Wendy Appiah was surrounded by animals at a young age and has wanted to work with them all her life.
She left City and Islington College (CANDI) last summer after achieving a Distinction on an Animal Management Level 3 Diploma and is now studying at the Royal Veterinary College.
Born in the Netherlands, Wendy lived for a short time as a young child on her grandparents’ farm in Ghana, surrounded by goats, sheep, chickens and cows.
When she was seven, her family moved from Amsterdam to Yorkshire before settling in London where she enjoyed looked after their pets including rabbits, turtles and fish.
She decided not to stay on at sixth form and instead applied to CANDI after visiting the college and being impressed with college’s collection of animals at its Centre for Applied Science in Angel.
Wendy, 18, said: “I’ve always loved animals. When I heard about the course at CANDI, I was like yes, sign me up, I want to study here. Now I’m following my dream to become a veterinarian and eventually have my own clinic.
“Animals have always been a fascination to me. I like the fact they’re able to develop and form their own societies. I also enjoy learning about their biology and how their bodies work. I want to help and care for them in any way possible.”
CANDI’s animal centre is home to more than 100 animals including chinchillas, ferrets, mice, guinea pigs, hedgehogs, chameleons, snakes, geckos, spiders, frogs, parrots and a variety of fish.
“Although I had experience of handling animals already, the course really opened my eyes and taught me a lot about animal welfare. It also taught me about animal health and some medical skills to use,” said Wendy.
“I spent most of my break times in the Animal Centre. It was amazing having so many different species close together and be able to look after the animals, understand their habits and behaviour and the environments they live in.”
Wendy, from Enfield, is studying for a BSc (Hons) Bioveterinary Sciences and hopes to progress to a Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine (BVetMed) to qualify as veterinary surgeon.
She said: “CANDI really helped prepare me for my degree. We studied bioscience and biochemistry on the Animal Management course, and there has been quite a lot of cross-over with my first year of my degree.
“All the lessons at CANDI were super engaging. You take in everything the teacher says and are around other people who clearly love animals and understand your obsession.
“You need the right people to teach you, and that’s what CANDI has. The teachers are really friendly. You can just go up to them and ask them anything, they are so open and support you with everything. It’s like talking to your best friend.”
CANDI offers an Animal Management Level 3 Diploma, the equivalent of up to three A Levels, and Animal Care Diplomas at Level 1-2.