Physical Therapy Shadowing in Costa Rica

Video and Photos

Volcan Irazu
Volcan Irazu
Volcan Irazu
Volcan Irazu
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Volcan Irazu
Friendships
Friendships
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Volcan Irazu
Clinical Shadowing
Clinical Shadowing
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Volcan Irazu

About

Join Toucan Abroad and other students from around the US in this highly enriching program. We aim to expand your perspective and grow into future leaders in the field of physical therapy through exposure to the work of licensed PT specialists. You’ll shadow them while they provide expert patient care. Evolve by developing a more holistic view of yourself, your future profession, and the world through immersion into a different society.
For two weeks, you’ll engage in 40 to 60 clinical observation hours in different PT specialties. You’ll also have time to bask in the breathtaking natural beauty of Costa Rica and experience its rich culture.

Toucan Abroad gives you the opportunity to stand out among other PT school applicants through a unique, unparalleled experience abroad through this program.

Highlights
  • Accumulate 40 or 60 hours of clinical observation in different PT specialties, allowing you to gain real practice alongside other undergraduates and licensed therapists.
  • Improve and practice Spanish in the professional health setting.
  • Create meaningful friendships with other students who share your dream of attending a Physical Therapy School.
  • Embark on planned excursions to a stunning rainforest, to beaches, and volcanoes as well as other beautiful places!
  • Immerse yourself in Costa Rican culture and learn about the 'pura vida'.

Related Programs

Questions & Answers

Reviews

100%
based on 15 reviews
  • Academics 9.5
  • Support 9.9
  • Fun 10
  • Housing 10
  • Safety 9.9
Showing 1 - 15 of 15
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Paige
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Great time!

The physical therapy experience was amazing! The physical therapists created actual relationships with all of the students, which can be hard to find in the states. I learned so much from physical therapy to Latino dancing. I made friends for life and will definitely be going back to Costa Rica! The cultural lessons that are offered through the program are lessons that you won’t forget and that will help build you as both a person and a physical therapist. I went on the trip with very little knowledge of Spanish and the culture, but I left being able to have a conversation in Spanish and find my way around the town. The weekend trips were also great because we got to grow closer as a group. The leaders of the program are very helpful during the trip and it is obvious that they care about what they do. I would recommend this program to anyone interested in the medical field. No prior knowledge is required, but you leave with so much.

What was the most nerve-racking moment and how did you overcome it?
The most nerve-racking moment was bungee jumping.
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Ashleigh
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Such an incredible experience

When I first heard of Toucan Abroad, I was apprehensive to join the program. I thought I had signed up for a interesting shadowing trip where I would gain great shadowing experience, which I did. But I didn't realize the friendships I would also gain during the trip. Not only did the entire group become instant best friends but the relationships with the therapists were so special. Before the trip was even over, we were all planning another trip to see everyone again. The therapists were such great hosts and truly wanted you to learn as much as you possibly could in the short time you spent with them. I cannot recommend Toucan Abroad enough. I actually envy those who get to sign up for a new program because I won't get to be there! Huge shoutout to Phil, Fernando and Luis Da for having such an incredible program and for being such great friends.

If you did this all over again, what's one thing you would change?
I know this is cliche, but absolutely nothing! I wish the program could have lasted longer.
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Mia
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Best Experience Ever!!

Going on this trip was the best decision I've made hands down. I have made so many special memories with incredible people that I will never forget. Not only did I meet lots of wonderful people, but I also made life long friends and a family. The physical therapist I shadowed will always have a special place in my heart. I learned so much information and techniques from the PTs over the three weeks. All of the PT's are very passionate about their jobs and patients. They are very eager to teach you and want you to learn from them. Every one of them is so welcoming and makes you feel like you're a part of their family. We also got the chance to immerse ourselves in the Costa Rican culture by eating delicious foods, learning Spanish and exploring the beautiful country on the weekends with friends. I highly recommend this trip to anyone interested in Physical Therapy. It is a once and a lifetime experience you will never forget. I was extremely happy that I got to be apart of this trip and amazing opportunity! Shout out to Phil and Fernando for making this trip possible. They are amazing directors and do everything they can to make you feel at home. They have impacted my life so much and I can't thank them enough for that. I miss everyone so much already because we built such great friendships in a short amount of time. This was the best three weeks of my life. You will not regret coming on this trip. Pura Vida!! :))

