FutureVets AbroadCosta Rica: August 4th - August 17th, 2024
Code of Conduct
As a reminder, you signed the following Code of Conduct Agreement as part of your enrollment:
As a student enrolled in FutureVets Abroad, I agree to the following expectations with regard to safety and conduct.
I agree to complete to the best of my ability all aspects of the FutureVets Abroad Program and successfully participate both as an individual and a representative of The National Leadership Academies. I agree to conduct myself in such a way that supports my own learning, and supports the learning of my peers, the teaching of physicians, and the guidance of the chaperones.
FutureVets Abroad is an alcohol-, smoking-, and substance-abuse-free experience. I agree to refrain from use of these substances as well as any illegal substances.
I agree to not engage in any behaviors that will put my health or life at risk, such as but not limited to departing from the scheduled itinerary and tour, entering restricted areas of host medical school and medical centers, entering financial agreements with locals, inviting strangers into the program or hotel, and providing locals with personal information such as passport information, credit/debit card information (other than secure bank/vendor), home addresses, and phone numbers.
I agree to remain in the assigned hotel or dormitory room as indicated by staff. Any changes or breach of this security precaution could lead to expulsion from the program.
I agree to not solicit any FutureVets Abroad or host university or institution’s students or staff for my own personal financial benefit.
I agree to maintain all required dress code standards as set forth by FutureVets Abroad staff or requested by participating medical school/medical center policies. I also agree to remain with my assigned mentors, physicians, or other assigned staff at all site visit locations.
I agree to abide by the host university or institution’s standards and requirements.
I understand not complying with the above-mentioned expectations may result in dismissal from the program and return to the United States at my and my parent’s or guardian’s expense.
I agree to make FutureVets Abroad administrators and staff aware as soon as possible of any difficulties I may encounter regarding my health, safety, finances, or any other issue that I consider serious or should be disclosed.
You must be up-to-date on all routine immunizations outlined by the CDC, including:
- Hepatitis A
- Hepatitis B
- Varicella (Chickenpox)
As a reminder, a copy of your immunization record is due by March 31st, 2024. Please reach out to your primary care physician as soon as possible to begin the process of obtaining your records.
You are required to submit proof of Typhoid vaccination in order to participate in clinical rotations with FutureVets Abroad. We recommend that you schedule an appointment with your primary care physician or a nearby travel clinic as soon as possible if you are not already vaccinated.
Please note that either administrative routes (intramuscular injection or oral medication) are accepted for the program. Proof of vaccination can come in the form of an International Certificate of Vaccination against Typhoid, a copy of your prescription for the orally administered Typhoid vaccine, or a copy of your routine immunization record that includes Typhoid. Proof of vaccination is due by May 31st, 2024.
Please visit the CDC website for additional information on prevention and resources for getting vaccinated against Typhoid.
You are also required to submit proof of Rabies vaccination in order to participate in clinical rotations with FutureVets Abroad. The Rabies vaccine is given over multiple doses depending on whether or not you’ve been previously vaccinated against it. We strongly encourage families to begin this process as soon as possible to avoid potential issues as the program approaches.
We only accept records from a physician that shows you have received both doses of the Rabies vaccine as forms of proof. Your record must clearly list your full name, date of birth, and dates of administration.
For more information, please visit the Rabies Vaccine Information Sheet on the CDC website.
GETTING OR RENEWING YOUR PASSPORT
Your passport will need to be valid through February 17, 2025, in order to enter Costa Rica. Costa Rica immigration requires all passports to have at least 6 months’ validity beyond our departure date. Check the expiration date on your passport.
This is a VERY IMPORTANT STEP AND TIME SENSITIVE as you will need a valid passport through February 17th, 2025 in order for us to secure your international flight.
If your passport is VALID through February 17, 2025, take a picture of the photo page of your passport and upload it in the onboarding section as soon as possible.
