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Animal Care Across Continents: Veterinary Internships Abroad

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Written By
By Munira Maricar
Travel Writer
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Are you a budding veterinary intern or vet student passionate about animal welfare and veterinary science? Diving into a veterinary internship abroad can be an ideal way to meld your academic pursuits with a zest for travel and cultural immersion. This blog delves into the diverse array of opportunities available globally, from veterinary internal medicine to vet tech internships. Whether you’re exploring opportunities in the veterinary field, it’s important to understand the different types of internships available and who they are best suited for. Pre-vet internships are designed for students who are still completing their pre-veterinary studies, offering them practical experience and exposure to the field before they apply for veterinary school. Vet internships, on the other hand, are typically for undergraduates who have completed their pre-vet studies and are seeking hands-on experience in a veterinary setting, which is crucial for their professional development. Lastly, veterinary assistant internships are ideal for individuals who are looking to enter the veterinary field in a support role, such as an assistant or technician, rather than as a veterinarian. These internships provide practical experience in animal care and clinic operations, serving as a stepping stone for those aiming to enhance their skills and professional network in veterinary support roles. 

We’ll navigate you through the different types of internships for a rewarding experience abroad.

Benefits of Veterinary Internships Abroad

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Living and working in a foreign country cultivates independence, adaptability, and resilience.

  1. Professional Experience: Reputable veterinary internships offer invaluable hands-on experience in a diverse array of settings, laying a solid foundation for your future in veterinary medicine.
  2. Cultural Immersion: Immersing yourself in an international internship allows you to experience new cultures, broadening your perspective and enhancing your empathy and understanding of global approaches to animal care and welfare.
  3. Network Expansion: Interning abroad connects you with professionals and peers globally, building a network crucial for your veterinary journey.
  4. Personal Growth: Whether it’s a summer placement or a more extended internship, living and working in a foreign country cultivates independence, adaptability, and resilience.

How to Make the Most of Your Internship

  1. Choose the Right Program: Research and select a program that aligns with your interests and career goals. Consider factors like the location, duration, and specific veterinary field, be it veterinary internal medicine, vet tech, or veterinary assistant roles.
  2. Prepare Adequately: Ensure you’re ready with the necessary vaccinations, travel documents, and an understanding of your host country’s language and cultural norms.
  3. Adaptability: Be open and flexible to embrace the unique challenges and opportunities that come with an international work environment.
  4. Reflect and Apply Learnings: Use this experience to reflect on your career path and apply the skills and insights gained when you return.

Exploring the World of Veterinary Internships

Stepping into the realm of veterinary internships unlocks a world of hands-on experience and international exposure. Reputable organizations provide dynamic opportunities in veterinary science around the globe. These programs cater to vet students and undergraduates eager to build their skills and contribute meaningfully to animal welfare, offering experiences ranging from pre-veterinary internships to vet student internships and internships for veterinary undergraduates.

Intern Abroad HQ

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Get real-world veterinary experience caring for a range of domestic and farm animals.

Intern Abroad HQ presents a wide range of Veterinary & Animal Care internships, spanning numerous global locations, ideal for students and young professionals eager to dive into the veterinary field. By participating, interns contribute to global sustainable development goals, focusing on animal welfare and environmental conservation. Each internship is carefully tailored to meet specific career goals or academic requirements, ensuring a personalized and impactful experience. This unique combination of experiential learning and international adventure is designed to enhance both personal growth and professional competencies in the field of veterinary care. Read on to explore opportunities in the following countries: 

  • Costa Rica: This program offers interns hands-on experience in veterinary clinics in Costa Rica. Ideal for veterinary students, interns assist with various animal treatments and learn practical skills alongside experienced vets. It’s a chance to experience the workings of a veterinary clinic and contribute to animal welfare.
  • Cusco, Peru: Interns work in vet clinics and dog shelters, aiding in surgeries, treatments, and care of sick or injured animals. This program is perfect for animal lovers and provides valuable learning opportunities with experienced local staff in the vibrant city of Cusco.
  • Guatemala: For those passionate about animal care, this internship offers real-world veterinary experience in local clinics, caring for a range of domestic and farm animals. Interns work closely with local veterinarians, gaining exposure to various treatments and procedures.
  • Valencia, Spain: Interns collaborate with professional vets, gaining hands-on experience treating domestic animals. The internship focuses on learning from experienced staff and developing practical veterinary skills, along with enhancing customer service abilities in a clinical setting.
  • Athens, Greece: This unique opportunity allows interns to support local professionals in treating a variety of species. Interns gain valuable experience in animal care and treatment, working alongside experienced vets in the historic city of Athens.

