University of Findlay Students Travel Around the World as Part of “Loop Abroad”
University of Findlay students have the ability to study all over the world thanks to a partnership with Loop Abroad. In total, Loop Abroad hosts students in nine countries and on six continents throughout the year, and is considered the largest pre-veterinary study abroad program in the United States. This Summer, a group of Findlay students spent two weeks in Thailand, discovering Thai culture, working directly with rescued elephants, and providing care at a local shelter. While enjoying a once in a lifetime experience, students were also receiving University credits towards graduation.
Through a partnership with Loop Abroad, University of Findlay students have the ability to work with jaguars and primates in Belize, care for rhinos in South Africa, or work with sea turtles and dolphins in Costa Rica. Programs vary in location and focus, with many of the programs structured for veterinary medicine and animal research.
UF senior, Sydnee Durnell took advantage of the opportunity, traveling to Thailand to study small animal medicine and elephant veterinary medicine. “This experience gave me the opportunity to learn about elephant rescue and rehabilitation, and how to serve in a foreign country and expand my knowledge in veterinary medicine,” said Durnell.
UF Pre-Vet major, Ryann Piperno, is extremely familiar with the Loop Abroad program, traveling to Thailand her junior year of high school, and then again in 2020-2021 as part of the Black Footed Cat online research program. Piperno made her third trip with Loop Abroad this summer, making the trip from the University of Findlay to South Africa. While there, she worked with the animals at the Lory Park Zoo, testing for parasites, assisting with animal enrichment, and worked with the zoo veterinarian on x-rays and anesthesia. Traveling abroad is something Piperno is passionate about, and something she encourages everyone to do, “by giving students the opportunity to travel, Loop provides them with a chance to expand their own knowledge by showing them different aspects of veterinary medicine that cannot be found at home,” she said.
Emily Dean serves as Loop Abroad’s Assistant Director of Admissions, and highlights the programs’ hands-on learning and commitment to offering a cross cultural experience. Whether students travel to Spain, Greece, or Australia, “they will learn from others and become better educated individuals who can give back in their professional careers and work across cultures,” said Dean. “We are proud to offer a wide range of ethical and responsible travel programs to students who share our commitment to furthering the cause for animal welfare, biodiversity, and respect for all living things.”
UF students who are interested in exploring their options with Loop Abroad, are encouraged to talk with their University of Findlay advisors, and to check out the Loop Abroad webpage. Dean says around 1,000 students take advantage of Loop Abroad programs each year, but stressed that programs start to reach capacity around March and April.