If your passport is NOT VALID through February 17, 2025, visit the State Department website for instructions on how to renew your passport.
If you DO NOT HAVE A PASSPORT, please visit the State Department website for instructions on how to apply for a passport immediately.
NOTE: Passports can take up to four weeks to arrive, so please make sure you apply immediately to avoid delays. All students are required to have a valid passport book to travel to Costa Rica. Passport cards are not valid for international travel to Costa Rica.
Additionally, confirm that you have signed your passport on the page opposite the photo page. A U.S. passport is only valid once it is signed! If you have NOT signed your passport, use a non-ballpoint pen and make sure the ink is dry before closing your passport. We recommend that you add your contact information in pencil on the Personal Data and Contact Information page as well. If you lose your passport, this will give you the best chance of getting it back.
You must submit a copy of your passport into the student portal by December 31st, 2023.
Please inform the Admissions Team of any possible delays in obtaining your passport by emailing email@example.com, or by calling us at (888)986-6563.
SUBMITTING YOUR PASSPORT
As a reminder, we need your passport information in order to attain your ticket for your international flight to Costa Rica. The details from your passport ID page are provided to the airline and are required in order for you to be ticketed for our international flight. Please ensure that the photo you upload meets the following standards:
- Shows your passport as being valid for at least 6 months beyond our departure date from Costa Rica: February 17th, 2025
- All of the details on your passport must be clearly legible and free from obstructions (fingers, light glares, shadows, etc…)
- All four corners of your passport ID page must be within the frame of the photo
- Your passport must be lying flat on a neutral surface
- NOTE: Scanned copies of your passport must be in color
We will reach out to you directly if your passport does NOT meet the following requirements. These are time sensitive requests and should be handled in a timely manner. If we do not receive your passport by the deadline, or if we do not hear back from you, you will risk enrollment cancellation.
Domestic Travel Information
BOOKING YOUR DOMESTIC FLIGHTS
We have partnered with Atlas Travel to provide travel arrangement for FutureDocs Abroad students. An Atlas Travel Agent will use information provided via their registration form to find you a variety of flight options and make sure that you arrive to and depart from MIA within the designated arrival/departure frames. Using this service is required for all program attendees.
Click HERE to get started booking your domestic flights
Our flight to Costa Rica is scheduled to depart from Miami International Airport (MIA) in Miami, Florida on August 4th at 5:35 PM EST. You must book your domestic flight to and from MIA and provide us with a copy of your trip itinerary so that we know when to expect you. Plan your travel so that you arrive at MIA by 1:30 PM EST on August 4th, 2024.
Our flight home will arrive at MIA around 12:05 PM EST on Saturday, August 17th. We recommend that domestic flights leave between 3:00 PM-9:00 PM EST on August 17th, 2024 to ensure that students have enough time to navigate through immigration, collect their luggage at baggage claim, and check-in for their flights without fear of missing their flight. Our Admissions Team is happy to help weigh in on potential itineraries as needed – please feel free to reach out.
ARRIVAL TO MIA – August 4th, 2024
There will be FutureDocs Abroad staff on the ground at MIA waiting for you at Concourse D near the American Airlines check-in area. It is crucial that you check in with the FutureDocs Abroad team upon arriving at MIA because you CANNOT check-in for our international flight without the group. Specific instructions for navigating to the group check-in area will be provided to students using our WhatsApp group chat the day before travel.
After you have picked up your luggage from baggage claim, you will need to follow the signs to the air train which will take you to Concourse D departures. Upon arrival into Concourse D, follow the signs to check in and locate the American Airlines check-in desk. Please check-in with a FutureDocs Abroad team member and await further instructions. More information on navigating Miami International Airport can be found here.
If you are unable to find the group meeting point after exiting your domestic flight, please send a message in the WhatsApp group chat notifying staff members that you have arrived and are having trouble finding the group. A member of our staff team will call you and meet you where you are in the airport.
