Hello! My name is Michelle, and I am from Vancouver, Canada. It has been just over two years since I boarded my one-way flight to Melbourne, Australia, and I would like to share some of my experiences thus far with you.
Like many of my peers, I have always dreamt of becoming a veterinarian ever since I was a little girl (Grade 3, to be exact!). After completing my Bachelor of Science with Honours in Animal Biology in 2015 at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, I was presented with the opportunity to pursue my veterinary degree abroad – and I have not looked back since.
Assisting in a clinical examination of a dog
My choice of coming to Australia was not an entirely logical one. I had researched extensively into many wonderful countries with universities offering AVMA accredited veterinary courses. However – there was something about the idea of living in Australia that, without fail, made my heart race next to my ear drums.
I had visited Australia once before on a volunteer trip to assist the rehabilitation of Little Penguins on Phillip Island, and the pure thought of returning to this magical place made my palms sweat. Some may call it impulsive, but I made one of the biggest decisions of my life following the “butterflies” in my stomach, and it is still one of the best decisions I’ve made.
Enjoying an afternoon free from studies with fellow international students
My decision to study at the University of Melbourne was two-fold: it’s prestigious international reputation, and its unbeatable location. University of Melbourne was one of the first Australian universities to receive AVMA accreditation, as well as the first Australian university to offer the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM).
The university is internationally well-known for its high caliber of research and it’s range of successful alumni (Peter Singer, as an example). And to top that off, the Parkville campus is located in the heart of Melbourne, which has consistently ranked as the most liveable city in the world by the EIU for the past six years! The decision was (and still is) a win-win situation.
Celebrating the halfway mark of our DVM degree at ‘Halfway Dinner’
Nothing could have prepared me for the experiences I was about to gain through the DVM. I have always been very focused on companion animal medicine, as most of my past experiences came from working as a veterinary assistant at a small animal practice. My narrow perception of the veterinary profession was very quickly widened within the first year of this program. Not only was I learning how to work with different species of animals, I was being introduced to career opportunities that I never considered before – such as disease outbreak investigators, policy setters, and government advisors.
The DVM program is a highly challenging, yet incredibly rewarding journey. For me, being able to apply what I've learnt in lectures and working hands-on with animals are the absolute highlights of this course.
Pre-clinical extramural placement on a Merino sheep farm in Wedderburn, Victoria
I am now in my third year the program, which means that I only have one more year to go before entering the “real world”. I plan to return to Vancouver, Canada after graduating, and focus my career in the field of small animal medicine.
Studying overseas for four years may feel like a massive leap of faith, but I challenge you to follow your butterflies. Moving to Australia and studying at the University of Melbourne was one of the best decisions I’ve made. Not only am I receiving a world-class education, I have made irreplaceable friends and gained countless memories I will cherish for the rest of my life. As my favourite saying says, “Nothing good comes from your comfort zone.” - so what’s stopping you from starting your next big adventure?