When I was choosing a country in which to study abroad, my mum gave me a great piece of advice. She said not to pick a country for the primary reason of being able to get new veterinary or animal experiences there and to good to a country for the culture. As a pre-veterinary student and talking with others, I felt pressure to get veterinary or animal experience wherever I went. I also had quite an extensive decision process before deciding on Scotland. Originally, I wanted to study abroad in Scotland because I have wanted to live in the U.K. for a while, was very interested in Scottish culture, and Scottish music is one of the ancestors of Old Time folk music, which I play. The decision felt right in both my gut and my heart, so I went with it. As to the possibility of getting veterinary or animal experience in Scotland, I thought that if it was supposed to happen that it would happen.
Well, in all regards the experience was more than I could have possibly imagined.
I still have a little over two months left, but already, it has been more than I could have ever hoped. I’ve met many different people of many different nationalities, made really interesting friends, traveled around Scotland, and have traveled to Ireland with a dear friend from UNCG and LIHC who is currently pursuing her masters at St. Andrews University. And, the universe gave an amazing gift in the way of veterinary/animal experience. I recently finished volunteering for two months on a Lleyn sheep farm in Cupar, Fife just south of St. Andrews. I was able to stay almost half my week there every week with the farmer and his wife. It was one of, if not the best animal experiences of my undergraduate career and my life. I got to be right in the thick of it before lambing and during lambing and learn so much, including how to internally assist an ewe with giving birth. Equally enjoyable and enlightening was the opportunity to live with and get to know the farmer and his wife. I fell in love with sheep and North Fife on the farm and miss it and the farmer and his wife very much. I won’t forget this experience for a very, very long time.
After finals, I will be doing a home stay on a Highland Cow and sheep farm (with Scottish Blackface Sheep) near Dunoon, Arygll and Bute in Western Scotland. Until then, studying for finals awaits.