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Voices of ACES Blog

From Tanzania to South Korea: ANSC student Avery Bennett's study abroad journey

Avery Bennett in wilderness
Avery Bennett

Preparing for a study abroad trip involves making many decisions throughout the process. Sorting everything out will take considerable time, thought, and effort, and it might push you out of your comfort zone.

Animal Science student Avery Bennett, who has completed three study abroad programs on three continents, is no stranger to this process. Studying in Tanzania, New Zealand, and South Korea, Avery gained experiences and opportunities invaluable to her study-abroad goals, career aspirations, and personal development.

Traveling has always been a source of happiness for Avery, and that love of travel runs within her family. When Avery was young, her aunt and uncle took a year-long trip across Europe and Asia. They would send her back postcards at each destination, repeatedly mentioning that they wished she could be there and experience the wonders of traveling with them.

Then, when she graduated high school, she spent the summer backpacking across Europe with her mom.

Her passion for travel directly correlates to her career vision: to become a traveling veterinarian, working in diverse places with a wide range of species.

Being a pre-vet student interested in exotic animals and conservation, studying abroad was the best opportunity to become fully immersed in these subjects. For the same reason internships are important, studying abroad gives you experience that translates into the real world.

During her Tanzania trip, the focus was wildlife conservation. The two-week trip consisted of lots of safaris and field studies. These experiences helped the group learn the ins and outs of the environment and its ecosystems.

Avery chose New Zealand for similar reasons. The primary focus was wildlife conservation again, but it also included visiting a wildlife clinic and shadowing the veterinarians. After that, Avery and her cohort got to study pathology at Massey University's School of Veterinary Science.

In addition to the two conservation programs, Avery secured a 2-week internship with a biotech company in South Korea specializing in cloning. She describes this as an eye-opening experience because this internship taught her how to adapt to different countries' views and cultures on wildlife.

Despite the differences in each program, she reflects on every activity she participated in as key in helping her find her path. She especially stresses the importance of studying abroad to reach opportunities that usually aren't available.

"When in your life are you going to have another opportunity to do something like this? I think it's important for people to know this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. You will not be able to do something like this again," Avery said. She believes everyone should try to study abroad if they can.

She notes that while studying abroad could be out of people's comfort zones, learning how to handle those situations is imperative. Getting practice doing things you might be nervous or doubtful about is an invaluable experience that will help provide clarity in all aspects of life.

In Avery's case, the results are already showing.

"Now I'm going into vet school saying, 'I know this is my path.'"