animalrie

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Hi!

I'm currently a junior Biology major hoping to go to vet school. I've been considering studying abroad in Australia for a semester but I'm not 100% sure if I should. I could either go there this spring or next fall but I see some pros and cons to each. For the spring, I would be missing out on an entire semester of shadowing experience with the vets I've been working with this year, which makes me worry about them forgetting about my experiences for rec letters in the fall (though I could start up shadowing again when I return in June). Studying abroad in the spring would also mean I'd have to take Physics II a full year after taking Physics I (not sure if this is a terrible idea or not). But...I've heard spring of junior year is the best time to study abroad usually.

However, if I studied abroad in the fall, I would be out of the country during all of the application shenanigans (I could try to get everything done the summer before). I'm only planning on applying to my in state school, which doesn't host interviews until January, so that wouldn't be a problem. I'd also still be missing out on that semester of shadowing but I could potentially ask for the rec letters the summer before I leave...

Finally, none of the courses I took overseas would count toward vet school prereqs (I emailed the school). I could still potentially take some science courses, but it would mostly be core courses for my degree. Not sure if this would hurt my app.

Sorry for all the details! I guess the bottom line is, would it be wise to study abroad this close to applying? And if so, which semester would be a better time to do it?

Thanks!
 

Gwenevre

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Hmmmm, personally, I'm an advocate for studying abroad, as it diversifies your application and international understanding. What kind of courses would you be taking abroad? And as far as experience hours go, you could potentially find a clinic near your school to volunteer/shadow at. You'd still be building hours and possibly getting another LOR out of it.

I took a 3 week trip touring the equine industry in Ireland, England, and Wales summer after my freshman year. While it was short, it was a great experience that I still hold with me, and I use that experience in my interview to segway into an interest in international opportunities, which brought up some good conversation in my interview.
Since none of these courses will count to your prereqs, how many more of those do you have to go? And would you be comfortable taking a semester between physics? I ask the second part because physics is a tough cookie to crack for some people.

There is no "best" time to study abroad in my opinion; it all depends on the individual's plans. But if I were you, and set on going abroad, I would go in the spring. You'd be back to get some more time in your clinic to get your recommendations and reminders (it's something I did after working for a straight three months before coming back into my clinic), have a brand new experience to talk about in your application, and you'd be around during application time to micromanage everything.

So my bottom line, yes, go abroad if it's something you want to do. Go spring semester. Then come back, work hard with your clinic and finishing your prereqs, and ace your application with a kick arse experience (but make your experience count for something).
 

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I studied abroad the fall semester of my senior year. I worked year-long jobs on campus for my other years in undergrad, so doing it in the spring just didn't fit in my schedule. I took zero classes that counted for vet school, got zero hours of vet experience (barely touched any animals - just sled dogs and reindeer :p), wrote half my application essays while figuring out how the hell to navigate Finland, and I absolutely wouldn't change a thing.

Don't look at it as something that helps or hurts your application. Make sure you plan well (get the classes you need done and such), but if you want to study abroad, just do it. When talking to people who graduated college, I've never spoken to somebody who regretted going abroad, and I've talked to many people who regretted not doing it. It's so worth it.
 

kcoughli

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OMG DO IT!! I cannot stress enough that studying abroad (in Australia second semester junior year :p) was by far the best decision I made in undergrad. You rarely get opportunities to do amazing adventures like living in another country for 4-5 months in the "real" world and college is all about living, trying new things, gaining an entire plethora of new experiences. I studied at Murdoch and was millimeters from applying to the vet school there just because I wanted to go back (finances and the fact that its a 5 year program are the only things that held me back).

But seriously, do it. You can make it work. Granted I took 4 years off between undergrad and vet school and did not have all my pre-reqs done when I got my BA, but still, absolutely no regrets (and none of that was because I studied abroad, just because I kept changing my mind in undergrad).
 

Fly Racing

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My study abroad was by far the best thing I did in undergrad from multiple perspectives. I did go the spring of my junior year and it worked out seamlessly. None of my classes counted for anything (except one vet school added my random math course in their science GPA) I split up physics and ochem and physics really didn't overlap so much as ochem did. Physics I and II could probably stand alone when well taught. I wouldn't worry about missed "experiences" unless your application is lacking there. 4 months is really not that long and the vets you have a relationship with will likely welcome you back with open arms. The only thing I would change about my study abroad is I would have signed up for "easier" courses rather than all upper division courses and a math course with calculus as a prereq (what was I thinking?). I spent way too much time on academics and missed out on some once in a life time opportunities because of it.
 
