Young Vet of the Year Award 2019 Finalist: Why I'm passionate about helping overseas vets

Posted on October 26, 2019 by Andreia Dias

Going out into my very first farm call was nerve-wracking. On my first week of 'real' work, my new boss took me with him in one of the farm calls. Good timing, because there were plenty of cows for TB testing. It was April, cold and cloudy (just as you would expect in Ayrshire). The farm was 15 minutes away from the practice, conveniently located in a place that was very easy to find with my new city-savvy sat nav. I still made a mental note - who knew when I would have to return?

My biggest fear was not being able to understand the farmers. I had been living in Glasgow for the last few months and was doing ok with 'Glaswegian', but out in the countryside the conversation was not the same. Literally!

So how did it go? There was a lot of smiling and nodding from my end, and I somehow ended up returning to the practice with a pygmy goat on my lap and another on the floor of the passenger seat in front of me, unsure whether I had just got new companions for my Great Dane puppy and my Portuguese ginger cat.

Of course it was slightly disappointing when I didn’t get any of the pygmy goats home and instead de-horned them back at the clinic, but the experience overall was a good one. In the end, this first job was an incredibly supportive job that allowed me to learn all the foundational skills in clinical practice (and some Scottish expressions!).

My inspiration

Andreia Dias blogI know not everyone is as lucky as I was. And I saw how much more difficult our already challenging lives can turn out to be when you have busy on-calls, demanding clients, and little support to get on with it. This was part of my inspiration for UK VetMove. Despite the apparent altruism, the story is one of personal growth for me - I did many different things, trying and trialing, to learn more about myself. This project was the one that has 'stuck' with me the most. Because it does change lives, and it’s a project of hope. Hope for overseas colleagues with questions and doubts, and hope for those that work with them. Hope that their journey will also turn out to be alright. 

And the journey never stops! So, here I am back in Ayrshire for part of my month, being a crazy cat lady, enjoying some sun in Portugal in-between, and carrying on giving hope to overseas colleagues like me who started their own journey not knowing where it would lead them. Here’s what I have to say... “It’s all going to be alright!”.

BVA Young Vet of the Year Award 2019, supported by Zoetis

Andreia Dias is one of the three finalists for the BVA Young Vet of the Year Award 2019, supported by Zoetis,along with Emily Craven and Amy Barstow. The award aims to highlight recent graduate vets who make a difference. The winner of the 2019 award will be announced at the BVA Gala Dinner at London Vet Show on the evening of 14 November 2019, tickets can be purchased by booking online or emailing

Keep an eye on the BVA website for more details about the BVA Young Vet of the Year Award 2020, supported by Zoetis.

Andreia Dias

Written by Andreia Dias

Andreia works in mixed practice and founded UK VetMove, an inspiring project that helps overseas veterinarians access the resources to build a thriving career and a fulfilled life in the UK.