You will be provided with a neck wallet/name badge and international health insurance card upon checking in with FutureDocs Abroad staff. Note that your name badge must be worn at ALL TIMES throughout the program. Depending on what time your domestic flight lands, you may be waiting outside of security for awhile. This serves as an opportunity to get to know your chaperones and peers! If you are driving into MIA, follow signs to Departures – American Airlines. Drop off between 10:00 AM – 1:30 PM EST.
Our group will begin moving through the American Airlines check-in line at approximately 2:30 PM on August 4th. NOTE: The group will not wait for individuals unless we are aware of delays.
Special notes to remember for flying to MIA:
- The night before you travel, check online flight departures for any delays on your domestic travel from your hometown.
- The morning of your flight, check again for any delays. Apps like flighttracker.com can be used to check delays or you can type your airline and flight number into Google.
- If you have any issues at all with your travel plans or disruptions, please call us immediately so we can put the appropriate measures in place ahead of time. (We will provide you with the emergency number closer to program lift-off)
- Once you arrive at MIA remember to pick up all of your luggage at the baggage claim before heading to the group meeting point! Concourse D, American Airlines. Your baggage will NOT automatically check through for our international flight.
- If your baggage is lost or delayed upon arrival into MIA airport, please call the Admissions Team to inform us. We will give you instructions based on connection time for our international flight.
FDA Policy on Missed Connections
FDA will assign one staff member to oversee your wellbeing and ensure you make your rescheduled flight if you miss your connection. If you miss your international flight on departure day, you will be rescheduled on the next available flight to the host country. If you miss your domestic flight home on arrivals day, or if your flight is canceled, you are responsible for organizing your travel arrangements home.
You will be responsible for all expenses incurred as a contingency, including:
- Additional airline fees, change fees, agent fees, and baggage fees for yourself
- Meals for yourself
- Overnight accommodations for yourself, if necessary
- Transportation costs, if necessary
We strongly recommend that you purchase travel insurance for peace of mind and to safeguard against unexpected trip interruptions.
International Travel Information
INTERNATIONAL FLIGHT DETAILS
The group flight to Costa Rica is on American Airlines and is scheduled to depart from Miami International Airport (MIA) in Miami on August 4th at 5:35 PM local time.
The group will fly directly from Miami International Airport (MIA) to Juan Santamaría International Airport (SJO) in San José, Costa Rica (about 3 hours). Further information on the outbound flight can be referenced below:
- Airline: American Airlines
- Departure Airport: Miami International Airport (MIA)
- Departure Time: Sunday, August 4th @ 5:35 PM (EST)
- Arrival Airport: Juan Santamaría International Airport (SJO)
- Arrival Time: Sunday, August 4th @ 6:31 PM (CST)
- Flight Number: AA1353
- Route: Miami (MIA) → San José (SJO)
The group will mirror the outbound flight path on the way home; going from San José to Miami. The inbound flight will return to the United States at about 12:05 PM on August 17th. Further information on the group’s inbound flight can be referenced below:
- Airline: American Airlines
- Departure Airport: Juan Santamaría International Airport (SJO)
- Departure Time: Saturday, August 17th @ 7:05 AM (CST)
- Arrival Airport: Miami International Airport (MIA)
- Arrival Time: Saturday, August 17th @ 12:05 PM (EST)
- Flight Numbers: AA1204
- Route: San José (SJO) → Miami (MIA)
AIRLINE BAGGAGE POLICY
Please visit the American Airlines Website for baggage policies.
NOTE: All students will be traveling in economy class. Checked baggage in excess of the airline’s free checked baggage allowance, and any domestic airline baggage fees, are not included in the program tuition cost and are the responsibility of the student. It is advisable to bring only 1 carry-on bag and 1 checked bag. The savvy traveler will restrict luggage to one carry-on bag and one checked bag to limit the possibility of lost items.
