Study Abroad in Africa

Jalika Joyner, Class of 2019
Location: Bwindi, Entebbe, Murchison Falls National Park, Uganda
Program: Morris Animal Foundation Grant Recipient Project
Dates: May 28- July 7, 2017
I traveled with another classmate to Uganda to work with a non-profit, Conservation Through Public Health, to perform a research project. My research focused on the shared pathogenicity of salmonella between livestock in the region and the eastern mountain gorillas that frequent grazing areas. We worked closely with the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park services in order to accomplish this task. I worked with the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry, and Fisheries to learn how to process the fecal samples for culture and identification. While in Bwindi, we took times to visit some local projects and sites, such as Ride for a Woman, a traditional healer, the community hospital, and the Batwa people. There were many nonprofit groups that sold various
artistic items, food, or put on a show for guests. We also took an excursion to Murchison Falls for a safari and a Nile River cruise. It took a lot of work, time, and patience to make this experience happen, but it was definitely worth it!!


South Africa
Christine Crawford, Class of 2019
Location: Multi-city trip, South Africa
Program: SYMCO (International Symposium on Wildlife Utilization in South Africa)
Dates: June 29 – July 16, 2017
SYMCO is an international symposium that allows veterinary students from around the world to come together and learn about wildlife veterinary medicine. We had the opportunity to travel around the country and interact with wildlife in multiple different settings as well as learn from experts in the field of African wildlife. We had multiple lectures and discussions surrounding current issues and topics in South Africa including rhino poaching, rhino dehorning and other preservation techniques, elephant overpopulation, big game hunting, and the illegal trade of pangolin scales. We also got to participate in a number of hands-on wildlife immobilizations and game capture scenarios including rhino dehorning, elephant TB testing, and wildebeest tagging and relocation, and even got to practice darting animals from a helicopter using paintball guns (I promise no animals were harmed in this process). Finally, we were able to see into use of animals in captivity through private elephant interactions, bird of prey demonstrations, and behind the scenes tours of UShaka Marine World and the Johannesburg Zoo. We did so much more than listed here, but these were definitely the highlights. The symposium is only offered every other year, but for anyone interested in wildlife medicine I HIGHLY recommend this program!


Amanda Maxwell, Class of 2020
Location: Kampala & Bwindi
Program: Global Health: Uganda (selective program, contact Dr. Stringer for more information)
Dates: April 29 – May 7, 2017
The international faculty-led trip to Uganda is a selective experience for veterinary students to gain insight into the challenges and issues that other countries face. We spent time learning about conservation medicine at Conservation through Public Health (CTPH). CTPH is a non-profit that works with the people of Bwindi to positively impact the welfare of the mountain gorillas through education on how their farming and family practices have a direct effect on conserving the gorilla population. Another aspect of the trip was visiting farms and learning about the challenges of agriculture in another country. While some of the problems Ugandan farmers faced were like ours here in the U.S. many of them were different such as access to and affordability of vaccines. Lastly, we visited the Ugandan veterinary school, Makerere University, where we toured their facilities and compare their program with ours. The trip was an eye-opening experience that I would encourage all veterinary students to pursue.


Stephanie Folkerts; Class of 2018
Location: Kampala & Bwindi
Program: Global Health: Uganda (selective program, contact Dr. Stringer for more information)
Dates: April 29 – May 7, 2017
Over the past few years, I have learned that collaboration is the key to finding efficient solutions to difficult problems which affect our entire planet. This includes big One Health issues related to climate change, urbanization, an increasing human population, and biodiversity. I have had the opportunity to take a few One Health courses in the classroom, but this trip took that education to a different level–it was the perfect immersive One Health experience, bringing together mountain gorilla conservation, human health systems and approaches, and sustainability by exposing us to Ugandan farms, hospitals, community health efforts, veterinary facilities, and an NGO called Conservation through Public Health (CTPH). The highlight of my trip was hearing stories from Ugandans about how the programs we were introduced to are positively impacting their lives. I loved listening to Faradasee, one of the community health workers, and her husband explain how CTPH’s Village Savings and Loans Association Projects helped them use money the village made from their goats to pay for school fees for all of their children. It was amazing to hear about the joy that one of the farmers we met had when learning that he was going to become one of CTPH’s certified animal health workers, and the pride the coffee farmers had in their product. And it was incredible to have the opportunity to meet vet students from the other side of the world who want to do the same type of work I do, because we all really believe that we can help our communities. This trip was an incredible learning opportunity for veterinary students like myself who are passionate about the interface between animal and human health.


Molly Patton; Class of 2018
Location: Zanzibar, Tanzania
Program: Zanzibar Animals Affection Society 
Dates: June 13 – 18, 2016
While traveling to Tanzania I spent one week at Zanzibar Animals Affection Society (ZAASO). ZAASO is a non-profit organization that dedicates their time taking in stray animals, rehabilitating them, and trying to find them forever homes. I was able to spay and neuters cats every day, as well as spaying dogs and castrating donkeys. Spending a week at ZAASO helped me gain confidence with my surgical skills (with very limited amount of surgical materials) that would have been very hard to do here in America. The only thing I regret is not working there for longer!

Tanzania 1 Tanzania 2 Tanzania 3


South Africa 
Kristina Baltutis; Class of 2017
Location: Johannesburg, South Africa
Program: Johannesburg Zoo
Dates: April – May 2015
Over the course of my 5-week externship at the Johannesburg Zoo, I worked with 57 different zoological species. The presenting complaints included anorexia, diarrhea, trauma, abscesses, respiratory distress, fractures, wellness exams, and lameness evaluations. I also had the opportunity to assist with 12 post-mortem examinations and to monitor anesthesia on 10 different species. I had many opportunities to practice technician skills such as administering medication, drawing blood, and monitoring anesthesia. I was off duty every other weekend, so I took the opportunity to fly down to Capetown for a long weekend, which was a great opportunity to see more of the country!
You can also visit the AAZV South Africa Externships page to learn more about this program.

South Africa 1 South Africa 2South Africa 3