Student profile
Dan Letch

Dan Letch

"I’ve learnt from veterinary professionals across the world and been exposed to a plethora of different viewpoints, methods, business structures, and patient case-loads."

Course
Veterinary Medicine and Science BVMSci (Hons)
Entry year
2014

Life at Surrey

"I chose Surrey because I was very excited at the prospect of being in the very first cohort of a new Vet School; I knew it would be a unique and unparalleled way to concurrently realise my childhood dream of becoming a vet, as well as positively influence the teaching strategies which will educate future vet students. I also felt Surrey’s teaching model was innovative and would best suit my own learning style.

Initially, I was very impressed by the University’s Library and Learning Centre, the layout of the campuses and how well-integrated into the rest of Guildford that the University feels. Right off the bat, I felt fully-submerged into University life!

I lived in halls in my first year. I’ve always loved meeting new people, and it was incredible to get to know and live with people from all walks of life, with different stories, experiences and aspirations. I became more independent, self-reliant and made friends for life; I wish I could go back and do it all again!

I am a member of the Veterinary Society (VetSoc) and the Archery Team, and I co-founded the University’s Rifle Club three years ago, for which I’m still Vice-President. Work-life balance is crucial, especially when a course as demanding as vet med is concerned, and it’s such a wonderful way to meet new people (especially outside your course), explore your interests and talents, and even put them to good use competing against other universities!

The Sports Park is great (and so convenient to the Vet School), so it’s both easy and inexpensive to go to the gym, to a class or swimming. The campus and town have a huge amount to offer, so there’s always something different to do with your friends, whether that’s going to the cinema, bowling, ice-skating, eating out or enjoying a drink.

The course

Ever since the start of my first year, I’ve felt the hands-on teaching approach was highly engaging, very enjoyable and the best way to integrate theory into practice! For this reason, the practical teaching is my favourite aspect, which has included everything from dissections and post-mortems to performing surgery.

The new veterinary facilities are far better than I ever imagined they would be, despite seeing them being built! They enable such a high standard of teaching to be delivered, but of course, this must be facilitated through an equally high standard of staff. The staff have been dedicated, supportive and hard-working ever since the get-go, and continue to be so. Being taught by a team which is as passionate about and committed to your development and success as you are is one of the intrinsic factors which has made Surrey such a wonderful place to study. The spaying and neutering clinic we’ve undertaken this year has been a personal highlight!

"My best moment so far was doing a CPR demonstration for HM the Queen and HRH Prince Philip at the official opening of the Vet School!"

 

 

The Vet School opening was a testimony to the hard work of the University, the staff and the students alike in bringing the vision of Surrey Vet School to fruition, and in such an auspicious fashion.

Integrated professional training

We undertake extra-mural studies (EMS) in the holidays of our first to fourth years, culminating in a year of rotations around veterinary practices and organisations in fifth year. To date, I’ve undertaken 32 weeks of EMS in everywhere from kennels, catteries and stables to first-opinion and referral vet practices.

The work depends on the practice you go to and the animals they work with; I’ve learnt from veterinary professionals across the world and been exposed to a plethora of different viewpoints, methods, business structures, and patient case-loads. It affords each student the opportunity to shape their own experiences, tailored to their personal interests, and develop in a totally unique way. For me, this is why my course is unrivalled!

"My highlights include delivering lambs in the middle of the night, resuscitating puppies after a long caesarean section and saving a dog’s life with CPR!"

 

I’ve developed many different skills from my EMS; not only veterinary knowledge and clinical ability, but business management, ethical and moral decision-making, communication skills with both clients and other veterinary professionals, time and case-management skills, and the ability to work effectively as a team. I now even work at the weekends for one of the places at which I saw practice!

Individual placements have different ways of supporting students, from one-to-one guidance, case-based learning and specific clinicians to shadow, through to supervised and guided surgeries. The University also ensures each placement has appropriate safety measures, risk-assessments, accessibility and will provide the right experience for students prior to them being undertaken.

Looking forwards

I’ve learnt a tremendous amount about myself, and pushed myself harder and further than I ever have. I’m proud of the huge amount my colleagues and I have achieved thus far, excited for what the future holds in store, and still in disbelief that my childhood dream of becoming a vet is no longer just a distant aspiration, but a frighteningly imminent reality!

I haven’t definitively decided what I would like to do when I graduate. I would like to go into first-opinion veterinary practice, where I can compound my skills and knowledge, as well as explore which aspects of the job interest me the most, and possibly use that to inform an avenue of postgraduate study further down the line. I’m also contemplating applying for a position with the Royal Army Veterinary Corps, which has been one of my primary considerations since before I started the course.

I wouldn’t change my Surrey experience for the world; I’m shocked at how quickly it seems to have gone, and can’t wait for the experiences I have yet to come!"

 

Discover more about the School of Veterinary Medicine, including our BVMSci Veterinary Medicine and Science and take a virtual tour of our Vet School.