PASSPORT CONTROL AND IMMIGRATION
The information below is to prepare you for the arrival process into Costa Rica. Be sure to read through this very carefully.
In preparation to go through Passport Control, make sure you have:
- Your passport in hand
- Your boarding pass
There are two different types of entry. One is strictly for Local Passport Holders and the second is for All Passport Holders. Please make sure you queue in a line for All Passport Holders.
Once you reach the front of the Passport Control line, you will speak to an agent. The agent may ask questions about the purpose of your visit. Below are some possible questions and suggestions for how to answer them.
Q. How long are you here for? A. Two weeks.
Q. What are you doing? A. An educational program at San Francisco de Asís Veterinary School.
Q. Where are you staying? A. A hotel in San José.
The immigration officer will stamp your passport and hand it back to you. Keep your passport in your travel wallet for safekeeping.
Once through Passport Control, you will be directed by a chaperone to the baggage claim hall.
A chaperone will guide students to the correct baggage carousel, where you will need to watch for your luggage to arrive.
It is strongly advised that you place an easily identifiable ribbon or luggage strap/tag on your luggage so you recognize your suitcase as it arrives on the carousel. Most importantly the luggage tag should have your name and address clearly written on it. Another slick trick for travelers is to place a label on top of all your belongings inside your bag should the luggage tag fall off in transit.
Once all students have collected their luggage, we will walk to the Customs area together.
Each person will go through Customs individually with their own luggage. When you pass through Customs, individuals will be chosen at random to place their luggage onto the scanner belt to be screened.
A customs officer may ask to inspect your luggage and ask if you have firearms, drugs, certain electronics, and other items that are not allowed or cannot be imported duty-free.
If you are selected for the inspection, don’t worry. The additional screening is a simple procedure and designed to keep everyone safe. Just be ready to answer a few questions and run through a brief inspection.
A chaperone will be on hand at all times should any student need assistance.
A few notes on Costa Rican Customs and Immigration to prepare you before travel:
- All prescription medications in your luggage must be labeled in it’s original bottle and packed in a clear plastic bag.
- Liquids in your carry-on bag must be under 3.4 oz per container.
Shared below is a basic packing list for FutureVets Abroad. Keep in mind this list is intended to provide basic guidance for essentials. This does not necessarily include every item that you may personally require.
- Phone charger and chargers for any other electronics
- Small notebook
- Entertainment for the plane ride (headphones, phone, playing cards, book, etc…)
- Empty reusable water bottle (you’ll need to fill it up after you get through airport security)
- 3-to-2 prong adapter for any electronics that may have a 3-prong plug
- A change of clothes for 2-3 days – It is very important to include a change of clothes that will be appropriate for Orientation and the Opening Ceremony (refer to Dress Code section) in your carry-on. In the event that your hold luggage is lost in transit, you will need to be prepared for the first couple of days of the program. Lost luggage normally takes between 1 to 3 days to be returned.
- Prescription medications**
- 5-6 sets of scrubs for rotations. Packing 5-6 sets of scrubs (and planning to do laundry once or twice) should cover the trip
- 1-2 white full-length lab jacket(s). Short sleeved lab jackets are acceptable
- Waterproof boots or walking shoes for rotations
- Rain jacket for outdoor rotations
- Boots or shoes that you are willing to get dirty are recommended for rotations at the school as you will be working in some farm-like environments
- 2 business casual outfits and appropriate footwear for orientation and the closing ceremony
- MEN: Trousers/khakis and collared shirts
- WOMEN: Knee-length dresses or skirts, trousers, collared shirts, blouses
- NOTE: No jeans, shorts, or athletic wear
- 2 casual warm-weather outfit for our weekend excursions, which MUST include long pants and suitable closed toe shoes for outdoor activities
- Pajamas/sweats for your overnight accommodations
- Socks and undergarments
- Light hoodie or jacket
- Bathing suit & towel if you wish to use the hotel’s pool
- Toothbrush and toothpaste
- Shampoo and conditioner
- Body wash or soap
- Small first aid kit
- If needed, glasses/contacts, contact case and solution
- Bug spray
- Ladies, please be mindful that feminine hygiene items are difficult to come by in brands and styles you might be comfortable with. Be sure to pack these items with you if you’ll need them on our trip.
