Summer 2019 Dates

Choose a Two or Four-week Externship

Eligibility: Pre-Vet students, 1st and 2nd year veterinary students Summer Experience; 3rd and 4th year veterinary student Externship Clinicals (Fulfills out-rotation qualifications for credit consistent with the AVMA Council on Education).

All students complete the 2-week core externship and field course. Students may select to add the expanded program for an additional 2-weeks to focus on an independent study or project of interest. See Program Description for further information. Each session is 2 weeks. Students participating in the expanded program attend two sessions.

Dates indicated are the dates of arrival to, and departure from, the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute’s Bocas del Toro Station. Please discuss your travel plans with us prior to booking so we can assist you with the most favorable logistics. Application Deadline is rolling admission until spaces are filled. Apply early.

Session 1: May 12 -26

Session 2: May 26 -June 9

Session 3: June 9 -June 23

Session 4: June 23 -July 7

Session 5: July 7 -July 21

Session 6: July 21 -August 4

Session 7: August 4 - August 18

Program Activities

The Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) is the home base for CARES Project and academic components. Veterinary and Field activities are conducted off-campus. See the Program Description page for an overview about the externship contents and sample itinerary. Once accepted and enrolled with deposit, you will receive your Preparation Guide with travel planning information, packing list, miscellaneous trip information, and pre-externship assignments. Apply now to pursue your spot in CARES Project.


Panama 2019 Summer 2-week program $3750: Expanded Program $2100

Included as part of your fee: 

  • Transportation to and from our STRI home base and Bocas del Toro Airport

  • Shared accommodations at the STRI Bocas del Toro Station, include linens, towels, and basic cleaning service

  • All meals together whether at STRI or on an excursion, excluding planned recreational time on your own (usually one lunch and one dinner per week)

  • Educational program tuition (curriculum and instructors, guest presenters and guides, project and tour participation)

  • All program activities and associated costs (veterinary mobile clinic, field trip excursions, and our organized recreational functions) *see Program Description for more information

  • Use of STRI facility, classroom, and wifi

  • Boat or land transportation for all program outings

  • Educational, medical and skills lab supplies

  • Administrative processing (forms, course credit, letters of recommendation/reference)

Not Included:

  • Airfare and travel to/from Bocas del Toro Airport, Panama

  • Medical Travel insurance (This is required for medical evacuation in the unlikely event of an emergency. World Nomads below is a sponsor of Sea Turtle Conservancy and our favorite for covering optional recreational activities. Many regular policies do not cover activities considered higher risk such as rent an ATV or take a surf lesson.)

  • Extra recreational activities (surf lessons, scuba diving, ATV rental, canopy ziplining, etc.)

  • Personal expenses

Registration and Payments

A deposit of $1250 is due within 10 days of acceptance. Balance due no later than 30 days prior to your program date. Deposit may be transferable to another date if available, in the case of an unavoidable circumstance, up to 90 days prior to your arrival.

Once accepted and registered with deposit, your accommodations and program spot will be reserved. A Preparation Guide will be issued containing the information on booking travel, packing, preliminary reading, etc.


***You will be required to provide proof of current tetanus, measles, and rabies vaccinations. Pre-vet students must have the rabies series to participate (or sign a waiver however vaccination is preferred).*** Bring any personal medications, epipens, or any personal essentials. Malaria is designated as low risk in our region by the CDC, refer to the CDC for more travel information. Due to the low risk, Malaria prevention treatments aren’t commonly administered for those spending time in our area. The medicines can have side affects which could impair your trip experience. Please make any appropriate health decisions with your physician. Travel medical Insurance required, and is best to purchase at the time of initial program deposit for best coverage.

Grants and Scholarships

Students are encouraged to seek funding. At the current time, CARES Project does not have an internal funding source. However, scholarships may be available through your Study Abroad office, vet school International Programs office, campus organizations, private companies, or online searches (we can provide some helpful links by contacting us directly). An online fundraising campaign such as Fund My Travel Education, is another possible resource, start early!


CARES Project Foundation for the support of students and animals.

World Nomads, partner in supporting Sea Turtle Conservancy