Meet Ashley Souza

Program and Location:

Spring break, Galapagos Islands: Equatorial Zoology and Medicine; Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

Major/Minor:

DVM candidate

Why did you choose to study abroad?

I studied abroad in undergrad and loved it. It was the best decision I ever made, so when the opportunity arose to participate in study abroad again for veterinary medicine, I knew I had to work hard to make it happen.

What did you learn about yourself?

I actually enjoy research. My project was the capstone project for this trip, which was cross-matching the Galapagos tortoise on the Island of San Cristobal. We were trying to figure out if you could safely transfuse tortoises in an emergency situation. This was also a great opportunity to experience new cultures and cuisines, and of course the wildlife.

What was one of your favorite parts of your program?

I loved being able to work with a bunch of different species I have never worked with before. This included Darwin’s Finches, marine iguanas, and of course the Galapagos tortoise.

What advice do you have to future study abroad students?

Do it. If you have any opportunity to go, take it. You will not regret it.

Would you do it again?

Absolutely.

How did your study abroad experience prepare you for your future career?

I am very interested in working abroad with veterinary medicine as well as working in the field with zoological species. So this trip was very insightful about supplies that needs to be brought as well as problem solving in the field.

How were your classes abroad different than if you would have taken them at NC State? Did you take any field trips or do anything outside of the traditional classroom?

My classes abroad, both in undergrad and this experience, have both been more hands on than on campus classroom based lectures. You still discuss things in lectures; however, you actually visit what you are talking about on field trips or your are being taught about a particular topic that is right in front of you. For example, our lecture on medical care of tortoises was in the field with Galapagos tortoises, and we were able to practice those skills we learned on live animals.