“ISTP taught me a lot about diversity, respect, and the importance of family,” Dr. Raphaël Repellin says as he reflects on his time at ISTP. “French remains my first language, and I still speak it readily to my children in order for them to grow up bilingual. I was fluent in Spanish after ISTP, was able to put it to great use when travelling to Spain and Mexico, and I am still able to communicate to my clients in Spanish when needed.”
After graduating from ISTP in 2002, Raphaël completed four years of high school at the Lycée Français La Perouse in San Francisco to earn his baccalauréat. He applied to several colleges and decided on UC Davis, where, after four years, he earned a B.S. degree with an emphasis on neurology, physiology, and behavior. He is currently a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and is completing a surgical residency to become a board-certified small animal surgeon.
“I didn’t know I wanted to be a vet until after my first year of college. I was enrolled in a few animal sciences and behavior classes and absolutely loved it. I always knew I wanted to work in the medical field, but I found my passion for veterinary medicine after completing those classes. What truly helped me decide on going to vet school was working as a veterinary technician for two years in day and emergency clinics after graduating from UC Davis. It gave me great insight on what the veterinary field was all about and solidified my decision to become a vet.”
Raphaël applied to veterinary schools in 2011, and to his excitement was accepted to Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine in St. Kitts, West Indies. Because he developed an international appreciation at ISTP, he was thrilled to be studying abroad. While on the island, he played soccer in the country’s professional league and continued playing several other sports.
“I just remember loving the veterinary field, especially emergency medicine. I really enjoyed the fast pace and the fact that every case was different. You never know what is going to happen next; one moment you could be seeing a gunshot wound and the next a toxicity or life-threatening surgical emergency.”
After finishing the first two years of the program, Raphaël completed the final year of clinical education at Oregon State University College of Veterinary Medicine. In 2014, he graduated with high honors as a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM), and shortly after passed the national boards to become licensed to practice veterinary medicine.
“Vet school taught me a lot of important values in life. I learned how to adapt to any given situation easily as well as how to deal with complications calmly and in a stress-free manner. I gained lots of close friends there -- four of my groomsmen were from vet school, including my best man -- and also met the love of my life, whom I married and now have two children with.”
Raphaël worked for a year in Seattle, WA as an emergency veterinarian, with the goal of becoming a specialized board certified surgeon. “I was able to perform a few ER surgeries while working as an ER vet, which showed me how much I truly loved surgery. I prefer soft tissue surgery over orthopedics, although I will be doing both when board certified. Soft tissue surgery mainly consists of any surgeries involving the chest cavity, heart, abdomen (abdominal organs), spine, as well as emergency surgeries.”
In 2015, Raphaël returned to California and completed a rotating internship in Sacramento. “I really enjoyed this internship because it made me a better overall doctor, as it focused on all specialties of veterinary medicine, including emergency medicine, surgery, radiology, internal medicine, oncology, and cardiology. I also had amazing mentors and learned a tremendous amount in one year.”
In 2016, Raphaël accepted a specialty surgical internship at MedVet Medical & Cancer Centers for Pets in Cincinnati, OH. “This specialty internship focused on 90% surgery and 10% emergency medicine. I was either on-call or working ER every night, with two days off per month. It was a very busy place but I gained an incredible amount of experience and knowledge there, as it pertains to surgery. I am now very comfortable doing consultations for any case that comes in and am also able to perform most emergency surgeries on my own.”
In July 2017, Raphaël began a surgical residency at Michigan State Veterinary School. Upon completion of the program and passing two board examinations, he will become a diplomate board-certified small animal surgeon.
When asked what he gained with an ISTP education that differentiates him from other people he has met, Raphaël says, “it is a huge advantage to follow the French/European curriculum, as there are many subjects -- geography, world history, philosophy -- that a lot of people who followed a traditional American curriculum are not familiar with. Both of my children are currently in a French immersion daycare, where they are only spoken to in French, and I would love to enroll them in an international school in the future.”
Raphaël lives in Cincinnati with his wife, who is also an emergency veterinarian, their two beautiful children, two dogs, and one cat.