5 Ways To Combine Your Travel Bug & Your Veterinary Career
Many Veterinary professionals dream of spending a year or two traveling the world. However, they rarely realize their dreams because they are strongly connected to their careers and want to keep their clinical skills sharp. If you have experienced these conflicting desires, do not despair. Traveling abroad, and caring for animals as a veterinary professional, are no longer mutually exclusive activities. Here are five ways to combine your sense of wanderlust with your veterinary career.
Participate in a veterinary mission
“Animals are a bridge to relationships. Whether at a clinic in urban America, a veterinary school in Bolivia, the countryside of Mongolia or serving the Cherokee Nation, relationships are formed over the care of an animal. Trust is built, hearts are shared, and a seed is planted for the Kingdom of Christ.”
– Christian Veterinary Mission
Veterinary missions are well-suited for veterinarians, vet nurses, and technicians who are seeking a way to satisfy their desire to help animals and their yearning for religious or spiritual fulfillment. Participating in a veterinary mission offers a host of advantages, including the following:
- Choose from long-term or short-term travel opportunities
- Enjoy the camaraderie of working with a team of like-minded professionals in a spiritual capacity
- Learn new techniques that are used to care for animals in developing countries
Volunteer for a disaster relief organization
“World Vets develops, implements and manages international veterinary and disaster relief programs to help animals, educate people and have a positive impact on communities… World Vets is able to improve the lives of thousands of animals each year by providing free veterinary care through our dedicated volunteer force of over 4,000 individuals…”
– WorldVets International Aid for Animals
Disaster relief organizations play a key role in providing desperately needed medical care for animals that are injured or displaced during natural disasters. When a natural disaster strikes, animals are often displaced and do not know where to turn for food, water, or shelter. Wildfires, floods, tornadoes, and other natural disasters can leave animals vulnerable to a host of injuries, including the following:
- Dehydration and malnutrition
- Respiratory distress due to smoke inhalation
- Infections that develop as a result of injury
- Fractured bones
Launch an international leadership project
A growing number of veterinarians are applying their skills to make a difference in the lives of animals and people. They travel abroad to impoverished areas suffering from a lack of food and resources that occurs due to a loss of local livestock. These professionals establish educational programs to help local residents properly care for their livestock and companion animals. The Sauti Moja project in Kenya, for instance, is designed to provide women with the skills and resources to keep their animals alive. Veterinary professionals who work in this capacity help local residents gain confidence and learn to work together in multi-ethnic groups to cope with drought and livestock shortages.
Complete an internship or fellowship overseas
“Few fields are as varied as veterinary medicine, and an internship abroad offers the opportunity to learn how vets around the world meet the challenges of their environments and communities. Interns gain valuable experience working directly with animals and their caretakers, and the experience of living and working abroad teaches interns that adaptability is crucial to veterinary work.”
– World Endeavors
Traveling abroad to complete an internship or fellowship enables you to further your education and gain valuable experience while enjoying the thrill of living in another country. Organizations such as World Endeavors offer existing and aspiring veterinarians and vet nurses the chance to gain hands-on experience working alongside seasoned veterinary professionals who care for livestock, exotic species, domestic animals, and wild animals. Interns who meet the proper requirements are even able to prescribe medications under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian.
Work for a veterinary equipment company
The veterinary equipment market is exploding as pet ownership increases across the globe. Experts project the veterinary equipment market to reach $2.4 billion by the year 2023. Much of this growth is occurring in developing nations as animals play an increasingly vital role in everyday life. Working for a veterinary equipment company offers the following travel opportunities for vet nurses and techs:
- The chance to exhibit cutting-edge animal care products at veterinary trade shows across the globe
- The opportunity to travel to overseas locations to facilitate equipment installations and training
- Travel to overseas equipment manufacturers to participate in veterinary product design opportunities
Are there any special skills or qualifications required?
People who dedicate their time to the five types of work outlined above often possess a wide range of skills and expertise. A workforce or volunteer group needs a range of talent and skills such as Veterinarians, Licensed Vet Technicians, Vet Nurses, non-licensed Vet Technicians, Veterinary Educators, and Veterinary Students who work in the field of Veterinary Medicine and have a desire to travel. Most organizations welcome willing volunteers, as long as they are passionate about providing medical care and making a difference in the lives of animals. Always double check the local qualification requirements just to be on the safe side.
The Bottom Line
Following your heart’s desire to travel abroad and pursuing a beloved career in Veterinary Medicine are two passions that can be realized simultaneously. Whether you participate in a medical mission, complete an overseas internship, or volunteer for a disaster relief organization, you can make a profound difference in the lives of animals while satisfying your desire to travel across the globe. And maybe make a profound change for yourself as well.
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