Melbourne Veterinary Science Open Day – Part 1

17 September 2021

What’s it like to be a student at the University of Melbourne Veterinary School?

Once upon a time, we asked Melbourne veterinary medicine student (now a full-fledged DVM!) Ashley S to be our lead correspondent for Melbourne Veterinary Science Open Day. Who better to describe the campus than a current student, right?

What is being a vet student really like? What kind of facilities are we talking about? And where is Werribee anyway, and what can you find there?

So, if you’re curious about studying at the University of Melbourne Veterinary School, here’s a little of what you can expect!


University of Melbourne Veterinary School
Ashley on the train and her $1 coffee!

I was asked by OzTREKK, the Canadian company that helped me apply to the University of Melbourne, to take part in the University of Melbourne Veterinary Science and Hospital Open Day on behalf of the future applicants. I went to the open day event and I documented everything I saw, as if I was a new Canadian student applying to the university.

I headed from my UniLodge apartment in North Melbourne at 8:20 a.m. and took a 20-minute tram ride to Flinders Street train station. If you have never been to Melbourne, Australia before, the thing you will notice is the weather is very unusual. You can experience four seasons all in one day, so I checked the weather and saw it was supposed to be 28 degrees Celsius and sunny. I put on a nice dress and headed outside to find out that it was actually 12 degrees Celsius and not so sunny. Good thing I am Canadian because I was able to adapt to the chilly morning even though I was wearing a dress and sandals.

I met Anna Donlan, my classmate from the USA, at the train station and we got ourselves a coffee and a muffin and prepared for the 43-minute-long train ride to Hoppers Crossings. There are two campuses for Melbourne Veterinary School: one is located in Parkville, which is close to the downtown (CBD is what the Australians call it); and the other campus is in Werribee, which is about a 45-minute train ride from the CBD. When you are in first and second years, four out of five days a week are spent at the Parkville campus, and once a week you have lectures and practicals at the Werribee campus—this is where the live animal practicals are held. In third and fourth years of the Melbourne DVM program, all of your classes are held at Werribee campus, so it is recommended to move to Werribee as it is a lot closer than Melbourne.

During the journey on the train you get to see the city, then the suburbs, and then the middle of nowhere.

After 43 minutes on the train, we arrived at Hoppers Crossing. This is a town close to Werribee. After you get off the train there is a 20-minute walk to campus, but it is very easy to find your way as there are signs everywhere.

Once you start school it is very easy to make friends with some of the Australian students that have cars. This makes the travel to Werribee campus much easier and saves about 30 minutes of travel. If you don’t end up making a carpool, then there are always students traveling together on the train, so it is not as lonely going by yourself. This also is a good time to get some studying done and pop quiz your friends.

When we got off the train we ran into Melissa Pearson. She is the University of Melbourne’s Student and Academic Programs Coordinator. After I was accepted to University of Melbourne, she was my main contact and helped me through each step of the way. The faculty at the university are all very nice and they make a special effort to make you feel welcome and try their hardest to get to know everyone. Melissa walked with us to campus and was kind enough to ask us how our first two weeks of classes were going and how our living was going. She was also full of great tips on our future four years spent in vet school. One of the things I like so much about the Melbourne DVM program is how personable all the faculty are. It makes it so much nicer and easier to approach professors and staff members when they have taken the time to get to know you. This is a big difference from my undergrad, as I didn’t know any of the faculty at the University of Guelph.

When we arrived at Werribee campus the sun had started to come out, (again the four seasons in one day), and there were a lot of people coming to check out the Open Day. The Melbourne Veterinary Science and Hospital Open Day was not just for future students, but also an opportunity for the public to come and have a look at the facilities and see what the students are learning. This is great, as it shows the public the wonderful facilities that the University of Melbourne has, as well as the new technology, and most important, the friendly and hardworking students and staff.

Looking at parasites through a microscope at University of Melbourne Veterinary School
Looking at parasites through a microscope

The lawn had several booths set up with community organizations and school clubs that all involve animals. Then there was a self-guided tour of the campus where you followed paw prints and signs, which took you throughout the vet school. Staff greeted you and asked you what your plans were for the future. There were kids from the age of 4, to young adults my age—approximately 26—all there for future interest in class. The staff gave a sticker to anyone interested in veterinary-related classes and wrote their names on it. This made it feel more personable and the young children really enjoyed it. We were also given a map with all the exhibits located throughout the campus.

Anna and I decided to start off with the self-guided tour, which was easily marked with arrows and signs. There was also third- and fourth-year students there to help point anyone in the right direction.

There were scheduled lectures throughout the day with course and career advice for any interested future students. Since OzTREKK does an amazing job with providing the details for the DVM course, I decided it was more important for me to document the facilities of the campus.

My first stop was the Parasitology Lab. Here they had microscopes set up with parasite specimens and also information about the specimens that were on display. It was really neat to see all the different parasites of different species, all out for the public to compare. They had Petri dishes and forceps on display as well for the public to be able to have a closer look at the parasites.

After the Parasitology Lab, I ran into my friend, Sondra Luck, from my class at the University of Guelph. She also applied through OzTREKK. She was volunteering as a tour guide, so I got her to take Anna and me for a tour.

Our next stop was the Pathology Lab. Unfortunately, I was unable to take photos in this lab as they had specimens of animals that were donated to the university after they had passed away from illness etc. The nice thing about the University of Melbourne is all of their animal cadavers have been donated from animal hospitals and pet owners. No animal is euthanized for the sake of learning; they have all been donated to the university for teaching purposes.

In the pathology display there were unusual cases for the students to see, such as a horse head with hydrocephalus, a cat with mammary hyperplasia, fetuses, and much more. They also had a bone display which I was allowed to document.

Until my next installment….

Ashley S
Melbourne DVM graduate

Stay tuned for Part 2!

Roundworm parasites at University of Melbourne Veterinary School
Roundworm parasites—ew!

vet student looking through microscope University of Melbourne Veterinary School
Anna having a look

Pathology bone display at University of Melbourne Veterinary School
Pathology bone display


Do you have questions about studying at Melbourne Veterinary School? Contact OzTREKK’s Veterinary Medicine Admissions Officer at or call 1-866-698-7355 (toll free in Canada).

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