University of Findlay has been named the school of record for Loop Abroad, an organization that collaborates with world-renowned conservationists to offer unparalleled study-abroad trips for students pursuing careers working with animals. The partnership now enables UF students studying pre-veterinary medicine, and students from other institutions, to earn college credit through the program while studying exotic species around the world.
Participants will have hands-on learning opportunities focused on subjects such as wildlife handling, elephant husbandry, and marine conservation while gaining invaluable cross-cultural experiences. Conservationists affiliated with Loop Abroad are committed to endangered species protection and global animal welfare, which distinguishes this program as a strong ethical and environmental endeavor.
“With opportunities in Thailand, the Amazon Rain Forest/Galapagos, South Africa, and Australia, Loop Abroad is an organization that provides unique hands-on study abroad experience,” said Dave Emsweller, UF’s vice president for Student Affairs. “Given that the University of Findlay has one of the most outstanding pre-veterinary programs in the country, this represents an excellent partnership between two organizations deeply committed to creating highly interactive and rewarding learning opportunities.”
Addam Stine, Loop Abroad’s executive director, said serving UF’s stellar students provided great incentive for selecting University of Findlay as its school of record.
“For the last several years, Loop Abroad has welcomed a large contingent of UF pre-vet students. Loop veterinarians have always been extremely impressed with the practical skills and animal knowledge UF students have shown in the field,” said Stine. “Loop Abroad and UF both value the importance of getting pre-vets hands-on experience early in their studies, and the establishment of UF as the School of Record for Loop Abroad is a natural progression of the relationship that will make Loop programs more accessible to all students.”
Lauren Omerzo, a UF pre-veterinary medicine student who has completed three Loop Abroad trips to South Africa, Australia, and Thailand, said those professional and cultural experiences have changed her life, and encouraged her to be more conservation-aware. “There are all these wonderful things in the world that we need to start protecting before we lose them,” Omerzo said.
While studying abroad, Omerzo said she performed ethograms, practiced suturing techniques, assisted with necropsies, and earned her SCUBA certification, all of which she is confident will help her earn acceptance into veterinary school to focus on large animal medicine.
“Loop is helping me work towards this goal because it is getting me hands on experience with animals I could only imagine I’d be able to work with, along with obtaining vet hours and relationships with veterinarians throughout the world,” Omerzo explained.
The Loop Abroad partnership will further enhance University of Findlay’s Pre-Veterinary Medicine Program, which is recognized as one of the top undergraduate offerings in the country. The program’s combination of experiential learning with classroom instruction makes graduates highly competitive for veterinary school acceptance; the vet school acceptance rate for UF students is more than two times the national average.
Students begin working with animals their freshman year, particularly at UF’s English and Western equestrian farms. The Dr. C. Richard Beckett Animal Science building at the Western Farm is a 31,000-square-foot facility that includes labs, classrooms, and a variety of livestock for knowledge acquisition in areas such as animal husbandry, handling, and nutrition. Other opportunities include working on-site with practicing veterinarians from the region, observing at UF’s equine hospital, and more.
Loop Abroad’s College Veterinary Service program was named a Top Study Abroad Program for 2018 by Go Abroad. Loop Abroad, which was founded in 2009 by Addam and Jane Stine, is currently celebrating its 10th year. Loop Abroad recently launched a Global Veterinary Semester program where students take courses in South Africa, Thailand, and Ecuador over a single semester. Additionally, for spring 2020, Loop Abroad will be offering a full semester program in South Africa for pre-vet, animal science, and wildlife conservation majors.