Wild Sun Externship
A veterinary externship like no other
Our 4 week vet and pre-vet externship focuses on the veterinarian’s 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 when and how animals can return to the wild. 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 Opossum, and a variety of birds. When possible, we will also participate in spay and neuter campaigns to help control the local dog and cat population, which threatens wildlife daily. These clinics happen 3 times a year.
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.
Some of the most important criteria for students applying to vet school includes experience in the field, communication skills and references from veterinarians (American Veterinary Medical Association, “Veterinary School Admission 101”). By participating in our pre-vet externship, you will get all 3 and more! The Wild Sun Externship gives students the skills necessary to stand apart from other applicants, to speak intelligently on the veterinarian’s role in conservation, and to show your commitment to your future career.
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
Rolling Admissions for VET STUDENT externships starting all Sundays, November - early April
Vet Students may apply for any time of the year at your convenience from November - early April. From May-September we have set starting dates in 4 week intervals.
Summer Sessions 2019 for vet or 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
Summer Sessions 2020 for vet or 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
Program fee: $5,850 USD
Many of our students receive grants and scholarships to attend from their schools. Please check with your student affairs and study abroad offices for what is available. We also have provided links at the bottom of the page for opportunities outside of your school. ***
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.
Excursions, outings and tours mentioned above
Transportation from San Jose to Cabuya
Saturday lunch and dinner
Extra transportation such as taxis to Montezuma and ATV rentals