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Behind-the-scenes advice for your journey to become a vet

Loop Abroad: The Veterinary Adventure of a Lifetime

Loop Abroad alum Amelia Matczak shares her study abroad experience participating in the Thailand Veterinary Semester Abroad.

Loop Abroad alum Amelia Matczak shares her study abroad experience participating in the Thailand Veterinary Semester Abroad.Destination: Thailand

As the wheels of the plane touched down at Chiang Mai’s international airport, I was filled with nervous excitement. Geared up for my veterinary study abroad, I deplaned to find myself immersed in a new culture and learning things other pre-veterinary students couldn’t even begin to dream of. I mean, how many could say they’ve worked with endangered species, received lectures from board-certified veterinarians and worked as an anesthesiologist before ever setting foot on a veterinary campus? Not many, but the courses Loop offers during their veterinary study abroad programs let me do just that.

Marine Life Medicine Course

Course Highlights: Learn about marine life medicine on two of Thailand’s most beautiful islands while getting scuba certified, working on coral reef restoration and helping with a sea turtle research project.

Why I Loved It: My passion for animals has always been deeply rooted in marine life, and this course went above and beyond what I could have hoped for in expanding my veterinary knowledge. I learned so much about how these animals combat the challenges of living underwater and how we as veterinarians will have to work around these adaptations to treat them in hospitals. Further, having the opportunity to help with coral reef restoration and biodiversity research allowed me to see how big of an impact the veterinary field has outside of treating common domestic species.

Elephant Medicine Course

Course Highlights: Live on an elephant sanctuary while learning the ins and outs of Asian elephant medicine, threats to the currently endangered species and practice your newly learned treatment skills on elephants at the sanctuary.

Why I Loved It: There is never a dull moment when working with a 2000+ pound animal, especially when you have the opportunity to learn about how their anatomy and physiology greatly affects their health problems and prognosis. There is so much to learn and so much research still to be done with Asian elephants and this course helped me realize that conservation medicine is the direction I want to take my veterinary career. Plus, having the opportunity to practice all of your clinical and treatment skills on elephants was a once in a lifetime opportunity that I will never forget.

Anesthesiology Course

Course Highlights: Receive lectures from a US board-certified anesthesiologist and use your new knowledge to help run a week-long high volume spay and neuter clinic.

Why I Loved It: As we grow into a global society, it will become increasingly important for veterinarians to take an active role in their community as well as those without access to animal care. During the high volume spay and neuter clinic, we provided surgery and vaccines to animals in a community without access to veterinary care. This amazing opportunity allowed the students on the veterinary study abroad to make a real difference in people’s lives, and for me, it was the highlight of the whole trip.

Was it worth it?

Looking back on my experience, I wouldn’t change a single thing. I not only bolstered my vet school application but now being a second-year veterinary student, I can honestly say my veterinary study abroad with Loop really prepared me for my first vet school. There are simply no other programs available to pre-veterinary students that can begin to compete with what Loop Abroad offers and I firmly believe anyone interested in veterinary school should take advantage of the opportunity.