Call it, making a dream come true.
“It was sort of a joke among my friends, ‘Let’s go to Ireland!’” Morgan recalls. “We’d look at photographs of Ireland, and every single one was gorgeous.”
What started as a spring break fantasy proved a reality a year later, when Morgan, a pre-vet student, went on an ELI Abroad program in Dublin to intern at a veterinary clinic. Mixing business and pleasure, it was the trip of a lifetime.
“I had worked at a vet’s office at home,” Morgan says. “So I knew some basics. But I was still surprised how much hands-on experience I got, and how much I learned, in Dublin.”
At her internship placement, Morgan did everything from prepping animals for surgery and assisting during examinations and consultations, to bathing, feeding and caring for the hospitalized animals before and after procedures.
“On some days, we worked from 9 am till after 7 pm. Long hours, but I was expecting it.”
What proved an unexpected - and very nice - surprise was how supportive and professional her Dublin colleagues and vets were, and how much they taught her.
“At first, I was a little nervous about that,” she admits. “But the staff quickly made me feel at ease, and welcome. They explained everything, and let me perform an increasing variety of duties, especially once they realized I had some experience.”
For Morgan, one of the highlights of her internship was exposure to different approaches to veterinary care.
“There were four doctors at the clinic, and I worked with them all. So, four different points of view.”
Some of them, quite eye-opening.
“Acupuncture is big in Ireland,” she says. “It was fascinating to see it applied to animals.”
During her internship, Morgan lived in a home-stay with a Dublin family, a couple with grown children who were on their own.
“I couldn’t have picked a better family,” she raves. “The mom made me breakfast and dinner, and lunch, when and if I wanted it. She was a runner, and so am I, and we went running in the park a few times. Both the mom and the dad drove me around, showed me Dublin, and encouraged me to explore the country.”
And explore it she did, along with another ELI Abroad intern. Each holiday and weekend was a chance to experience in real life the landscapes Morgan fell in love with in photographs.
“There is so much to see!” Morgan laughs. “Cities, villages, coastlines. I tried to do as much as I could and after four weeks, I think I really have a “feel” for the entire country.”
Today, Morgan is back home in Wyoming, getting ready for her senior year and vet school applications, but Dublin isn’t far from her thoughts.
“I’m so glad I did the trip. It was so much fun, and I learned so much.”
What would she say to prospective interns in Ireland?
“Do it!” she says instantly. “Don’t let fears stop you from going. The Irish people are warm and friendly, and the staff at your placement will want you to have a fulfilling internship. Work hard, and you’ll be rewarded with opportunities. And stay with a family: it’s the best way to integrate yourself into the culture, and you could make friends for life.”
Spoken like a real ELI Abroad veteran. Here’s wishing you luck with vet school, Morgan!