trip. It is a once in a lifetime experience and it helped solidify that I want to be a vet.

Emma B. from Woodland Hills, CA

This whole experience was amazing! I especially enjoyed staying at the Blue Banyan Inn because the days were packed with activity while still allowing enough rest time. I liked how non academic activities were blended in as well such as white water rafting and zip lining. I really liked doing a lot of hands on work. This trip is and will always be memorable. It helps strengthen that I what I want to do in the future.

Costa Rica: Veterinary Experience FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

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

Tuition is all inclusive for instruction, food, accommodations, and activities from the time you arrive in country. However, you are responsible for your airfare, spending money (we suggest about $150-200 depending on the program), any required textbooks, and student expenses such as medical fees. Some trips require scuba gear which can be rented, purchased or in some cases borrowed from Broadreach. Finally, for our high school trips that offer college credit, you can elect to receive an official Lesley University credit transcript for approximately $180 per credit hour. For more information about expenses that might apply to your program, click here.

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.

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.

Do I need to purchase travel insurance?

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.

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.

Can I contact Broadreach alumni families for more information?

Absolutely! Just call our office and we can put you in touch with past participants who have joined the programs that interest you. Our alumni families are happy to share their first-person experiences.

How does payment work? Is the deposit or tuition refundable?

We require a non-refundable deposit of $1000 to lock in your spot, and then the final balance can be spread out and paid in a few different ways. The final payment is non-refundable and is due 4 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).

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 high school and 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 details, click here.

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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