Published: 02 Feb 2024 | Last Updated: 02 Feb 2024 11:26:33

Student, Thalia Tollemache Dufour from Johannesburg in South Africa, has been awarded an international scholarship to study at the world-renowned Royal Veterinary College (RVC) in her pursuit of becoming a wildlife vet. This scholarship is part of the institution’s goal of widening access and participation for underrepresented learners interested in working with animals.

From a young age, Thalia knew she wanted to work with animals. Growing up and spending time in South Africa’s national parks, her passion for animals and conservation came from learning knowledge from game rangers about the connectedness between all forms of life and the impact of poaching. After researching veterinary universities in her last years of secondary school, the RVC’s inclusive and innovative approach to teaching and learning, alongside its reputation as the number one veterinary school in the world, appealed to Thalia and she knew she wanted to apply.

In support of encouraging more young people from all backgrounds to be able to access careers in veterinary science, the RVC offers a variety of scholarships. As part of this, every year it awards a full fee-waiver scholarship to one standout international student entering its BVetMed programme.

After finding out about the RVC’s scholarship, Thalia worked hard to build her portfolio with relevant knowledge and work experience. Following a rigorous interview and admissions process, Thalia was shortlisted, and shortly after, was awarded the scholarship based on achieving her conditional offer and on her merit and efforts.

Now in her first year of studies, Thalia not only enjoys the lectures and practical lessons taking place at the RVC’s Camden Campus but is also embracing her new lifestyle and the experiences that living in London offers. She hopes to specialise in orthopaedic surgery and eventually work with anti-poaching teams.

Thalia Tollemache Dufour, student and international scholarship recipient at the RVC, said:

“The RVC was always my first choice as it projected such an inclusive, innovative, kind, and forward-thinking attitude towards education and its students. When I first received my conditional offer of the scholarship, the emotion was overwhelming, and I shed happy tears with my family for a good while.

“So far, I am loving every minute of the experience and the course. The content is interesting, and the lecturers are inspiring. It is incredible to look back on how much we have already learned in the last few months. This scholarship has changed my life, providing me with a clear path towards achieving my life goals and giving me the opportunity of becoming an independent and highly educated woman in the future; a privilege not everyone has.”

During her five-year course at the RVC, Thalia will gain a thorough understanding of the science underpinning veterinary practice and research, and develop fundamental skills including problem-solving, communication and teamwork. She will also gain practical experience at the RVC’s veterinary hospitals, helping to prepare her for a career in the industry.

Imelda McGonnell, Vice Principal for Students at the RVC, said:

“We are dedicated to being an organisation in which equality, diversity and inclusion underpin all that we do. As part of this, we offer a range of scholarships and bursaries to support students who might otherwise not be able to study with us but are passionate about working with animals.

“We were delighted to welcome Thalia to our institution this year. Her scholarship is a testament to her passion for veterinary care and dedication to her studies. We look forward to seeing her skills and knowledge progress during her time with us and welcoming another cohort of scholars in September.”


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About the RVC

  • The Royal Veterinary College (RVC) is the UK's largest and longest established independent veterinary school and is a Member Institution of the University of London.
  • It is one of the few veterinary schools in the world that hold accreditations from the RCVS in the UK (with reciprocal recognition from the AVBC for Australasia, the VCI for Ireland and the SAVC for South Africa), the EAEVE in the EU, and the AVMA in the USA and Canada.
  • The RVC is ranked as the top veterinary school in the world in the QS World University Rankings by subject, 2023.
  • The RVC offers undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in veterinary medicine, veterinary nursing and biological sciences.  
  • The RVC is a research led institution with 88% of its research rated as internationally excellent or world class in the Research Excellence Framework 2021.
  • The RVC provides animal owners and the veterinary profession with access to expert veterinary care and advice through its teaching hospitals and first opinion practices in London and Hertfordshire.


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