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
My advice for future travelers would be to go on this trip with an open mind and be yourself. It's scary going to a foreign country by yourself with knowing no one but if you keep an open mind and are open to doing and trying new things it will make your experience on the trip even better.
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Miguel
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

PURA VIDA

This has been the most life changing trip I have ever had in a professional standpoint and also a personal standpoint. The amount of information we are taught really gives a clear view of what physical therapy is all about. The therapists are amazing as far as adapting to us and teaching us as much as possible in the time we have. Three weeks with people you have never met before could sound intimidating, but it turned out to be the best 3 weeks of my life. The bonds that were formed were extraordinary and these people will forever have a special place in my life. I couldn’t be more grateful to the program and the whole staff. I love everyone and this post doesn’t do it’s justice. If you have the slightest interest in physical therapy it’s a decision you won’t regret. PURA VIDA

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Alec
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

The best PT abroad program!

Toucan Abroad has made a huge impact on my life. I will never forget all the memories I made with my new lifelong friends and the therapists. I miss all of them already and can’t wait to see all of them soon! The experience in the clinics is much different than any clinic I’ve been in the US. The therapists treat you like family and they want to help you learn as much as possible. Even with the language barrier, it was still manageable to understand what they were saying. Also, they try their best to speak English! I left Costa Rica with no doubt in my mind that this is what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. Phil and Fernando are amazing individuals and I can’t thank them enough for starting this program and impacting my life forever. To anyone who is thinking about pursuing a career in PT, please take the leap of faith and join this program. You will not regret it.

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Alexander
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Costa Rican Fun

This trip was an incredible experience because we had the perfect group of people who loved to travel and all came into the program with an open mind and open arms. Relationships are built quickly and it will seem like you’ve known your group for years just from spending three quality weeks with each other. Overall the free weekends are the best because you get to see the pure beauty of Costa Rica. You will see anything from a volcano, to waterfalls, to beautiful beaches, to local swimming holes with rope swings. Costa Rica is full of adventurous surprises so it is important to always keep an open mind. During shadowing you with built relationships with the patients as well and they can provide you with all the local hot spots for good food places or awesome travel spots.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
My advice to you when traveling is to never complain and always go with the flow if plans are changed or altered.
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Andrea
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Physical Therapy Shadowing with Toucan Abroad

The three week shadowing program I did through Toucan Abroad was hands down the best experience of my life. The shadowing and clinic opportunities couldn't be compared to those I have been a part of here in the U.S. If you are ever questioning what you want to do as a career, and have even the smallest desire to do PT- go study abroad! Toucan abroad provided real life exposure to what the field may hold and I fell in love. Along with the academic side, this program gave me the opportunity to travel and discover all the beauty that is Costa Rica. We were fortunate enough to visit volcanoes, beaches, plantations, restaurants, and much more. I made some of the best friends and memories in these three weeks and I could not imagine a better experience.

What would you improve about this program?
This program exceeded all of my expectations! I was fortunate enough to get to participate and shadow in more than just two clinics because of my own scheduling problems, but it turned out to be a super neat experience and if possible would recommend that future groups and students may get to do the same!
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Rylie
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Once a Toucan, Always a Toucan!

