"We benefit from small group teaching for our dissection classes, that means we have increased hands-on learning and more opportunities to ask questions."
Being part of the first cohort of vet students on the BVMSci (Hons) Veterinary Medicine and Science course was slightly daunting, to say to least. But despite this extra pressure, when we started in September, students and staff alike were brimming with enthusiasm and curiosity, and excited to see where this journey would lead us. We benefit from small group teaching for our dissection classes, with less than four students per specimen. A low student-to-demonstrator ratio means we have increased hands-on learning and more opportunities to ask questions.
My very first day at Vet School was spent at the RSPCA, handling dogs and cats and learning the basics of animal husbandry. Throughout Semester 1, one day a week was spent off campus on placement with one of our partners, where we were taught in small groups of six students about the safe handling and management of several species including horses, cattle, reptiles, sheep and rabbits. Practical handling has remained a core part of the course during Semester 2, and we’ve performed neurological, cardiovascular and musculoskeletal examinations both on dogs at University and on horses and farm species during placement days at Chichester College.
"We’ve had the chance to see a rich source of more unusual specimens, including snakes, crocodiles, oryx, zebra, a Highland bull and a cheetah."
The School’s partnerships with Marwell Zoo and Heathrow Airport means we’ve had the chance to see a rich source of more unusual specimens, including snakes, crocodiles, oryx, zebra, a Highland bull and most recently a cheetah. Specialists from within Surrey and from the Vet School’s partners have provided us with detailed information about their relevant species and subject areas, which has deepened our understanding of fundamental anatomy and its functional relevance, as well as allowed us to explore our individual interests.
The teaching staff are an absolutely incredible bunch of people, not only because of their impressive credentials but also because they all genuinely care about the students. Their energy and enthusiasm is limitless - we are on first name terms and they constantly make themselves available to us on an individual and group basis to organise extra sessions, discuss difficult concepts, delve deeper into their subject area or just to have conversations surrounding vet school life in general.
We are actively encouraged to speak to any member of staff about any issue, whether personal or academic, and the staff go out of their way to make themselves available to us. Considering the intensity, longevity and sheer breadth of this course, the benefits of having an extensive supportive staff network cannot be undervalued.
My extramural placements
My life at Surrey
The student body is actively encouraged to take the lead, be proactive and get involved in the growth of the Vet School, with the advice and support of the staff. We have established a Veterinary Society, and an Equine Clinical Club and a Welfare and Behaviour Club, which have started organising discussion forums, social events, external speakers and excursions to some of our partner practices.
Six months after starting, I couldn’t be more certain that I made the right decision in choosing the University of Surrey to complete my veterinary education.
Your first year of as student vet is always going to be a rollercoaster of experiences and emotions; meeting friends, adjusting to a heavy workload, handling new species, stressing about exams, missing family (and more importantly pets) and learning how to use a washing machine! It will all be worth it in the end!