Studying veterinary medicine as a Maltese student comes with an additional set of challenges, such as paying international student tuition, living abroad and ultimately, the course itself. Having just completed the course, I am able to share a few things I have learnt from my experience after having studied in Scotland as a Maltese student. I am doing this in the hope that some of this advice may help inform and encourage other Maltese students looking to become a veterinarian.

The first (and often most daunting) step is to get accepted into a vet school. Make sure to familiarise yourself with the entry requirements and application process of your top choices and try to find a work experience clinic that supports you in this early learning stage. If you feel apprehensive or uncertain when applying, know that this is normal.

Should you be applying fresh out of sixth form, you can consider doing a relevant first degree at the University of Malta. I found that my first degree was immeasurably helpful. This will give you time to develop skills that will help you through vet school.

Once offered an interview, present yourself as a well-rounded individual. The interviewers already know you want to be a vet; show them what makes you unique by including interests, role models and hobbies in your application.

There is currently a global shortage of veterinarians, so the world is yours to experience through work opportunities

The prospect of paying thousands each year for tuition, accommodation and living can be prohibitive for many. Luckily, there are many grants and schemes available to us as Maltese and European citizens that can help lighten the load. I was fortunate to be part of the Veterinary Student Scholarship Scheme (VSSS). I am very thankful for this scheme and its team for all their support. My advice would be to research grants and schemes that would be available to you. Schemes range from government funding to private corporate support, but make sure to be aware of any stipulations that come with the support.

One of my first patients, a goat kid owned by a practice manager in Wales who was not growing as fast as he should have been.One of my first patients, a goat kid owned by a practice manager in Wales who was not growing as fast as he should have been.

Living and studying abroad is a uniquely fruitful opportunity for Maltese students. Veterinary medicine is an international profession, meaning you will be fortunate enough to study alongside other international students. You will encounter people from all walks of life but who share one main common goal: the care of animals. My advice here would be to immerse yourself in this community and look for work opportunities all over the world. There is currently a global shortage of veterinarians, so the world is yours to experience through work opportunities.

While living abroad as a university student, I would also recommend that you take steps to get involved in your local community. Find what appeals to you through local clubs or university societies. Continue your existing hobbies or use this opportunity to pursue new hobbies or passions. In my experience, having a healthy social life outside of the course is vital, and being able to de-stress is a key skill for all professions, but particularly for veterinarians.

When it comes to the academic side of things, there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to success in vet school. I would suggest that you figure out what works for you and stick to it. If you get accepted into vet school, you have already demonstrated that you have what it takes to complete the course. So, work in a way that suits you and try to have fun while doing it through study groups or extracurricular activities.

As you advance through the course, you will begin to develop interests in certain parts of the profession. Try to keep an open mind to the opportunities available to you. The global shortage of veterinarians is particularly severe in the large animal and public health fields. These career paths allow you to have a widespread positive impact on the lives of animals and human beings alike.

The veterinary profession is, now more than ever, a challenging one. My final piece of advice would be to take your time, consider your options and choose what feels right for you. A career in veterinary medicine will involve hard work and sacrifice. So above all else, try and find fulfilment in the process and enjoy yourself along the journey.

The call for applications for the 2024 Veterinary Studies Scholarships Scheme is now open and will close on June 28 at noon. An online information session will be held on Friday, June 14 at 4pm.

Independent journalism costs money. Support Times of Malta for the price of a coffee.

Support Us