Katie Murray, Ireland, with her Polish shelter dog Ronja

5th year student

International veterinary medicine study program at WULS-SGGW, Warsaw

1. What was the reaction of your family when you told them that you will be studying in Poland?

My family have always been very open and forward going about taking opportunities presented to you. Without the diligent guidance of my mother I probably would not have achieved such opportunities like this one. When I received my acceptance letter for SGGW-WULS, my family were delighted with the news. To have the chance to study and have an independent life in a foreign country at such a young age is an opportunity afforded to few.

2. Where do you plan to work after graduation? Why? In what area of specialisation?

My plans for the ‘What next?’ after graduation have changed so many times, if I am honest! I will continue my journey abroad I think. I’d like to work in the US or Australia for a while, and when I have built up a good skill set in Equine Orthopaedics and possibly Internal disease or Reproduction too, I would love to work in the UAE before deciding what slice of the world I want to settle in.

3. How do you like to spend your free time? Do you think there are enough opportunities for student life? What are your favorite places to go to?

I’m quite an outdoorsy person, so I love to spend my free time out with the dogs walking or finding new places. There is a huge forest near my home here and plenty of parks and woodlands to explore. Quite a few of my friends here have adopted animals of their own, so there are definitely enough of us to get together for big dog walks! Student life thrives here in Warsaw – there are cinemas, bars, clubs, sports grounds, gyms, cafes, restaurants and more everywhere! Many places have generous student discounts or designated student days/nights. Even the gyms have good student discounts and operating hours. Not to mention the layout of the city is perfect for students to walk/bike/scooter/roller blade anywhere. For me, favourite places start with a key prerequisite – can I take my dog? There’s a cafe in my locality that make the best hot cocoa and they love dogs, I go there to study for big exams when I need to get out of the house. There are so many little parks and ponds hidden in the city that are fantastic to go to also, whether it’s snow or shine, the places are beautiful!

4. Do you think that life in the city where you study is expensive?

Compare it to your home country please. Warsaw is perhaps one of the most student budget-friendly cities a person can find! Poland still operates in its own national currency and the conversion rates from the euro are favourable. The cost of living is quite low and off-campus living is very reasonable. Public transport here is excellent and very cheap too. This is vastly different to my home country where the cost of renting off-campus is difficult to manage and living costs are generally higher.

5. Would you recommend this programme to other students?

If you have the choice of doing veterinary medicine in your own country versus abroad, choose to go abroad every time. By coming to Warsaw for this programme, I met so many other students of different nationalities. This broadened my horizon of thoughts and connections. There are so many opportunities here to work or do work experience in other countries to experience veterinary life around the world.

6. Give one piece of advice to future international students.

Whether you live on campus or off, get to know your surroundings. Learn the local language and integrate with your community. Life gets far more interesting when you can speak to the locals in their tongue and learn what wonderful things happen regularly in your vicinity. Have a bite for life, do not limit yourself.