Student gets real-world veterinary experience in Thailand

Student gets real-world veterinary experience in Thailand

Posted on Friday, July 22, 2022

Student at microscope

Seeing an elephant up-close in its natural habitat is a rare opportunity, one Aria Foster ’24 experienced while providing medical care for these animals at a rescue sanctuary in Thailand this summer.  

In affiliation with the study-abroad organization Loop Abroad, Foster was one of eight college students from around the globe who learned alongside veterinarians while volunteering with elephants, dogs and cats. 

For three weeks, Foster assisted veterinarians with various clinical tasks, including prepping a canine for catheter placement surgery, spaying and neutering dogs and cats and injecting an elephant with medication in the front leg muscle.  

“As I wish to become a veterinarian with a specialty in exotics, this trip has given me experience that I don't get the opportunity to have in Georgia,” she said. “I have been able to learn many key skills that will help me in pursuing my education in veterinary medicine.” 

Foster, who had part of her trip paid for through federal aid and the college’s Smith Travel Grant, said she also would not have been able to go on the trip without the Gilman International Scholarship, which awards Pell Grant recipients with funds up to $5,000.  

“It allowed me to add on a bonus week to my two-week program,” Foster said. “I want to make people more aware of their opportunities even as lower income people to be able to travel abroad.” 

Michele Raphoon, Coordinator of the Office of Global Engagement, said Foster was the first LC student to receive the scholarship. 

“Aria put in a lot of writing and a lot of time to make this come to fruition,” she said. 

Raphoon said most of the college’s program affiliates have scholarships available for students interested in studying abroad.  

Foster, who traveled on a plane for the first time, said her favorite part of being in Thailand was getting to learn the language and culture. 

“It was a wonderful experience learning how veterinary medicine is practiced in Thailand and comparing it to American practices,” she said. “You can learn so much and gain a broader perspective by working with a range of viewpoints.” 

Raphoon said the college gives students opportunities to venture outside of LaGrange to further their LC education across borders and around the globe.  

“LaGrange offers over 300 study away programs to about 35 different countries where students, like Aria, can focus on their area of study while also gaining a broader understanding of other cultures and their responsibilities within a global society,” she said. “Aria had an incredible opportunity to learn about the important role animals play in Thailand’s ecosystem and society. “I’m sure it will be a defining element in her undergraduate degree and her future as a veterinarian.” 

Students interested in learning more about study away programs can visit or attend one of Raphoon’s information sessions that are scheduled throughout the year. 


Campus Notes 

  • The LaGrange community is encouraged to join the Georgia Independent College Association in saying thank you to the state legislators who approved increases in the award amounts for the Hope/Zell scholarship and Tuition Equalization Grant. GICA has a link for people to post comments to their “Thank You Campaign.” When clicking on the link, students, parents, faculty, and staff will be asked to enter their contact information and the site will identify and deliver a message to their legislators. Participants can draft their own letter or use prepared language.
  • On July 1, the Rev. Julie Schendel ’03 became the new pastor of Senoia United Methodist Church. Schendel follows a line of LC alumni who have taken the helm of SUMC. It started with Nathaniel Long ’91 in 2010, Erik Mays ’04 in 2013 and Ashley Fitzpatrick Jenkins ’08 in 2017. 
  • The final orientation date for transfer students will be on Wednesday, July 27. 
  • Fall classes will begin on Monday, August 22.
  • Make plans to attend Homecoming Weekend Oct. 7-9. Visit the alumni website for more information.


Video of the Week 

Host Mark Davis spotlights the summer youth sports camps sponsored by LC coaches and takes us along on a busy two-day New Student Orientation adventure. 


August Faculty and Staff Birthdays 

2-Karen Pruett, Career Development 

2-Michelle Reeves, Financial Aid 

3-Linda McMullen, Business Administration & Accountancy 

5-Brandi Cameron, Counseling 

10-Kevin Shirley, History 

12-Colleena Collins, Exercise Science 

13-Stacey Ernstberger, Mathematics 

13-Jarred Rutherford, Football 

16-John Kraus, Business Services 

20-Alexandria Andrade, Student Life 

21-Chastity Hargrett, Information Technology 

21-Tammy Rogers, President's Office 

30-Vickie Evans, English 

30-Brian Peterson, Vice President for Academic Affairs 



  • Former LaGrange College Panther McKinley Erves, who helped lead the team to the NCAA Division III World Series last spring, is enjoying a big summer for the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters of the Northwoods League.

    Erves, the LaGrange College all-time hits leader, was hitting .421 with two home runs, four doubles, and 12 RBIs through 13 games for Wisconsin. 

    During one two-game stretch, Erves had seven hits, and he hit two home runs in one game. 

    Erves joined the LaGrange College program in 2018, and during his senior season, he hit .409 with five home runs, 52 RBIs and 88 hits in 53 games, and he led the team in runs scored (91), walks (51) and on-base percentage (.531). 

    During the College World Series in Iowa, Erves set the LaGrange College record for career hits (273). 

    Erves was one of three fifth-year seniors on the 2022 team along with Jack Layrisson and Tanner Chafin. 

    Like Erves, Chafin is a member of the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters, and he has been one of the team’s most effective relief pitchers. 

    A handful of other LaGrange College players who will return next season are also playing summer baseball, including Ethan Kramer (Elite Squad of the Collegiate League of the Palm Beaches in California), McCain Mangum (Elite Squad), Jorge Fragoso (Richmond Jazz of the Great Lakes Summer Collegiate League), Ashton Shackleford (Columbus Chatt-A-Hoots of the Sunbelt League), Jackson McCart (Sarasota Tigers of the Florida Gulf Coast League). 


In the Headlines 



Category: College

Keywords: study abroad

Press Contact

Lindy Oller

Last updated: 07/22/2022