What it’s like studying Veterinary Science at Murdoch University
Many of our students at Murdoch Institute of Technology come to us to follow their dream of becoming a qualified vet. To do so, you’ll need to complete a Bachelor of Science (Veterinary Biology) which progresses into an integrated Doctor of Veterinary Medicine.
With the Veterinary School’s high rankings and so many animal lovers around, it has quickly become one of the most popular courses at Murdoch University. So, how does the dream of studying Vet Science match with reality? To find out, we caught up with Dawn Chung, a Veterinary Science student currently in her first year at Murdoch University. Originally from Hong Kong, she started her journey with us at MIT, and we’re very proud to see her doing so well in her degree.
Please tell us a little about yourself.
I was born in Hong Kong and lived the first 18 years of my life there before coming to Australia. I lived with my mum, my grandma, and two lovely but naughty cats. The decision to study overseas was quite challenging for me as I have always been attached to my family.
Like many others who aim to get into Veterinary School, I have had my vet dream since childhood. I hoped to be a zookeeper initially (inspired by Steve Irwin, of course!) but I discovered that would be a challenge with no zoos being in Hong Kong.
Why did you decide to come to Australia and MIT?
Unfortunately, there was no vet school in Hong Kong, so I decided to study overseas for a chance to make my dream come true. Australia was of high interest as many registered vets in Hong Kong have graduated from Australia.
The time difference with Hong Kong is very little, so I could easily keep in touch with my friends and family. So, when I found out about the pathway to Murdoch University via MIT, I thought that it was an excellent idea to give it a try. This is why I’m here now.
How has your experience been coming to MIT and Australia? What are the challenges and the things you’ve enjoyed?
My last few years in secondary school were tiring. Coming to Australia gave me a chance to take a deep breath and have a good rest.
The most considerable challenge for me was adapting to an entirely new lifestyle and culture. Being away from family means you are responsible for doing everything yourself.
While Perth may not be as exciting as Hong Kong, it is a beautiful place to learn how to slow down the pace and enjoy life, while also focusing on my studies. From an animal lover’s perspective, one bonus is the wildlife that can only be found here in Australia. One of my favourites are the magpies.
How was your experience of progressing into Murdoch University?
I graduated from MIT in May 2016 and decided to take a half-year break before moving onto university. During that time, I went back to Hong Kong and worked as a Vet Assistant in a small animal clinic. I worked there for half a year and then applied for direct entry into the Veterinary Science course.
Waiting for the application result was tedious. However, when that moment comes, you know everything you’ve worked hard for is paying off! I can’t express how excited I was when I finally receive the message from MU that I was accepted into Vet School.
Has it been difficult adapting from MIT to MU?
The much larger class size at MU means that you have more distance from your teachers, which is a little frustrating at first However, most lecturers and tutors are very approachable. Often are willing to answer your questions and doubts when you have the courage to send them an email.
I found the Communication 1 unit at MIT provided perfect preparation for the academic writing assignments. Also, I feel blessed to receive so much support from the MIT staff while studying at MU – Kelly, Lucas, Russell; they are all friendly and willing to lend you their hand when you need help.
The other great thing is that as MIT is situated in the Murdoch University campus, you have the chance to get familiar with the different buildings and facilities.
How is your course going now? Are you enjoying your studies?
I’m glad that I’ve survived semester one. Semester two is getting busier, with lots of content in each and every unit. I just had my first ever experience on handling farm animals, which was great fun. We got to learn how to flip sheep, age sheep, draw blood from sheep…you name it. It is safe to say I’m in love with sheep, now! It’s exhausting, but exciting and rewarding, especially for a city girl who had only seen sheep on a trip to Mongolia six years ago.
What are your hopes for the future?
My aspiration is to work as a veterinarian in Hong Kong. I am interested in small animals, exotics, and wildlife. It would be great if I could specialise in any one of these areas in my career. But until then, there is still a long, long way to go.
My advice to any student who plans to study Veterinary Science would be to volunteer or get some experience in a clinic. Working as a vet sounds fun (imagine working with all those fluffy, cute, friendly animals) but it is always easier said than done.
It can be heart-breaking to see owners refusing to listen to the doctors’ suggestions, vets under constant pressure and most importantly, animals suffering despite all the efforts you’ve made. So, get yourself into the field before stepping into vet school and make sure you’re really passionate about being a vet and what it involves.
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