GoEco

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Gain exposure to a wide range of African wildlife and veterinary practices.

Founded in 2006, GoEco is a leader in volunteer tourism, offering over 150 programs in more than 40 countries with a focus on sustainability and responsible travel. Alongside volunteering, GoEco provides exceptional international internship opportunities designed for those seeking global work experiences. Interns receive personalized mentorship and guidance, gaining valuable skills and a professional edge. These comprehensive programs not only enhance career prospects but also contribute to GoEco’s significant impact in education and wildlife conservation, solidifying its reputation in global volunteerism.

  • South Africa – Pre-Vet Internship: Ideal for pre-vet students, this program offers an immersive animal care experience in South Africa. Interns engage in various activities, including game capture and lectures on animal health and nutrition, exposing them to a wide range of African wildlife and veterinary practices.
  • Malawi – Wildlife Rescue Center Veterinary Internship: Join a hands-on veterinary internship at a renowned wildlife rescue center in Malawi. Interns assist in the rehabilitation of various wildlife, including orphaned vervet monkeys, gaining practical experience in veterinary science amidst the beautiful backdrop of Malawi.
  • Wildlife Animal Sanctuary in Australia to care for rescued wildlife so they can be released back to the wild, as well as breed native endangered species.
  • Animal Rescue and Conservation in Costa Rica to help sloths and other indigenous animals.

Here are some more options for Animal Care internships:

Maximo Nivel

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Assist in the welfare of stray and abandoned animals in Latin America.

Serving over 100,000 individuals since its inception in Peru in 2003, Maximo Nivel offers diverse programs including volunteer opportunities, internships, and Spanish immersion. Maximo Nivel offers internships in Latin America for aspiring veterinarians, providing exposure to diverse animal health and welfare challenges. Interns assist veterinary professionals in clinics and rescue centers, gaining hands-on experience with various animal care tasks, including examinations, diagnoses, and surgeries. Each program with Maximo Nivel is structured to contribute to both the intern’s academic and professional goals, offering comprehensive support, accommodations, meals, and Spanish classes. These internships start every Monday year-round and range from 4 to 24 weeks, providing 24/7 in-country support.

  • Costa Rica: These internships immerse interns in Costa Rica’s evolving animal welfare landscape. Working alongside veterinarians, interns participate in feeding, cleaning, grooming, and administering medication, ideal for those studying veterinary medicine or animal care.
  • Guatemala: Addressing the hardships faced by domestic animals in poverty-stricken areas, these internships involve assisting veterinarians with examinations, diagnoses, and surgeries, and educating locals on animal care.
  • Peru: Focusing on the welfare of stray and abandoned animals, these internships provide interns with hands-on experience in animal care and rehabilitation, under the guidance of experienced veterinarians.

Projects Abroad

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Assist in equine therapy sessions and horse care.

Founded in 1992, Projects Abroad offers extensive volunteer and educational programs in over 25 destinations, focusing on responsible travel and global impact tracking. Projects Abroad offers enriching international veterinary internships, providing practical, real-world experience crucial for professional development. These internships enable participants to gain firsthand knowledge in their field, enhancing vital skills like communication and organization. Catering to students and those seeking summer internships, Projects Abroad ensures a holistic experience, inclusive of accommodation, meals, and airport transfers. Interns are mentored by professionals, contributing significantly to their personal and career growth, with a focus on responsible travel and contributing to UN Sustainable Development Goals.

