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RDP Abroad Biology Experience

Leatherback Turtle

Retrieved from Turtle Trax


In partnership with CREMA and Turtle Trax, Red Deer Polytechnic is excited to offer volunteer experience for students enrolled in the Bachelor of Biological Sciences to apply their learning at a turtle sanctuary in Costa Rica.

Volunteer Experience:

  • Immersed in a full-contact experience with nature and coastal communities of the Southern Nicoya Peninsula. 
  • Protection and conservation activities including direct work with the sea turtle conservation program, and community connections. 
  • Three-week experience. 

When Can I Go?

Timing is coordinated around the regular turtle nesting season in Costa Rica, which occurs between June and December each year. 

Volunteer (Three Weeks)

  • The volunteer experiences do not have restrictions on timing.
  • Estimated departures in July and August 2024. 
  • 2024 Experience Dates: TBD

Eligibility Requirements

Student must completed 2nd year of the Bachelor of Biological Sciences degree at Red Deer Polytechnic by June of the experience year to apply.

For example, if you would like to apply for the 2025 abroad experience, you will need to finish your 2nd year of study by June 2025. You will still submit your application when it opens in 2024.

Course Information

Students who complete the volunteer experience will be eligible for credits in SCIE 4901 Applied Study Credit (3 Credits)

Course credit is determined by program requirements and required completion of all necessary deliverables. 


Accommodations and meals will be arranged for students who undertake either experience. Accommodations and meals are provided by Turtle Trax, covering three basic meals each day and basic accommodations for the experience. 

Accommodations for this experience will be in shared style layouts, typically with bunkbeds as the primary bed setup. In most cases these accommodations will be roomed by the host organization in a co-ed manner. 

Funding Opportunities and Providers

This project is funded by Global Skills Opportunity, the Government of Canada’s Outbound Student Mobility Pilot Program aiming to cover the majority of necessary expenses for students to participate in a study abroad experience.

Students can apply for RDP Abroad Global Skills Opportunity grant funding for this experience. Funding is dependent on availability. Funding ranges dependent on specified grant criteria in the range of $5,000 - $10,000. Funding application is together with the experience application. 

For eligibility and funding questions, please contact the International Office located in the Gathering Place (Room 1009) or email International [at] rdpolytech [dot] ca (subject: GSO%20Funding%20Question) (International[at]rdpolytech[dot]ca).

Are you looking to self-fund this experience? Students participating in this activity remain registered as a Red Deer Polytechnic student, so you may be eligible for Alberta and Canada student loans. Contact your provincial student loan office for more information. 

Experience Cost

Experience costs is estimated between $6000-$6500 that include: 

Airfare, to and from Costa Rica

Travel Insurance

Transportation Assistance Plan (Airport Drop-off/Pick-up in Costa Rica and transport to research site)

Meals and Accommodations provided by CREMA and Turtle Trax

Tuition Costs 

Experience Cost

*The GSO grant can cover at least 85% - 90% of the cost or up to 100% if available. 

Program Contact

sandra [dot] macdougall [at] rdpolytech [dot] ca (subject: Biology%20Abroad) (Sandra MacDougall) 

Application Opens: September 18, 2023         

Application Closes: October 29, 2023 

Shortlisting/Interviews: October 30 - November 30, 2023

Applicant Selection and Notification: December 1 - 10, 2023