Take part in ELI’s vet clinic internship in Quito, and you’ll get very good at performing many procedures. But don’t take our word for it: ask Kimberly, a 3rd year veterinary student from Purdue who interned there this summer.
“Lots and lots of practice” is how Kimberly characterizes her work at the teaching clinic staffed by veterinary students who work under doctors’ supervision and guidance.
“The experience reinforced many of the procedures I learned about in school,” Kimberly says. “The daily practice made some of them seem almost second nature.”
There was plenty of learning and discovering new things, as well, since the program places ELI interns alongside Ecuadorian veterinary students, making this almost a hybrid experience: interning and studying abroad.
“That was very helpful, because we were all in the same boat. If someone didn’t understand something, or needed extra information, it was readily available from other students or from the doctors and professors. All the instructors encouraged questions, and wanted us to really understand the material.”
For Kimberly, this was a unique opportunity to experience the realities of veterinary medicine in a very different setting.
“I saw a lot of cases that aren't as common in the States, such as infections and issues with spaying and neutering, which aren’t as prevalent in Ecuador.”
She was also able to observe the differences in how clinics operate here and in Quito, as well as compare the different ways vets are trained.
“One day it was a little slow at the clinic, so I showed the students Purdue’s website, and we discussed what school was like in the US, how each year of training was similar or different from theirs. That was pretty fascinating for all of us.”
During her stay in Quito, Kimberly lived with a host family not far from the clinic, becoming especially close to Mercedes, her host mom.
“She’s a great cook, so it was a pleasure to eat at home, but she’s also just a wonderful person. I liked kicking back in the evenings and watching telenovelas with her.”
Kimberly spent four weeks in Quito, and wishes she’d have stayed longer.
“You really hit your stride by week three, but by then it’s almost time to start saying goodbye. Six weeks would have been ideal.”
Her days were full, starting at 8 a.m. when she’d begin her rounds at the clinic. She’d go home for lunch for an hour at 1 pm, then return to the clinic until 4 p.m. Weekends were for exploring Quito, and hitting the road.
“Ecuador is very inexpensive, so you can see and do a lot on a limited budget,” Kimberly laughs, recalling her $3 dinners on the road and a $14 bus ride to the Pacific coast.
During the month that Kimberly was in Ecuador, she was able to travel to the gorgeous seaside community of Puerto Lopez; Otavalo, in the Andean highlands, a city famous for huge market that sells colorful indigenous fabrics and crafts; the cloud forest around Mindo; and the “Gateway to the Amazon” at Banos.
“Such a varied, beautiful country.” Kimberly marvels.
“It’s a great place to go as a general destination, but to be able to intern and study there as well -- that’s an amazing opportunity. I’d encourage everyone to go.”
Take note, pre-vet and veterinary students!