Volunteering to gain experience
Outside of study, I volunteered at the Whanganui Bird Rescue, where I helped rehabilitate New Zealand birds such as kereru, morepork and harrier hawks. I also volunteered in an ecology lab on campus helping a professor review camera trap footage aimed at documenting Kiwi bird behaviour. I even got the chance to help out in the field by collecting data on tīeke (the Māori name for the New Zealand saddleback) populations in the area.
Joining clubs to make connections
I wanted to make the most of my experience, so I joined the Massey Wildlife and Conservation Club. I made professional connections, friends for life and even attended the Wildlife Rehabilitators Network of New Zealand annual conference in Christchurch where I found myself in a room full of wildlife veterinarians, rehabilitators and students studying wildlife medicine.
Not only did I receive a wealth of information about rehabilitating New Zealand species, but I was honoured to meet and interact with some of the world’s best veterinarians in my future field.
More than just study
Whatever you’re passionate about, seek it out in New Zealand. The country has so much to offer – from adrenaline rushes to research.
By studying in New Zealand, I was able to do much more than just study; I learned from unique experiences, made professional connections and developed skills relevant to my interests. I got out of my comfort zone, made lifelong friends, interacted with some of the most interesting wildlife on the planet and had the time of my life doing it.
I am now in the process of applying to veterinary schools in the US and hope to pursue a career working with wildlife after graduation.
All photographs in this blog post are courtesy of Brigid Sexton