When I decided I wanted to apply to veterinary schools abroad rather than at home I knew I had a big task in front of me. I did a lot of research into schools that were accredited in the US (a very small group)and ended up settling on Murdoch University in Perth Australia. Having studied abroad for a year in Sweden while doing my undergraduate degree, I knew I wanted to spend my veterinary school years in a location I would really enjoy. In my research I found the program Australearn and decided to use them to facilitate my application to Murdoch. I'm very glad I made that decision. They weren't just a website full of application tools, which would have been helpful enough. I got a lot of personal, one-on-one help from the staff via both email and phone calls. They made sure I had all my application materials, collated them all together, and sent them off to Australia for me. Best of all, they didn't charge me anything for all the help they gave me.
Finding out I got into Murdoch was one of the best days of my life. Anyone applying to veterinary school knows how incredibly hard it is to get in and how much work you have to go through to be a competitive candidate. Australearn was very helpful in getting me prepared for the trip over. I've been here almost two months now and I love it. I'm going to be here for five years so my experience is different then those who are looking for just a semester abroad. I've been impressed with the friendliness of the people, the academic rigor of the school, and the help I've gotten from all the staff at Murdoch. Moving overseas for so many years is a daunting task but at every step I knew I'd have someone to ask for help, whether they were at Australearn or at Murdoch.
As for life here in Perth, it's pretty great. Perth is a lovely small city and Murdoch is set just south of it. It's a quiet place and if I had perhaps one complaint it would be that the night life and social scene is a little less extensive than I'm used to. There are on-campus events for new students that create opportunities to meet people and it's easy to meet people in classes (everyone is super friendly so far). Just a few miles away is Fremantle which has all the trappings of a relaxed beach suburb and is apparently a good place to learn to surf. We're in the middle of winter now but it's still sunny and warm every day and yet the locals still complain about the weather. I'd like to take them all to New York in December so they can see how amazingly good they have it. Many items here are substantially more expensive than they were in the states, especially food. The upshot is that if you decide to get a part time job, the minimum wage is very high (work at McDonalds? $17/hour!). Unlike a lot of universities in Australia, Murdoch does have dorm-style housing on campus. I ended up deciding to live in a house near campus instead with some other university students, but the dorms are comfortable and are filled with a mix of international and local students. Public transportation is ok but not great. The trains are very nice but only go to limited areas while the buses can be a challenge if you rely on them to get everywhere. Luckily there are plenty of rental units around Murdoch in walking or biking distance to class, and lots of bike trails.
The academics are challenging but manageable. I'm happy to say that the rigor is on the level of what I experienced in the US as an undergraduate but the support system of the university is more extensive. Every class has a "tutorial" every week which is somewhat similar to getting help during office hours from your professor if you're at an American university. But it's built in so it's easier to keep up with the work. The veterinary school is a tight knit group and there is a farm on campus so everything you need is within walking distance.
So for those of you looking into getting a degree of any kind in Australia rather than at home, I would recommend Murdoch. It's been a big change for me but I really like it here and I can see myself getting very attached to this lovely country.