“IF YOUR DREAMS DON’T SCARE YOU, THEY AREN’T BIG ENOUGH.”
After asking for blog post inspiration on my instagram account @mammals_and_microscopes , here is a
HOW TO GUIDE: Getting work experience placements abroad.
(With the help of some incredible instagrammers in the online veterinary community.)
Securing placements at our local small animal practices can feel hard enough. Conducting a google survey of the local area to ensure that your email proposals have the highest chance of success, the worry of lacking previous experience to outcompete other aspiring vets, refreshing your email inbox in the hope that a response will magically appear.
So how on earth do you begin searching for placements abroad?
When I initially looked into overseas placements, I did not look for the location. Instead, I looked for placements with the animals I wanted to work with
I remember googling ‘elephant volunteering’, or ‘working with seals’.
It is good to note that there is a whole bunch of programs and websites that run specific programs for vets and vet students. This is so that you get all the information you want about your placement and the animals in regards to the veterinary industry surrounding them. Rather than solely gaining the understanding given to the general public volunteering.
To name a few locations that I know running these would be:
Elephant Nature Park
Wild Inside Vet Volunteers
Worldwide Veterinary Service
Globe Trotting Veterinary
and many more!
Doing this meant that I could do what I wanted to do with animals and worry about the location and getting there later
The main issue with overseas placements is money.
So unless you are flushed with cash, I am not, it takes a lot of planning and saving.
I booked my placement in Thailand a year and a half in advance, and I was looking into it two years before the placement. All so that I had enough money for a deposit.
Having a budget and saving for your overseas placement will be worth it!
FOR AUSTRALIAN STUDENTS:
If you are lucky enough to live in Australia (or other locations), the government will actually loan you money to go on 2 overseas placement trips through university. This loan is then added to your HCES university debt and is paid back through tax when you reach the income threshold to pay back your normal university debt.
Here in Australia this is called OS-help – I wish I knew about it before my trip to Thailand!
DO YOU RESEARCH:
The most important thing is to look into all options when wanting to do an overseas placement.
You could believe that you have an amazing placement lined up in Africa to take care of the animals, only to find out that it is only so other customers can poach them.
Do your research!
Talk to fellow students and see where they have gone. Seek out recommendations. Remember to check to see if the university can help with funding or scholarships for this.
But most of all have fun and enjoy it while it lasts.
Don’t let anyone put you off by saying “are you really going to go by yourself” because f*** yeah it is amazing!
Another question was about money.
With travel expenses, increased living costs, loss of working days (not an exhaustive list!). How can you afford to go on a placement abroad?
I couldn’t in 2017, when I worked on a husky farm in Finland.
Although my journey to that placement is unique, it is proof that life can may just throw one at you. My first “proper” work experience placement opened the door to work in Finland. After a summer of volunteering in 2016, I was gifted a token to flights for 2017 in order to take on the challenge of husky farm life.
Getting to Switzerland was a different story – Cheap flights.
I am currently packing for my next journey to Switzerland this February, £50 return with easyJet. Animals need care 365 days a year, but every place has its “off peak” month/s. A bonus is taking holiday pay off work for said placement.
The answer to your flight problems: