That’s Farming interviews two Irish vets that trained overseas at Szent István University, Budapest, but have since returned to their home soil to practice.
Third-generation vet, Kevin Maher, began attending call-outs to farms with his father at the age of three.
The Athy, Co Kildare native grew up immersed in a veterinary environment as their clinic was right beside his house, so it was a natural progression for him to pursue a career in this field.
“Dad is a vet, and his name is Kevin. His father was a vet, also Kevin, so I am the third generation of vets named Kevin Maher,” he told That’s Farming.
“I come from three generations of farming on my mother’s side. From a young age, I thought about being a vet; I used to joke that I did not really have a choice.”
Kevin enrolled in the veterinary medicine programme at Szent István University, Budapest, in 2015. He explored alternative routes after he fell short of the points to secure a place at UCD.
He contacted Tim O Leary, the college’s Irish correspondent, to seek a place for the following year.
“I had not applied for the year 2015, but fortunately, there was a free spot. In a few days, I was on a plane to Hungary.”
“I had heard great things from vets that had already qualified from Budapest, and of course, the number of Irish out there was a huge factor.”
“After spending my five years in Budapest, I honestly could not have imagined studying anywhere else.”
“The course itself was tough, but if you put your head down at the right times and work hard, then you will be okay. The city itself and the people I met over there made it. It was hard leaving in March when Covid hit.”
Read more on his journey.
Alex Halpin believes “if you are determined and put in the work, you will make it as a vet”.
She always intended to pursue veterinary medicine as a profession and enrolled in the five-and-a-half-year course at Szent István University Budapest in September 2015, after completing her Leaving Certificate.
A student in the year above, Alex, who was attending the institution at the time, influenced her decision.
“I was good in school. Although I worked hard, I knew the points required to study veterinary at UCD were always going to be beyond my reach.”
“I could have studied a four-year animal or equine science degree and applied to study veterinary as a postgraduate in UCD.”
“With limited places, high postgraduate fees, and not wanting to prolong my time in education if, at all possible, I began to look into alternative routes.”
Read her article in full.