  • Veterinary Medicine Internship in Sri Lanka: Interns gain veterinary medicine experience by working in government or private clinics, treating both domestic and farm animals. They live with a host family, offering a cultural immersion in Sri Lanka. The program is suitable for students and graduates, focusing on various medical procedures and treatments.
  • Veterinary Medicine Internship in Ghana: This internship offers the chance to shadow experienced vets in clinics or on farms, providing hands-on experience with animals in Accra or Akuapem Hills. It’s open to anyone interested in veterinary medicine, combining routine treatments, public education on animal care, and working with both domestic and farm animals.
  • Equine Therapy Internship in Argentina: Interns work in therapy sessions with children and horses, requiring intermediate Spanish and horse riding skills. They assist in therapy sessions, and horse care, and learn about therapeutic theories, all within a setting near Córdoba, focused on aiding patients’ rehabilitation through equine therapy.
  • Veterinary Medicine Internship in Romania: Interns in this program gain practical experience in a local clinic or dog shelter in Brasov, assisting with medical procedures and animal care. They interact with pet owners and learn about various aspects of veterinary practice, living with a host family for a deep dive into Romanian culture.
  • Volunteer with Animals in South Africa: This program involves working at a shelter for domestic animals or a seabird rehabilitation center in Cape Town. Participants engage in hands-on care, feeding, and rehabilitation of animals, educating the public on animal welfare, and contributing to the improvement of animal care in the region.

African Impact

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Engage in conservancy monitoring while on horseback in Zimbabwe!

African Impact offers veterinary and animal care programs in Africa, providing unique opportunities to work directly with wildlife conservation.  Set in stunning natural environments, these programs not only contribute to vital conservation efforts but also offer a chance to live in the African Bush or coastal areas. Interns work alongside veterinary experts, conservation researchers, and international volunteers, creating a close-knit community committed to preserving Africa’s endangered species and addressing significant conservation issues.

  • Wildlife Rehabilitation Project in South Africa: Join the rescue and release team at a wildlife rehabilitation center in the Greater Kruger Area, South Africa. Engage in hands-on roles caring for rescued, injured, and lost wildlife, including bush babies, warthogs, antelopes, and more. Learn about animal care, rescue techniques, and wildlife conservation, and participate in the individual care and release plans for each animal. Explore the area with safaris in Kruger National Park and trips to Blyde River Canyon. This project combines animal rehabilitation with conservation work, including wildlife tracking and data collection.
  • Wildlife Veterinary Program in South Africa: Gain hands-on experience in all facets of wildlife capture and veterinary procedures alongside wildlife veterinary professionals in the Garden Route, South Africa. Ideal for vets, vet students (preferably minimum third-year), or veterinary nurses, this program offers practical knowledge in wildlife medicine and conservation. Learn to treat and move wildlife with minimal stress, be part of population management and breeding programs, and gain knowledge useful for wildlife treatment worldwide. Stay on a private game reserve and engage in both theoretical and practical exercises, including dart-gun practice and animal handling.
  • Horse Riding and Hands-On Elephant and Rhino Conservation in Zimbabwe: Combine your passion for horses and conservation at the Imire Conservancy in Zimbabwe. This project is for experienced horse riders looking to participate in the conservation of endangered rhinos and elephants. Engage in conservancy monitoring and management on horseback, assist with anti-poaching efforts, and educate local communities about conservation. Work closely with animals, observing their behavior, socialization, and feeding patterns. Live in a beautiful natural environment and explore Zimbabwean bush life.
  • Facilitated Wildlife Research Internship in South Africa: Customize your field research experience in the Greater Kruger Area, focusing on a specific African species. This internship offers professional experience in wildlife conservation research. Gain practical skills in wildlife research methods, habitat mapping, and data analysis, and learn to use key research software. Be supported by an Internship Mentor and work alongside a team of international and local experts. The program is ideal for those interested in conducting wildlife research and contributes to conservation efforts in one of the world’s significant wildlife strongholds.

Involvement Volunteers International (IVI)

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Assist with medical procedures at local animal shelters.

Involvement Volunteers International (IVI) offers veterinary programs for both professionals and aspiring vets passionate about animal welfare. These programs provide an exceptional opportunity to work alongside local experts in developing countries, supplementing resources due to economic constraints. Participants can engage in a variety of animal-related projects. IVI emphasizes ethical practices, avoids support for cruel animal tourism, and focuses on real impacts in community development, healthcare, and education. With over 33 years in operation, IVI is a top-rated organization offering affordable, flexible programs in over 20 countries.

