Samantha Wagner

Future Veterinarian

October, 19th 2023

To read more about Samantha’s journey as written by Penn State, click here.


Article below by: 

Samantha Wagner

My fellowship story in set in Rome, Italy from May 15th-May 17th, 2023. I had just graduated from The Pennsylvania State University a week prior, and I couldn’t wait to get on that plane to Rome. I was accepted into the Pre-Vet Fellowship Program in Rome, Term I.


A summary of the trip includes shadowing veterinarians doing their routine work, observing a rare perineal urethrostomy surgery on an alpaca, participating in routine livestock activities like drawing blood, trimming hooves, and reading RFID tags, participating in many cultural activities with our group advisors, and being privileged enough to explore Rome’s history and beauty on our own time.

Samantha after a shadowing week at one of the sanctuaries, forging lasting connections with fellow aspiring veterinarians and their mentors during the experience

While I was very nervous to travel internationally alone, I was immediately comforted when I was greeted by the site coordinators in Rome. I was also worried about not being able to understand when the Romans were talking, but, with context clues, it was quite easy to follow along and catch on. My group was talking in complete Italian sentences at the end of our two weeks!


This trip positively affected me in many ways. It was truly a once in a lifetime opportunity for me and my veterinary career. Not only was there flexibility of choice for shadowing, but the staff at Doctors in Italy sincerely want you to exceed. They are there for you around the clock.

Samantha completed the Pre-Health Program

Rome, Italy

  • 20+ clinical shadowing hours per week
  • Learn about 20+ species
  • Care for farm animals
  • 24-hour on-site support

Since I have a minor in One Health, I was so excited to observe another country’s approach to biosecurity and organism inclusion. I gained an abundance of knowledge on the inner workings of Roman veterinary clinic and animal sanctuaries. I was able to obtain veterinary hours for my VMCAS application, which was a tremendous help in preparation for submission. I met many wonderful people; veterinarians, sanctuary owners, sanctuary workers, Doctors in Italy staff, and peers that attended the trip with me. I will hold on to these relationships for the rest of my life. 

Samantha looking after the goats at the sanctuary with a manicure, under the guidance of her vet mentor

I specifically chose the Rome program as I wanted to be immersed in the famous history and be able to work with primarily livestock as that is my passion. I believe that attending this trip will make me stand apart from other future veterinarians. I also thought of Rome as having the most famous sight-seeing opportunities! My group and I spent our free days exploring the city together. We saw the Colosseum, the Trevi Fountain, St. Peter’s Basilica, the Vatican Museum, Sistine Chapel, and many, many gelaterias!


I am very thankful and gracious for the opportunity I was given. I can truly say that the fellowship forever impacted how I see veterinary medicine, and that is something I will carry with me throughout my career. If you have the honor to diversify yourself through DoctorsInItaly, don’t pass up the chance! 


To read more about Samantha’s journey as written by Penn State, click here.

Afternoons off to explore the ancient history of Rome, and it does not get any more epic than the Colosseum!

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In the spotlight

Get to know the Doctors in Italy Fellowship Alumni

Gianni Martin Future Veterinarian From Alabama A&M Shadowed Veterinarians in Milan, Italy

Gianni Martin

Alabama A&M University

"I learned about different aspects of veterinary medicine including animal nutrition and behavior, clinical skills, and caretaking"

Nthabeleng MacDonald Future Doctor From Gallaudet University Shadowing Doctors in Rome, Italy

Nthabeleng MacDonald

Gallaudet University

"There are not many deaf doctors in the world right now, and I want to fill that gap"

Eliana Diaz-Aceituno future doctor from James Madison University shadowed doctors in Italy

Eliana Diaz-Aceituno

James Madison University

"In Italy, the doctor and patient have more of a personal relationship than here in the U.S."