There are many reasons why people choose to be a vet. But perhaps at the core there lies a basic love and compassion for all creatures, great and small. Whether you are a practising vet, a veterinary student, or are simply considering a career in the field, there is, in your make-up, a sense that cringes when an animal is sick or endangered and delights in the unique splendour of animals in good, flourishing health.

Gaining some on-the-job veterinary work experience can be extremely helpful. For those considering a career in this area, what better way is there to help you decide than spending time in the field? For those already studying, what is more useful on your resume or certificate than a notice that you did practical, hands-on work with experts? There are few better places to gain this kind of experience than South Africa.

Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre (HESC)
The Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre is renowned the world over for its dedicated work in preserving and conserving the native species of South Africa. Students who travel to this land of exotic and revered fauna and take up veterinary work experience have the opportunity to indulge in close contact with a variety of land mammals and learn from the experts who care for them. While observing the lions, wild dogs, buffalo and sable antelopes will definitely be a huge thrill, few moments can compare to the time spent up close and personal with the enigmatic cheetah in this park, which specialises in their care.

Shamwari Conservation Experience
Any aspiring vet who enrols in veterinary work experience at the Shamwari Game Reserve will take home memories and skills that will last a lifetime. A famous and fully operational reserve, thousands flock here each year to marvel at African wildlife and get as close as they possibly can to the acclaimed ‘Big 5’ game animals. But the unique privilege of going on this program is that it allows access to the award-winning conservation side of the park. Participants will be able to engage with the experts as they are guided through the environmental and wildlife conservation programs they run, as well as observe the social educational work they do.

Vet Eco Safari Experience
Moreover, veterinary work experience can be taken to another level at this reserve. Students who are currently enrolled in a university vet science course can sign up for a state-of-the-art and exclusive programs designed just for them. What better way to contribute to your EMS in Veterinary Science than by working with pioneering and acclaimed wildlife vets and the ‘Big 5’? The program is both theory and practice and is designed to stretch and inspire. Shamwari also has a Pre-Vet program, which runs for students who are waiting to attend vet school. It gives them have a hands on taste of work on animals much more exotic than the usual cats and dogs.