“Do you come from a land down under? Where women glow and men plunder?” Can’t you hear, can’t you hear the thunder? You better run; you better take cover.” Have these ever-so-famous 80s lyrics ever piqued your curiosity as to what is really going on in the land “down under?” Just what in the world is a vegemite sandwich anyway?
Traveling to other parts of the world has always been a passion of mine. Auburn Abroad has enabled me to visit three very different countries during my career as a vet student. From complete white outs, below freezing temperatures and race horses in Chile to drinking soup straight from the bowl and slurping as a sign of enjoyment for the cook’s benefit in Japan, these experiences are truly memorable treasures I would never have discovered in my classroom or simply reading a text book. As with my other journeys, my latest adventure to Australia was no disappointment.
I participated in an externship at a small animal clinic in Morwell. The clinic specialized mostly in small animals, but I got to see a variety of native animals such as kangaroos, wombats and koalas. While at the clinic I assisted with examinations on Australian native fauna as well as performing routine spays, neuters and dentals. This externship was a wonderful way to learn about veterinary medicine in another country. It made me appreciate some skills I have learned in the US, as well as filled me with ideas I would like to someday incorporate into my own practice.
Next I must tell you about Kylie the Koala. Upon first glance at these animals, you aren’t really sure if you are looking at the critter itself or someone brought a stuffed animal in a cage. Kylie was the first and cutest koala I had ever seen. She was warm, soft and smelled of eucalyptus. After I picked her up, she nuzzled back against me and fell fast asleep. Kylie was one of the many Koalas I got to work with during my externship. I spent a few days with wildlife carriers who rescue injured animals.
While visiting Morwell, one of the veterinarians from the clinic was nice enough to allow me to stay with her. Boarding with her allowed me to get right into the heart of what living in the land down under is really like. I made many friends that I will always remember.
After the externship, I traveled the southeastern coast of Australia and visited Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. I got to camp on Fraser Island. The Australian coast is very backpacker-friendly, and I met many other travelers with interesting stories along the way. Last but not least, I made a quick stop in Fiji on my way back to the U.S. Drinking kava on the island of fire dancers was a surreal ending to a wonderful journey. Through each of these journeys I have gained a knowledge and understanding of other people and their viewpoints that could never be learned in the classroom.