Skip Navigation
International Programs Student Trip Reports
In keeping with Texas A&M’s Vision 2020 objective of graduating students with a global perspective based on global experiences, the College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences provides a limited number of travel stipends to students to help them gain international work/study experiences. The following travel reports give an overview of what our students learned while living, working, and studying abroad.
« Back to Student Trip Reports

Hong Kong and Cheng Du - Hanlin Song

Hong Kong and Cheng Du - Hanlin Song

In the summer of 2010, I was able to visit Hong Kong and the city of ChengDu in mainland China between my second and third year of veterinary school. I went on a self-directed study abroad to gain experience in different aspects of veterinary medicine in China. My goal in Hong Kong was to work in the racehorse industry at the Hong Kong Jockey Club (HKJC). After Hong Kong, I wanted to work at a Giant Panda preserve in mainland China.

Hong Kong - Hong Kong Jockey Club

My experiences working with the HKJC were fantastic and memorable. Hong Kong has a distinctive culture due to its unique history as one of two Special Administrative Regions (SAR) of China. You don't need to be able to speak Chinese fluently to enjoy yourself at HKJC. All the veterinarians at HKJC speak English and have graduated from veterinary schools all over the world - including schools in Europe, Australia, and New Zealand. I was on a first-name basis with all of the veterinarians. They were very friendly, fun to spend time with, and eager to teach. The veterinarians would ask me questions throughout the day to encourage critical thinking skills. They wanted us to have the best experience possible knowing we travelled quite a distance to get there.

This program allows you to shadow a track veterinarian at the equine hospital or a mobile veterinarian; depending on the year you are in. The mobile veterinarian will visit riding schools where they primarily diagnose and treat lameness and dermatological problems, and manage and repair laceration and wound. At the equine hospital on the track they have a standard surgery room where I observed multiple arthroscopic procedures and colic surgeries. On race days, I followed different track veterinarians rotating through different stations including an ambulance, hospital/bronchoscopy, start and finishing line, and sampling. No matter where you end up, it is an eye-opening experience.

Hanlin Song

I was able to stay in their staff dorm on site while I was in Hong Kong, for a reasonable price. Work weeks start on Tuesdays and end on Sundays. My day usually began around 8:30a and ended around 5 to 6 pm depending on the number of riding schools we visited that day. This allowed me to tour the city in the evenings and gain better appreciation of the culture. If given another chance, I would return to HKJC in a heartbeat and do it all over again.

Cheng Du

The ChengDu Giant Panda Research Base is located in a northern suburb of ChengDu in the SiChuan Province. Since ChengDu is located on mainland China, not as many people spoke English as in Hong Kong. If someone wanted to do a similar type of self-directed internship, it would be advantageous to know some Mandarin.

Hanlin Song

Every morning we would meet at the bus stop in downtown ChengDu to ride to the base. The base itself combines natural scenery with man-made landscape to create an immense and absolutely delightful experience.

I was assigned to work with the two year old cubs and the zoo keeper, Mr. Yuan. I was very glad that I got to work with Mr. Yuan, who had been working for the base for over 8 years. Each morning by the time I got to the cub house, he would have already finished feeding the first feeding of bamboo. Then he would let me mix the daily vitamin supplements and milk, call all the cubs into their cages, and let me feed them bowls of milk mixed with honey. About three times a week, we gave them baths through their cages. We would then clean their cages while they ate and played in the public enclosure.

Hanlin Song

Twice daily I had the privilege of feeding the Pandas bread for a treat. The bread was made specifically for the pandas at the research base, and were fed using a fishing pole. Not only was this entertaining but it was also a way to train the pandas to be able to stand on their back feet for a prolonged period of time, allowing them to become better candidates during the breeding season.

The base staff was friendly and helpful. During lunch breaks, they would take me to visit different panda houses which housed pandas from day old cubs to veterans who had toured zoos around the world. Cheng Du was a relaxing place to visit when I had time and was probably one of the most leisurely places I had visited in all of China.



↑ Back to Top
« Back to Student Trip Reports