Jun 2, 2014
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Hi!

I'm currently a junior Biology major hoping to go to vet school. I've been considering studying abroad in Australia for a semester but I'm not 100% sure if I should. I could either go there this spring or next fall but I see some pros and cons to each. For the spring, I would be missing out on an entire semester of shadowing experience with the vets I've been working with this year, which makes me worry about them forgetting about my experiences for rec letters in the fall (though I could start up shadowing again when I return in June). Studying abroad in the spring would also mean I'd have to take Physics II a full year after taking Physics I (not sure if this is a terrible idea or not). But...I've heard spring of junior year is the best time to study abroad usually.

However, if I studied abroad in the fall, I would be out of the country during all of the application shenanigans (I could try to get everything done the summer before). I'm only planning on applying to my in state school, which doesn't host interviews until January, so that wouldn't be a problem. I'd also still be missing out on that semester of shadowing but I could potentially ask for the rec letters the summer before I leave...

Finally, none of the courses I took overseas would count toward vet school prereqs (I emailed the school). I could still potentially take some science courses, but it would mostly be core courses for my degree. Not sure if this would hurt my app.

Sorry for all the details! I guess the bottom line is, would it be wise to study abroad this close to applying? And if so, which semester would be a better time to do it?

Thanks!
At the school where I got my Bachelor's studying abroad was a mandatory requirement to graduate. We had three options - we could go for an entire semester and attend a school abroad, we could go for a one month faculty led trip over the summer or we could enroll in a Canadian studies course which had several trips to various cities in Canada throughout the semester (I'm located close to the NY-Ontario border). I went on a one month summer trip to Italy and it was probably the most amazing month of my life. One of the biggest regrets I have from undergrad (aside from not working harder to get better grades - which I'm making up for now grrr) is not studying abroad for an entire semester. If you have the opportunity please don't miss out. I would, however, definitely do it as soon as you can (rather than later).

I personally don't think taking Physics I and II so far apart will be an issue. Physics II really has nothing to do with Physics I (imo). As for missing out on shadowing, why not try to arrange some shadowing while you're overseas? You could also try to find a shelter to volunteer at. I'm sure you can find tons of opportunities to participate in activities that will look good on your app. :)
 

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DO IT!!!!

I spent my junior spring in Aussieland and it was one of the best experiences I ever had. Also pushed me to want to study abroad for vet school.

I don't know why your classes wouldn't count towards pre-reqs....mine certainly did. I think I got a stats class, two upper level bios, and a liberal arts. It also helped my GPA a ton.
 

orca2011

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DO IT!!!

I spent my entire year abroad in England and it's one of the best decisions I've ever made. I actually miss England to this day and hope I get the chance to go back. Your experiences while you're abroad really shape you as a person and make you grow as you encounter so many different situations.

As for classes, I was lucky in that all my courses transferred backed to my undergrad and I never even thought to ask any vet schools if they counted they for my pre-req (they all did except Micro at certain schools cause it transferred over as 2.5 credits instead of the 3-4 I needed for some schools). I was able to take Biochem, Physics, Micro and two other bio classes that counted as bio electives, however that was something I looked into when I was looking at undergrad schools because I knew I wanted to do at least a semester abroad. The grading system over there also worked in my favor so it was a GPA boost for me. However, I have heard of classes not transferring to your undergrad transcript, but I'd think you'd still be able to get them to count as vet school pre-reqs. You might have to submit a school transcript to this organization that evaluates them and recalculates everything on the US system to get the accurate number of credits, but I would think they'd still count.

Out of curiosity, which school in Australia are you thinking of going to? I have a friend who studied abroad there and pretty sure she took some science classes and she's now at Cornell in her 3rd year of vet school. I also have a few classmates/friends here than went to New Zealand, but I know they applied to a few schools and their classes were accepted.
 
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LetItSnow

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I'm with the 'do it' crowd. If you can afford it the experience of being abroad is well worth it. You might have to work hard to make it work with getting your application in and yes, it may force you to take a hit on hours/experience accumulation, but in the long run: worth it.

I didn't study abroad, but I did live in Brazil for a year doing medical work in the favelas around Rio de Janeiro ... easily one of the best, most memorable experiences of my life. Not the most fun, but that's a different story. :)
 
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animalrie

animalrie

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Thanks so much for all of the encouragement guys! I'm meeting with a study abroad advisor soon to see if I can make this work.

Hmmmm, personally, I'm an advocate for studying abroad, as it diversifies your application and international understanding. What kind of courses would you be taking abroad? And as far as experience hours go, you could potentially find a clinic near your school to volunteer/shadow at. You'd still be building hours and possibly getting another LOR out of it.

I took a 3 week trip touring the equine industry in Ireland, England, and Wales summer after my freshman year. While it was short, it was a great experience that I still hold with me, and I use that experience in my interview to segway into an interest in international opportunities, which brought up some good conversation in my interview.
Since none of these courses will count to your prereqs, how many more of those do you have to go? And would you be comfortable taking a semester between physics? I ask the second part because physics is a tough cookie to crack for some people.
The courses I was thinking of taking abroad are ecology, my arts credit, a animal welfare course, and something else...maybe molecular bio? As Fly Racing mentioned, I don't want to take too much tough courses while away so I'm not bogged down studying all the time. I don't have very many pre reqs left but the physics worries me a bit. Hopefully everyone is right about not having to take it back to back.

DO IT!!!

I spent my entire year abroad in England and it's one of the best decisions I've ever made. I actually miss England to this day and hope I get the chance to go back. You're experiences while you're abroad really shape you as a person and make you grow as you encounter so many different situations.

As for classes, I was lucky in that all my courses transferred backed to my undergrad and I never even thought to ask any vet schools if they counted they for my pre-req (they all did except Micro at certain schools cause it transferred over as 2.5 credits instead of the 3-4 I needed for some schools). I was able to take Biochem, Physics, Micro and two other bio classes that counted as bio electives, however that was something I looked into when I was looking at undergrad schools because I knew I wanted to do at least a semester abroad. The grading system over there also worked in my favor so it was a GPA boost for me. However, I have heard of classes not transferring to your undergrad transcript, but I'd think you'd still be able to get them to count as vet school pre-reqs. You might have to submit a school transcript to this organization that evaluates them and recalculates everything on the US system to get the accurate number of credits, but I would think they'd still count.

Out of curiosity, which school in Australia are you thinking of going to? I have a friend who studied abroad there and pretty sure she took some science classes and she's now at Cornell in her 3rd year of vet school. I also have a few classmates/friends here than went to New Zealand, but I know they applied to a few schools and their classes were accepted.
That's awesome that your credits transferred. Maybe the admissions counselor didn't understand that the credits would be accepted at my U.S. school...I was thinking of going to either University of Sydney or University of Melbourne as my school has exchange programs with both of those. Which school did your friend go to?
 

orca2011

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Thanks so much for all of the encouragement guys! I'm meeting with a study abroad advisor soon to see if I can make this work.



The courses I was thinking of taking abroad are ecology, my arts credit, a animal welfare course, and something else...maybe molecular bio? As Fly Racing mentioned, I don't want to take too much tough courses while away so I'm not bogged down studying all the time. I don't have very many pre reqs left but the physics worries me a bit. Hopefully everyone is right about not having to take it back to back.



That's awesome that your credits transferred. Maybe the admissions counselor didn't understand that the credits would be accepted at my U.S. school...I was thinking of going to either University of Sydney or University of Melbourne as my school has exchange programs with both of those. Which school did your friend go to?
Monash
 
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shortnsweet

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Thanks so much for all of the encouragement guys! I'm meeting with a study abroad advisor soon to see if I can make this work.



The courses I was thinking of taking abroad are ecology, my arts credit, a animal welfare course, and something else...maybe molecular bio? As Fly Racing mentioned, I don't want to take too much tough courses while away so I'm not bogged down studying all the time. I don't have very many pre reqs left but the physics worries me a bit. Hopefully everyone is right about not having to take it back to back.



That's awesome that your credits transferred. Maybe the admissions counselor didn't understand that the credits would be accepted at my U.S. school...I was thinking of going to either University of Sydney or University of Melbourne as my school has exchange programs with both of those. Which school did your friend go to?
Go to Melbourne. That city was way more fun in my opinion.

