Qiao Yoke Tan: Chasing my childhood dream in Australia

Vet school was a journey requiring hard work and commitment for Qiao Yoke, but it helped her fulfil her childhood dream.

Hey, everyone! I’m Qiao Yoke from Singapore and I studied the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) program at University of Melbourne.

As a veterinary student, I was frequently asked, “Why do you want to be a vet?”

It's actually pretty hard to explain something you have wanted so badly since you were young! Of course, it stems from my love of animals as a child. As I grew older, I observed the complex interactions between humans and animals and realised that we rely on them as much as they do on us. I realised that I want to play a part in preserving and enriching this bond, while encouraging better animal welfare.

I completed a Bachelor of Science (majoring in Animal Health and Disease) at the University of Melbourne and entered the DVM via the accelerated pathway. This means that I was a certified veterinarian in six years instead of seven. In short, I applied for the DVM course in the second year of my undergraduate degree and, upon receiving my acceptance, I started taking DVM subjects in my third year. After graduating from my bachelors degree, I was enrolled into the DVM course as a second-year postgraduate student.

Graduating with a Bachelor of Science

The first two years of the course was largely spent at the Parkville campus, where classes are organised by body systems and focused on physiology, anatomy and pathology. The highlight of these two years was definitely the pre-clinical placements that we had to complete as part of the course, with the aim of understanding the role of veterinarians in different industries.

As I was born in a densely populated city, I was excited to travel out into the rural countryside and explore Australia! It was also an extremely rewarding cultural experience, as I was kindly hosted by farmers who were generous in sharing their knowledge and skills. The third and fourth years are then mostly spent at the Werribee campus where we learn to apply our knowledge in clinical settings, doing things such as diagnosing and treating diseases.

While I admit that there is a fair bit of theory to get through, vet school is not all about the books! The Veterinary Science Students of Victoria (VSSV) is the main student body representing members across all year levels of the DVM program. I was part of the committee and we organised events throughout the year to allow students to relax and mingle with other year levels.

I ran the Students of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Society (SVECCS) where my committee helped to organise lectures and workshops for the class to learn material beyond our syllabus. I also volunteered at the university’s equine hospital and emergency hospital, where I got the opportunity to observe and learn in real-life situations outside class hours.

Volunteering at the equine hospital

Vet school is not the easiest journey but it was a very fulfilling one. Aside from the medical knowledge and skills, the friendships I forged in these six years were my most precious takeaway.

Learn more about the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine.