SURF CITY, NC (WWAY) — About 100 veterinarian students from 20 different countries got to spend the day on Topsail Island visiting the sea turtle hospital.
For some, it was their very first trip to the United States.
“It’s misty, but it’s lovely,” Robert Du Toit said.
The mist on Topsail Island was not going to stop Robert Du Toit and his girlfriend Joane Mahne from enjoying their first trip to the United States. This is the first time Du Toit has ever left Nambia in South Africa.
“I absolutely love it,” Du Toit said. “We had this dream when I met her two years ago.”
The reason they are finally here is to pursue another dream.
“I love animals,” Du Toit said. “It’s been my passion since I was 8 years old.”
They are just two of these 100 students from all over the world who are studying to become veterinarians. That is why Jean Beasley invited all of them to come visit the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center as a part of the International Veterinary Students Association Symposium.
“You know we talk a lot about saving the world, saving the planet, conservation,” Beasley said. “It is only through the international network that we can begin to do that.”
For many, it was also the first time visiting a turtle hospital.
“It’s a really really good center I would say,” Austrian student Nadine Tod said. “It’s huge and there are so many people working here that are really compassionate and love the animals.”
For Du Toit, it was a dream come true.
“It’s actually odd when we think that we’re actually achieving a dream now,” Du Toit said.
There is a chance this will not be their last trip if Beasley has anything to do with it.
“There is a legend that if you take some sand from Topsail Island home with you, whether it be in your clothes that you don’t know about or your shoes or whether you take some on purpose that that sand will bring you back to Topsail Island some day,” Beasley said.
She sent each one of them out to the beach to fill a tube with sand and become part of that legend.
“What do you think about the legend?”
“It’s quite cool,”Du Toit said.
Because that would be a dream come true.
“Do you think you’ll come back?”
“I hope so,” Du Toit said.
After Topsail Island, the group went to the Fort Fisher Aquarium. The group will be in North Carolina all week for the symposium.