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Student Stories

Student Stories

Blogs and vlogs from students of the University of Edinburgh

Summer as a Vet student…

Student carrying a small black lamb.
Reading Time: 2 minutes

…by Maisie / from England, UK / studying Veterinary Medicine

As a vet student, I finish my term quite a bit later than other university students, with my last exam on the 31st of May – almost 2 weeks after most my non-vet friends! Although my summers are shorter than most, they are still jam packed with things to do and here is what I have planned for this summer! Veterinary Medicine students must complete 12 weeks of AHEMS (Animal Handling Extra-Mural Studies), before the 31st of July in their second year – this summer I’m undergoing the colossal task of completing 8 weeks, meaning coupled with my week of Christmas EMS and 2 weeks of lambing, I will only have 1 week left!

A group of Alpacas in a field.

My first week of EMS was at an alpaca farm, not a common choice for most, but one I thoroughly enjoyed! My time at this Alpaca farm was filled with so many fun experiences, allowing me to get hands on with all thing’s alpacas, greatly increasing my confidence and skills with all thing’s alpacas and llamas. I also spent a lot of time babysitting Gordon the baby pygmy goat who is beyond cute!

A group of pigs outside in the sunshine.

My second lot of EMS was 2 weeks at an outdoor pig farm. These weeks were a lot of effort, with 7am starts, but ones that I thoroughly enjoyed, they allowed me to get hands on with over 2000 pigs, vaccinating over 1000 piglets by myself in 4 days! Of course, there were lots of very cute piglets!

A baby goat.

For the remaining 5 weeks of AHEMS this summer, I have 2 weeks with dairy cattle, 2 weeks with horses and 1 week in a kennels and cattery still to come. Although all this is animal handling, I wouldn’t have it any other way and love my animal filled summers! I know that this seems like a lot of work (and it is!), it’s not all work, trust me! I have strategically allowed a week of rest between each placement which I intend to fill with my friends in the sun. Here are some of my favourite things to do in Edinburgh when it’s sunny:

  • Go for a walk! Vet school can be stressful, I can’t lie, and finding ways to destress without taking up a lot of time is important, getting out in the sun and just having a good gossip is accessible most days, from walking to the local little Tesco for the daily sweet treat, or climbing Arthurs seat (and instantly regretting forgetting how much effort it takes!), the time it takes is determined by you!
  • Chilling in the meadows! One of my personal favourites includes going to get ice-cream (Alandas Gelato is phenomenal btw) and sitting in the meadows listening to music and just chatting. The meadows are also a great place to go for a walk/run or play cricket.
  • Going to the beach! Portobello is a beautiful beach when it is sunny and warm (and it rarely is at the beach 😅) and it’s a good place to destress away from the business of the city! My friends and I personally love to go when it’s warm to play cricket!

Want to find out more?

For more information about Extra-Mural Studies requirements for UK veterinary medicine students, please visit The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies EMS page or the RCVS EMS webpage, but please be aware that some of this information is outdated.

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