Sydney: An international student’s perspective – Part 1
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Sydney: An international student’s perspective – Part 1

International student Liz Wesson talks about her experiences at the University of Sydney.  Realizing she wanted to do more with her passion for animals, she decided to go back to uni to become a vet.

Deciding on a School

I’ve always had an overwhelming passion to work with animals, and have always been one of those crazy animal lovers.  In the back of my mind, I always knew I’d feel incomplete if I wasn’t working with animals full-time. After realising that I wanted to change careers and become a Vet I needed to find out where I could study and importantly, where was right for me.

The first thing I did, like most, was start with Google.  Where would I go?  I definitely wanted to leave Florida.  I was ready for a fresh start!  I had been living in Florida for 22 years.  Far too long in my opinion…  I had always wanted to study overseas.  Both of my older brothers had lived abroad, and it left me envious.  I thought it would be so exciting to live in another country!  Experience another culture, and move out of my comfort zone.

I began by researching the best veterinary schools in the country.  I knew I had set my expectations high!  The first criterion on my checklist was to find a college that specialized in wildlife.  Next, I began to search for the best veterinary schools on the globe.

I found that if studied at a university accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association I would be able to practice in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia.  I made the decision to apply to three schools in the U.S. and one college overseas since the application through the American Veterinary Medical Colleges was quite expensive.  I researched places I had always wanted to live…London, Melbourne, and Sydney.  Only one university had a wildlife hospital, and also some specialization in wildlife.  As I began to dig into the University of Sydney, I found the school was very highly regarded and ranked in the top 100 universities in the world, #36 to be exact (U.S.News 2011).  The year I began, the veterinary program was in its 100th year.

About Liz

Hi everyone,  I’ve been asked by the university to write a series of blogs about my personal international student experiences.  This is the first of many…

I’m hoping I can alleviate some of the anxieties that may be hindering you from studying abroad and possibly inspire you to experience it for yourself.  Studying at Sydney has been the most important experience of my life, and has changed me in so many ways.

I’ll give you a brief history of my past before arriving in Sydney.   After receiving my Bachelor’s degree in Biology from the University of Central Florida I worked with a non-profit organization in bat research and education, and worked with multiple wildlife sanctuaries for ten years.

When I began working for a government-consulting firm as an environmental scientist, I found the work extremely challenging!  I loved the fieldwork but, to my surprise, the office work was extremely technical.  Most of my days I spent analyzing data, writing reports, and creating GIS maps.  In some ways I realized I was technically challenged!  Maybe it was that I just didn’t enjoy it?  I didn’t feel the job was right for me.  I loved the people I worked with but something was missing.

Once I realized my job as an environmental scientist wasn’t for me, I decided to change careers and apply for veterinary school.  I felt like my life was ready for change…