The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies

Tommy McBride

Year 2 BVM&S GEP from California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo

Tommy McBride

What made you decide to study abroad after your Bachelors at Cal Poly San Obispo?

I have always wanted to travel the world growing up. When I began to look for veterinary schools, I realized studying abroad would offer me the chance to see more of the world while still studying at a prestigious university. After comparing tuition fees for vet schools in the states to the tuition fees here, I found here to be a less expensive option compared to schools I applied to in the States. It was not a hard choice for me to come here.


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

I had a friend who was at the university here, and she highly recommended it! The university's high ranking and the access to the beautiful Scottish Highlands were enough to convince me to submit my application


What was the application process like?

The application process for the University was straight forward, VMCAS and submitting GRE scores. It did use multiple mini interviews which is fairly uncommon, but I found it to be a fun experience doing them.


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

My favourite aspect of the vet degree has actually been the EMS. From lambing in rural country side in Wales to scrubbing into surgeries in the school's hospital, I have gained some great experience in a variety of fields!

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

Initially, the transition was fun and exciting in August. After getting housing and bank details sorted, the city was amazing to explore. There are tens of thousands of tourists there for the Fringe Festival and it is easy to fit in. The winter transition was rough. The day length shortens significantly and rains most days. Vitamin D tablets were a must after coming from California!!

Has Edinburgh become your home away from home?

Yes, it definitely feels like home for the next few years. Although, I more see it as my base camp while I am studying from which I travel to the rest of Europe.


What do find is the most challenging aspect of your degree?

The inherent atmosphere of vet school can be challenging at times. It tends to be a high stress degree at any university. Most times, this is not much of an issue and the university is a fun place to be. I have found having many non-vet related clubs and activities in my life helps me keep a healthy balance.


How is your programme equipping you for your future career?

In every aspect possible, the degree not only covers the theory, but incorporates practical skill, professional development skills, communication skills, and clinical work to prepare you to become a competent vet by the time the degree is finished. 

What aspect of student life do you enjoy the most?

The clubs and societies are great. There is a club or society for almost anything you can think of. I am involved with quite a few: climbing club, snow sports Society, mountaineers, Canoe club (more white water kayaking), roller hockey and badminton.  Though these, I have seen a huge amount of Scotland and made some incredible friends!  


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 some experience, talk to practicing vets and really think about it to make sure you really want to become a vet. It is a huge investment for this degree and not a huge salary from it. The course and career will be extremely challenging and stressful at times. Make sure it is really what you want to do. I will never have any plans to become wealthy. I am very happy to have a career that challenges my mind while helping animals and people. To me, this is a great career to have.