A college student from Louisville traveled around the world to care for elephants and learn hands-on what it’s like to be a veterinarian.
Cameron Nau, 21, a University of Findlay senior, recently spent two weeks in Thailand helping animals as part of the study-abroad organization Loop Abroad.
Nau, who is majoring in animal science, was selected as part of a small team that volunteered to give care at a dog shelter and spent a week working with rescued elephants at an elephant sanctuary.
“I hold my time in Thailand near and dear to my heart,” she said. “The people, staff and culture are remarkable. Through my time at Elephant Nature Park and in Chiang Mai vet clinic I have expanded my veterinary knowledge by working and volunteering with many amazing animals and professionals.”
The Loop Abroad Veterinary Service program brings students to Thailand for two weeks to volunteer alongside veterinarians from the US and Thailand. It is the largest pre-veterinary study abroad program in the United States, hosting students in nine countries on six continents throughout the year.
For one week, Nau and her team volunteered at the Elephant Nature Park in northern Thailand to work hands-on with the giant animals and learn about animal rescue and conservation on a larger scale. The Elephant Nature Park is home to more than 60 elephants that have been rescued from trekking, logging, or forced breeding programs. Many of them had been abused and suffer from chronic injuries or blindness.
They are cared for by volunteers from all over the world.
Nau helped to feed and care for elephants, as well as learn about their diagnoses alongside an elephant vet. The Elephant Nature Park is also home to over 1,000 animals, including cats, dogs, water buffalo, horses, and cows, and is sustained in large part by the work of weekly volunteers like Nau.
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For the second week, Nau learned from teaching veterinarians at the Dog Rescue Clinic in Chiang Mai, Thailand. The students provided checkups and cleanings, diagnosed and treated ear and eye problems, took and tested blood, administered vaccines, cleaned and treated wounds, and helped with sterilization surgeries.
Since 2009, Loop Abroad has specialized in pre-veterinary programs and helped students all over the world to pursue their dreams of a veterinary career.
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“Our students are really an amazing group of people,” Loop Abroad program Managing Director Jane Stine said. “They are compassionate, flexible, driven, and dedicated, and it is always a wonderful experience to host them on their study abroad experience. I’m so proud of what they learn each year and the hard work that they do, and that this program allows us to provide important support to so many essential conservation programs around the world.”