As part of her study abroad experience, Saskia took four unique classes: marine biology, animal behavior and welfare, learning in outdoor education, and diet & nutrition in health and sports. In her classes, she had the opportunity to participate in very hands-on interactive outdoor labs. For instance, she visited the coastline to measure coralline algae, observed and learned about different species of animals in the wildlife park, and went hiking in the gorgeous Australian mountain ranges. Sounds exciting right? And that's not even the best part.
Besides taking classes, Saskia enjoyed her three day weekends, spending each moment sightseeing and exploring the outskirts of Australia with her new international friends. During her three months, she did every activity ranging from hiking to snorkeling with sea turtles to even skydiving. Could it get any better for a pre-vet abroad? Yes, it definitely did. On her trip, Saskia visited different zoos and wildlife parks. She even got to hug a koala (As pictured above) and a baby wombat. Honestly, who wouldn't want to do that?
Overall, Saskia had an amazing experience in Australia and HIGHLY recommends everyone to try studying abroad during their college career. Aside from sharing with us about her crazy fun adventures, she also gave us some tips on how to make our lives easier before going abroad:
1. Not everything (classes) goes as planned but stay calm (especially in Australia, grading can be very harsh).
2. Do research on housing beforehand - lots of $$ for on-campus housing.
3. Say "YES" to everything.
4. After talking to vet students from Australia, Saskia learned that most of them are not very satisfied with the school (faculty are not very involved in the students).
5. Don't fall in love abroad (←best tip ever)
During the first two weeks of the trip, Victoria was located at the Elephant World's Sanctuary in Kanchanaburi, Thailand, where she learned about animal husbandry & enrichment, prepared food for the elephants, and bathed them as well. During her stay, Victoria spent a majority of her time out in the jungle conducting projects, like building scratching posts for elephants. She also got to see and interact with the various wildlife in Thailand. Some animals include reptiles, bats, monkeys, and large insects. For the second two weeks of the program, volunteers were given time to sightsee and visit different places in Thailand. They got to participate in exciting activities such as kayaking, exploring caves, visiting villages, and also ziplining in the jungle!
To sum up her trip, Victoria said her experience in Thailand was a lot of fun and very rewarding. She got a chance to not only travel all over Thailand and care for elephants, but she also met a lot of people from all over the world, many of whom she still keeps in touch with. She highly recommends volunteering abroad and if you would like to apply for the International Student Volunteers program you can actually contact Victoria through her email. She is currently the UC Davis student representative for the organization and if you apply through a representative, you can get $500 off the trip. What a great deal!
Listed below are some tips and more information about the trip:
1. Cost: $4,500 for entire trip (includes airfare, housing, food, etc.)
2. You can also get academic credit for volunteering, which is always a nice bonus.
3. Volunteer work requires manual labor, but it's fun because you get to do with great people and for a great cause.
4. The organization stresses a lot on safety, so you do not have to worry about being put in any dangerous situations.
5. You also do not need a lot of money to live in Thailand, because everything is fairly inexpensive (every college students' favorite word).
If you'd like to explore other countries, check out UC Davis Study Abroad. Among the courses, you can take the whole Physics 7 series, Genetics and Genomics (BIS 101) and also an Introductory to Biology (BIS 2A) at other universities abroad.
However, if abroad is too far for you, UC Davis also has a Washington DC program that pre-vets can attend. They could volunteer at zoos or local veterinary offices. OR you could spend your time in Davis, taking summer school and volunteering for Mercer Clinic.
All options are worth looking into. See what is right for you.
PSSD Historian 2016-2017