Jun 20, 2018
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I’m a first-year university student, studying for a zoology major, and am aiming for vet school down the line. I’d love to work (eventually) at a zoo or with exotics- I’ve always been really fascinated by marine life, and so my ideal job would most likely be an aquatic veterinarian. Pretty niche I know, but it’s something to aim for that seriously gets me excited.

It’s no secret that animal experience is super important when you’re thinking of applying to vet schools- and I’ve found that Melbourne aquarium is offering an “Animal Husbandry: 101” program, and according to Melbourne Aquarium's website:

"Activities include a Shark Dive in the 2.2 million litre Oceanarium, a one-on-one session with SEA LIFE Melbourne's Vet, animal behavioral training and husbandry assistance, animal enrichment activities, animal feeds and assisting with maintaining exhibits."

I think it would be an amazing chance to see what vets in aquariums do on a daily basis (a one of one with the vet is a huge plus), get a bit of experience to give me a foot in the door for volunteer positions, maaaaybe make some contacts, etc.

As great as all this is- it’s expensive. $1299 for a week placement, and the fact that entry to the program is not academic based, but rather depends on cash, is a bit of a concern for me. Although I’ve saved for this, I worry it may lead to me being taken less seriously, because there’s no real proof of my ability/ interest beyond the fact that I can pay the fee.

If anyone has completed this placement, or knows someone who has, I would love to hear about your experience. What you did, your thoughts and if it was it what you expected? Also, can any vets comment on what they’d think if they saw this placement on a candidate’s resume?
 
Jan 18, 2006
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The optimistic side of me thinks that sounds super cool. The pessimistic side says it sounds like they are looking for people to pay exorbitant amounts of money to scrub tanks and watch some feedings for a week.

If I saw it on a resume, I'd think it was kind of neat (assuming I didn't know it was just based on $). However, since it is only a week, not incredibly amazing.

That's a tough one if you're short on opportunity, though.
 

flameshock

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That is incredibly expensive. Can you do any of this as a volunteer and work y0ur way up?
 
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Ceke2002

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Don't quote me on this, because I don't actually work for Melbourne Aquarium (my husband and I are just frequent visitors to the exhibition) - but, my understanding is that the Animal Husbandry program is open to both the public & tertiary students for the stated fee. I believe they have voluntary placements available for tertiary students as well, but they are extremely limited so the paid program I guess gives those who have missed out on scoring a place a chance to at least see some of the behind the scenes stuff. Also bear in mind the amount of conservation and rescue work the aquarium does as well, on top of its operating costs.

Do you offer Tertiary Education and Tourism Placements at SEA LIFE Melbourne?

"SEA LIFE Melbourne offers the opportunity for tertiary students to complete a certain amount of hours in practical work placements within our business. Currently we are accepting students from selected Victorian tertiary institutions studying in fields including Education and Tourism. Places are limited and we run by a case by case basis."

Veterinary Clinical Experience:

Applications for veterinary clinical experience are accepted for students undertaking their final year of veterinary school. Please send your academic transcript and resume to (email) for consideration. Availability is limited and advised to apply at least one year in advance.
 
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Jun 20, 2018
3
1
The optimistic side of me thinks that sounds super cool. The pessimistic side says it sounds like they are looking for people to pay exorbitant amounts of money to scrub tanks and watch some feedings for a week.

If I saw it on a resume, I'd think it was kind of neat (assuming I didn't know it was just based on $). However, since it is only a week, not incredibly amazing.

That's a tough one if you're short on opportunity, though.
My thoughts exactly- I've also heard that getting your first volunteering/ shadowing opportunity is the hardest, so was also considering that it might just be enough animal experience to make that a bit easier.
 
Jun 20, 2018
3
1
Don't quote me on this, because I don't actually work for Melbourne Aquarium (my husband and I are just frequent visitors to the exhibition) - but, my understanding is that the Animal Husbandry program is open to both the public & tertiary students for the stated fee. I believe they have voluntary placements available for tertiary students as well, but they are extremely limited so the paid program I guess gives those who have missed out on scoring a place a chance to at least see some of the behind the scenes stuff. Also bear in mind the amount of conservation and rescue work the aquarium does as well, on top of its operating costs.

"SEA LIFE Melbourne offers the opportunity for tertiary students to complete a certain amount of hours in practical work placements within our business. Currently we are accepting students from selected Victorian tertiary institutions studying in fields including Education and Tourism. Places are limited and we run by a case by case basis."

Veterinary Clinical Experience:

Applications for veterinary clinical experience are accepted for students undertaking their final year of veterinary school. Please send your academic transcript and resume to (email) for consideration. Availability is limited and advised to apply at least one year in advance.
Good points there, thank you! I didn't really consider the fact that there were other placements on a volunteer basis, because they are currently limited to Education and Tourism. I think it might be worth me contacting the aquarium and asking about placements minus the fee.
 
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RedLauren

CSU CVMBS c/o 2022
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Sep 9, 2016
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Do you have your scuba diving license? I used to clean tanks / feed fish at my local aquarium and a diving license was required for the job. If you don’t have this yet, plan on paying an extra $450+ and 3 or more days of your time depending on what level they require.
 

pinkpuppy9

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Oct 20, 2013
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$1299 for a week placement
Holy hell, that's absurd, even if you live in Australia now! Also, consider the exorbitant travel costs to Australia and back just for a week (assuming you're not in Australia already). Absolutely ridiculous. SeaLife, not to say they aren't a great aquarium, is first and foremost a for-profit business. There is no reasonable explanation as to why it should cost you $1300 for one week of helping their staff. Are they housing you/all meals included/etc? If not, then no. I personally advise against spending your money on that.

If I saw this on a resume, I wouldn't be swayed/impressed tbh (this is coming from someone who has been lucky enough to get a lot of veterinary/animal experience in zoos/aquariums). You paid to go to a weeklong summer camp, essentially. Programs like these are not always as hands on as you hope, and truly are not worth the money. I really urge you not to feel the pressure to shell out cash just to beef up your resume/application. Plus, one week of anything will rarely be enough to make you stand out.

You'd be better off volunteering at a rehab center that sees marine life (CROW is a very well known center), and putting this $1300 toward travel/housing associated with something like that.
 
Jun 18, 2020
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Psychologist
hmm, if I saw something like this on a resume I'd thought that this person tries his best to get some points but frankly, there are programs much better than this, and even free.Try and search real volunteer programs like saving sea lions or so on. As regarding the marine subject I can say that from my experience, it's not so fun. As a volunteer at a place with a lot of aquariums my job was to keep them clean and beautiful. I had to take care even of rocks! Gladly I found this site https://arcreef.com where is written everything about live rocks and what to do with them.
 
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