Though I will always have a bias towards Brisbane and the University of Queensland.
 

cowgirla

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How do people finance going abroad? Are there programs/scholarships or something? Was I just a poor schmuck in UG? :oops:
I would also like to know this secret. beyond the cost of flying anywhere, no way could i have gotten that kind of time off from work. Couldnt afford to not work. And would have had no idea what to do with my dog
 

Gwenevre

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How do people finance going abroad? Are there programs/scholarships or something? Was I just a poor schmuck in UG? :oops:
Okay, how I did it was I went abroad for 3 weeks in May (3 credit hours), then came back and was taking a summer chem course (4 credit hours), which qualified me for summer financial aid. I did have to pay for my flight, but other than that I had little out of pocket costs.
 
Jun 2, 2014
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How do people finance going abroad? Are there programs/scholarships or something? Was I just a poor schmuck in UG? :oops:
Studying abroad was mandatory in order to graduate for my major so I got credit for it and it was covered by my financial aid. It was a 1 credit hour course during spring semester then 4 weeks abroad over the summer.
 

kcoughli

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How do people finance going abroad? Are there programs/scholarships or something? Was I just a poor schmuck in UG? :oops:
Based on the program I chose and the high cost of my UG, studying abroad was essentially the same price for me as just attending the school (only had to pay for my flight and food while there). While I don't recommend going to an UG that has such a high price tag, luckily I got scholarships that helped with the UG costs (though I still graduated with tens of thousands of dollars in debt). Originally I picked a program that would have cost me $9k in addition to my UG tuition, but when I realized that price tag I went "bargain hunting" for a cheaper program and found the one I went to (James Cook University off the Great Barrier reef was the pricey option, Murdoch University in Perth Western Australia was the place I went, and I don't regret it for an instant). Then I had other expenses because I did go on a couple trips during breaks on that semester, but I worked 2-3 jobs every summer and a couple part time during the school year and just made it work (and accepted the fact that debt will always be a part of my life). And as my dad always says, it's only money (and I realize that's only something you can say when you have some, but I choose not to stress too much about it to the exclusion of living my life). Life is what you make of it.
 

orca2011

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How do people finance going abroad? Are there programs/scholarships or something? Was I just a poor schmuck in UG? :oops:
My school really pushed going abroad (like 90% of juniors went at some point) so that everyone had guaranteed housing all four years. We had a ton of different types of programs which altered how things were paid for/covered, but my program consisted of me basically paying tuition to my undergrad. In return, they paid for my flights back and forth between the UK (two roundtrip flights since I was there a year), my housing, some day trips, a week in Florence and weekend in Paris, and some occasional meals. Then I just used whatever loan/grant money I would have normally used during the school year as I would have normally, but just on UK things.

Some of the other programs, you were responsible for your own flights and all trips you did.
 
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Trilt

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How do people finance going abroad? Are there programs/scholarships or something? Was I just a poor schmuck in UG? :oops:
Got a $1000 scholarship that covered flights and a little more, did a program that exchanged living expenses/tuition with the school abroad so I wasn't paying extra. I saved up money ahead of time, quit all three of my part time jobs to do it and left my betta with my parents. I specifically didn't get any pets in undergrad (beyond Gillbert :)) because I knew I planned on studying abroad.

My school doesn't push it anywhere nearly as hard as some schools (I think maybe 10-20% of people study abroad for a semester? More with short term experience, I'm sure), but it was something that was important to me so I made it work.
 
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animalrie

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Soooo...I'M OFFICIALLY GOING TO AUSTRALIA! (Uni of Syndey!!)
That brings up another question...I've been shadowing 2 vets since this summer and would like letters of rec from both of them for when I apply next fall. I'll continue shadowing them until February when I leave and then will start back up when I get back in July. Should I wait until then to ask for letters of rec or would it be smart to ask before I leave (when I'm still fresh on their minds)?
 
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Congrats! You will not regret it!

I'm not sure that you would be able to have them submit a letter this early, but what I would suggest doing is letting them know that you will be asking for a letter in the future. Tell them that you wanted to ask while you were still fresh in their mind and maybe they'll write the letter now and save a copy so they can have it all set to go when the app opens for the next cycle.
 

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I would also like to know this secret. beyond the cost of flying anywhere, no way could i have gotten that kind of time off from work. Couldnt afford to not work. And would have had no idea what to do with my dog
Same boat here... worked year round to afford living expenses.

To the OP, I think it would be more stressful trying to apply while you are in another country. If you stay local that semester you will be in a similar time zone if you need to call schools, you will be able to check your own snail mail, and you will be able to gently harass your LOR writers in person if need be.