A budding young vet who travelled to Africa to fulfil her dream career says it was the most rewarding experience she has ever had.
Victoria Perfecka (16) took part in a month-long volunteering project in Ghana this summer.
The Montrose Academy pupil has had her heart set on becoming a vet from a young age, and had hands on experience in Ghana, even getting the chance to assist in an operation.
Project Abroad sent her to Ghana for four weeks over June and July to shadow a local vet and gain valuable experience.
She said: “It has definitely been the most rewarding experience I’ve ever had, from the host family, all the way to my work place and the people at La Veterinary Hospital, who made me feel like part of their veterinary family.
“On a daily basis, I got to observe small animal consultations and even got to prepare medication and draw up the injections.
“In the afternoons we were allowed to go to the laboratory to witness post mortems of chickens, dogs and cats, and observe blood testing. It was the most bizzare feeling primarily. It was the first time I had seen a dead dog or cat.
“But after a few cases, I became really interested in the symptoms which were clearly visible on the carcase.
“More often than not, we also treated large farm animals such a goats and cows. It was my first time working with large animals and I loved it.
“To top it all off, on weekends I travelled with the other volunteers to Volta, where we climbed the highest waterfall in West Africa - Wli waterfalls, and to Kokrobite where we went surfing.
“It was surreal, living in Ghana, from the extremely friendly locals to witnessing Parvo Virus cases on a daily basis.
“The experience was very much hands on, it was more than I could have hoped for. By the end of the trip I had even assisted in one of the operations and I’m only 16-years-old.
“The veterinary students from Ghana were the friendliest people I have ever met and we are still in contact.
“When I arrived in Ghana, Nyame (the airport driver) made me a promise, that by the end of my stay in Ghana I would not want to leave, and he kept his promise, I left with tears in my eyes because I began to feel like I was at home.
“As for my work friends, I will never forget any of them, or my host family who had taken me in like I was one of them, they really are extraordinary people.
“Ghana is the most beautiful country I have ever visited, I am already in the process of applying to return next year to do the same project.
“I believe this experience changed me as a person for the better, I can now see that no matter what people say you can’t do, you just have to prove them wrong and keep chasing your dreams.
“Never mind what anyone else tells you, it’s up to you to take a step into the unknown and do something that will benefit you and the community.”