  • Animal Shelter Program in Fiji: This program, located in Nadi and Lautoka, Fiji, invites participants to assist at local animal shelters, engaging in tasks like feeding, training, exercising, bathing, grooming, and providing love to the animals. Depending on experience, participants can assist with medical procedures and engage in community education on animal welfare. Additional activities include outreach programs and adoption services. The project caters to a range of participants, from pre-veterinary students to animal lovers, offering a chance to gain comprehensive experience in animal care and shelter management. Accommodation is provided in a homestay, and the project includes airport pickup, local transportation, orientation, and 24/7 support.
  • Stray Dog Rehabilitation Shelter in Peru: Based in Cusco, Peru, participants work with local NGOs to rescue and rehabilitate stray dogs and cats, providing medical care, grooming, and basic obedience training. The project also involves educational outreach and spay/neuter programs. Participants assist with maintenance at the facility, including cleaning cages and small construction projects. The accommodation is a homestay, and the program includes meals, airport pickup, local transportation, orientation, and in-country support.
  • Lemur Conservation in Madagascar: Located on Nosy Be Island, this project focuses on conserving Madagascar’s native lemur population. Participants help with feeding, cleaning cages, and maintaining fences and enclosures. Activities include collecting food, preparing feed, and helping with the general daily duties at the reserve. Accommodation is provided in a volunteer house with shared rooms, and the program includes meals, airport pickup, local transportation, orientation, and in-country support.
  • Alpaca and Llama Farm in Peru: Situated near Cusco, Peru, this program offers participants the opportunity to work on a family-run farm, caring for alpacas and llamas. Tasks include cleaning and maintaining pens, feeding, bathing, and brushing the animals. Participants also assist with shearing and weaving textiles and help create educational materials about these animals. The program provides accommodation in a homestay, meals, airport pickup, local transportation, orientation, and in-country support.

Volunteering Solutions

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Work with local conservationists to track, monitor, and study elephants in Sri Lanka!

Volunteering Solutions provides a variety of wildlife conservation programs focused on activities like working with elephants and turtle conservation. Volunteers can participate in forest conservation efforts and marine conservation initiatives which include beach cleaning and awareness campaigns about reducing plastic usage. These programs offer an opportunity to work under professional conservationists, learn about wildlife conservation techniques, and take care of animals in different habitats. Available throughout the year, these programs allow volunteers to choose their duration of stay, enabling them to make a significant impact on environmental conservation.

  • Dog Care Project in Galle, Sri Lanka: Join a renowned team in Sri Lanka dedicated to caring for stray dogs. This project addresses the plight of thousands of stray dogs suffering from hunger, diseases, and mistreatment. Participants work in the country’s largest animal care facility, housing about 2,000 dogs, and offering them a safe haven and necessary medical treatment. Key activities include direct engagement with dogs, mealtime assistance, rehabilitation techniques like hydrotherapy, maintaining cleanliness, puppy care, and occasional construction work to improve facilities. This hands-on project demands a passionate, energetic, and flexible attitude toward working in a new environment. Participants receive comprehensive support, including airport transfers, orientation, accommodation near Unawatuna Beach, and meals. The program offers a profound cultural immersion in Sri Lanka and an opportunity to make a significant difference in the lives of vulnerable animals.
  • Amazon Animal Rescue Center in Puyo, Ecuador: This project is a collaboration with the Ecuadorian Environmental Police and the Ministry of Environment to combat wildlife trafficking and abuse. Located in the Ecuadorian rainforest, participants assist in rescuing, rehabilitating, and releasing animals back into their natural habitat. The center cares for over 40 species, including ocelots, capybaras, parrots, and monkeys. Responsibilities encompass daily animal care, enclosure maintenance, veterinary assistance, and engaging in visitor education. Participants stay in shared cabanas on-site, with meals provided on weekdays. It’s an opportunity to be immersed in the wilderness, contributing significantly to animal welfare and conservation.
  • Wildlife & Animal Rescue Center in Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica: This program in the rich biodiversity of Costa Rica involves working at an animal rescue center, home to a variety of species like monkeys, sloths, birds, and reptiles. Participants engage in food preparation, maintenance tasks, and caring for ill, injured, and orphaned animals. Set in a 49-hectare primary forest, the center is crucial to local wildlife conservation efforts. The program requires volunteers to be over 18, committed for at least 4 weeks, and interested in wildlife conservation, and offers an enriching experience to live alongside wildlife, contributing to their welfare and gaining insights from experts.
  • Wild Elephant Conservation & Research Program in Wasgamuwa National Park, Sri Lanka: Participants work with local conservationists to track, monitor, and study elephants and other wildlife. Tasks include collecting environmental data, participating in community education and human-elephant conflict resolution, and observing elephant behavior from treehouses. The project is ideal for those passionate about wildlife conservation. Accommodation is provided in a field house near the project site, with all meals included. The program offers a unique opportunity to work in a natural habitat, contribute to vital conservation efforts, and explore the stunning landscapes of Sri Lanka.
  • Wildlife Conservation Program in Yackandandah, Australia: Work at a wildlife shelter in Australia, caring for injured and orphaned native animals. Participants engage in feeding, cleaning, maintenance, and enrichment activities at the shelter. The program is set in a state forest and plays a crucial role in caring for native wildlife, including kangaroos, wombats, and other species. Key responsibilities include bottle feeding young animals, enclosure maintenance, and assisting in rescues and medical treatments. The project operates 24/7, with over 150 animals in care. Accommodation is in a shared cabin with meals provided, and volunteers are expected to participate in cooking and domestic duties. It’s an opportunity to contribute to Australian wildlife welfare while experiencing the unique local lifestyle.

