Volunteering abroad in veterinary science is a great way to help animals in need while also traveling somewhere you’ve always wanted to see. If you’re interested in veterinary medicine or just have a passion for animals, there is a placement for you! Programs vary, but many veterinary volunteering placements abroad focus on helping street animals, assisting with wildlife conservation and management, and working in veterinary clinics. Volunteers are needed in animal shelters, sanctuaries, and rehabilitation centers all over the world too.
Why Volunteer Abroad
If you’re interested in contributing to a worthy cause, consider veterinary volunteering abroad. Animal organizations around the globe offer an array of rewarding opportunities to volunteer abroad in veterinary medicine. Many countries lack the funds and resources needed to help domestic and wild animals in their communities, thus the need for volunteers is high.
While helping needy animals is reason enough for most animal lovers, volunteering abroad also benefits volunteers who hope to become vets gain real-world experience in the field of veterinary science. Therefore, volunteering in veterinary medicine abroad is a great way to build your resume and possibly earn academic credit, not to mention it is a great way to travel, have fun, and make new friends!
While animals in every country are in need of love and care, there are some places where animals are more vulnerable for a myriad of reasons and therefore have the greatest need for veterinary volunteer work. Lack of resources and funding make providing the necessary services for animals very difficult in the developing world, so Southeast Asia, Africa, and Central America are the three most common regions for volunteering abroad in veterinary medicine.
Southeast Asia is rampant with street dogs that blur the lines between pet and stray. Many are not officially owned but are tolerated by locals. However, these dogs do not receive proper veterinary care when needed. In addition to carrying disease and suffering from malnutrition, street dogs also risk being hit by motorbikes and cars on busy city streets or sold into the dog meat trade. Volunteers are needed to help with a variety of tasks, from spaying and neutering street dogs to administering vaccinations and other medications. Southeast Asia’s wild animal population is also suffering from things like deforestation and animal tourism, so volunteers are needed not only to help with street animals, but wild animals as well.
Africa is also good location for volunteers interested in wildlife conservation and management. The continent has seen a major decline in wild animal populations due to habitat loss and poaching recently. Threatened and endangered animals in Africa include the mountain gorilla, pygmy hippopotamus, black rhinoceros, cheetah, Africa lion, African penguin, African elephant, and more. Due to these issues, wildlife sanctuaries provide opportunities for volunteers to get close to these amazing creatures and help reduce the threat of extinction.
Central America is a popular destination for ecotourism, and therefore the perfect spot to get involved in veterinary volunteering abroad. Sea turtles are one of the most endangered species in the region, for example. As a volunteer abroad in veterinary medicine you will be able to help with protection, conservation, education, and rehabilitation of various wildlife species.
Veterinary Volunteer Placements
There really is something for everyone when it comes to volunteering abroad in veterinary medicine. Whether you’re studying to become a vet or simply enjoy working with animals, there is a veterinary volunteer placement that will meet your needs. Some of the more common placements for volunteering in veterinary medicine abroad include helping street animals, assisting with wildlife conservation and management, and working in veterinary clinics.
Street Animals are common in developing countries, and fortunately there are several shelters and animal organizations around the world working to care for these animals. The shelters provide basic services such as spaying and neutering, administering vaccines and other medications, and general first aid, which are all great services for aspiring vets to get experience with.
Wildlife Conservation & Management programs often focus on both veterinary care and protection. Volunteers typically work in wildlife sanctuaries helping with everything from cleaning to food preparation and rehabilitation.
Veterinary Clinics around the world provide much needed services for animals and need volunteers to help keep them running. Whether you’re working on your vet degree or already have an established veterinary skill set, this type of veterinary volunteer placement is a great resume builder. Volunteers who work in veterinary clinics typically work with dogs, cats, horses, birds, and other domesticated animals.
Individuals can volunteer abroad in veterinary medicine for anywhere from five weeks to six months. Many volunteer programs do not require you to be a fully licensed veterinarian, but a love for animals is a must.
Animals around the world, from stray street dogs to endangered wild elephants, suffer from a lack of proper veterinary care. Volunteering in veterinary medicine is a great way to make a difference and contribute to positive change for these animals. Veterinary students and animal lovers alike will benefit tremendously. Students will gain invaluable work experience and more academic training than any classroom could ever provide, while animal lovers will get the chance of a lifetime to work directly with the animals they are so passionate about.