What's it like to study veterinary science in Australia?

Studying in Australia is the complete experience for Johannes De Beer, both inside of the classroom and out.

Johannes’ passion for avian medicine, plus the appeal of Australia’s easy going culture and warm climate, made for an easy decision to relocate from South Africa to the University of Queensland for his Bachelor of Veterinary
Science (BVSc).

“My interest in avian medicine is not all that common, but I’ve found ample opportunity to explore my dream and learn the skills necessary to specialise in this field.”

horse-treadmill

“These opportunities are valuable tools to enhance a veterinary science graduate’s professional skills”

Veterinary science is typically a five year curriculum, taught by lecturers and researchers with specialist skills that cover a wide range of animal health. These include birds, small and large companion animals, Australia’s unique wildlife, and large production animals such as cows and pigs.

Johannes studies at the purpose-built Gatton Campus, which is positioned on 1000 hectares of land in a rural setting only one hour west of downtown Brisbane, allowing him close and regular contact with animals.

“The relaxed and intimate nature of the Gatton campus really appealed to me,” says Johannes.

Outside the classroom, veterinary science students are encouraged to extend their knowledge beyond the books by participating in organisations like the Veterinary Leadership Experience (VLE), Vets Beyond Borders (VBB) student chapter and roles on student committees.

These opportunities are valuable tools to enhance a veterinary science graduate’s professional skills. Students benefit by forming links with local and international students and networking with veterinary professionals in
Australia and overseas, all whilst developing and refining the technical skills and knowledge required in the veterinary profession.

Johannes has immersed himself in these extra-curricular activities and, by doing so, is learning and fine-tuning important skills such as leadership, teamwork and independence.

“I participated in the Orientation Week VLE Leadership Day which was a great experience and a perfect opportunity to get to know my future colleagues whilst exploring all the non-technical skills needed to be a successful veterinarian,” Johannes said.

He is now also a member of the University of Queensland’s Veterinary Student Association (UQVSA) serving on the social committee.

vet-day

“Johannes has immersed himself in these extra-curricular activities and, by doing so, is learning and fine-tuning important skills such as leadership, teamwork and independence”

“Extra-curricular activities outside of my degree have given me an insight into organising events, taking on more responsibility and assisting with fundraising.

“I believe the off-campus practical experiences are an important part of the whole student experience and  there’s ample opportunity here.

“My degree and my extracurricular involvement will set me apart from others back home in South Africa as I will have had access to world class facilities and teachers and will be qualified to work in a number of countries,” Johannes said. “After graduating, I plan on working in South Africa for a couple of years and then go on to do
an internship at Cornell in avian medicine.”

Since arriving in Australia, Johannes has now achieved one of his dreams - to see cockatoos in the wild.

He now regularly sends his father, a successful avian specialist in South Africa, images of the diverse wild birdlife that he captures on camera around the Gatton campus.

Karli Koellegger
Marketing Manager
School of Veterinary Science
University of Queensland (Australia)

For more information on studying Vet Science, see the new issue of i-MHS.

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