I am so incredibly thankful that I had the opportunity to go on this trip. This was the experience of a lifetime and probably the best 3 weeks of my life. I don't think there are any words that would do this trip justice, but I'll try my best. To start, the people were absolutely amazing. The directors, Phil and Fernando, were so dedicated to making sure every person had the best experience possible, both educationally and culturally. The therapists as well, were so welcoming to us. They seemed equally excited to have the opportunity to teach us their ways of practicing physical therapy. Being in a completely new country and different setting, the people really make a difference, so I was very thankful to have the directors, therapists, and amazing group I did. As for the actual shadowing, it exceeded my expectations. I shadowed in two different clinics, one was a pediatric setting working with kids with cerebral paralysis and one was based on aquatherapy. These settings were so rewarding and enriching to my learning experience, I could not have asked for anything better. Unlike the United States, I was able to work hands on with the patients and really get a feel for what it was like to practice different techniques and new skills. I think one of the best parts of Toucan Abroad is how it's set up, in terms of education and travel. We shadowed throughout the week and traveled on the weekends, which was the perfect ratio. The weekends were really a time to embrace the beautiful country we were in. We had 2 free weekends, which we spent traveling to 2 different coasts and immersing ourselves into the Costa Rican lifestyle. The 3 weeks that I spent in Costa Rica were some that I will always cherish; I made lifelong friends, ate some of the best food, hiked a volcano, got to see toucans, sloths, and monkeys in the wild, and gained 60 hours of shadowing. Plus so much more. If you are considering studying with Toucan Abroad, I hope my review helped with your decision. It is so worth it. Pura Vida!

If you did this all over again, what's one thing you would change?
If I did this all over again, I would probably study Spanish a bit more before my trip. The most difficult thing for me while shadowing was the language barrier. Most of the therapists speak Spanish, so it was a completely new experience for me to struggle with communicating with someone. However, do not let this discourage you from participating in this program. The good thing with physical therapy is that you and the therapist can communicate through pointing, touching, and moving the patient. This made me super engaged with both the patient and the therapist, which was awesome. It may be uncomfortable and difficult at first to experience a struggle with communication like I did, but I definitely think it enhanced the experience I had.
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Emilee
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Could not have had a better abroad experience!

Nothing will ever compare to the experience I had while in Costa Rica thanks to Toucan Abroad! I honestly was hesitant about whether or not to spend the money/make the commitment to go for 3 weeks, but I am so so so glad I chose to do it! This program is the perfect balance of getting an educational/clinical physical therapy experience along with being able to explore and have a little vacation in this gorgeous country! The therapists welcomed all of us with open arms and were so willing to teach us all they could. I felt like I learned more in the 3 weeks I was there than I have in multiple settings I’ve gotten to see in the USA which made it all the more worth it. Even if you are just considering physical therapy as a future career, I highly recommend this program as it gives you such an insight into the physical therapy field all while in a new culture. The 3 weeks I spent in Costa Rica will never be forgotten, and I will forever cherish all that I have learned and gained educationally and through the relationships we all made while on this program! Take the leap and join this program - you won’t regret it!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
My biggest advice is to learn as much Spanish as possible before going on this trip! It is definitely not a requirement, and you will do just fine if you do not know much. However, that is my only regret about this trip is not learning more Spanish before I got there. You will get SO much more out of it if you are able to speak more Spanish with the therapists, but they also understand that we are from the USA so they work with it if you do not know much.
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Rebecca
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Life changing experience

Toucan Abroad was honestly the greatest experience of my life. I still can’t believe I got to experience everything I did.

It was amazing getting to meet so many incredible students that were all as passionate about learning and physical therapy as me. We all instantly clicked, and I know I have new PT friends for life. The therapists were thrilled to teach us everything they could and let us practice hands on techniques that are different from the States. It was beautiful getting to experience so much culture, cuisine and lifestyle while being immersed in Costa Rica. We got to explore so many different areas, from jungles to beaches. It was truly a life-changing experience and I would recommend it to any pre-PT student looking for hands-on practice and adventure. Fernando and Phil did the most incredible job making sure each and everyone of us had the time of our lives. And I am incredibly grateful for every moment.

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Jess
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I had the time of my life!

