If you’ve been following my veterinary journey through any of my social media platforms, you probably know that I have a passion for traveling and sharing my experiences with others. I’ve found value in every single experience I’ve had and I am passionate about helping others gain these experiences for themselves. I’ve had many questions come my way asking how to find the right experiences. I wanted to give some advice on how to go about gaining international experiences!
First, start by asking yourself what kind of experience you want. This includes thinking about what goals you want to accomplish on this trip, geographic location, duration, culture, costs, etc. For example, my current DVM program does not offer any exposure to wildlife which is why I was eager to seek out a program where I could learn and interact with different wildlife species. I also wanted to go back to some part of Africa because I had visited a couple different countries in Africa prior to vet school. These were my two biggest areas of focus which made it easier for me to narrow down locations and experiences. So, I recommend making a list of what you’re looking for first!
Once you have an idea of what you’re looking for, it’s time to do the research and ask around. I am extremely fortunate because my university has a study abroad office for all the undergraduate/graduate students, but our vet school also has an International Programs department that helps connect veterinary students and veterinary nursing students to programs throughout the world. If your current institution does not have this, don’t worry! I’ve come up with some tips to help you find the perfect program for you.
If you’re currently enrolled at a university, I’d reach out to your department to see if they have any resources regarding international experiences. I’d start here because many universities have partnerships with others where you can gain credit or course requirements! If you do not have these resources accessible, I recommend doing your own research by looking into other school’s international programs. I did my own research in preparation to write this post and found many opportunities by doing a quick web search such as “[insert vet school name] international programs”, “[insert vet school name] global programs”, “[insert vet school name] study abroad”. This will allow you to find different programs around the world that vet schools use, and YOU can reach out to them on your own!
If you’re a current veterinary student, I’d also recommend checking out the AVMA site which lists many different international opportunities in the profession! If you’re an undergraduate student looking for pre-vet focused trips there are many options out there which are led by independent companies!
Lastly, if you come across someone who participated in an experience you’re interested in, reach out to them! I’m 99% positive that they’d love to tell you about their trip and help get you in contact with program coordinators! I LOVE helping students find awesome international experiences!
Where are you looking to go? Drop a comment below and let me know!