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Beccles student turns to Slovakia to study because of tuition fee cost

PUBLISHED: 14:10 14 May 2012

Stacey Lawrence from Beccles is fundraising to pay for fees to study to become a vet.

Stacey Lawrence from Beccles is fundraising to pay for fees to study to become a vet.

Archant © 2012

A BECCLES student is preparing to study in Slovakia after the high cost of tuition fees made her look outside the UK for a postgraduate course.

Stacey Lawrence has dreamt of working with animals since she was a little girl and when she was offered a place on a top postgraduate veterinary course in the UK she thought her dream had come true.

But after finding out the tuition fees are more than £26,000 a year, Miss Lawrence is now set to travel to central Europe to continue her studies.

Miss Lawrence, 23, has always loved animals but, despite working two jobs and signing up to run a half- marathon, she can’t hope to raise the money to study at The Royal School of Veterinary Studies, in Edinburgh, where she was offered a place.

Instead she will travel to central Europe after signing up to the University of Veterinary Medicine and Pharmacy in Kosice, Slovakia.

“I did not realise the cost. I applied for it and got into the best university in the country without an interview and I was really proud of it,” she said.

“But the course is for four years and fees are £26,400 a year. I am from a working class background – my dad is a mechanic and my mum a nurse. There is no way that they are able to help me financially.”

She said that the difference in cost to study on the English-based course in Slovakia was “just crazy”.

“It is £6,300 rather than £26,400, which seems so ridiculous, but it will be an amazing experience to study abroad,” she said.

Miss Lawrence, who studied zoology and marine biology at Bangor University, in Wales, has previously worked at vets and farms in Bungay, Wangford and Flordon, waking up daily at 3am just to get the necessary experience for her dream job.

“I would love to use the knowledge gained from the veterinary degree to work on conservation projects around the world, before one day setting up my own veterinary practice,” she said.

However, the daunting prospect of having to raise so much money to study in the UK has proven a step too far, despite letters to companies for support and working an admin job and in a bar to raise money.

Miss Lawrence, a former Sir John Leman High School pupil, in Beccles, still needs to raise money to be able to afford the course in Slovakia, and as a keen runner decided to take on the Edinburgh Half Marathon on May 27, but there would be a further setback when she broke her left foot in a gym accident.

Now her boyfriend Sean Armstrong, 23, from Newcastle, will now be running on her behalf.

“He stepped up and surprisingly took very little persuasion, even though he doesn’t like running as much as me,” she said.

To sponsor Miss Lawrence visit www.gofundme.com/help-me-to-become-a-vet

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