Veterinary Nomad

Externship Project

My name is Manali Desai and I am an international student going into my fourth year at the Ontario Veterinary College. I've always wanted to work with animals. Since a young age I've felt a heightened compassion towards them, and as I grew older I realized that channeling this feeling into a veterinary degree was my most desired career move. I pursued a Bachelor of Science and a Master's in Laboratory Animal Science at Drexel University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

During my summers, I would volunteer at animal hospitals for more exposure to the small animal field, while interning at unique placements such as the zoo to get a more diverse experience within the veterinary field.

Although my professional passion is working with animals, my personal passion is to travel the globe and experience as many countries and cultures as I can. In the winter term of my junior year, I had an opportunity to bring together both my career and life goals. I decided to study abroad in the West African country of Equatorial Guinea for three months and spend time in the beautiful jungles, assisting with field work to collect data on the endangered primate species of the country. I was also able to learn about all the conservation efforts being implemented to protect these precious animals, and visit local schools to educate youngsters on the importance of conservation. This trip made me realize how much I enjoy international work along with community outreach and education. For the first time, I was introduced to the idea that I could travel while providing care to animals wherever I went.

Veterinary student with dogWhile at OVC I spent time working with First Nations communities to provide spay/neuter clinics to communities with limited access to veterinary care. This took me to beautiful British Columbia, where I got to work alongside other volunteer veterinarians and veterinary nurses. Along with the medical aspect, we had the opportunity to interact with the local community and explain the importance of preventative medicine for their animals. I then spent two months in Southeast Asia through the OVC Global Vets initiative. We spent time working with local shelters in various countries, all who do an amazing job treating an overwhelming number of patients with limited resources. It was a humbling opportunity that taught me how to think on my feet, be creative, and adapt to ever-changing scenarios, all important aspects of working in the veterinary field.

I can’t believe we’ve already reached fourth year and are embarking on the final stretch of our long-anticipated careers. I chose to stream Companion Animal in fourth year as my interests lie within this field. As of now I don’t have specific areas of interest, but I know that through my externship and rotations I will gravitate towards certain aspects of this vast profession.

I am now completing my eight-week mixed animal externship in Halifax, England. I chose this clinic for the opportunity to get fresh, new perspectives on how our colleagues in other parts of the world approach similar cases to what we see in North America, as well as getting exposure to those cases which are less common to us. I also wanted to experience another part of the world, one that I am unfamiliar with. I am excited to be a part of the OVC Externship Blog Project because I believe social media is a great platform to spread knowledge and awareness to a large audience. I feel incredibly lucky to have this opportunity and I am excited for my eight weeks in England. I hope you follow me through my experiences as I begin the final phase of my veterinary degree!