Wildlife, Conservation, and Veterinary Medicine Internships in Thailand
Each UC Davis Summer Abroad Internship program pairs UC Davis Study Abroad with a partner organization that manages the personalized internship placements; arranges accommodations and excursions; leads onsite orientations and optional social events; and provides 24/7 emergency support. As part of the placement process for Summer Internships, participants will first enroll through UC Davis Study Abroad and then complete a supplemental application for the partner organization associated with their particular Summer Internship program.
Although Study Abroad partners with outside organizations for some aspects of Summer Abroad Internships, the official provider for these programs is UC Davis Study Abroad, and course credit is issued by UC Davis.
Internship Placement Process
After you have completed the UC Davis Study Abroad online enrollment, the program coordinator will send you the link and instructions for completing the required supplemental documents, which include:
- Brief letter outlining interests and previous experience related to the internship areas
Please prepare supplemental documents at the same time you are completing the UC Davis Study Abroad online enrollment, but note the résumé, letter and Loop Abroad online application are not due until after you are enrolled in the program.
While in Thailand, students will participate in an internship for 40 hours per week, rotating between both city and rural settings: Chiang Mai and the Elephant Nature Park. Note that you will work during weekends while at the Elephant Nature Park but have free weekends while in Chiang Mai. Students should be comfortable working with animals and getting dirty. Groups Each group will include up to 12 students, and the order of the rotations may vary.
Note: Students can earn 130-150 veterinary hours four of the five weeks as the experience is led by a veterinarian (Loop Abroad veterinarian at the zoo rotation and a team of Thai veterinarians at the small animal rotation, with a Loop Abroad facilitator/translator). The elephant volunteer week would offer 35-40 animal experience hours (no veterinarian).
Chiang Mai Wildlife/Zoo: For two weeks of your program, you will have a chance to spend weekdays working and learning at a wildlife and zoo animal project. By working behind-the-scenes with a zoo vet, you’ll be able to learn the proper handling and health assessment methods for various birds, reptiles, and mammals, as well as helping to provide them with the necessary healthcare. Your veterinarian’s primary job during this time is to teach you about the anatomy, behavior, and care for these animals, including understanding how ethograms are used for animal research and how to create and assess enrichment projects in a zoo or animal sanctuary setting. You will have evenings in Chiang Mai to enjoy the city and everything it has to offer.
Small Animal Clinic and Elephant Volunteer at Elephant Nature Park: Here you learn and practice clinical skills at a dog shelter and spend a week volunteering hands-on with rescued elephants, gaining an understanding of the intersection of conservation, culture, and development. The Elephant Nature Park is home to over 80 elephants but approximately 1,000 other animals as well, including hundreds of cats and dogs. These animals need constant care to both recover from injuries and stay healthy. For three weeks, you will live at the Elephant Nature Park surrounded by volunteers from around the world, Thai staff, and all kinds of animals that make the park their home. For two of those weeks, you will work in the small animal clinic and help to provide the care that is needed throughout the day. This is an excellent, hands-on learning experience and the chance to make a real impact on these animals’ lives while learning essential sanctuary skills. For the other week at Elephant Nature Park, you will work as an elephant volunteer and learn about how the elephant sanctuary came to be, while helping with husbandry such as preparing elephant food and cleaning enclosures. This provides a chance to observe elephants up-close and contribute to their rescue while letting them live comfortable lives where there only job is to “just be elephants”.
Resume and Cover Letter Resources
We strongly recommend that all students meet with an advisor at the UC Davis Internship and Career Center or the Career Center on their home campus to have their resume and cover letter reviewed prior to submitting these documents to Loop Abroad. The ICC provides many online resources, such as resume, cover letter, and letter of recommendation examples.
Information about UC Davis’s partner for the program
For the Wildlife, Conservation and Veterinary Science in Thailand Summer Internship program, UC Davis Study abroad partners with Loop Abroad, a student travel organization whose mission is to provide the best hands-on study abroad for students pursuing careers working with animals.
Loop Abroad was founded in 2009 and has been providing animal science and pre-veterinary programs to students around the world for over a decade. In 2018, their Thailand Veterinary Service program was selected “Top Rated Study Abroad Program” by GoAbroad.
Students participating in UC Davis Study Abroad Internships are eligible to receive Transcript Notation (TN). Transcript notation documents your academically approved internship on your official UC Davis transcript. By having your experience noted, it provides proof of where and when you participated in an internship. This is especially valuable for international internships that may be difficult for a prospective employer or program to contact.
Transcript Notation is a process you’ll start within the first two weeks of your internship placement through Handshake, the tool UC Davis Internship and Career Center uses to connect students and employers.