Coursework

Loop Abroad's Veterinary Semester Abroad in Thailand is designed for you to gain valuable, hands-on veterinary experience with a range of animals, from dogs and cats to elephants and sea turtles.

The semester is divided into blocks so that you can focus on one course at a time, often immersed in shelter, sanctuary, or clinic settings. With each block, you will build and practice new knowledge and skills.

You will work hard and find the coursework demanding. In return, you will go home with valuable, hands-on experiences that will prepare you for your veterinary training and career.

Our coursework is comparable to a full load of courses including labs at your home institution. Please note: we have listed credit amounts based on the number of hours of instruction, homework, and fieldwork in each course. But the number of credits you receive at your school will vary depending on how you apply for credit and how your school grants it. Keep in mind: many students apply for credit as research credits, internship credits, course credits, or a combination depending on what is best for them and what is allowed at their institution.

  • Thai Culture and Society 1 credit
  • Companion Animal Management 3 credits
  • Veterinary Surgical Nursing 1 credit
  • Veterinary Clinical Practice and Skills Practicum 3 credits
  • Marine Animal Anatomy, Biology, and Conservation 3 credits
  • Marine Lab 1 credit
  • Elephant Medicine and Management 3 credits
  • Wildlife Conservation and Care 3 credits
  • Total Credits 18 credits
  • Fall 2016 course syllabi are provided below as examples. Exact course topics and itineraries are subject to change based on the discretion of veterinary instructors.

    THAI CULTURE AND SOCIETY — 1 credit
    Fall 2016 Syllabus

    In order to work with animals in Thailand, you must first understand the culture. You'll take the 1-credit "Thai Culture and Society" during your first week in the country.

    This course includes a daily Thai language lesson so that you can learn the basics. All courses will be taught in English, but you will find basic Thai very useful. Readings and cultural experiences will help you understand Thailand's unique culture and history. We give special attention to how these issues relate to caring for animals in Thailand.

    Along the way, you'll have fun getting to know Chiang Mai, the city you'll call home for the semester. Including a Thai cooking course and food tour, an overnight at the jungle hot springs, and a meditation lesson from a Buddhist monk, this course is your chance to immerse yourself in Thai culture. We will also introduce you to a number of NGOs where you might want to volunteer or intern when your Loop Abroad semester is over.

    COMPANION ANIMAL MANAGEMENT — 3 credits
    Fall 2016 Syllabus

    This two-week course is taught by a US Veterinarian (DVM) at the Animal Rescue Kingdom dog shelter. This class focuses on canine and feline anatomy, health, and management. With a maximum class size of 12 students, you are sure to have a personalized experience learning and practicing with your veterinarian instructor.

    What's more, by taking Companion Animal Management in Thailand, you have the unique opportunity to compare US and Thai medical practices, environments, and techniques for prevention and treatment of common diseases and parasites. Because the classroom is a working dog shelter in the developing world, you will have the opportunity to observe many conditions specific to Southeast Asia and developing and third world countries.

    You will learn proper techniques for treating animals in a shelter setting, including diagnostics such as physical exams and cytologies and basic treatment methods.

    VETERINARY SURGICAL NURSING — 1 credit
    Fall 2016 Syllabus

    This one-week course in small animal surgical skills follows Companion Animal Management and will teach you the skills you need to participate in the upcoming Veterinary Clinical Practice and Skills Practicum. It introduces you to the instruments, procedures, protocols, skills, and concepts necessary to support a veterinarian in surgical procedures.

    Throughout the course, you will demonstrate proficiency in identifying and preparing instruments and supplies, implementing and maintaining sterility and appropriate clinic conditions, upholding OSHA safety standards, suturing, drug dosage calculation, monitoring anesthesia, and post-operative care.

    Because we prepare students for the US veterinary profession, you will be required to show understanding and proficiency in both US and Thai surgical instruments and methods. By the end of the course, you will be able to assist your instructor (a US Veterinarian) in surgeries.

    VETERINARY CLINICAL PRACTICE AND SKILLS PRACTICUM — 3 credits
    Fall 2016 Syllabus

    This two-week course gives you a chance to apply everything you've learned toward assisting at an operational small animal clinic. You will use your knowledge and skills from the preceding courses to support a veterinarian in examination, diagnosis, and treatment of clinic patients.

