Amanda Tawde and Graeme Shelton recently left behind home in Canada and found themselves on the other side of the world, chasing their dream of studying veterinary science – together.
Self-proclaimed “animal fanatics,” the pair are studying veterinary science at the University of Queensland. “Both of us dreamed of being vets but there is tremendous pressure in terms of getting into vet school in Canada and as a result we both gave up,” Amanda said. “Once we started dating we convinced each other that there are plenty of institutions that would love to train us as vet students, and here we are today – literally on the other side of the world, ready to take on anything to achieve our dreams.”
Amanda and Graeme have known each other for about five years and decided to follow their hearts and minds to Australia as a couple. OzTREKK sees numerous Canadian couples apply to Australian universities. It’s the perfect way to combine travelling with further education, seeing the world with your loved one – while also keeping your eye on the future.
Amanda said the preparation process to study in Australia seemed daunting at first, but OzTREKK helped them take it one step at a time. “OzTREKK made this process so incredibly easy for both of us,” she said. “(Admissions Officer) Nicole knew about our situation and was so respectful and helpful in every way.
“The letter of intent was by far the only area that was completely our responsibility in a way,” she said. “We both had a lot of fun with our letters. We were completely honest and passionate and I think it paid off.”
Now that they’re in Australia, the University of Queensland veterinary science students are excited to experience the unique native species that call Oz home. Especially interested in wildlife studies, Amanda said Australia is the perfect place for them to broaden their learning on that front. Not only is the pair excited to join the animal-related clubs on campus at UQ, but they have already been to the Australia Zoo – and are planning trips to animal sanctuaries. “The wildlife in Australia that we’ve seen thus far is incredible.”
While Amanda’s focus is mammalogy, Graeme is specializing in herpetology and ornithology. With that in mind, the couple dreams of putting their Australian education to work by one day opening a sanctuary that concentrates on breeding programs for endangered animals – but also as an inclusive shelter for other animals. “We want to make it into a fun learning experience for humans because we feel the best way to make people care is to educate them and entertain them at the same time,” she said. “This ties into our interest in ecology as well: we want to perfect mini-ecosystems for the animals in our future sanctuary so that they are never fully reliant on us humans.”
Until then, Amanda said the veterinary science couple is committed to working hard while fostering their shared love of animals. To that end, she offered advice to others who are thinking of studying in Australia as a couple: be sure about your relationship, so your studies are not interrupted by the personal side of things. For example, Amanda said she and Graeme finished their undergrads at the University of Guelph together and complement each other’s study habits. “This is so important because it means instead of being a distraction or hindrance to one another, it will be a benefit to have each other around,” she said, adding that being comfortable with your partner is key to travelling, living and studying together.
About the University of Queensland’s Bachelor of Veterinary Science (BVSc) program
Program title: Bachelor of Veterinary Science (BVSc)
Location: Brisbane, Queensland
Semester intake: February
Program duration: 5 years
Application deadline: Nov. 15, 2013; however, as the UQ Bachelor of Veterinary Science (BVSc) program can fill quickly, OzTREKK recommends that students apply as early as possible.
UQ Veterinary School applicants must have a secondary school diploma and have fulfilled Grade 12 prerequisites of Chemistry, Physics or Biology, Mathematics, and English for admission into this program. Generally, a B average is required for admission. Please note that the MCAT is not required for entry.
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