Vida Medical, Dental & Veterinary Programs in Costa Rica

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Vida Medical Volunteers in Costa Rica
Vida Medical Volunteers in Costa Rica

About

Despite having a relatively strong primary health care system, Costa Rica still has many challenges to address. This is where we first started back in 2008 and since then, we have served thousands of people and animals.

We currently intervene through three main fields of work: Medical, Dental and Veterinary, which are designed to promote health, ensuring a long-lasting impact while students develop both intercultural & leadership skills in a real-world context.

Vida offers a unique positive learning environment that will completely change your perspective on the idea of serving others. Students will have a chance to work with local licensed professionals while providing services to the communities we have partnered with.

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Questions & Answers

Reviews

95%
based on 42 reviews
  • Impact 9.5
  • Support 9.5
  • Fun 9.1
  • Value 9.1
  • Safety 9.6
Showing 1 - 15 of 42
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Marina
7/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Veterinary

This trip was a lot of fun. I made some great new friends that I had some fun times with and went on adventures with. I met a lot of people that I enjoyed my time with everyone in the group. The support was nice and the rooms were nice. The home stay was an amazing experience for me because it taught me to be thankful for everything I have back at my home and to not take anything for granted. This was definetly a great experience. They had very nice beaches and amazing weather to enjoy. We went banana boating and tubing and many other sorts of activities that I. Can’t think of right now but they were all a amazing and I would do them all again one hundred percent! I am also so happy I learned so much about veterinary medicine and all the experience I got with the animals.

What would you improve about this program?
I would like to have more supportive leaders because sometimes I felt like they were not helpful
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Samantha
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Unforgettable Experience

Definitely a trip to remember. Going into this trip I didn’t really know wht to expect in terms of how much we were really able to do (in terms of hands-on in surgery) and homestays. All the vets were very helpful in explaining and being patient with us. Homestays were an amazing experience as well as we got a chance to experience the culture first hand. This allowed us to actually appreciate what we have back home and be more grateful for all that we have. Being in such a large group allowed for us all to experience all types of people with a wide range of backgrounds and experiences. Even if people did not have much experience in this field of work, everyone was patient and willing to help and teach. I am definitely very grateful to have had this experience and to be able to work along side such amazing vets and peers.

What would you improve about this program?
I would want this program to improve in its organization and scheduling.
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Dominique
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Excellent learning experience

During this trip I have not only learned many new skills about veterinary medicine but I have also felt a great level of accomplishment and what it feels like to make a difference in local communities who need it. After clinic days, i went home feeling incredibly proud of what I had done that day. The staff members are incredibly nice and will go out of their way to help you always. I have also had the opportunity to learn spanish and make toms of new friends including my homestay family who were extremely welcoming. I loved the recreational days as they allowed us to see the beauty of the country (horseback riding, beaches, hot springs). I would definitely say that this trip has changed me for the better and i am going home feeling like i have made a small difference in the world.

What would you improve about this program?
I think that orientation day should have been more thorough as there are many things i did not know how to do on the first few days of clinic, however the vets were super helpful and answered questions politely when asked, so that is a bonus. However it would have made the first day of clinic much less hectic for both vets and students
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Lexus
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

AMAZING LEARNING EXPERIENCE

Overall super amazing trip! If you’re social and like to make friends then this trip is good for you. It was very hands on and educational. Within the matter of 6 clinic days I learned more than I ever would in Canada. This trip allowed us to have so many new experiences and try new things that we would’ve never imagined before. Although we do get freedom on this trip to go to restaurants etc. There was never a time I felt concerned about my safety on this trip. All the staff members are super fun, helpful and, will never make you feel dumb for asking any questions. Not only that but the homestays were my favourite part of this whole trip. Although I speak no Spanish, my Spanish mom made me feel welcomed and had amazing food (and wifi). I can honestly say this has been such an amazing experience.

What would you improve about this program?
To improve this trip I would like the staff members to give us more information prior to activities such as what we need and what should we bring so that way we do not have to go back in our luggage.
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Hannah
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Vida Veterinary Program in Costa Rica

The Veterinary Program through Vida is absolutely phenomenal! I learned a bunch through hands on experience with veterinarians and program directors. The veterinarians I worked with were very patient and kind while teaching me how to place catheters and ET tubes in our patients. Caring for my patients from registration through recovery allowed me to provide quality services and comfort for the animal. Over the course of the trip I experienced a variety of aspects of veterinary medicine including surgery and working with owners. I really enjoyed immersing myself in the culture and having the opportunity to travel around a large portion of the country. I would recommend a Vida trip to anyone seeking new adventures and leaning while having a good time!

What would you improve about this program?
Show students where good restaurants are located for nights that they are responsible for their own dinner. Maybe include mini Spanish lessons throughout the trip in order to help students learn how to talk to their patients and learn cultural competence.
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Janine
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Great Experience

This was the best experience. I had no previous experience being a veterinarian, and I learned so much from these two clinical days. The first day was hard trying to figure out everything, but the staff was always there to help. We were busy, but the work was so fulfilling that no one wanted the day to be over. I would definitely recommend this, and I am considering doing this program again another year.

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Kelly
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Costa Rica VIDA

the most difficult part of the trip were the long days of travel, however we took frequent breaks and for the most part it was nice to relax. All the staff were really friendly and interactive with us, very willing to help us learn any skills.

The hardest part with the clinics was that there ended up being 5 doctors so we rarely repeated sx with the same doctor. This was difficult because even if we had done the same sx several times, if we'd never done it with that doctor before, they didn't really know our experience level.

