Two years ago, I made the best decision I possibly could have and contacted International Working Holidays about going overseas.

I had finished high school and was in between jobs I didn’t enjoy, so I knew it was time for a change. I’ve been so passionate about animals my whole life, but I had no idea where to even begin. After many, lengthy phone conversations with Shelby from IWH, we put together a plan that would soon change my life.

I landed the last spot in a Wildlife Vet experience in Namibia in October 2017. With this incredible opportunity in sight, I packed my bags and headed abroad for 6 months, starting in New York to participate in Camp America (which I’ve since returned to twice).

When I arrived at Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary, I instantly knew a piece of my heart would be left there when I travelled back home. The experiences and opportunities I was given at the Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary are irreplaceable.

Never did I believe that I would be performing and assisting with surgeries, assisting with a giraffe capture and relocation, or caring for baby orphaned animals such as baboons and zebras overnight.

Nicola and Zebra.jpg
After spending those months in Namibia (extending and returning in 2018) I was 100% sure that my career path would be Conservation. I grew so passionate about seeing wildlife thrive in their own wild habitats, and I knew I had to do something to help and preserve the declining wildlife population all over the world.

I decided to take a chance and apply for a university in Melbourne, Australia to study Environmental Science with Wildlife Conservation and Biology. I wrote an extensive application highlighting all the conservation work I did in Namibia through IWH. I received reference letters from the head vet at Naankuse and also one of the wildlife coordinators.
Applications were analysed based on previous university degrees (which I did not have), so I had to hope they would take me based on my volunteer work and work experience in that particular field.

They must have been impressed with my volunteering history because I was accepted to study the degree starting in 2019.
I would never be where I am today without the incredible opportunities I was given by the Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary and International Working Holidays.

That decision I made in 2017 changed my life and set me on the path to becoming a wildlife conservationist.

Nicola Phillips

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