Deciding to go on this trip was one of the best decisions of my life! I never thought that I would learn as much as I did and make so many new friends with the group I went with. At first glance, the program may not seem legit, but it is! The clinicians are absolutely amazing and really allow you to be hands-on and learn as much as possible during your time with them. Everyone is so kind and welcoming, making you feel right at home no matter where you go. I was in a group of 19 and we all go along great! We wanted to explore as much of Costa Rica as possible, making it really easy to plan weekend trips and weekday excursions. If you are someone who has wanted to study abroad in the field of physical therapy and explore a beautiful country, apply for this program!

What would you improve about this program?
Everything about this program was amazing! The only thing that I would change would be to make it longer, if possible, and observer in more than two clinics. Everything else exceeded my expectations!!
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Cindy
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Pura Vida

Applying for Toucan Abroad was one of the best decisions of my life.

At first glance, the program seems to be a hoax or a scam... maybe because, really, it seems to good to be true, or maybe because there are not many study abroad programs out there, if any, that target Pre-PT students specifically.

I met fellow students and therapists that I know will be some of my closest friends from here on out. It has been roughly 52 hours now since I have seen everyone and it honestly hurts.

I recommend this program to anyone out there eager to be more hands-on in multiple physical therapy settings, make new friends, learn new PT techniques, travel through beautiful Costa Rica, and experience the adventure of a lifetime with Philip Wykowski and Fernando Muñoz.

If you are a little hesitant to apply--which I was, my advice is to do what you can to make this trip possible because it is worth every penny. This program is not a hoax, it is not a scam. It exceeded all of my expectations and I am so thankful.

If you did this all over again, what's one thing you would change?
If I were to this all over again I would have said yes to every single excursion! I felt like I did so much, but now that I am back home I wish I would have gone parasailing and zip lining as well on our travel weekends.
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Anthony
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

The time of my life

I can honestly say that this trip was everything that I imagined it was, the experience alone that I gained was totally worth the trip. During this trip I also made friends from all over the states and I also learned a lot about the culture. During this trip I got to shadow multiple therapists that were more then willing to teach and pass their knowledge onto me, just because I was eager to learn. They were willing to go out of their way to make sure that you learned everything that you were interested in. While shadowing I learned about multiple different techniques that I would not see in a United States clinic. I would recommend this program to anyone who want to go into Physical Therapy, or anyone who is on the fence about Physical Therapy. It will change your mind and make you want to go into the field even more than you wanted to before. This was the best experience that I have ever had, and it was a once in a life time opportunity that I am happy I got to be a part of.

What would you improve about this program?
The way that this program can Be improves is being longer than 2 weeks.
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Rylee
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Tou-can Do It

I would strongly recommend this program for anyone who is interested in the profession of physical therapy! This experience provided a greater understanding of different rehab techniques while merging the individual in a unique atmosphere. Even if someone does not speak Spanish, the therapists try their best and use Google translate in order to communicate. All of the physical therapists are extremely welcoming and passionate about what they do. They accept you the minute that they meet you. They teach you by asking questions on what would you do if you were in their position. I am grateful and blessed for the opportunity! It’s not all work, for we got to see the fun/beautiful side of Costa Rica! I was also able to make a friend group that I can stay in touch with. ¡Pura Vida!

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Rachael
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Experience of a lifetime!

I have countless hours of experience in many different settings and I can confidently say that I gained the most from this experience in such a short amount of time! The therapists were eager to teach and gave me a plethora of knowledge, the people in Costa Rica were warm and welcoming, the director of our program did everything he could to make sure we had the best experience, and the friends made along the way are ones I will keep for a lifetime! I learned many techniques that I would not have otherwise seen in the United States and I was immursed into a beautiful culture. I would highly recommend this program to anyone who is interested in Physical Therapy and wants to get ahead of the game early on! This was most definitely an experience of a lifetime and you do not want to pass up a chance to be a part of it.

What would you improve about this program?
This program could be improved by making the experience longer than 2 weeks.