"I was promoted whilst on placement to Rescue Network Coordinator which had me organising and leading seal rescue training events all over Ireland which I absolutely loved."
CourseVeterinary Biosciences BSc (Hons)
Placement companySeal Rescue Ireland
My placement experience
I undertook a nine-month placement for Seal Rescue Ireland as an Animal Care and Conservation Intern. My role involved feeding and cleaning out the seals, administering meds and cleaning down the centre. It was standard husbandry but interns could also be selected to learn advanced animal care skills such as restraining, tube and force feeding.
I also engaged with visitors at the centre, giving education talks (this was scary at first but super fun once I got into it!) and centre maintenance. Depending on the season, other parts of the role could include tree planting, water sampling, wild seal monitoring and beach cleans.
I learnt about the importance of community and the people working in conservation and how to handle conflicting views to create a positive outcome. The whole experience was rewarding and fun! The most exciting thing I did was taking part in releasing seals I’d helped rehabilitate.
Life back at Surrey
I’ve worked with animals most of my life so doing work I’m passionate about made the transition to placement easy, but it was harder to adjust back to university life. I loved the work I was doing on placement and I much prefer to be outside doing physical work than sitting down studying indoors, but the final-year modules are really engaging and more specific to my interests which is helping me get back into the flow of things.
I also feel that my studies have benefited from doing a placement as I did practical work that reflected the modules on my course, including anatomy and physiology, microbiology, virology, ecology, epidemiology, immunology and pharmacology. It helped to solidify a lot of information.
Be sure of what you want to do on placement, but also be flexible with opportunities that might not be exactly what you want but are in a relevant area. I applied early to many placement providers and the ones I didn’t get offers from provided me with really valuable feedback which helped me improve my application.
Once on placement, always put yourself forward for extra responsibility and opportunities – don't let a lack of confidence stop you. You’ll learn what you’re capable of and will get so much more out of the experience. I was promoted whilst on placement to Rescue Network Coordinator which had me organising and leading seal rescue training events all over Ireland which I absolutely loved.
My career plans
I’m interested in studying veterinary medicine or doing a masters, but I know I want to work in animal rehabilitation so whichever route I take, that is where I want to end up. I was 99% sure it was what I wanted to do before my placement but working with Seal Rescue Ireland confirmed it for me.
Find out more about our Veterinary Biosciences BSc.