Florida Veterinary Students See the World

Lectures, labs, and trips to exotic locations are all a part of the veterinary education for some students at the University of Florida's college of veterinary medicine.

The college offers an extensive program in international veterinary medicine, sending 25 to 30 students abroad each year. These students have worked in veterinary hospitals and outreach programs in South America, the Caribbean, the Middle East, and Europe over the last three years.

"The Office of International Programs (OIP) presents students with the opportunity to gain perspective and experience outside their own culture and comfort zone, while also continuing their veterinary education and receiving credit recognition for their efforts," said Traci Krueger, DVM, program coordinator for the OIP. "Additionally, they have the opportunity to gain experience with foreign animal diseases, which would not be possible within the United States."

UF Students

UF students have to opportunity to do their externships outside the United States. These students worked in Ecuador.

In some cases, the students travel in small groups with University of Florida instructors for one- to four-week trips. Other students travel independently and work with local veterinarians or in foreign veterinary colleges.

Jeremy Campfield, a third-year veterinary student the college, will travel to Morocco independently in May. Campfield will spend a month working with the American Fondouk hospital (operated by the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, MSPCA), a full-service animal hospital treating 50-100 animals every day.

Campfield says the article "At Work in Morocco," published in the June 2006 issue of The Horse, was the inspiration for his trip. This article highlighted the plight of working equids in Morocco, and the work done by veterinary hospitals in the area, including the American Fondouk.

"I think I have a pretty good idea of what the equine veterinary industry in the United States does (and of course, there's great variation here), but it seems like the standard of care is so much different over there," Campfield said. "The people over there really depend on their animals for their livelihood. It's just something totally different than I'm used to."

The University's of Florida's international veterinary medicine program is just one aspect of a campus-wide initiative for internationalization--students in other programs at the school have similar opportunities, according to Krueger.

While no annual scholarships are offered for international studies in veterinary medicine, says Krueger, University of Florida veterinary students have taken advantage of programs offered by outside donors, including five students who were able to complete veterinary research projects in Chile and Ecuador through scholarships provided by Merial. Some locations also offer assistance in the form of housing, food, and in-country transportation.

For more information on the University of Florida's international veterinary medicine program, see www.vetmed.ufl.edu/stsvcs.    

About the Author

Erin Ryder

Erin Ryder is a former news editor of The Horse: Your Guide To Equine Health Care. She owns a portly gray gelding named Duncan and dabbles in several equestrian disciplines, with an emphasis on dressage.

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