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Costa Rica


Veterinary Medicine & Voluntourism in Costa Rica

August 1-14, 2010


 Check out Proyecto Asis at http://www.proyectoasis.com/

Arenal Volcano in a haze of clouds


If you want to improve your Spanish, care for rescued animals and see how small and large animal veterinary medicine is practiced in another country, then this course is perfect for you!  Your time in Costa Rica is  comprised of one week of Spanish language classes with an emphasis on veterinary vocabulary, a weekend in La Fortuna with a volcanic hike and waterfall rapelling, and a week of small and large animal field visits.  You will stay with a local Tico family (the people in Costa Rica are called Ticos), which improves your Spanish even more.

                   Partes de la vaca                     En la Subasta (auction)            Feeding time at the iguana reserve





You will stay for two weeks with a local Tico family and you may have your own room or share with one of your classmates.  Your Tico family will feed you three meals a day, do your laundry, and teach you all about the culture and life of Costa Rica.  Chances are, they won't speak English, so you'll have plenty of opportunities to practice your Spanish.






Your Spanish courses are taught outdoors at Proyecto Asis, a wildlife rescue and care center, by local Tica teachers.  You are placed in classes based on your level of Spanish proficiency, which you state in your application.  You will learn verbs, local phrases and slang, and veterinary terms to help you communicate with your host families and locals.


Between your week of Spanish classes and your week of small and large animal field visits, you have the opportunity to spend a weekend in the local tourist town of La Fortuna.  Located at the base of the world's most active volcano, La Fortuna is home to many local shops and adventure companies.  During your stay in La Fortuna, you'll have the opportunity to hike through hardened lava to the base of Arenal and hear the lava pop like popcorn.  You'll also relax in the thermal springs and have time to hit the shops.  Your second day in La Fortuna will take you into the rainforest, where you'll hike through a canyon and rappel down waterfalls up to 90 feet high!



After your weekend of fun and relaxation, the field visits start.  You'll have the opportunity to participate in a local spay and neuter clinic (assisting a local veterinarian), visit a pork and beef matadero (slaughterhouse), visit local dairy and cattle operations and try your hand at palpation and castration!




The course includes a Spring 2010 pre-departure course in addition to 2 weeks in Costa Rica, determined by enrolled students' schedules.  Students will receive 3 summer 2010 elective credits and will receive a letter grade.

For more information on this program or any of the Group Study Abroad opportunities offered by the College of Veterinary Medicine, contact Katie Davidson at katied@iastate.edu or call (515) 294-1501. 

Applications for Summer 2010 programs are due March 15th, 2009.


Apply now!