What would you improve about this program?
It would be nice to get some consistency with the doctors we do surgery with.
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Elyssa
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing

I had a wonderful time on this trip and am definitely thinking about going back next year. Getting real hands on experience in my field was wonderful. The homestays were a great experience as well. I felt that I learned about Costa Rican culture as well as made a difference.

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Justin
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Excellent Trip

Very well organized and executed trip. I especially enjoyed the home stay portion. The clinics were well run. There was a good mix of clinic days and recreation days and the recreation events were fun.

What would you improve about this program?
I would like to see the advanced veterinary students get more hands on surgical experience.
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PuraVida.
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Costa Rica Veterinary Trip

I really enjoyed the efforts that VIDA makes to immerse us in the culture while we were traveling. The home stays and night activities were wonderful and very genuine, which was great!

The clinic days were excellent learning experiences and the local vets we worked with were very helpful and patient.

Overall, a solid international learning program. VIDA has some wonderful relationships with communities around the country and that is priceless.

What would you improve about this program?
One disappointment with the clinic days was that we didn't always get an early start and they stopped taking patients in for surgery at like 2pm, even where there were plenty more animals there that needed it. If we are there, we might as well work until there is no work, right? We only had 6 clinic days on a 12 day trip - I think you should either make more clinic days or get rid of any sort of time constraints on the existing clinic days.

Also, the way that recovery from surgery is run needs to be reconsidered a bit. Recovery can be a very dangerous time of the surgical process and I did not feel comfortable leaving my mostly unconscious and hypothermic patients sitting in a big pile of animals with one or two people 'watching' 7 at once. If you removed the time limits on the clinic, we could still do more animals and not be so rushed through recovery.
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Emily
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing Experience

As a volunteer in the Veterinary program, I found it very eye opening to see how animals are viewed/treated in Central America and how clinics are set up to offer medical services for them. It was also very eye opening for me to see how people in this culture live in rural communities. The food was always so fresh and the people were always warm and friendly. And the country itself was absolutely gorgeous. Although awkward if you don't know Spanish and the family you stay with doesn't know English, it was definitely worth staying in a homestay because it really gives you the full effect of the culture. As for highlights, it felt so good to help out needy communities and to send dogs home with brand new collars and leashes who had come in to the clinic with rusty chains around their necks. Knowing you are not only providing a service for the community, but educating them so that they may make better decisions for their animals makes you feel like you are making a real difference in the world. I experienced a couple of difficulties on this trip. Not knowing much Spanish did make it difficult to communicate with people there; however, there was always someone in my group to help me out. Another difficulty was the fact that they don't use gas anesthesia on patients. All of the anesthesia was intravenous so this made it quite stressful (for me, at least) when monitoring the animal during surgery. But in the end, I would definitely do this trip again!!

What would you improve about this program?
If I had to change one thing about this program, I would have them consider using gas anesthesia on patients (although this is unlikely to happen since the clinics must be set up, taken down, and must be transportable).
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KaitlynW
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Trip of a lifetime!

I have been to many different countries: Italy, England, Mexico, Grand Cayman, and Jamaica. I went on a VIDA trip to Costa Rica and Nicaragua last summer and it was by far my favorite vacation of all time! We were doing things that really made a difference in the world. The people were so thankful and it was a very heartwarming experience. Zip-lining was so much fun and the resort we stayed at in Costa Rica was a blast! The views were the most breathtaking scenes I have ever experienced in a country. The only bad thing about my trip was that I got really sick, and I think it was due to parasites and/or bacteria. But, everyone else who was on my trip avoided this problem by taking anti-parasite, anti-malaria, and other recommended medications prior to the trip. If I had the money, I would go on a trip every break I had! Everyone should go on a trip like this! You'll be addicted once you start :)

What would you improve about this program?
Going from Costa Rica to Nicaragua took an entire day because we had to wait a long time to cross the border. We were in the bus for about 7 or 8 hours from my recollection (which could be wrong). If I were to go again, I would probably do a trip where we stayed in one country.
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OSUBuckeye
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Veterinary Program

It was a really amazing experience. We worked hard every day but were allowed a lot of hands on experience and I especially enjoyed the case discussions at the end of the day.

What would you improve about this program?
It would have been nice to have everything a bit more organized and for the doctors to decide on a single protocol. There were times when every doctor would tell you to do something different and be impatient that you had done it another way. It would have made it easier for us to streamline everything to be able to get as many patients done as possible if there was one protocol and one way of doing things.
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Taylor
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Lifechanging

The mere fact that I'm doing an online review of this program speaks for itself that I believe in it and love it so much. I come from a background of no clinical experience, but from the first day of clinic, I was able to ask the doctors and vet techs how to do things, and they would walk me through the entire process, explaining patiently and clearly, so once I heard it once, it stuck. The sheer amount that they let you do is also unbelievable. As long as they think you're confident enough in your skills, they will let you do just about anything, but no worries, they're always watching, so there is no risk to the patient. The homestays were an amazing experience as well, and my Spanish improved so much! And the white water rafting as a recreation day? Let's just say that I found my new favorite hobby. This program is something I absolutely love, and I can't wait to volunteer for them next year.

What would you improve about this program?
In all honesty, the only complaint I have is that we ran out of time during Orientation Day to go through an emergency Spanish lesson, but high school Spanglish was still enough to communicate with everyone. It just took a while and with the eventual help of a bilingual vet or team leader.
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Ali
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

EYE OPENING!

This experience was AMAZING! I am so glad that I chose to take part in this experience. Not only do you get to experience a new culture, you also get one-on-one experience with people who live within these cultures which makes the experience even more rich! It was truly eye opening, and I will cherish the memories forever!

What would you improve about this program?
MAKE THE TRIPS LONGER!