- Advil, Midol, Imodium, Vitamin C, Hydration tablets/packs ….to name a few of the most common items
Travel to and from Costa Rica:
Ultimately, comfort plays a large part in making flights memorable. Always wear comfortable clothes, and this includes your travel shoes. Check the weather frequently to determine appropriate attire
- Wear layers – You will need pieces that you can easily take off or put on to help you combat the varying temperatures you encounter throughout your journey
- Wear something that you can keep on for the next 12 hours – travel time to Costa Rica and to our first rotation destination once in-country will be at least 7 hours
- Wear clothes that don’t restrict you
- Wear natural, breathable fabrics
- Wear socks and comfortable footwear
Rotations at Clinical Facilities:
Students will be asked to wear scrubs (all rotations) and a white lab coat for some sessions at the veterinary facilities.
- Scrubs can be any color/pattern/short sleeve/long sleeve
- Lab jackets are required for most rotations (Short sleeve if possible as it is very hot)
- Students will be on their feet for long periods while on rotations, so comfortable shoes are recommended. All shoes worn on rotations must be closed-toed. Waterproof walking shoes or boots are advisable during rotations as some rotations are outdoors in rural areas.
- Students should bring rain gear such as, but not limited to: ponchos, umbrellas, rain-boots/wellingtons, etc…
We will head out after breakfast for a full day of volunteering at a local nature sanctuary. Your outfit for our volunteer day MUST include long pants and closed toe shoes.
Sunday morning will be fully dedicated to rest and relaxation at the hotel. You are welcome to kick back and relax in whatever clothes are most comfortable for you. If you plan on spending time at the pool, be sure to pack a swimsuit.
In the afternoon, we’ll explore a local coffee manufacturer:
- Wear comfortable/breathable casual clothes. Shorts are fine
- Wear comfortable shoes (sneakers are a great option)
- Bring a sunhat
- Wear sunscreen
This will be your last impression when saying goodbye to your Costa Rican hosts. Dress to impress with a business casual outfit.
Ladies: Plan on wearing dress/trousers/knee-length skirts, shirts with a collar or blouses, and comfortable shoes
Gentleman: Wear trousers/khakis, collared shirt, and comfortable shoes
NOTE: Absolutely NO athletic wear, jeans, or shorts
Students will be staying at the Hotel Bougainvillea. The hotel is about a thirty minute drive to the main campuses of where students will be doing their rotations. Each student will be paired in a double-room with a roommate of the same sex and in age order. Roommate requests are not accepted.
The address is Contiguo a la Escuela, C. Santo Tomás, Heredia, Santo Domingo, 40302, Costa Rica.
All students will be given a room key upon arrival. You must keep this on you at all times to access your hotel room.
If you lose your room key during your visit, you will need a valid form of photo identification in order to receive a new key from the front desk.
The hotel reception desk is available 24/7 on the ground floor for any questions you may have. Remember, our very own team of experienced staff will also be available 24/7 should you need any assistance at all.
The hotel is air-conditioned throughout, but the clinical facilities are not.
The hotel is situated in central Costa Rica near the coast. Summer months in central Costa Rica are generally hot, humid, and sunny, with temperatures in the high 80s-90s. There are occasional rain showers.
Laundry service is available to students on one pre-determined day per week. Laundry service is provided by the hotel and items will be returned to students clean and folded within 24 hours of pickup. Laundry service is not complimentary and students should be prepared with cash to pay for their laundry. The price of laundry is calculated by weight, is $3.00 USD per kilo (2.2 lbs). The FDA team will provide further instructions on how to prepare laundry for pickup in our pre-departure webinars, as well as on-site.
