Exploring veterinary medicine from a global perspective

Externship Project

Hey everyone! My name is Kristen and I am going into my fourth year of vet school at the OVC. I’m originally from Ajax, Ontario which is a suburban town about 45 minutes east of Toronto. I did three years of Animal Biology at the University of Guelph before starting the DVM program in 2015. My time here has flown by - I can’t believe my final clinical year of vet school is coming up so soon. I’m really looking forward to leaving the classroom behind and getting some hands-on experience during my externship!  

When searching for an externship clinic, I wanted to find somewhere that would allow me to broaden my horizons and step out of my comfort zone. My interest in international veterinary medicine and my passion for wildlife drew me to Australia. I’ve always been fascinated by the unique habitats of Australia and the diversity of their wildlife. I was eager for the chance to explore a unique cultural environment and experience a side of the veterinary profession I wouldn’t see here in Ontario. After some searching, I eventually found my externship placement at Berry Veterinary Clinic in Berry, Australia.  

Berry Veterinary Clinic is a large mixed animal practice about two hours south of Sydney. The clinic is located in a traditionally agricultural town and sees a varied large animal case load. My large animal experience is more limited, so I was intrigued to learn from the experienced food animal vets at my clinic. From cattle and horses to sheep, goats and alpacas, I’m sure I’ll have a lot to learn! In addition to large animals, my practice also sees a number of wildlife cases and is involved in advanced medical and diagnostic procedures for small animals. Since my main areas of interest lie in small animal and exotic/wildlife medicine, the diverse opportunities that my practice offers with these species were also a big factor for me while picking a clinic.  

I’ve been following the Externship Blog Project since I was in undergrad, and I’m really looking forward to participating in the project myself! I’ve always loved reading about students’ externship experiences – veterinary medicine is such a diverse field and no two cases are the same. I think that reading the blogs is a great opportunity for those interested in veterinary medicine to get a glimpse of what the profession is really like. I was especially interested in joining the project to shed light on aspects of veterinary medicine that are unique to Australia. Australia is known as the country where everything can kill you – but hopefully I can survive long enough to share some awesome vet stories with you all!    

I’m really excited to share my experiences with you this summer through the Externship Blog Project. I hope you follow me through all of my Australian adventures!   

Fun facts: Australia has three times as many sheep than people, and is home to the world’s largest cattle ranch which is bigger than the entire country of Belgium!