The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies

Sarah Batiste

Year 2 BVM&S GEP from McMaster University - Canada

Sarah Batiste

What made you decide to apply to The University of Edinburgh and The R(D)SVS after your BSc?

I decided to apply to the University of Edinburgh after looking into international schools that offered veterinary medicine. I found that Edinburgh offered hands-on experience right from the beginning, as well as being a highly rated and accredited school. I also fell in love with the city itself after visiting and could picture myself living here!

What was the application process like?

The application process was similar to other veterinary schools that I have applied to both within Canada and internationally. I applied through the VMCAS website and waited to hear back about an interview. My interview took place in New York, which included a morning of presentations about the school, lunch, and ended with a group activity and Multiple-Mini Interview (MMI) with members of staff. Throughout the application process The University made me feel less like a number through personal touches such as sending a postcard to wish me good luck on exams!

What stands out in your mind from your experience at Edinburgh and studying Veterinary Medicine so far?

The Extra Mural Studies (EMS) stands out in my mind, in comparison to schools in Canada. EMS allows you to get experience in everything from animal handling (of all species) to clinical practices within the UK, Canada, and other countries around the world. Taking part in EMS has greatly improved my confidence of animals that I had little exposure to before beginning vet school, as well as improve my understanding of the profession.

Has Edinburgh become your home away from home?

Definitely! I am already thinking about when I can come back and visit when I graduate. The city makes it easy to feel at home, with many new neighbourhoods to explore, while also feeling safe.

Was it difficult to transition into life in Edinburgh and studying abroad?

It was a big move when I first came in Year 1, however it was made much easier with all of my international classmates going through the same things at the same time. We all would lament about the struggles of living abroad, from British terminology to missing family. However, it always made going home for the holidays or summer that much sweeter!

What aspect of the BVM&S degree do you enjoy the most and why?

I enjoy the practicals that are part of the programme and begin within the first few weeks of first year. The practicals offer hands-on learning and cement what is taught in lectures, and range from dentistry to surgery to dissection to communication with clients. I feel that the practicals prepare you for scenarios that will be met upon graduating and practicing.

Have your EMS placements helped to shape your studies so far?

My EMS placements have certainly shaped my studies and interests. They help to discern what aspects of clinical practice I enjoy the most, from type of medicine to styles of consulting. In addition, it has helped me get experience in different types of medicine and see what aspects and specialities that I am interested in. Sometimes the placements can be nerve-wracking, however I have found that those placements have enforced my learning the most!

How is your programme equipping you for your future career?

Throughout the degree there are many opportunities to prepare for your future in veterinary medicine. These include practicals with real clients that aid communication of difficult topics such as euthanasia, veterinary costs, quality of care, and more. In addition, there are many career fairs and opportunities to speak with veterinary practices around the world to be informed of what is necessary for graduation and after.

If you could give one piece of advice to any prospective students thinking of applying to the R(D)SVS, what would it be?

Get involved with veterinary practices and different types of animals early on! This will help you further decide what type of medicine that you would like to practice, as well as benefit your communication skills. Also, do not hesitate to reach out to current students, other applicants, and qualified vets with any questions that you have! The veterinary community is a supportive place, and love to give any information and help as possible.