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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.

China - Katlyn A. Rosenbaum

I was first introduced to alternative medicine techniques at a young age. Because of my desire to become a veterinarian, I took a particular interest in learning about numerous aspects of animal medicine. I was fortunate enough to get a shadowing position with a veterinarian certified in acupuncture and saw first-hand how it could help patients that had run out of options. It made me want to become certified myself so that I could offer such services to my clients in the future. When I heard about the course offered by the Chi Institute in Beijing, I thought what better way to begin learning acupuncture than in the place it was discovered and developed? We also had the option to explore some of the culture prior to the class as well so that we could get more out of the trip than just the course. The trip would serve to complete the second of the first two courses for acupuncture certification. The first course was done online as a series of lectur... (Read More)

China - James Cryer

Beijing CHI Institute Acupuncture Course and Cultural Tour In May of 2017, 2 classmates and I journeyed to Beijing, China, to attend a course offered on veterinary acupuncture and traditional Chinese veterinary medicine. This course was not part of the curriculum at the  Texas A&M University CVMBS, but instead was a pursuit that was taken up of our own volition and prerogative during an intersemester break. We each procured our own funding for the trip, and were each approved to receive a travel stipend offered by the International Program Advisory Committee. The excursion consisted of a four-day theoretical and practical course in veterinary acupuncture, preceded by an optional four-day guided tour of different cultural sites around the city. The tour group included approximately 20 participants – a mixture of veterinary students, veterinary practitioners, and their loved ones. The day that we arrived, all students met in the even... (Read More)

Paraguay - Camille Goblet

Paraguay (1-17 July 2017) - Camille Goblet One of the only two landlocked, South American countries, Paraguay is often overlooked in terms of tourism and research, which is perhaps why the Chacoan peccary (Catagonus wagneri) has unfortunately become critically endangered.  But spending two weeks working with the enthusiastic and determined staff of the Centro Chaqueño para Conservación e Investigación (CCCI) in Fortin-Toledo, along with a team of curators and veterinarians from the United States, made me believe in the potential to save a species on the brink of extinction. The CCCI is a small reserve located in the Gran Chaco region of Paraguay, a region that spans the majority of the western “Region Occidental”.  It began under the name “Proyecto Taguá” (the Taguá Project, Taguá being the local name for the Chacoan peccary) in 1985 as a research project and captive breeding program for the species.  It has since grown to inc... (Read More)

Brazil - Alyssa Meyers

Chagas disease is an anthropozoonosis caused by the protozoan parasite Trypanosoma cruzi that represents a major public health problem throughout Latin America. The Hamer lab studies Chagas disease in the United States, but with help from the CVM travel grant I was able to explore the ecology of T. cruzi in an endemic environment, in Campo Grande Brazil. T. cruzi demonstrates extreme biological plasticity. It can infect a wide range of mammalian hosts and is genetically diverse being characterized by seven genotypes. In the US, we find two strain types, while in Brazil they have all seven.  The goal of this project was to explore the genetic diversity of T. cruzi in wildlife along the urban-sylvatic interface. While ample research has been devoted to transmission and control of T. cruzi in a domestic or peridomestic environment, many questions remain regarding T. cruzi ecology and transmission along the sylvatic-urban environments. To bet... (Read More)

Mongolia - Taylor Strange

This summer I was given the unique opportunity to work alongside Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) in efforts to promote sustainability of the cashmere system in the Southern Gobi Desert of Mongolia. I hoped that the experience would lead to a lot of new knowledge and opportunities. I expected to learn what it meant to work in rural veterinary medicine, get lots of hands-on work with cashmere goats, and perhaps improve language or cultural skills along the way. I gained all those things, and so much more. I could not have anticipated the profound effect the people would have on me. My main goal as a part of the WCS project was to gain insight on the overall cashmere goat health in the Ömnögovi province in southern Mongolia. This assignment allowed me to design my own methods for obtaining data in the field. I talked to various veterinary and research professionals about the ways to design a study and what would be the most efficient ways... (Read More)

China - David Wallace

Thanks to the CVMBS International Programs travel stipend I was able to travel to Beijing, China from May 14th to the 27th to attend the hands-on laboratory portion of an acupuncture course put on by the Chi Institute.  Prior to the course, however, there was an optional Pre-Class Tour for 4 days where a tour guide took everyone to all the major tourist attractions around Beijing for a cultural experience. Over the four days of the tour, we saw the major attractions in Beijing such as the Summer Palace, the Temple of Heaven, the Great Wall of China, the Forbidden City, the Lama Temple, and Tiananmen Square.  In addition, we got to see part of the culture of China when we went to a Kung-Fu show, a Traditional Tea House, the cloisonné factory, and a few of the shop streets, such as Guangzhou, the Silk Market, and the Pearl Market.  Everywhere we went, our tour guide would give us a little of the history of the attraction we saw... (Read More)

South Africa - Laura Warren

Since starting veterinary school, I have had the opportunity to learn about veterinary practices and food safety and public health in Italy; I have also had the opportunity to visit the foreign animal disease laboratory at Plum Island. As part of the 4th year veterinary curriculum, students are allotted a few blocks out of the year for “externships”. With this time, myself and another 4th year student, Taylor Pursell, decided to visit the Animal Research Council’s Onderstepoort Veterinary Institute (ARC-OVI) and Transboundary Animal Disease Laboratory in Onderstepoort, South Africa. Since the beginning of my veterinary career, I have had an interest in international work and foreign animal diseases. When we arrived in Johannesburg, South Africa we were greeted by 2 very friendly and helpful employees of the ARC-OVI, Prince who works for the transportation department and Ernest who does research in the rabies department. We stayed at a guesthous... (Read More)

South Africa - Taylor Pursell

Ondonsterpoort Animal Research Center Externship The staff of Ondonsterpoort Veterinary Institute were wonderful hosts and provided us with a diverse and comprehensive view of diagnosis and management of disease. They also provided us housing on the beautiful campus! We spent the first week with in the Tuberculosis Lab. The lab functions mainly as a diagnostic laboratory for South Africa as well as many other neighboring African countries; they preform post mortem tests as well as screening tests for movement of animals especially Cape Buffalo. In addition to standard culture with microscopic identification, they preform PCR in order to identify the species of TB isolated (M. bovis, M. tuberculosis, M. bovis BCG, M. microti, M. canettii, M. pinnipedi, M. africum, M. caprae, M. mungi, and M. sucricattae). They start with a screening PCR for the most common isolate M. bovis and then have three other PCR tests to differentiate the others. Th... (Read More)

Honduras – Sephra Zinsmeister

Tired, dusty, sweaty, humbled, but filled with a fresh appreciation for the gift of my veterinary education at Texas A&M University summarizes how I felt each dayriding back to Rancho El Paraiso after a workday in the Agalta Valley in Honduras. This past spring break, I had the unique opportunity to travel to Honduras with a team of Christian veterinarians, veterinary technicians, and veterinary students gathered from all walks of life and from all over the country to provide basic, but incredibly needed, veterinary services to the people of Honduras. Our trip was a unique partnership with Christian Veterinary Mission and Honduras Outreach International (HOI), an organization dedicated to strengthening Honduras by encouraging local enterprise and economy, to provide veterinary services to villages in the Agalta Valley of Honduras that do not have access to any sort of veterinary care. Each day on the ranch, our team would rise early t... (Read More)

Guangzhou, China — Anna Deberardinis

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