“When I was able to assist in surgery, I was able to learn a lot. I was also able to reinforce everything I had previously learned. Being able to learn new things, as well as practice old knowledge, is very important in the veterinary field, especially if you want to get a job at an animal clinic. I found most of the Cook Island culture to be very rewarding. The culture there is extremely rich, and the locals are not afraid to show how proud they are about their culture. Being able to see the various dances, the drumming, and the handmade costumes was just the beginning.”
– Melissa, University of Montana, Summer 2016
“The last three months have been filled with challenges of all forms, successes, failures, stressful times and relaxed times, and more than anything else, learning experiences. Through these good and bad times, I have been able to find characteristics about myself that are beneficial in a clinic environment, and things about myself that maybe need some working on if I’m going to work in a clinic environment. One of the most important things I have learned about myself during my time on Rarotonga is that I am an adaptable worker. Regardless of who was here volunteering, which vet I was paired with in surgery, or how many staffers I had as help on a given day, I was able to work through adversity or different situations and have a highly productive result. Along with adaptability, I’ve found I am a quick learner, especially in an applied setting like a clinic. This has come in particular handy as I have gotten further along in the internship, as I quickly became the person who was tasked with orienting new volunteers with the clinic – vets, students, and nurses alike. In a pinch, my memory of where the Adrenaline was hidden, or how to finagle the trigger on the x-ray machine in order to get it to work properly not only helped me earn the trust of more qualified volunteers but also earned me extra opportunities to get involved first-hand.”
– Blair, University of Oregon, Fall 2015
“The reason why I decided to go into medicine in general was because I love how flexible, open, vast, and interconnected the subfields are with each other: veterinarian medicine, human medicine, public health, and research.
The paths of medicine are endless! No matter how adorable the animal patients are and how interesting the cases are, I realized that my passion still resides in pediatric medicine. I realized that human interactions in medicine drives and motivates me, just like how animal motivates the vets and veterinary students. No matter how much I love these animals, I don’t feel the same joy as the other veterinary volunteers. Veterinary and human medicine may be similar, but there is a reason why vets are vets and doctors are doctors. My passion resides in serving kids and out of all places to have this important realization, I think a vet clinic on a small island is the best place to have it!
I had a relatively blank lens when I came to the island since I’ve never dealt with animals. The longer I spent time in the Cook Islands, the more I got to connect with the people. In the local’s eyes, I started out as a tourist to being someone they recognize. Locals ask me questions about their pets when I’m at the Saturday markets on my day off! I think being connected with the community in the very start is important to build trust with them, especially when you want them to bring their animals to get desexed! The most rewarding aspect of being here is that it is a small and very close-knit community. Everyone is so close with each other and is always willing to help. It’s really an amazing place to live.”
– Melissa, University of Washington, Spring/Summer 2015
“Working for three months at the Esther Honey Foundation provided me with an absolutely invaluable experience that aided massively in both my personal and professional growth. On the professional side, EHF gave me the hands on experience that I would not be able to get anywhere else in the world. I learned what to do in emergency situations and the protocols to take when dealing with an emergency. I learned how to bandage properly as well as how to take and record temperatures, heart rates, and respiration rates. I became proficient at preforming not only these practical skills but also more abstract skills such as client interactions and consults. I found it wonderful to have the opportunity to work with so many different veterinary doctors from all around the world. After three months of work at the Esther Honey Foundation, I left the clinic with confidence that I will be able to bring these skills with me to my future career path in veterinary medicine. On a personal level, I found that my communication skills with people improved tremendously. I gained confidence with my professional social skills while dealing with clientele. I also learned how to work productively and efficiently under pressure-which I found to be an extremely important for anyone who is considering interning at the clinic.”
– Amanda, Oregon State University, Winter 2013
“The most beneficial part of my internship professionally is the experience. I learned so much and got to do so much that I probably would have never been able to do in the States. It was the most amazing experience and it just proved to me more how much I want to be a veterinarian. It also taught me how to work with so many different types of people. I learned that every vet does things differently, so I had to adjust to their needs. Some would be dependent on their assistant, expecting more to be done and ready for them, and others were more independent, where I almost did not have to do anything. I gained a lot of respect for vet nurses, after learning about how some vets treat them so lowly. Without the vet nurses, the vets would be nothing, and I know when I become a vet, I will give my nurses and techs the respect they deserve and not make a compete mess of my workstation. Personally, the benefits I have gained, is just the growing I did here. I have become more independent after living away from everything I knew. I came out of my little, isolated bubble into this whole new world. I left my comfort zone and was completely on my own, and because of that, I have grown so much and I am now ready to take on the world.”
– Christina, Oregon State University, Fall 2012/Winter 2013
“Working at the Esther Honey Foundation provided an invaluable pre-veterinary experience. Because vets and students alike are responsible for cleaning, feeding, dispensing medications, and giving treatments, the disparity between students and veterinarians that is often present in the U.S is absent on the island. I learned simple skills such as taking temperatures, heart rates, and respiration-rates, placing catheters, intubating and extubating patients for surgery, monitoring anesthesia, administering SQ, IM, and IV medications, and bandaging wounds as well as more complicated skills such as suturing and surgery. I became proficient at performing not only these practical skills but also more abstract skills such as client interactions and dealing with death and gruesome cases. I far exceeded my professional goals during my internship. I became an exceptional vet-tech, learned about the veterinary profession all over the world, and effectively interacted with clients. I am confident in my decision to become a veterinarian.”
– Siobhan, University of Montana, Summer/Fall 2010