This experience not only changed me, it shaped me into the future veterinarian I hope to become.

Hands-on learning

Hands-on learning

Over the summer of 2018 I participated in a program in South Africa tailored to preveterinary students. The program consisted 5 other girls and I in the Limpopo region of South Africa, about 3 hours away from Johannesburg. Housing was provided in a gated premise where we stayed in luxurious tents. Each tent included 2 twin beds, a hot shower with hot running water and a toilet and sink. Food was provided as well for breakfast; a packed lunch and dinners were served in a larger communal tent. The program has the option to stay for 2 weeks, 3 weeks or 4 weeks. I stayed for 2 weeks and loved every minute of it.

The overall experience of this trip was priceless. My friend and I were assigned to a veterinarian, Dr. Dup Duplessi for this program. There are many other veterinarians working with this program in different locations throughout South Africa. During a typical day, we were normally in the car and on the road by 7am to the location where we would work. Breakfast was normally some toast, coffee and fruit. Due to the location where we stayed, normally each client we visited was at least an hour away. We would drive to the first client's home and on the way, we were briefed for the day's tasks and each appointment. Typical appointments included: translocation of a specific animal to either another farm or to another part of the farm away from more dominant males. The work for this type of appointment included Dr. Dup darting the animal, and our team running to retrieve this animal, place it on a stretcher and all working together to load this animal onto a vehicle to be moved. Once the animal was moved, we would then administer an intravenous drug to the major ear vein to wake the animal up. Another appointment included the cleaning of a wound on an African buffalo. As with every appointment, Dr. Dup sedated the animal via dart. Once the animal was sedated, we then moved to assist Dr. Dup in cleaning the wound. We also assisted with draining a few cysts and helping with a case of mastitis.

The program was extremely hands-on. On the first day I administered antibiotics to a sedated lioness subcutaneously! In every case Dr. Dup gave us an opportunity to learn something new. I gained a lot of new skills, but I believe the most important thing I gained was confidence. Going into this program we were very unsure of what to expect and did not know any of the other girls. Most of us had some prior experience working in a veterinary clinic with small animals but nothing on this scale. Dr. Dup's trust and support in us completing tasks well gave us the confidence to actually do it. I was proud of myself to have administered that antibiotic correctly and it gave me the confidence that I could do it again. Having the knowledge behind what you are doing is wonderful, but having the confidence is a necessity. If I were to describe this to a potential employer, I would say it is the most profound experience I have had to date that has taught me so much more than just how to dart an animal. I emerged more well-rounded, confident, and knowledgeable about an area of veterinary medicine I had never been exposed to before. I gained many social skills and learned how to adapt in situations where things don't go according to plan. I was taught to keep a level head and think through the things we were doing. This experience not only changed me, it shaped me into the future veterinarian I hope to become.

International Programs

Address

106 Agricultural Administration Building
University Park, PA 16802

International Programs

Address

106 Agricultural Administration Building
University Park, PA 16802