Caring for Creatures Great and Small in the U.K.
Laura Davidson ’98 grew up in Harrisburg and, ironically, chose LVC because it was close to home—but it didn’t take long for the biology major to discover an interest in world travel.
“During my freshman year, I remember going to a talk about study-abroad opportunities. My boyfriend at the time, also an LVC student, decided to study abroad in Cologne, Germany, and that inspired me to apply to study abroad also.” Davidson subsequently spent the fall semester of her sophomore year at Anglia Polytechnic University in Cambridge, England, crediting Dr. Arthur Ford ’59, then professor and chair of English and dean of international programs, with giving her the courage to take that first step. “He was always so passionate about Cambridge, and his enthusiasm was infectious,” she said.
Despite her initial misgivings about traveling so far from home for an entire semester, Davidson had a great time. “My eyes were opened up to the world outside the U.S. and I quickly caught the bug for traveling,” she said. “While in the U.K. for that semester, I had the opportunity to visit Paris, London, and Holland. The whole experience gave me independence and confidence, and I believe it truly was a life-changing experience for me. It broadened my horizons and opened doors I never even knew were there. I formed friendships that endure to this day and have shaped the person I have become.”
Davidson ultimately decided to apply to veterinary school in the U.K. after graduation, enrolling in the Royal Veterinary College in London in 1999. “I had all intentions to move back to the U.S. when my course was completed, but 13 years later, I’m happily still living in the U.K.” Davidson now holds dual British-U.S. citizenships and works as a veterinary surgeon in Nottingham, England. She and her partner Daniel, a British citizen, have a three-year-old daughter.
“I never envisioned my life taking this course, but I know that ultimately it is all thanks to my time at LVC and the doors that study abroad experience opened for me,” she said. “There was a very good international community there, and this kept my passion for traveling and experiencing new cultures alive.”
Today, Davidson feels well settled into her life abroad. “I’ve found that the U.K. has become my home, as I’ve spent most of my adult life here,” she said. “It’s strange, but I sometimes feel like a foreigner when I return to the U.S., and I get homesick for the U.K.
“I never anticipated how things would work out when I went on that three-month study abroad all those years ago,” she continued. “Living here has so many advantages. I’ve been able to travel all around Europe, as it’s only on our doorstep, and further afield to Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Morocco, and Botswana, to name a few.
“Living in the U.K. has given me an insight into a different way of life, different cultures and values than I grew up with,” she added. “I find the pace of life here much more laid back than in the U.S., and I’m very grateful for things such as the National Health Service, a minimum holiday allowance of four weeks, and nine months maternity leave—it just helps create a better worklife balance for me.”