The hotel offers free Wifi.
Each hotel room offers a quiet and peaceful place to rest and relax. There is also a dedicated desk for study in each room. Otherwise, the hotel has plenty of communal areas for study or relaxation within the main lobby, or you can opt to unwind by the pool.
Meals and Water
Breakfast and dinner will be provided at the hotel. A selection of food will be available including authentic Costa Rican fare, and a variety of American classics. Lunch will be provided at the campus cafeteria during Monday – Friday rotations. Meals will also be provided on off-campus activity days and will include BBQ’s and picnic-style lunches.
Snacks are available for purchase on campus, and at the hotel. Cafes are also located in all of the clinical locations. Trips to the local convenience store can also be arranged with the chaperones upon request.
Be sure you have updated any special dietary requirements on the portal so we can be sure to prep the chef ahead of your arrival.
Tap water in Costa Rica is drinkable and, in many areas of the country, quite good. However, if you have a sensitive stomach, it’s recommended to refrain from drinking tap water. San Jose is a modern city so you will be able to purchase bottled water everywhere and chaperones will be available 24/7 to assist students if needed.
The voltage supplied in electrical outlets as well as the outlet type varies in countries throughout the world, so in order to charge your devices when you visit another country, it’s important to check the voltage and outlet requirements of your host country.
In Costa Rica, the standard voltage is 120 volts, which is the same as U.S. wall outlets. The power outlet types in Costa Rica are also the same as in the U.S. You will find both the 2-prong and 3-prong outlets you’re familiar with from the U.S. in Costa Rica. However, if you are packing any electronics with a 3-prong plug, you may want to pack a 3-to-2 prong adapter in case 3-prong plugs are not available.
Remember to pack battery packs and any charging cables you may need.
INTERNATIONAL CELL PHONE USE
In all likelihood, your cell phone plan does not accommodate international texting, calling, or data use. If you use these functions while traveling abroad, you will likely rack up a huge roaming bill – possibly in the thousands of dollars. To ensure this doesn’t happen, be sure to turn off your cellular data and put your phone in airplane mode before we depart on our international flight. You will still be able to connect to Wi-Fi where available while on airplane mode. It’s safest to leave your phone in airplane mode for the duration of the trip, and only use Wi-Fi for internet access, in order to avoid a surprise phone bill when you get back.
Alternatively, you can explore options with your cell service provider for international travel plans. Most cell service providers offer a daily or monthly plan ranging from $5-$20 per day for international travel. Be sure to explore all the limitations before traveling.
Currency and Payment
FutureVets includes all program costs, international airfare, accommodations, local in-country transportation, and meals, including breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Students may want to bring pocket money for their own personal expenses, shopping, personal care items, souvenirs, snacks, etc. ($250-$300 should be more than adequate).
In advance of your trip to Costa Rica, we recommend you have a discussion with your parents on how you will pay for personal expenses while abroad. You may choose to carry a credit card, withdraw Costa Rican Colónes using an ATM card, bring U.S. dollars to exchange in Costa Rica, or some combination of these options.
Visa and MasterCard are widely accepted in Costa Rica; Discover and American Express are not accepted as widely. If you plan to use a credit card while in Costa Rica, your parents should ask their credit card company about their international transaction fees and alert them of your international travel plans beforehand to avoid security holds. Check the expiration date on your credit/debit cards and make a separate note in a safe place of their numbers and the service number on the back of the card.
It is also advisable to carry some small denominations of local currency for small purchases. Most purchases have to be over a certain amount in order to pay by card.
Costa Rica’s currency is the Colón. Currently, 1000 Costa Rican Colónes equals about 1.65 USD. U.S. bank ATM cards can also be used in Costa Rica to obtain Colónes. Students should check with their bank about foreign ATM transactions and conversion fees.