THE past month has been a series of new experiences for staff at a Border veterinary clinic.
Family Vet Centre Albury-Wodonga has been hosting two veterinary science students from France, the centre’s first overseas placements and the visitors’ first trip to Australia.
Adeline Argentier, 25, and Laure Mioche, 23, study at VetagroSup Campus Veterinaire at Lyon, the oldest of France’s four vet schools, having opened in 1761.
The five-year qualification is highly competitive, with a number of written and oral exams required to gain entry.
As part of their course, students are required to spend at least two weeks studying and being tutored in an English-speaking country.
Three other French students have been completing placements in Wangaratta as well, the positions fitting into their university summer holidays.
“Since my childhood I want to be a vet, I love animals, I love to learn and make diagnosis,” Ms Argentier said.
Peter Lee, of Family Vet Centre, said the two Border visitors had been doing consultations with vets and carrying out minor surgeries, such as suturing.
“They said at their school there are a lot of students so (practising) putting a catheter in the vein, they get one chance,” Dr Lee said.
“If they miss the vein, it’s on to the next student.
“When they’re practising things here, the nurses help them. When they finish their course, their best friend in the world will be a senior nurse.”
As well as the animals brought into the clinic, Ms Argentier and Ms Mioche have been able to play with baby wombats, pat koalas and see kangaroos in the wild.
Ms Argentier said Australia’s native fauna was far from normal for them.
“I think there are more exotic pets in Australia than in France, more birds, more snakes, more rabbits,” she said.
Ms Mioche said the language barrier remained the biggest challenge throughout their month on the Border.
“It’s not new (to us), but when we do scientific courses, we don’t do a lot of English anymore,” Ms Mioche said.
Before returning to France, the pair and the three Wangaratta students will visit Phillip Island to see the penguins, travel along the Great Ocean Road, go to Adelaide and also Kangaroo Island.
They thanked all the staff of Family Vet Centre for their support, saying they had enjoyed their placement.
Dr Lee said the centre had also benefited.
“Students are always good to have, they keep us thinking,” he said. “I have a saying, ‘If you don’t know it, you can’t teach it’.”