As Veterinary Medicine gains more popularity, the competitiveness for a spot in vet schools also increases, particularly for more intense degrees such as the Graduate Accelerated Veterinary Medicine course. When applying, it is of essence to include a wide range of placements and experiences in your CV, and that can also include experiences external to that of husbandry and clinical placements! When I was in my first year of the BioVeterinary Sciences course, I managed to get the opportunity to attend the London Vet Show held at Excel London as a volunteer from RVC, and it proved to be a very rewarding and stimulating 2-day experience! There were more than 150 exhibitors from all over the world, and you can see some giants in the industry, such as the British Veterinary Association, the RVC, and the British Veterinary Zoological Society (BVZS)!
As a Volunteer
As a volunteer, I was stationed at various lecture theatres, and helped out with handing out mics for questions after each talk. We could pick from available theatres based on our interests, and I was stationed at the IDEXX Diagnostics theatre so I could listen in on the newest veterinary diagnostic technologies! Another good thing about working there as a delegate was that I could tour around the whole convention during my break times, and pop in to listen to talks that I find interesting! I signed up for talks organised by Zoetis – a global animal health company that that does a variety of work, such as vaccine development in both farm and companion animals. I also listened in to lectures by professionals on veterinary techniques such as acupuncture which are relatively novel and quite fascinating!
As a Delegate
The biggest reward from my experience was two free tickets for the following years’ London Vet Show! I attended as a delegate for free the following year and exposed myself to an even wider range of veterinary topics and specialist professions. The multitude of participating companies, such as orthopaedics and advanced anaesthesia specialists, helped massively in solidifying my decision to pursue Veterinary Medicine, and opened my eyes to multiple paths that I can venture down on as a veterinarian.
Cruising around as a delegate also supplied me with an excellent chance to acquire contacts from practices or veterinarians for future placements. There were some exhibitors that specialise in areas such as hydrotherapy and dental services, and after asking around, I acquired a contact from a behaviour specialist practice in Chester, and later went for a one-week placement! Apart from companies that specialise in clinical and diagnostic aspects, there were also organisations such as Cats Protection that welcome people looking for husbandry placements or volunteer experiences.
In the Long Run
My invaluable experience at the London Vet Show widened my horizons and understanding of the veterinary industry, allowing me to ascertain my path as an aspiring veterinarian while providing me with extensive opportunities to increase my exposure and enrich my CV. I was grateful to be able to talk about this experience during my Accelerated Veterinary Medicine interviews and felt that it helped to effectively highlight my motivation and passion towards being a veterinarian. As such, I definitely recommend signing up for experiences that are external to husbandry placements! It feels intensely fun to put yourself in such a stimulating environment that also benefits you at the same time!