“My Real Life Journey”
On this article which is the first of a series of articles featuring the foreign veterinary community working in the United Kingdom, we meet Sara Basto and find out what she experienced during her transition into a new country.
A Path into Public Health
Sara Basto is a Portuguese vet that has been in the UK since January. She is working as an official veterinarian for Eville and Jones, in a poultry slaughterhouse.
Where and when did you graduate?
I graduated in 2015 in Portugal, UTAD Vila Real.
What made you search for different opportunities in a different country?
I always wanted to live in a foreign country, and I have always been more attracted to England since I was young. Also, since I finished my scholarship in Portugal, looking for job opportunities in the area I wanted was being very difficult, almost no replies from anyone I was sending the CV to, and the pay they offered was awful and a lot of the times they didn’t even told you how much it was until you passed all the phases… and when I decided to send my CV to Eville and Jones, they called 3 days after and set up an interview. The next week they offered me a position as a meat inspector.
Why did you choose to move to the UK?
I was always attracted to this country, I love the English language and also I had a friend from my university that gave a lecture about working for Eville and Jones and he loved it. When I talked to him he said it should be easy for me to get the job there, so I sent the CV and here I am.
What was most challenging about your move?
At first it was driving perhaps, it was very difficult to adapt to the other side of the road and we do travel a lot to different slaughterhouses. Also being alone without my fiance and my dogs was difficult.
How easy was it for you to find your first job? Did you get the job you wanted?
It was easy to find a job with Eville and Jones as a meat inspector because they give you training, so you don’t actually need to have previous experience working in slaughterhouses. They are very helpful and kind, they handle all the RCVS registration, give you a phone and company car and even accommodation, so it is perfect if you are going to move to another country alone without knowing anyone in the area. I got the job I wanted because I wanted something related to public health and to help make a difference in welfare and in the safety hygiene department, so it is perfect actually. I never wanted to work in a clinic. I was working in aquaculture research before this.
How did you career evolve once you were in the UK?
After 4 and a half months, I was given the opportunity to go to the OV (Official Veterinary) course and to become an official veterinarian and they offered me a position in the poultry plant I am working at now.
What are your future plans?
I am planning on staying here and my fiance is going to come next year, along with our two dogs. I don’t want to go back to Portugal where I will get paid so much less than here.
What part do you think your move to the UK has played in your life and career?
It is living the dream actually. I just need my fiance and my dogs and it will be just perfect. My career is going very well and I like the job I have and I know it is a very important job for the public health.
What’s the most important piece of advice you would give to someone that wants to create a career in the Veterinary field in the UK?
I would have to say for them to go for it. If they really really want it, then there is nothing that should stay in the way and choosing this company if they want to work in this area, that helps you everytime you need it, it is a fantastic way of coming here.