Study Veterinary Medicine Abroad

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A Guide to Studying Veterinary Medicine Abroad

If you plan on studying veterinary medicine you’re obviously a animal lover and the outdoors, which means study abroad may be made for you. Pre-vet students can major in anything, but typically they choose a natural science, such as Biology or Zoology. These are exciting subjects to study abroad, but if they don’t work out there are still plenty of electives you can take abroad too. Either way, be sure your path to vet school includes studying veterinary science abroad, because it will give you the chance to see the animals you love in their native habitats!

Why Study Vet Med Abroad

Acceptance to veterinary school is becoming more and more competitive, with only 40 percent of applicants being accepted, so hands-on experience is becoming more important. It not only makes you stand out on an application, but can also help you know that veterinary medicine is definitely the career path you want to follow. There are many different specialties in veterinary medicine too, so international experience can help you decide which area you would like to specialize in. Many veterinary study abroad programs allow students to work alongside experienced veterinarians and with unique animal populations. Studying veterinary medicine abroad will allow students to learn more the day-to-activities of their future profession as well as take interesting courses in some of the most diverse areas of the world.


South Africa is one of the top places to study abroad–period, but its environment and natural resources make it even more attractive to animal and nature lovers. With over two dozen wildlife reserves and game parks, many universities are actually located near protected areas. Students who study veterinary science in South Africa get to see lions, giraffes, zebras, and elephant roaming through their native habitats and witness their true behaviors. Not to mention the country offers a great climate and world renowned rock climbing and surfing. 

Costa Rica has a few tricks up its beautiful green sleeve even though it is one of the most visited locations on Earth. Over 25 percent of Costa Rica is protected land and they put a great value on being home to an immense amount of biodiversity. Costa Rica also has an incredible higher education system–the best in Central America. Costa Rica places such a value on its environment that it has made a vow to sustainability. Dedicating itself to this concept means Costa Rica is moving forward as the world’s leader in new methods of preservation. It is also famous for study abroad programs that include unique research opportunities and field work that take student out into the environment. 

Australia is a vast and wild adventure that includes the Great Barrier Reef, pristine beaches, kangaroos, wallabies, and more. While there are plenty of cute and cuddly animals, Australia is also home to some of the most fascinating and perhaps dangerous creatures on Earth, making for an excellent place to study veterinary science or take part in any animal research. The nation’s shoreline and reef systems have made it particularly popular for studying marine biology, but it is a great location for any natural science.

Courses & Programs

Biology & Marine Biology are ideal courses to take while studying abroad. Not only do they let you see concepts come to life all around you, but these courses offer great opportunities for research and real experience, both of which will help you look good when applying to veterinary school. Science courses can often include hours in the lab as does research, but study abroad programs naturally and purposefully add excitement to the mix. Marine biology study abroad is often paired with scuba diving certifications, boat trips, nature walks, and island excursions.

Conservation & Wildlife programs are also an especially great ways to get hands-on experience with various animals while studying abroad. Work firsthand against the loss of habitat for many species as a result of development. Some field work in conservation projects will include rescuing animals or assisting in their recovery. Experience working with animals is required by some veterinary schools, but even if it is not a requirement, the direct experience will make you a more competitive applicant. Many conservation programs include not only specialized projects, but also seminars and lectures from experts in the local environment or related fields.

Humanities & Social Sciences are typically part of your general education courses, but are also required for applying for veterinary school. They include the courses such as music, theater, languages, anthropology, and history all of which are great courses to take abroad because there is so much variety available. These are also courses that let you dive into the culture and really learn the place you decide to study abroad. For example, you can choose to take an African music class, Spanish, or French literature.

Benefits & Challenges

Science Course Schedules. Studying science abroad can sometimes mean being on a strict academic schedule. Most courses need to be taken in a specific order, some are only offered a certain semester, etc. This can make choosing your courses abroad a little more challenging, but just be sure to work closely with your academic advisor and program provider.

Professional Experience. A career in veterinary medicine offers many opportunities to work in environments all over the world either helping or learning animals. If intensive field work, research, or work with a certain species is appealing to you, study abroad is how to start.

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A Guide To
Studying Veterinary Medicine Abroad


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