“The scrawny, white cattle were huddled
by the hundreds into a 'cow camp’ along the White Nile in South
Sudan. The cattlemen gather them here along the river to better
protect themselves against raids by neighboring tribes who want to
steal cattle. These cattle are the people’s bank account. Cattle
number determines wealth, status, and power. Our little group of
veterinarians from Texas A&M as well as the local South
Sudanese veterinarians were visiting the camp to get a better idea
of what health problems affected these animals. The cattle were
obviously very thin. On closer examination, many of the cattle had
hugely swollen lymph nodes indicating something more may be going
on besides lack of nutrition. Our South Sudanese colleagues were
concerned about East Coast Fever, a disease that I had only heard
about while attending lectures on foreign animal diseases. Our
colleagues and the herdsmen were looking for answers and for help.
Could we help them?"
We have all heard that our world is getting smaller. It’s not
unusual for a person to be sitting in their office in the U.S. one
day and 36 hours later be in a country literally half-way around
the world. No longer are the foreign animal diseases students learn
about in medical school or veterinary school something that has
little potential to affect our lives in the United States. In
addition, our highly mobile lives bring us into contact with new cultures. Are
we able to deal with people from other cultures in a way that leads
to solutions and not more problems?
In order to better prepare our
students for futures in the medical professions, the College of
Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (CVM) International
Programs initiative endeavors to help students gain international
experiences by helping them travel and study internationally. We
have several faculty members who lead study abroad courses that
last from a few weeks to an entire semester. In addition, we help
students develop independent study abroad experiences and then
provide travel stipends to help offset the cost.
Over the past three years, we’ve helped students travel to and
learn in China, Mongolia, South Africa, Germany, Italy, Thailand,
Australia, and more. We believe these experiences help prepare our
students to become better medical professionals by allowing them
opportunities to see the foreign animal diseases they read about
and by learning how to interact successfully with people in a
culture that is not their own.
With most students, cost is the greatest limiting factor that
prevents them from experiencing this type of learning opportunity.
The CVM International Programs initiative helps supplement travel
expenses up to $1,000 per student, but with
a total student population of over 2000, we are unable to
supplement all of them. Please consider supporting the CVM’s
International Programs initiative with a tax deductible
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