One-on-One with Jennifer Carne, ISU Vet Med student

Jennifer Carne, a third-year veterinary medicine student, has traveled to big game reserves in South Africa and wildlife hospitals in Australia through summer study abroad programs. She plans to study abroad in Jordan this summer to visit animal shelters and farms.

Aimee Burch

Summer is a great time for students to take advantage of the many study abroad programs Iowa State offers. Trips to various locales abound for those looking to spend days, weeks, even months at a time studying in a different land. Jennifer Carne is a third-year veterinary medicine student who has participated in many study abroad trips. She sat down with the Daily to discuss these adventures, share the lessons she learned and dispense advice to fellow students.

How did you get involved with these different trips?

When I came to visit ISU during my interview weekend, there was an exhibit fair going on where I saw the CIVO (Committee for International Veterinary Opportunities) booth. As an undergrad I lived in London for three or four months and loved the idea of seeing different animals in their natural habitats. That day CIVO was showing the different opportunities available for summer of 2010 where you could learn the culture and work with native animals.

Where have you gone, and where will you be going?

I went on two trips in 2011- South Africa and Australia. The South Africa trip was for 16 days, where we stayed on a game reserve in tents. During the day, we would go on game drives and the guide would show us how they tracked different species. We also saw different immobilization techniques where you have to treat animals as quickly as possible to monitor vitals and give relief so the animal is not sedated for long. We learned a lot about animal transport and the history of South Africa. For instance, most of the animals and reserves are privately owned and the animals can be traded or sold to different reserves. South Africa also has national parks. We went to the Addo Elephant Park and I couldn’t tell you how many elephants we saw that day, maybe 50 to 100. A few of us also went on what is called a “pre-trip” before our official program began. We got to participate in research projects with monkeys and cape parrots. It was a lot of hands-on animal work.

In Australia, we got to do a little more sightseeing and worked in wildlife hospitals. I worked with kangaroos, wallabys, and wallaroos, which I didn’t even know existed. We got to learn about native Australian wildlife and do post-mortem dissections, where we saw the internal structure and had to determine the cause of death. We had time for more touristy things, like how we spent a night on a boat in the Great Barrier Reef and snorkeled.

In a few days, I’ll be leaving with a group for Jordan. We’ll get to interact with their students and see how their learning style is similar or different from ours here in the States. We’ll work at an animal shelter and see their different farming techniques. We’re also planning to do touristy stuff, like visit Petra and the Red Sea.

Any favorite memories or memorable moments?

In South Africa we got to work on a cat wildlife preserve where we interacted with cheetahs. We would take them on what’s called “sunset walks” and we would walk them around similar to how you would walk a dog. I would take Chaka and Thandi and spend time with them and they would just walk and relax. You could pet these cheetahs. On one walk, a car drove by and the cheetah wanted to chase after it just like a dog would want to.

Why do you do what you do? What motivates you to go on all these trips?

I have a love of travel. I have been to 47 of the 50 states. With these trips I get to go to foreign countries and learn more about my interests. It’s like hitting the jackpot and combining my two loves.

What are your future plans?

Vet med is a four year program. It’s three years of classroom and the fourth year consists of two week rotations. Some are required and then you get to choose from a list of selectives. I’m planning to do tracking of large and small animals for one. I have a passion for exotic animals, so I’m going to do a double rotation (four weeks) in the Florida Keys with a vet down there who works in private practice, zoos, and rescues. I’ll also go to Hawaii to study marine mammals, which is something I have not had much experience with previously. I’ll start my third year in August, so I’ve got two more years of school. After school, I’ll probably go into mixed practice but probably not in the Midwest. I have my heart set on the Carolinas.

Any advice to other students who may want to study abroad?

Just do it. Even if you don’t end up having the best experience, you learn about and experience another culture. It also helps you appreciate what you have so much more.