“Voluntourism” is the practice of individuals going on a non-paid working holiday for the purpose of volunteering themselves to worthy causes…
Our story began as a single veterinary volunteer program in South Africa which trained students to help the animals in that community (now called the “Vet Experience Program”). After several years, the local animals were showing huge overall improvement and hundreds of volunteers had gained real-world, hands-on vet experience. While our ultimate goal was to provide access to veterinary care for animals in need, we felt that a wide range of vet experience and access to other countries and cultures were incredibly valuable as well. We set out in search of other educational vet volunteer programs with similar values across the globe, and we developed partnerships with a number of programs that have made a significant impact on the quality and availability of animal care in their communities. We help these internships and volunteer programs connect with animal lovers, students, vet techs and vets around the world, and in return each program provides a unique educational experience and a long-term, sustainable impact on local animals.
In 2012, Ashely joined the Safari4u Conservation Program in South Africa as a pre-vet student seeking wildlife experience. Like many others, she found it difficult to gain valuable hands-on experience in the US, so she sought out international programs for clinical experience. What she found was so much more than ever expected- far beyond the hours clocked or the skills gained, Ashely was immersed in foreign cultures, challenged by the frustrations of international travel, and blessed to have made life-long connections with people around the world.
Ashely fell in love with the culture and atmosphere of South Africa, but above all else she was drawn to the animals- not only the incredible range and assortment of exotic species, but also the dogs, horses and farm animals in desperate need of basic veterinary care. Recognizing the potential for low-cost vet care, hands-on vet experience and cultural exchange, she agreed to help to transform the existing conservation program into a comprehensive veterinary internship. After a few years and many international flights, the design and development of the Safari4u Pre-Vet Program was complete.
In 2015, Ashely was accepted to vet school and shifted her focus to helping other students find the same value that she found in volunteering abroad. In 2018, Global Vet Experience was born to provide a wider range of experiences for students and extend resources to other worthwhile programs around the world. Now as a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and the Executive Director & CFO of Global Vet Experience, Ashely spends her time helping local animals, overseeing day-to-day operations, and traveling as much as possible.
Executive Director & CFO
Marketing Manager & Director of Operations
Trina has been in the veterinary field since 2003 and has been a Certified Veterinary Technician working in specialty practice since 2006. After several years working in specialty surgery, supervisory and management positions, she now rotates through a variety of specialties at busy 24/7 emergency and specialty practices in NH and MA. Trina also volunteers with local marine wildlife and has worked as a CVT at her local zoo.
In 2017, Trina attended the very first Safari4u Game Capture session in South Africa. She truly loved working hands-on with a variety of species while immersing herself in the culture of South Africa, as well as the fulfillment of combining her love for animals, learning and travel. In 2018, she began working with Global Vet Experience to help to pre-vet students, vet students, and vet techs find the same life-changing experiences.
As the Marketing Manager & Director of Operations at GVE, Trina enjoys connecting with students from around the world and strives to ensure we offer exceptional service and unique opportunities for those interested in veterinary medicine and animal care.
Global Vet Experience
Global Has Several Meanings to Us:
How do we know that our partner programs are genuinely interested in helping animals and teaching students? We work closely with each new partner, check 501(c)(3) registration status and other credentials, meet face-to-face with their Board of Directors, and speak to recent volunteers. We’re in regular communication with our partners so that we can keep our volunteers up-to-date.
Why Pay to Voluteer?
Unfortunately, many volunteer organizations don’t have enough funding to house and feed volunteers.
In some cases, a volunteer house is donated or paid for by donations, but more often the program pays for it. There are also utilities (including wifi and laundry), airport transfers, and many other costs associated with operating a volunteer program. Part of the program fee covers the cost of what volunteers use so that the program can use its funding to help the animals.
The program fee also supports the animals directly, i.e. supplies, equipment, staff salaries, rent for clinics and other structures, transportation, etc. Again, some of these things are donated, but they’re able to do even more with our funding- in some cases, the volunteer program is the main source of funding for the clinic. The funding is also an incentive for them to keep taking volunteers and offering quality training and experience.
Improve Animal Welfare 0
Gain Practical Skills 0
Explore New Places 0
Make International Friendships 0
We believe in transparency. If you book through our website, we make a small profit which is used to pay our employees, maintain our website, and process foreign transaction fees. Our Volunteer Coordinators handle marketing and bookings so that our partner programs can focus on helping animals and teaching students. All of our Coordinators were (or still are) volunteers themselves, so they’re best suited to help future volunteers.
In addition, we sponsor the American Pre-Veterinary Medical Association (APVMA) and the Student American Veterinary Medical Veterinary Association (SAVMA) to share these program opportunities with future veterinarians. We are not currently a non-profit organization, but we are working towards 501(c)(3) US non-profit registration and we hope to achieve this by 2022!