    You are assigned to a daily shift with a maximum of 5 other students. The unique challenges of a small animal clinic in the developing world provide great learning opportunities in every facet of clinical practice, from resource allocation to diagnostic test choices, from maintaining sterility to cultural sensitivity. You and your team will be providing a valuable service to the people and animals of Chiang Mai and gaining clinical experience at the same time.

    MARINE ANIMAL ANATOMY, BIOLOGY, AND CONSERVATION — 3 credits
    Fall 2016 Syllabus

    For this course, we head to Turtle Island ("Koh Tao"), an island in the Gulf of Thailand known for its beaches and coral reefs. Our veterinarian instructors will partner up with the reef conservation experts of New Heaven Reef Conservation Program to teach both the anatomy and ecology of marine life, from invertebrates to fish, sea turtles, and marine mammals.

    This course includes dissections of marine specimens to understand their anatomy as well as show the challenges of marine medicine. We will also be contributing to conservation projects, including caring for the baby sea turtles in the head-starting program, building artificial reefs, and maintaining the coral nurseries.

    Studying marine life on Koh Tao is certainly valuable to students interested in working with marine life but it also provides unique comparisons to the many terrestrial animals we've studied earlier in the semester.

    MARINE LAB — 1 credit
    Fall 2016 Syllabus

    For the lab portion of our time on Koh Tao, we will be snorkeling over the reef conducting surveys of invertebrates, giant clams, coral predators, fish populations, and sharks. Our data will contribute to on-going research on Koh Tao's coral reef ecosystems.

    FALL OR SPRING BREAK

    At this point in the semester, you will have a much-needed week-long break. You might use this opportunity to stay and explore the islands in the South of Thailand, to volunteer with an organization in Chiang Mai, or to travel somewhere else in Southeast Asia. It is generally easy and inexpensive to travel throughout Southeast Asia by air. Loop Abroad staff can assist you with arranging travel logistics and itineraries, including airport transfers.

    ELEPHANT MEDICINE AND MANAGEMENT — 3 credits
    Fall 2016 Syllabus

    It is time to meet the elephants! During this course, you will see elephants in a variety of settings depending on the needs of our partners, which include Elephant Nature Park, a world-renowned elephant sanctuary in the mountains just outside of Chiang Mai as well as Elephants World, a fast-growing rescue sanctuary in Kanchanaburi province with many opportunities for our veterinarians and students to contribute.

    Throughout this course, you will have the unique opportunity to observe management decisions and conditions first-hand. Taught by a US veterinarian (DVM), this course focuses on shelter design, sanitation, legal issues, animal quality of life, enrichment, and euthanasia.

    Elephants are on hand around every corner at our partner organizations. You'll also study elephant anatomy, behavior, care, and their position in Thai and global society. You will shadow and assist elephant veterinarians, trainers, and caretakers, and interact first-hand with the elephants in both protected and free contact. Where possible, you will contribute to ongoing research led by the local vet teams.

    In addition to your course, you and your cohort will work as volunteers getting to know and analyze first-hand how the facilities are run and to work with the animals housed there. This will give you a chance to interact with the elephants and other animals and to gain valuable experience hours.

    WILDLIFE CONSERVATION AND CARE — 3 credits
    Fall 2016 Syllabus

    In this final two-week course of your semester, you will split your time between Chiang Mai and the Dhamma Wildlife Foundation Thailand, a shelter and research center that that immediately borders the Chiang Dao Wildlife Reserve. This course focuses on wildlife conservation strategies in Thailand and globally, using as examples the shelters, clinics, and conservation projects encountered throughout the semester.

    You and your cohort study conservation biology to understand biodiversity and wildlife populations, and concepts from environmental anthropology to understand the economic and political context of conservation and care projects. This course will help prepare you to think about, understand, and work in wildlife conservation projects in the US and abroad. It will also help you build you develop informed perspectives on ecotourism and animal "rescues" worldwide.

    At Dhamma, you will provide volunteer support for the Asiatic black bears and primates housed there and have opportunities to study their anatomy, health, and management (without contact). There are many valuable animal observation, wildlife observation, and research hours available here.

    Questions about coursework and syllabi? Call (617) 412-0838 or send us a message.