10 things to consider when applying for vet school abroad

For some of us, we know exactly what we want to be when we "grow up," and many veterinarians out there likely knew they wanted to go into this profession at an early age, too.

In fact, I had once thought to become a veterinarian myself as a fellow dog lover (current dog mom to two silly golden retrievers)--until I learned that being a vet wasn't just about saving animals--and that my squeamishness around blood did not really mesh with the whole medical side of things.

But one thing future vets may not know about is about the possibility of doing the entire veterinary program abroad--and just how beneficial this can be.

So if you're one of those people who already knows that becoming a veterinarian is your calling, here are some things to consider when applying for your vet program overseas.

The University of Sydney
The University of Sydney

Program length

Did you know you can apply for vet school abroad straight out of high school? Veterinary degrees abroad range in duration between five and six years.

That's a significant savings in time and tuition considering the typical path in the U.S. is a 4-year undergraduate degree followed by a 4-year DVM.

Degree awarded

Students studying vet medicine overseas typically graduate with either a Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine, Bachelor of Veterinary Science or Doctor of Veterinary Medicine.

It's worth noting that all are equivalent and recognizable diplomas in the U.S., but some students just prefer having the title of "Doctor."

And in some cases, there are programs that award both the bachelor's and doctorate.

Study what you (hopefully) love

There's nothing worse than being forced to fulfil general education requirements over the first couple years of college just because the education system in the U.S. wants to try to force its graduates into becoming "well-rounded people."

But what about specialists?

When you enroll in a vet program abroad, you're jumping straight into the subjects that matter for your future career.

Keep in mind this also means there is less flexibility should you decide you don't really love it.

School, or a 9-5 job?

Becoming a veterinarian takes commitment, and nothing is more evident of this than the fact that your coursework in college may start to look like more of a 9-5 job than the usual college experience.

This is because you'll spend time in lectures, labs, most likely a local/campus animal clinic and in rotations.

And then you'll have to keep up with the readings, papers and exams--all the while watching your friend studying politics enjoy having much more free time.

It's important to have a realistic understanding of not only the profession but also the university experience.

It takes people skills, too

For those that are going into the profession because they prefer to work with animals over humans--think again.

Veterinarians have to be a special breed because not only do they have to have a way with animals, but maybe more importantly, they also have to have a way with people--even if people aren't exactly the patients being treated.

How else are you going to communicate with someone going through the process of losing their pet?