My journey through Ireland was an unbelievable experience both on and off the job. First and foremost I took this trip to gain valuable experience in equine veterinary medicine at one of the top equine private practices, TroyTown GreyAbbey, located in the center of Thoroughbred country. In Kildare, Ireland, within the Curragh plain, I observed many cases that I have only read about in lectures and textbooks. I had the opportunity to see reproductive surgeries, overnight emergencies, as well as participate in discussions about international veterinary medicine with the partners of TroyTown GreyAbbey. We discussed medication availability and alternative choices for difficult cases when certain medications are not available in your country, or even just at your hospital. Beyond just international differences I also had several conversations with practice partners about business management and veterinarian-client-patient communication importance which holds true around the world. I had the chance to see how things are handled when horses are considered food production animals as well as where horses travel internationally much more often. Every horse that comes through the hospital has a passport and it is important that certain medications were restricted to non-food producing horses, just as it would be in food production in the states. As horses are not considered food animals in the United States this particular area was new and interesting for me to experience.
Even more valuable than my experience with the medicine in the country was the welcoming nature of the people of Ireland. The Irish are incredibly passionate about their heritage and even more passionate about sharing their culture with visitors. I was welcomed into the hospital by a wonderfully positive staff of interns, veterinary nurses, doctors, and office staff. The staff were easy to communicate with and shared with me the best places to go and things to do in the area. There were also a number of veterinary nursing students as well as secondary school students that were gaining work experience and collectively we worked together to accomplish the various tasks each day. While working alongside these students and veterinary staff I was taught several Irish terms which proved useful to know as I traveled through the country. What I found absolutely wonderful about this type of work environment is that I got the chance to meet and work alongside people of various age groups and cultural backgrounds. I had the opportunity to network with veterinary professionals from countries such as Ireland, Spain, Italy, France, and the United Kingdom, all within one hospital. This is something that many American students may not have the chance to do back home and I feel honored to have had this opportunity.
As with any international experience, immersing oneself within the culture of the area is something that I feel is the greatest way to get the most from international travel. Outside of work I went out to see traditional Irish music and traveled through the countryside from the west coast to the east coast to truly experience Ireland and the people that live there. I met amazing people from across the globe through my journey from Galway to Dublin and was reminded by a true Irish woman named Angie that life is for living, not waiting around for the time to live it. She told me to never regret traveling and to embrace every moment I have because you never know when you will have these opportunities again. Most importantly, she reminded me to follow my dreams and never hold back because the world needs strong, independent, hardworking women that are willing to go out and live their lives to the fullest.
—Meaghan MacQueen, Class of 2016