Jasmine Lapsley

Jasmine Lapsley has wanted to be a veterinarian for as long as she can remember. She came to North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University to major in animal science and soon learned of the rigorous resume needed for veterinary school. She found her hook when she read about Loop Abroad’s program in Thailand.

She learned about Loop Abroad – a 10-year-old study abroad program aimed at students interested in animal care – through an email and learned that North Carolina A&T didn’t have an affiliation with the program.

“It sounded like the perfect opportunity to learn more about animals and veterinary science in other countries, so I took the information to the study abroad office so we could bring it to the university,” Lapsley said.

She spent the fall semester taking x-rays of dolphins, conducting necropsies on turtles and drawing blood from jaguars.

“We were responsible for so much, like pre-operation drugs and animals that we don’t get to work with here,” she said. “We got to go behind the scenes at Chiang Mai Night Safari Zoo and work in a real clinic and had to speak to actual customers like we were real vets.”

Loop Abroad didn’t provide much time for side trips but because the program was not held on a university campus. Lapsley got hands-on experience traveling city to city for her lessons. She also got a chance to spend her fall break in Singapore.

“It was such a super clean place, and all the people we so nice,” she said. “There’s lots of LGBT representation there because it’s such a safe place to live. People just leave you alone because they don’t want to mess up their karma.”

Lapsley learned so much about herself while in Thailand, she said. She came back more innovative, tolerant and ready to take on her vet school applications.

“There aren’t a lot of African-American women veterinarians, and vet school is super competitive,” she said. “The opportunities I got in Thailand will hopefully better my chances and encourage other women from our major to study abroad. There’s nothing better than bettering yourself.”

Lapsley said Thailand allowed her to get her vet hours required for her major, as well as explore a part of Asia she’s interested in. She said it was challenging for her to go to Thailand and Singapore, but it’s an experience she wouldn’t trade for the world.

“Seeing the world is something everybody should do,” she said. “We were able to immerse ourselves in another culture. It’s hard and it’s expensive, but it’s so cool and so worth it.”