“I had such an incredible experience on my trip and I am so grateful for the experience.”
Gianna, from the USA, spent 3 weeks with us in June 2019 at our Veterinary Internship, in the beautiful city of Lilongwe, in Malawi.
We asked for her feedback on her experience as a veterinary intern.
“I spent a lot of time searching for a well-respected animal sanctuary, that also provided a veterinary externship abroad. I decided to join this one because firstly it looked absolutely incredible from the reviews and photos I saw on the website. I also spoke to a few people who had previously worked there, and they had nothing but good things to say about the internship and the sanctuary. so I was sold!”
How was the accommodation and food?
“Malawi is a very poor country and the living conditions were lovely for the area we were in. Sometimes the showers had no water pressure or very cold. But, we made it work and it was all part of the experience. In addition, the volunteer housing was very clean, and having someone do our laundry was extremely helpful. And, the cooking was absolutely incredible!!
All of the food we ate was vegetarian, which I appreciated as I am a vegetarian and I was concerned about finding the proper food in Malawi. Joseph is an amazing cook and I am so thankful for his creative ways to incorporate protein and veggies into our meals. He also was very considerate of people with any other dietary restrictions, including the vegans of the group, and would always make a separate portion for them.”
What was your overall impression of the internship?
“The program was amazing. I learned so much in the three weeks that I was in Malawi. Not only did I put my hands-on veterinary skills to practice in health checks and emergencies, which was incredible, but I also learned so much about wildlife conservation. Not often do veterinarians and vet students see the other side of the animals that they are working on, but I really appreciated learning about conservation and how/why we do the things that we do. It is so critical to work together, especially with wildlife, so that was wonderful.”
What was your most memorable experience?
“Doing health checks on vervet monkeys was incredible. I had never even touched a monkey before, and here I did full physical exams, drew blood, and gave them injections. It was an incredible experience to use my previous training and skills on a new animal. The staff were so helpful in making us comfortable with working with the monkeys and teaching us all that we needed to know.”
Did you feel you made a real contribution to the animals, reserve or communities you were working with?
“Absolutely! I definitely contributed to the veterinary care of the animals at the sanctuary for certain. We also ran a rabies vaccine clinic that surely made a difference in the health of the animals in the community, as well as the relationship of the people of the village with the veterinary staff and conservation effort.”
Do you have any advice for future participants?
“My only advice is to absolutely do this program. I learned so much about wildlife conservation, worked with animals that I never would have dreamed of even touching, and made incredible friends.”
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