Vet/Pre-Vet Externship


Wild Sun Externship

A veterinary externship like no other


Our 4 week vet and pre-vet externship focuses on the veterinarians role in conservation medicine.  Follow our vets as they treat injured wildlife and give support to 2 very different yet interrelated conservation initiatives.  You will participate and learn from a wildlife rescue center and a Scarlet Macaw reintroduction program on the same site.  Our goal is to inspire you to be a voice for conservation and to show you how, as a future veterinarian, you can make a difference in saving wildlife and their habitats in all corners of the world.

We have specialized tracks for pre-vet and gap-year students, 1st & 2nd year vet students and 3rd & 4th year vet students. 


Wild Sun Rescue Center


At the rescue center, in addition to practicing animal husbandry and rehabilitation in the ICU, students will assist in necessary surgeries and emergency procedures. Students may practice proper restraint techniques for mammals, birds and reptiles, perform physical exams and hands-off evaluations, identify and treat parasites, administer fluids, perform necropsies, practice syringe and tube feeding techniques as well as suturing, wound care and identifying stages of healing. Patient rounds will be conducted often along with topic discussions and presentations.  There will be onsite labs and demonstrations, evaluation and feedback meetings and execution of specialty projects that could include nutrition research, proper use of medications, or even enclosure design. 

Among other things, students will gain a deeper knowledge of what conservation medicine is and how it differs from exotic and zoo medicine, what role a veterinarian plays in conservation and which animals can return to the wild and why.  Animals that we often have in care are the Mantled Howler Monkey, White Faced Capuchin, Collared Anteater, White-nosed Coati, Kinkajou, Agouti, Lowland Paca, Spotted Skunk, Northern Raccoon, Nine-banded Armadillo, White-tailed Deer, Variegated Squirrel, Mexican Hairy Porcupine, Woolly and Common Opossums, and a variety of  birds. When possible, we will also participate in local spay and neuter campaigns to help control the local dog and cat population, which threatens wildlife daily.  These clinics happen 3 times a year.

Vet Students
If you’re a 1st or 2nd year vet student, our program will give you valuable practice and hands-on experience with various and exciting exotic species. For 3rd and 4th year vet students, our 4 week externship will count for out-rotation credit in your college of veterinary medicine.

Pre-Vet Students
If you’re thinking of applying to vet school, you probably already know how competitive it is. Many a human doctor can owe their career to the fact they couldn’t get into vet school! On the AVMA (American Veterinary Medical Association) website there is a page dedicated to how to get into vet school. They stress experience in the field, communication skills and references from veterinarians. By participating in our pre-vet externship, you will get all 3. Once complete you will stand apart from other applicants, able to speak intelligently on the veterinarians role in conservation and able to show your dedication and commitment to the career you desire to embark upon having had this 4 week experience.

Scarlet Macaw Reintroduction
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Scarlet Macaw Reintroduction

As students you will learn how to care for these birds and the process it takes for a species reintroduction program to be carried out.  Among other tasks, when applicable, you will help micro chip and extract blood for DNA testing.   You may even be asked to monitor the health of recently released Macaws.



We'll also take the time out to take advantage of some of the natural wonders of Costa Rica!  Be they waterfalls, ocean voyages or beautiful sunsets, adventure awaits.  Students will get to visit the Montezuma Waterfalls, Isla Cabuya Cemetery Island, go horseback riding or zip lining through the jungle, dip into a cliffside infinity pool with a swim up bar and view wildlife while hiking Cabo Blanco- Costa Rica's first national park, amongst other outings.


How It Works

  • Summer Sessions 2019 for pre-vet students:

    • Session 1 May 19th- June 16th

    • Session 2 June 16th- July 14th

    • Session 3 July 14th- August 11th

    • Session 4 August 11th- September 8th

  • Rolling Admissions for vet and pre-vet student externships starting all Sundays, February 2019 through April 2019

  • Summer Sessions 2020 for pre-vet students:

    • Session 1 May 17th- June 14th

    • Session 2 June 14th- July 12th

    • Session 3 July 12th- August 9th

    • Session 4 August 9th- September 6th

  • Duration: 4 weeks

    • Program fee: $5,850 USD

      • Includes:

        • Poolside Shared Deluxe Accommodations with A/C, private outdoor bath with hot water showers, mini fridge, digital safe, satellite tv, ocean view, and patio with swing chairs. Maximum 3 people per room.

        • Professional Meal Plan including 3 meals a day Sunday through Friday plus breakfast on Saturdays (you have access to a shared kitchen between meals). On Saturdays you may choose to cook for yourself, participate in pot lucks or go out to one of the many delicious restaurants in Cabuya, Montezuma or Santa Teresa.

        • Academic materials

        • Excursions, outings and tours mentioned above

      • Not included:

        • Flights

        • Transportation from San Jose to Cabuya

        • Saturday lunch and dinner

        • Additional transportation such as taxis to Montezuma and ATV rentals


Vet/Pre-Vet Exernship

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