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  • International Veterinary Medicine Schools: Student Spotlight

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    Sponsored by St. George University

    For many students, the dream of becoming a veterinarian begins before active memory. Hillary Schilke is an exception. Hillary was trained in operatic singing and danced for over 15 years before she made the decision to attend a veterinary medical program. Although she had plenty of family members in the medical field, performing arts was her passion.

    After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts and entering the music industry, Hillary decided she wanted something more "mentally stimulating." She applied to St. George's University's School of Veterinary Medicine and was accepted. One month later, she packed up and relocated to the Caribbean to begin her study.

    St. George's University, in Grenada, West Indies, is an international melting pot of scholars, ideas and cultures that creates an intellectually and culturally stimulating environment. Every year, the University gives millions of dollars worth of financial assistance to students dedicated to pursuing degrees in Medicine or Veterinary Medicine.

    Why Change?

    Because Hillary's family was deeply involved in medicine, she often considered joining the medical ranks – but not seriously. After many years studying the fine arts, Hillary accepted that she just was not completely satisfied with what she was doing.

    "I was intending to be a performer on Broadway," proclaimed Hillary. "My father's side of the family has many doctors, so it was an outlet that I played with, but when I was younger, performing was my passion."

    During a discussion with her mother about the path of her musical career, she had an epiphany. Realizing her love for animals and strong desire to make a difference in the world, she admitted it was time for a change. When the conversation ended, she had decided to enter into the world of veterinary medicine.

    Why SGU?

    The 2007 St. George's University graduate recalls many reasons why she chose SGU and why she recommends it to her family and friends.

    • The hands-on experience begins the first weekend on campus.
    • Professors' sole purpose and desire is to teach students to become strong doctors and veterinarians.
    • Visiting professors teach in their individual fields of expertise and enjoy interacting with the unique and dedicated SGU students.
    • Being far from home minimizes distractions.
    • The True Blue Campus encompasses everything medical – human and animal.
    • Study hard, play hard; Grenada is an amazing place, which makes it easy to step away from studies and enjoy life and the Caribbean culture.

    What Now?

    Since graduation, Hillary has relocated back to the United States, where she is interning at Long Island Veterinary Specialists in Long Island, New York. She has also spent time volunteering at local animal shelters and writing a retrospective paper with an ophthalmologist. Hillary often dreams of retiring in Grenada. Before that time comes, she'll wait until she's specialized in ophthalmology, so she can travel down to St. George's University and teach a few classes of her own.

    "The campus, island, culture and education is like no other experience you can get anywhere else," says Hillary. "Actually, I already have a few family and friends currently attending the SGU medical and veterinary medical schools because of my recommendation."

    She adds, "I always recommend SGU; it is the most amazing experience anyone can have – if you don't believe me, go see for yourself."

    About St. George's University

    St. George's University School of Veterinary Medicine in Grenada is an international educational program that begins in the Caribbean, and includes clinical rotation options in the US, the UK, Ireland, Australia and Canada. For more information, visit www.sgu.edu.