Brisbane, Australia: Morgan Porter, Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences


Posted: August 28, 2012

My love of exploring new places, my passion for Steve Irwin, and my fascination of the world down under...
Me with a Kangaroo at the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary

Me with a Kangaroo at the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary

I decided that I wanted to do a veterinary internship abroad in Australia.  I had always hoped to travel to Australia because of my love of exploring new places, my passion for Steve Irwin, and my fascination of the world down under.  Initially, I thought about studying abroad, but sadly realized that with my major, it is very difficult process to go through, one I would only go through as a last resort.  With a little brainstorming, I came up with an idea that seemed more suitable; to do an internship in Australia.  I stumbled across AustraLearn, an organization that would allow me to have a full 11 weeks of veterinary interning in Brisbane during my summer. I worked at Bulimia Veterinary Surgery, one of many owned by Judy Harbinson. 

One of the other main goals of this trip abroad was to learn and become more experienced with my field, veterinary science.  In the states, small animal clinics are very strict and stringent upon what non-certified veterinarians and veterinary nurses are and are not allowed to do.  PorterAustralia2.pngI have found that it is hard and rare to find a reputable clinic that will allow someone who is in their undergraduate education to hold a position higher than just a shadower, one who is unable to interact with the animals.  My internship was incredibly useful.  I was able to start out slow and learn how to properly hold animals, place catheters, and eventually work my way up to performing my own surgery.  I completely castrated a cat and helped out with many other minor surgeries, something I could have never dreamed of doing in my small home town. 

If I had to explain my internship abroad to a potential employer, it would take at least an hour.  I would start with the most important and tell them all of the skills I have learned, how I can now perform them at ease.  I would also tell them how I now have a better perspective of how to deal with high stress veterinary situations, which arise quite often.  However, this isn’t all that I learned.  I would also talk about how I now understand more than one culture and how independent, flexible, and strong I have become.  Clearly, I think that my experience was one of a lifetime, and one that changed a lot of my life.

I also had another goal while living in Brisbane: to see more of the world.  I traveled to many different places in Australia during my weekends and my orientation, including Sydney, Cairns, Byron Bay, and New Zealand.  PorterAustralia3.pngBy living in so many different places, I learned a lot about Australian culture and how it was not what I expected.  I had imagined Australians to be a combination of Steve Irwin and an average American.  I quickly realized I was wrong after arriving in Cairns, where my orientation was held. The typical Australian seemed very relaxed, not too enthusiastic, wear styles of clothes I didn’t even know existed, and don’t commonly eat Kangaroo, much to my liking.  They appreciate home baked items and locally made food as was noted by the bakeries and sushi shops located on every block.  Recycling bins and the masses of public transportation make it obvious that they are very conscious of their environment. I was extremely excited to learn of their enthusiasm for extreme sports such as black water rafting and jumping off the Sky Tower, both of which I participated in and loved because of my guides and the employees.

Overall, it was a great experience and I would recommend it to anyone who wants to learn more about the veterinary sciences and Australia.