Alexis's Group: Thailand

Who it’s for: This program is organized by Michigan State University student and Loop alumna Alexis Hennessy. The program is not sponsored by or affiliated with MSU.

Read program reviews on GoOverseas!

Applicants should be comfortable working with animals and getting their hands, and everything else, dirty. This program can accommodate a maximum of 12 students per session.

Dates:* July 15 - July 31, 2017

Tuition: $3,275 USD not including international airfare (a 15% discount on our regular programs). Airfare on the group flight from New York, NY is estimated at $1,700 round-trip including taxes and fees. If group size is 10 students or greater, we may be able to arrange a group flight from Chicago.

No additional discounts or financial aid are available, but you can fundraise individually or as a group.

What it’s about: In this two-week program, you’ll work and learn alongside veterinarians at an elephant sanctuary and a dog rescue. Live among the elephants and care directly for them, provide check-ups and procedures to dogs in need, and experience magnificent Thailand first-hand. The AVMA says "If you have the opportunity to work... for veterinarians who work with different species, that's a bonus that can make you more appealing to a veterinary school admissions committee." We're proud to offer you that opportunity! Check a sample itinerary here

Our Veterinary Service program has a US veterinarian on staff to teach our students.

How to Apply: As a private group, you have a simplified application process and no application fee. When you apply, choose "Alexis' Group: Thailand" as your program of choice. You can leave the essay, transcript, and references blank (the email field for references is mandatory, so you can just enter your own email address). You should select no bonus week and no financial aid. On the last page of the application, you can select "as a prior Loop Abroad student, my application fee is waived", and then hit "submit". When you submit your application, you will be taken to a page to pay your application fee - just close that page.

Enrollments are accepted on a rolling basis until the program is full. Once you enroll, your space will not be held until you pay your enrollment deposit ($1,000) or your first payment of your enrollment deposit if you are paying on an interest-free payment plan. All tuition payments must be paid in full before the program begins.

Apply now.

Itinerary: This program is divided into two weeks. In one week, students work with our staff vet to care for dogs at the ARK (Animal Rescue Kingdom) Dog Shelter in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Students learn how to assess the dogs' health and do exams, and get hands-on practice providing medical care. The other week is spent at the Elephant Nature Park, providing hands-on care, love, and support for the 65+ elephants who live there.

By bringing our own vet to the Ark Dog Shelter, we provide necessary treatments and surgeries to the dogs at this local organization in need. Students are in the examination room in small groups, assisting with procedures and surgeries and learning hands-on from the vet.

Students will have classroom time each day with the vet to go over the information they need to know to carry out each days treatments, skills practice, and activities.

Evenings are low-key and may involve market trips or outings in the city. Over the weekend, the group will have a chance to see a bit of the best of Chiang Mai, including temple visits and other cultural and adventure exploration.

The other week is spent living and volunteering with the elephants at the Elephant Nature Park and participate in a specially-tailored volunteer program. Students work with the elephants, helping to feed them, bathe them, cut their food, clean their homes, and provide overall care for them. They will also help with sanctuary upkeep and have the chance to participate in cultural activities.

There will be a chance while at the Elephant Nature Park to learn from the elephant vet on staff, help provide medical care to animals in need, learn to test for various medical conditions in large mammals, and possibly observe surgical procedures in the on-site dog clinic. The dog shelter at ENP provides many opportunities for students to help. They may also have opportunities to shadow the elephant trainer, participate in a diet study, or any number of other things going on at the park.

Students also have the chance to meet world-renowned conservationist and ENP founder Lek Chailert, learn a bit of Thai, enjoy tubing down the river that runs through the reserve, and get to some of the elephants on the property one-on-one.

You can get details on housing and meals here. All housing and meals are included in your tuition.

Your tuition includes donations to ARK and the Elephant Nature Park to help fund medicine, food, and care for the animals.

A note on safety: At the Elephant Nature Park, we work only with female elephants. Elephants are accompanied by at least one trained caretaker at all times. The Elephant Nature Park has been hosting volunteers since the early 1990s and has an exemplary safety record. All dogs at Ark and the Elephant Nature Park have been vaccinated against rabies.

Either the Elephant Nature Park or the Chiang Mai week may come first in your itinerary.

*Dates indicate departure from and return to the US. Some flights depart early in the morning and may require students to arrive in New York the night before. Loop abroad reserves the right to cancel any program at any time.

Check out a sample itinerary here.