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Application for Research Expeditions


Anyone may apply to participate as a field worker in our research programs. See the Ecuadorian Rainforest and Mexico Tropical Forest pages for details on the programs, and then come back here to apply. See the application checklist for a complete list of what you need from applicaiton to departure.

Applications should be completed by one month before any particular trip, but trips may be full before this time. If space is available within 30 days of the trip, consideration may be given to late applicants. But, the sooner you turn in your application, the better your chances for acceptance into the program. Make sure you have read through the expedition information on this site before applying. You should contact us with any questions before completing an application.


We evaluate applicants on a variety of criteria, but the most important qualifications that you can bring to the project are enthusiasm and a good work ethic. Workdays can sometimes last up to 16 hours on the go. At some study sites, you will be required to hike with heavy loads up steep, muddy slopes; some sites are not for everyone! However, most of the actual field work is relatively low-exertion, as finding animals in the forest is very slow-paced. There will also be some challenging living conditions, and participants need to be prepared to be wet and/or muddy for many hours, or even days, in a row. You will have to be prepared to face a diversity of biting insects, and be faced with the possibility of serious illness, although both of these may be minimized by proper precautions. A knowledge of Spanish is helpful, but not at all required.

Except for special trips designated for younger people, expeditions are limited to ages 18 and up. For these trips, people of ages 16-17 may attend without a parent or guardian, and those 14-15 may apply with a parent or guardian.

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College Credit

Current students may apply for independent research or internship credit with RAEI and their current college or university. Depending on the requirements of your program, you may be asked to collect a unique data set, write a paper, and/or receive a written evaluation from your expedition leaders. If your program does not have a similar document, participants will fill out a signed agreement with RAEI and an academic advisor specifying the goals and deliverables of the experience. Those interested in continuing as an intern in Ecuador after the end of an expedition might consider our Ecuadorian internship program.

Financial Aid

While we offer a 15% discount to citizens of Latin America, we do not directly offer any other financial aid. We encourage students to inquire with their program offices to see if aid or grants are available. The Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program may provide support to Pell Grant recipients.

Cancellation Policy

Once a $25 application fee is collected, it is not refundable for any reason. If your application is not accepted, your $200 deposit will be refunded to you immediately, but is otherwise not refundable. It will apply towards your balance which is due one month prior to travel. Once program fees have been accepted, they are immediately dispersed to cover trip expenses, and are subject to complete forfeiture, whether or not you have attended or completed the expedition. Should there be low enrollment or events beyond the our control, including weather conditions, political conditions, etc., we reserve the right to cancel an expedition at any time. In this case, your entire deposit and registration fees will be refunded, or may be applied to a future expedition, but no provision is provided to cover any other expenses you have incurred in preparation for the trip, including airfare, insurance, medical costs, and personal purchases, among others.

Non-discrimination Statement

Reptile and Amphibian Ecology International is committed to the policy that all persons shall have equal access to programs, facilities, admission and employment without regard to personal characteristics not related to ability, performance, or qualifications. It is our policy to maintain an academic and work environment free of discrimination, including harassment. Reptile Research prohibits discrimination and harassment against any person because of age, ancestry, color, disability or handicap, national origin, race, religious creed, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or veteran status. Although some of our activities may be restricted to those of certain abilities, we make every attempt at reasonable accommodations to the disabled.



Application Tips

• We accept participants from all walks of life.

• Except for under 18 trips to the Amazon rainforest, all expeditions are for ages 18 and up

• Our research trips can be physically and mentally demanding.

• Make sure you have asked all questions before applying.

Meet some of our previous research participants.

Reptile and Amphibian Ecology International is a US 501(c)(3) nonprofit charity organization and all donations are 100% tax-deductible.
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