Global Vision International (GVI)

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Join a fellowship in Northern Thailand and biodiversity research on various species, including elephants.

Global Vision International (GVI) has been a leader in providing sustainable and ethical animal care and conservation internships since 1997. Their programs offer practical learning in wildlife conservation and animal care, aimed at individuals passionate about these fields. GVI emphasizes ethical engagement with wildlife, prioritizing animal welfare and sustainable practices. The internships provide valuable experience, enhance employability in conservation sectors, and include professional skill development and cultural immersion. With opportunities for all ages and no experience needed for most programs, GVI supports participants with scholarships and upholds a highly intentional Badge of Ethics symbolizing their commitment to empowerment and measurable impact.

  • Sea Turtle Conservation Internship in Costa Rica: Located in Kekoldi, this internship spans 4 to 12 weeks and involves a multifaceted approach to conservation, focusing on sea turtles. Interns participate in day and night surveys and engage in rainforest and wildlife monitoring. The program offers a unique opportunity to work in Costa Rica’s vibrant habitats, developing skills in data collection, surveying, research techniques, teamwork, project management, and leadership.
  • Sea Turtle Conservation Internship in Thailand: Based in Phang Nga, this 2 to 12-week internship focuses on protecting endangered local sea turtle populations, primarily green turtles. Interns work at the Royal Thai Navy’s Sea Turtle Conservation Center, assisting with rehabilitation, tank cleaning, and conducting morphology and behavioral studies. Additional activities include biodiversity surveys, beach cleanups, and environmental education, offering a comprehensive experience in marine conservation.
  • Wildlife Conservation Research Fellowship in Thailand: This 4 to 24-week fellowship in Northern Thailand involves conducting biodiversity research on various species, including elephants and gibbons. Participants also engage in community development and environmental education. The program also offers an immersive experience in the Karen culture.
  • Sea Turtle Conservation Internship in Greece: Taking place in Kyparissia Bay, Greece, over 4 to 12 weeks, this internship partners with ARCHELON, The Sea Turtle Protection Society of Greece, focusing on loggerhead turtle conservation. Activities include daily surveying of nesting activity, protecting nests, and community outreach. Interns gain practical conservation skills and contribute to preserving one of the most critical loggerhead turtle nesting areas in Greece.
  • Elephant and Wildlife Conservation Apprenticeship in Thailand: This 24-week apprenticeship in Chiang Mai offers hands-on experience with semi-wild elephants, biodiversity studies, and community development, including teaching English. Interns live in a Karen hill tribe village, participating in comprehensive conservation efforts and gaining extensive experience in fieldwork, research, and community engagement, all contributing to a broader understanding of wildlife conservation and community development.

Your Contributions as a Vet Intern Abroad will be invaluable!

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Contribute to animal welfare globally, and grow both professionally and personally!

For those aspiring to a career in veterinary science, the world is your oyster. From internships to volunteer opportunities, the array of options is vast. Embrace these opportunities to gain unparalleled experience, contribute to animal welfare globally, and grow both professionally and personally. Whether it’s a summer internship or a master’s program, veterinary projects abroad await your enthusiasm and expertise. Internships in veterinary projects abroad are more than just work experiences; they are adventures that combine professional development with cultural exchange. Whether through paid internships with accommodation or volunteer opportunities abroad, these experiences promise to enrich your understanding of veterinary science and global animal welfare issues. As you embark on this journey, remember the impact you can make and the personal growth you will achieve.